The Number One Mistake People Make When Crate Training, And What To Do Instead

Is crate training a dog cruel?

The simple answer is a resounding; no. Crate training is recommended by top veterinarians and animal behaviorists alike. These are experts in the field of dogs and dog behaviors that recommend crate training. In fact, it can be one of the kindest things you can do for your dog. Don’t Miss; To crate or not to create, that is the question. Also, see; 6 fail-proof steps to house-training a puppy.


Stop all that noise!

Most puppies will whine and cry and bark when you first try crate training and they are in a room or a crate for the first time. The NUMBER ONE mistake people make is to take them out in order to stop the racket. That is exactly what they want and if you do, it reinforces to them that crying/barking/whining will set them free.

crate training a dogIf you really can’t stand the noise anymore and feel the need to let them out, wait until the racket stops for at least a minute, then you can let them out.

Five Things You Can Do To Make Them Stop:

When crate training a dog that is making a lot of noise, do these one at a time, move on to the next one only if you need to.

    • Put up with the noise for at least 10 minutes without doing anything and completely ignoring your puppy. Yes, I know it’s hard, but do you want this to go on for the rest of his/her life? If you stop it now, they will be happier, you will be happier and life will be more peaceful. It is not cruel, it is actually the kindest thing you can do for them because you are teaching them to be okay with being confined. Whether you confine them daily or only occasionally, there will be times when they need to be confined and if they are taught at an early age that it is okay and that it is not something to be afraid of, it will be much easier for you and for them when you have to crate them to travel or go to the vet’s, for instance.
    • Play a radio or TV softly close by. Music relaxes some dogs. Please be sure that the radio or the cord is not within their reach.
    • Make a sudden loud noise in another room. Slap the wall, or stamp your foot. Believe me, they will stop immediately! Yes, it may startle them (that’s the idea, after all), but it will not hurt them. Be sure not to say anything or make a sound yourself. This way they will think it’s their own racket that is causing the noise, not you. When they start to whine, cry or bark again, make the noise again. Repeat this as often as necessary. When they are quiet for an extended amount of time go in and praise them, treat them or let them out. This will reinforce the behavior you want, ie, peace and quiet.

  • From the room next to theirs, bang two pots together. Same principle as the one above, just a little louder and may better get their attention. Do it only once every time they bark or whine.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water. When he/she starts to make a racket, walk quietly into the room, spray them once directly in the face and quietly walk out again. When they are quiet for a minute or two, go into the room (without the water bottle) and praise them and or treat them. Repeat this as necessary. Only use this one as a last resort. Although it doesn’t hurt them, it is a physical act and your dog will see you do it. Unlike the loud noise that hopefully he/she will think they caused.

My first experience crate training

None of these methods will hurt your dog and they are very effective. Case in point: When my first Chihuahua was just a puppy, we crated him at night because I didn’t want any accidents in our room or (heaven forbid!) in our bed. I got absolutely no sleep for a week. After a week, I was at my wit’s end and thought I had tried everything, so I called a trainer in town that I knew and had worked with.

She told me to cover the crate with a blanket, and when he started the racket to slap the top of the crate one time. Because it was covered with a blanket, he didn’t know it was me doing it and he was immediately quiet. I only had to repeat this once and he never again made any noise at night. After he was completely potty trained, we put him to bed with us and we all were snug as bugs in a rug and as they say — we lived happily ever after.  🙂

crate training a dog
After surgery or injury, it is often necessary to confine a dog to a crate to protect them from hurting themselves

Never, ever yell at your dog or worse…. hit your dog! Believe it or not, even negative attention, like yelling at him will just reinforce the bad behavior, ie, crying, barking or whining. Hitting will only make him afraid and weary of you and I know you don’t want that. Once that happens it is very hard, if not impossible to regain their trust, so just don’t do it!

This is the crate that I used to crate train my dogs. I still use and recommend it. Some crates have double doors, but the doors are in front and on the side. This one has a second door on top. I find the door on top to be best for little dogs because it is easier to just lift them out if you need to rather than trying to coax them out from front or side. It assembles easily and stores away conveniently. Just click the image to get yours. Only $46.02


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