So, you’ve successfully crate trained your dog. Up until now, your furry friend has been happy to rest quietly in his crate, snuggled in his bed. Then, suddenly, your dog starts barking whenever he’s shut in his crate!
But why? What’s changed, and why has your dog’s previously impeccable behavior abruptly changed?
Read this guide to find out how to stop your dog from barking in his crate the right way.
Why Does My Dog Bark In His Crate?
There are lots of reasons why a previously well-behaved dog that’s undergone correct crate training suddenly starts barking in his crate, pen, or kennel. But is that bad behavior or a stress-related condition, such as separation anxiety?
Before you can cure the problem, you need to understand what’s triggering the barking and what kind of bark your dog is making.
Yes, that’s right! Your dog has several different types of barks that all mean different things. Those barks are often accompanied by specific behaviors that reflect how your dog is feeling. The most common kinds of barks that you’ll hear in a home setting include the following:
If your dog is afraid, he will give a series of high-pitched barks.
Also, your pup will most likely bounce up and down in a backward motion, moving away from what has frightened or startled him. Your dog’s front feet will probably be out in front of him as he jumps back. Generally, the dog will raise its hackles to create the illusion that your fluffy furry friend is actually a much larger, tougher character than he is in real life.
If your dog thinks something’s going on that you need to know about, such as an intruder in your backyard, he’ll give an alarm bark.
The classic alarm bark comprises between two and four rapid barks in quick succession with a pause between. Although the bark might sound similar to a fear bark, it’s generally a couple of octaves lower and is continuous.
Often, once the dog realizes that there’s no cause for alarm, he’ll stop barking.
Most dogs will bark to greet their pet parents, having been left home alone for a long period of time.
The classic greeting bark is usually a couple of barks at a higher pitch than your mutt’s regular bark. A greeting bark is usually given when the dog’s owner or another familiar face, such as the dog walker, arrives. Once the greeting has been given, the dog usually settles down again.
Reasons Why Your Dog Barks In His Crate
Assuming that your crate training methods were correct, there are several reasons why your dog might start barking in his crate:
If your dog is potty trained, he will most likely start barking if he’s shut in his crate and suddenly discovers that he needs to go!
Dogs have evolved to live in groups or packs where there’s a clearly-defined hierarchy. Pet dogs view their human owners and family as their pack. So, if you leave your dog all alone, he’s going to feel that he’s lost his security blanket and might start barking to attract your attention and call his pack back to him.
A dog might start barking if he’s shut in his crate and has nothing to occupy him. Sometimes, providing a toy or chewable treat is all your dog needs to distract him and keep him amused while he’s in his crate.
In some breeds, including Goldendoodles, can be prone to a serious condition called separation anxiety, which can be a problem when it comes extended periods of crate time.
Separation anxiety is caused by stress and causes a variety of behaviors, including:
- Whimpering or crying, especially in puppies
- Destructive behavior, such as chewing and digging
There’s no obvious cause of separation anxiety. However, dogs that come from puppy farms, rescues, and shelters seem more prone to developing the condition. It could be that the stress of a major change in environment and circumstances can trigger separation anxiety in those dogs.
Hunger and Thirst
If your dog is hungry, he might start barking in the hope that you’ll feed him. Similarly, dogs need access to clean water 24/7/365. So, if your dog is thirsty, he might bark to tell you that!
How Can I Stop My Dog Barking In His Crate?
A dog that barks in his crate can drive you crazy, especially if you work at home or if the barking generally happens at night while you’re in bed.
In this section of our guide, we take a look at how you can stop your canine companion from disturbing the peace and waking up the neighbors!
1. Don’t Yell At Your Dog!
First of all, you must NEVER yell at your dog if he starts barking in his crate!
If you shout at your dog, you’re giving him the attention he wants and effectively rewarding his excessive barking behavior. Also, you could be reinforcing your dog’s belief that there’s something frightening or concerning out there, simply because you’re barking, too!
2. Give Your Dog Plenty Of Exercise
Dogs need plenty of physical and mental exercise to keep happy. Your dog should receive enough daily exercise commensurate with his breed, age, and health.
Ideally, you want to take your dog out for a long walk, a trip to the dog park, or perhaps enjoy an interactive game of fetch or tug-of-war in your backyard with your pet right before you crate your dog.
However, a few minutes of extra exercise can be all it takes to help your dog settle and stop barking in his crate when you leave him alone.
3. Position Your Crate Carefully
If your dog tends to bark at passers-by and other dogs, don’t put the cage where your dog has a clear view of the street. You might also find that putting the crate in a quieter space helps to settle a fidgety pup.
Conversely, if your dog has separation anxiety issues, placing the crate where your furry friend can see people and other pets might help, as he won’t feel so alone.
4. No Treats For Barking!
Never reward barking behavior with treats! If your dog is barking and you try to quiet him by giving him a yummy treat, he will only bark even more to try to get more “rewards!”
5. Make The Crate A Comfy Place To Be
Your dog’s crate should be a place of safety and security where your pet feels comfortable and wants to spend his time. That’s one of the basics of crate training that all prospective owners should know!
So, equip the crate with a snug, cozy blanket or bed where he wants to curl up and sleep. If your dog has a wire crate, he will enjoy plenty of ventilation, but he will also be able to see all around him. In that case, you might find that placing a crate cover over the crate helps to create a snug, private den-like space that your dog will love.
6. Use Rewards And Treats
Using treats is a classic method of crate training that you can also use to stop your dog from barking.
When your dog is outside, hide a few yummy treats in his crate. Put a few of your dog’s favorite treats under his blanket, inside a chew toy, and around the entrance to the crate. That will encourage the dog to go into the crate of his own volition to hunt for the treats.
7. Crate At Mealtimes
A very successful strategy for distracting a barker is to feed him in his crate.
Let your dog sit quietly in his crate for a few minutes before you reward his good behavior by feeding him. Remember to let your dog out for a potty break right after he’s finished eating so that he doesn’t start barking again, this time to let you know that he needs to go!
8. Don’t Crate Your Dog For Too Long
Many dogs get into the habit of barking if they’re left crated home alone for long periods. So, don’t crate your dog for longer than six to eight hours; any longer than that is too long.
9. Alternatives To Crate Training
Some dogs simply won’t tolerate being crated while their owners are not around, becoming extremely upset and vocal or being destructive. If your pooch falls into that category, you’ll need to make alternative arrangements for when you can’t be there to keep your dog company.
Practical alternatives to keeping your dog crated include:
- Hiring a dog sitter
- Using a doggy daycare service
- Hiring a professional dog walking service
- Ask a friend to dog-sit
- Take your dog to work if your company permits pets in the workplace
Although most of those alternatives come at a cost, they can all solve the problem of a dog that persistently barks in his crate.
10. Bedtime Strategy
Many dog owners like to crate their dogs at night to stop their pooch from wandering around the house or jumping onto the owner’s bed and disturbing them. However, placing the dog’s crate away from you can cause barking issues.
Try putting your dog’s crate in your bedroom with you overnight. If your dog knows that you’re close at hand, he should be less likely to start barking. That can mean less barking and fewer sleepless nights.
11. Consider Your Schedule
Dogs are creatures that appreciate and thrive on having a routine. So, consider your own daily routine, work, and homelife requirements, and work out a plan that will work to stop your dog from barking in his crate.
12. Consider Your Dog’s Barking Habits
Think carefully about your dog’s schedule, too. Consider your dog’s potty training stage, his age, the best mealtimes for your pet, etc. That will enable you to pinpoint the most suitable times for crate training and barking avoidance.
13. Don’t Crate Your Dog When He’s Hungry
Ideally, you want to feed your dog no longer than 90 minutes before you put him in his crate. If your dog is hungry, he’s more likely to start barking.
14. Toilet Time!
If your dog needs a pee, he’s more likely to fidget and start barking. So, make sure you remember to take your furry friend outside for a potty break before you crate him and leave him home alone and before you settle your dog in his crate at night.
Also, if you leave your dog home alone when you go out to work during the day, you need to make sure that he has a chance to relieve himself in the morning right after eating. Ideally, you want to exercise your dog and then give him his breakfast just before you go out.
15. Provide Your Dog With Toys
If your dog gets bored and frustrated in his crate, he will probably start barking. The best way to keep your pet occupied is to provide him with a supply of toys. Chew toys are a good choice, as they can help to prevent destructive behaviors.
For example, you can fill a Kong-type toy with dog-safe peanut butter or moistened kibble, freeze the toy and its contents, and then give the tasty treat to your furry friend when he needs to go into the crate.
16. Never Use The Crate As A Punishment
As we said earlier in this guide, your dog’s bed should be a place that he regards as a safe, comfy spot where he can relax and enjoy some me-time. The last thing you want to do is put your dog in his crate as a punishment for some undesirable behavior.
If you do that, your dog will be reluctant and possibly even afraid to go into his crate, and you risk damaging the bond you’ve created between you.
17. Don’t Acknowledge Barking
If your dog starts barking, don’t immediately rush to your dog until the barking stops. Although it can be tempting to go to your dog to find out what the barking is all about, any kind of attention can actually encourage the dog to bark even more.
So, don’t pet or make a fuss of your pet every time he starts barking, or you risk training your dog to bark every time he wants attention.
18. Be Quiet!
Although it’s tempting to call out to your dog from another room, that’s almost as counterproductive as face-to-face contact with your pet. That can even encourage your dog to bark even more.
19. The Sound Of Music
Some dogs respond well to the sound of relaxing music, and many even stop barking completely in their crate if you provide your pet with a soundtrack to distract them while you’re out of the room.
In fact, many vet clinics and grooming salons provide their canine clients with some chill-out tunes to enjoy while waiting. Also, in the home scenario, a little calming music can help to distract a fraught owner from a dog that’s barking non-stop.
20. White Noise
If your dog barks at sounds they hear outside in the street or coming from neighboring homes, providing some background white noise can effectively cut out those barking triggers.
White noise in the form of a fan or humidifier can be an excellent way to drown out those sounds that start your dog off barking. Also, white noise won’t disturb your neighbors in the way that playing music can.
21. Try The Pheromone Approach
Dog Appeasing Pheromones or DAP can provide an effective, natural way to calm a dog that has barking issues. These products come in the form of a plug-in diffuser or a spray that you can use on your dog’s bedding.
DAP works by calming down nervous dogs and reducing separation anxiety. Pheromones are natural chemicals that the dog’s body produces, especially during lactation when a mother dog is feeding her puppies. The pheromones help to calm anxious puppies and make feeding time a less stressful experience for mom, too.
Researchers have been able to isolate natural DAP and create a synthetic formula that’s used by dog owners to calm and relax their dogs. That familiar material pheromone works well with young puppies and older dogs, too. When my senior dog developed canine dementia, she didn’t sleep well at night, often waking up and crying. I used a plug-in DAP next to her crate, and that worked extremely well to give us both a much better night’s sleep!
How Does DAP Work?
So, how does DAP work?
Well, between your dog’s mouth and his nose is something called Jacobson’s organ or vomeronasal organ. That structure has different receptors that detect pheromones. The receptors communicate with the dog’s brain, triggering a behavioral response. However, dog pheromones don’t affect humans or other non-canine pets.
Did you enjoy our guide on how to stop your dog from barking in his crate? If you found the article and our tips helpful, please remember to share!
If your dog barks when crated, you need to work out why the barking has become an issue and take appropriate action to prevent it. Make sure that your dog is well-exercised, has had a chance to relieve himself, isn’t hungry or thirsty, and that his crate is comfortable and cozy.
Does your dog bark in his crate? Try our top tips, and let us know whether your dog stops barking!