Whimpering and barking when crated are signs of separation anxiety, a common reaction to isolation. Your dog’s instincts tell him to alert you when he becomes separated from the pack. The trick to stopping this is to teach him that being in the crate is only ever temporary and you always return.
Open the door to the crate and put some toys and a food treat inside. Allow your dog to investigate the crate. He’ll likely want to get inside to access those toys and the treat. The trick here is to make him build positive associations with the crate.
Stroke him and give verbal praise while he’s in the crate. Don’t close the door, just let him explore at his own pace. By stroking him and praising him, you are reinforcing the positive associations he’s building.
Walk away from the crate. It’s highly likely that he’ll follow you the first time, especially if he’s quite a clingy or needy pooch. This is fine.
Repeat the crate introduction once every day. When you feel that your dog has built a sufficiently positive association with the crate, close the door when he's inside, but remain next to the crate.
Talk to your dog through the door and give him verbal praise. He most likely won’t notice you’ve shut the door, especially if he’s fixated on the toys.
Open the door and lavish him with praise and fuss. You’re showing him that periods inside the crate always have a positive outcome.
Repeat the brief crate enclosure sessions, gradually increasing the time you shut him in. Once he’s happy about being shut in, increase the distance between you and the crate, but remain in sight.
Praise your dog verbally while he is in the crate. If he whimpers or barks, stop verbally praising him and turn your back for five seconds. This teaches him that the positive stimulus of being praised comes to an end as soon as he whines, barks or whimpers. With sufficient repetition, he’ll learn that it’s his own behaviors that cause this and will voluntarily stop.
Leave the room, but listen out for whimpering or barking. Count to 30 and then go back to the crate and let him out. It’s essential to time your return so it doesn’t happen while he’s whimpering or barking. If you return while he’s acting out, you show him that whimpering and barking results in being let out of the crate, so he’s likely to do it every time. If you hear him whimpering or barking, wait until he stops.
Repeat the process every day, gradually increasing the amount of time you’re out of sight.
Items You Will Need
- Food treats
- Leave the television or radio on when you leave. This helps keep the environment as normal as possible.
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