Why Is Your Puppy Digging In His Crate?

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Is your new puppy digging in his crate? They might be trying to tell you something! Puppies instinctively dig in soil or sand to create a den, and if they’re not provided with an appropriate spot to do this, they may turn to their crate.

Digging can also be a sign of stress or anxiety for puppies, so it’s important to figure out why your pup is digging and address the issue. There may be a need for some crate training in your puppy’s future.

Digging: An Instinctual Behavior

Happy puppy dog Digging in Sand

Puppies are born with the instinct to dig and have a short attention span. It’s a natural instinct that helps them create a safe and comfortable spot for themselves, similar to how wild dogs will dig a den to raise their young. 

If your puppy is digging in their crate at night or during the day, they may be trying to make themselves a comfortable place to rest and relax. However, if they dig too deep, they could damage the crate floor, or even hurt themselves.

If your puppy is digging in the crate because they’re stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable, then it’s time to take action before destructive behavior starts. You should try to help them find a more suitable resting area, or quieter area for the crate. 

For example, you can provide toys, blankets, and other items to keep them occupied while they rest. A good way to occupy some time is to fill a Kong with peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t have xylitol!), freeze it, and give it to them only in their crate.

Items you can give your dog in the crate for positive association can include:

  • Toy filled with peanut butter
  • Toys they love
  • Comfy blankets
  • Food bowls

Another great way to have them associate good things with the crate is to place part of their meals in a hollowed toy with peanut butter, freeze it, and give it to them only in their crate.

 It’s best to have a word or phrase so they know what you’re asking of them. For example, “Crate up!” is a term some people use, and once your dog recognizes the command, getting them to do what you ask will be a breeze.

Commands you could use to have them get in the crate at night, or during the day when you ask:

  • “Crate up!”
  • “Get in the crate.”
  • “Go in the crate.”
  • “Time for bed!”
  • “Go to bed.”
  • “Bed time!”

You can also teach your puppy to go into their crate on command by using a clicker. Clickers are a training tool meant to mark a good behavior and then immediately have it followed by a reward.

Puppy is in Their Crate for an Extended Period

If your puppy is spending too much time in their crate, they may feel anxious and stressed. This can lead to destructive behaviors like crying, chewing and digging. Make sure your puppy has plenty of time to exercise and play outside of their crate, and they’re only spending short periods of time inside.

While there are many reasons your puppy may dig in their crate, it’s possible to prevent this natural behavior from happening. Start by making sure your puppy has enough room to run around and play during the day, so they’re tired out by the time they need to be crated up. If your dog isn’t tired, they will be more likely to act out with destructive behaviors. 

Giving them opportunities to get either mental or physical stimulation is the best way to tire them out. Some dogs, will of course, require more opportunities than others, and there will be some that hardly need any time to run around. 

Mental stimulation is a great way to tire pups out, too. Getting them brain toys such as puzzles, treat balls, or other toys that require thinking will help them tire themselves out, too.

Great toys and activities to tire them out can include:

  • Frisbee tosses
  • Puzzle toys
  • Treat ball throwing
  • Toy tug
  • Jump ropes
  • Agility poles
  • Tennis Ball
  • Other fun toys

Your Puppy is Playing

Puppies are full of energy and love to play! If your pup is digging in their crate, they may just be trying to have some fun. Try providing them with toys or chew bones to keep them entertained and make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise.

You might also want to consider giving them plenty of opportunities to train with treats when they play, but don’t overdo it. They’ll learn quickly that playing is a reward and time spent with them will be more enjoyable. 

Your Pup’s Energy Levels

If your puppy has extra energy, they may not do well in a crate. Puppies left in crates for too long can become frustrated and act out. 

If your pup is hyperactive, try giving them short periods of time in their crate with the door open so they can come in and out as they please. 

Make sure they’re good and tired out before sticking them in the crate, or you’ll likely have some issues with them acting out. This can include things like:

  • Howling
  • Barking
  • Digging
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Chewing
  • Difficult time getting settled

Ensuring your pup has plenty of time during the day to exercise and be mentally and physically stimulated is one of the most important things you can do for them and yourself.

Digging to get Comfortable

Puppies often dig in their crates to make themselves a comfortable nest. If your pup is doing this, try adding a blanket or toy to their crate to make it more cozy. 

They may also appreciate having their food and water dishes inside the crate so they don’t have to leave their cozy spot to eat or drink.

When crate training puppies, remember that we should always use the crate as a place where they feel safe. It shouldn’t be used for punishment, so if your puppy acts out because they feel unsafe in the crate, then you’ve got bigger problems on your hands.

Adjust the Inside of the Crate

If your puppy is digging in their crate, they may be trying to tell you something about the way it’s set up. Is it too small? Are there too many things in it? Try adjusting the interior of the crate to see if that helps your pup feel more comfortable. 

This can include crate essentials such as:

  • Adding blankets
  • Moving items around
  • Getting rid of objects
  • Making sure everything is clean
  • Cleaning the crate regularly
  • Getting a bigger crate

It’s important to make sure your dog is happy and comfortable in his crate. You can do this by making sure they have enough space to move around and stretch out, and that there aren’t any sharp edges or corners that could hurt them. There should be enough room for them to stand, lie down, and sit comfortably. 

The Puppy Wants Out of the Crate

Try using the crate as an opportunity to teach your puppy how to behave properly while in their crate. For example, you can put toys in there for them to play with, and give them praise and rewards whenever they behave correctly.

You can also try putting treats in the crate for them to find. When they find them, they get rewarded for being smart and learning new tricks.

You can also try leaving the crate door open when you’re not home, so your puppy can come and visit you.

If your puppy isn’t getting enough physical activity, he may develop habits like crying constantly which can go into adulthood if not addressed. These bad habits will usually manifest themselves as destructive behaviors. If you want to avoid these issues, make sure your puppy gets regular exercise every day.

Exercise can take many forms. Some dogs enjoy playing fetch with balls, sticks, or other objects. Others love running through fields or woods. Still, others prefer swimming, hiking, or riding bikes. Whatever your puppy enjoys, make sure they get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

To properly crate your puppy, you may need to do the following:

  • Putting a favorite toy in the crate.
  • Feeding them in their crate.
  • Give your puppy a treat when they go into the crate.
  • Let them see it as a safe space by leaving the door open for them to go in and out of.
  • Put their favorite things in there, such as toys, blankets, pillows, etc. 

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Digging in the Crate?

If your dog is digging in the crate, there are a few things you can do to stop this behavior. First, make sure that the crate is not too small for your dog. 

Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the crate. If the crate is too small, your dog may feel claustrophobic and dig in order to escape.

Second, try putting something in the crate that your dog enjoys, such as a toy or treat. This will help to keep your dog’s attention focused on the positive item instead of on digging.

Finally, if your dog continues to dig in the crate despite these efforts, you may need to provide more exercise for your pet. 

A tired dog is a good dog and is less likely to want to dig. Take your dog for a walk or run before putting him in the crate and see if this helps to reduce the digging behavior.

Should I Let my Puppy Dig in Their Crate?

Puppy Chewing On His Crate

Some people think it’s okay to let their puppy dig in their crate, but others believe that it’s not good for them. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument.

On one hand, some believe that allowing your puppy to dig in their crate can help them relieve boredom or anxiety. This is because dogs are natural diggers and they often enjoy digging in dirt or sand. 

However, if you confine your puppy to a small space, such as a crate, they may become frustrated and start to bark, dig, or chew on things. Their natural instinct is to be with their family.

Some people believe that letting your puppy dig in their crate can make them more likely to dig elsewhere, such as in your garden or in the dirt outside. 

If you live in an apartment or condo, your neighbors may not appreciate your puppy’s digging habits. In addition, if your puppy digs in other places, it may be difficult to train them to stop.

Ultimately, whether to let your puppy dig in their crate is up to you. If you think it will help them relieve boredom or anxiety, and they can’t hurt themselves, then go ahead and allow it, but beware of the habits it creates.

However, if you’re concerned about the potential mess they could make, it may be best to avoid letting them dig in their crate altogether.

Should You Cover a Dog’s Crate With a Blanket?

dog crate blanket cover
Image Source: heathershandmadelife.com

If you’re wondering whether you should cover your dog’s crate with a blanket, the answer is yes! There are several benefits to doing so and can be one of the best crate essentials you have in your back pocket.

  • First, it can help to muffle any noise coming from inside and outside the crate, which can be especially helpful if your dog is anxious or prone to barking.
  • Second, it can create a more den-like environment for your dog, which can be calming and help them feel more secure.
  • Finally, it can help to block out any outside stimuli that might cause your dog stress, such as bright lights or loud noises.

This means if you’re looking for a way to help your dog feel more comfortable in their crate, covering it with a blanket is a great option!

So whether you’re wondering if you should let your puppy dig in their crate or not, or cover it with a blanket, the answer is up to you. There are several benefits to both practices. Put their favorite things in there, such as toys, blankets, pillows, etc., and try covering the crate with a blanket to block out any outside stimuli. With a bit of trial and error, you’ll find what works best for your dog!

And if you have questions, ask in the comments below! We’re always happy to help.

Meet our writer

Karen is a former pet business owner with 17+ years of experience in training and taking care of pets. She currently owns three dogs (a greyhound, saluki, and golden mix) and has gone through several types of programs to further her education in the pet world.

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