You’ve heard about crate training. It seems easy, right? Just get your dog accustomed to the crate, and enjoy knowing they are safe and happy inside it.
However, problems can arise. If your dog goes crazy in your crate, you wonder why. Do they not like the crate? Should you stop using it? How do you get them to settle in the crate?
Why does my dog go crazy in his crate?
The crate should fulfill your dog’s natural denning instinct. In the wild, dogs often sleep in a den, which provides a sense of safety. Because of this, a crate should be a generally positive experience for your pooch. However, there are a few common reasons why dogs go crazy in their crate.
Improper Introduction or Training
If you are just beginning crate training, or your dog has never liked it, improper training or introduction is the likely cause.
A dog must be acclimated to crating. Think of it like learning to swim. You learn to swim in stages, eventually graduating to swimming in deep water. If you are just tossed in the water and left to figure it out on your own, the experience will be far from positive.
Your dog should be introduced to their crate gradually, and trained to enjoy it over time. If they aren’t, they will likely have a negative association with it, and go crazy each time you put them in.
Changes to the Environment
If your pooch loved their crate, and suddenly begins going crazy in it, changes to their environment might be the problem. Have you changed their crate, or items inside the crate?
Have you changed the location of the crate? Is the area the same, but suddenly much busier due to a change in the household or lifestyle?
Dogs are creatures of routine. These types of changes can impact their level of comfort with their crate. Some dogs are more resilient to change than others. If your dog seems disturbed by small changes to their routine or environment, this is likely the reason they go crazy in their crate.
Negative Experience in Crate
Dogs have a strong associative memory. This is why they are easily trainable. Unfortunately, this applies to both positive and negative experiences.
For example, your dog may have learned that when you get their leash, it means they are going for a walk. They become happy and excited as soon as they see the leash, because they know fun is coming.
If your pooch is scared or hurt while in their crate, they will remember this as well. As soon as they are in the crate, they will fear the negative experience occurring again.
The negative experience could be anything from getting their paw stuck in their crate to being startled by a loud noise.
If your pooch is bored, the crate isn’t a good place for them to be. Dogs need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. When they become bored, they will find a way to entertain themselves, which is often destructive or undesirable.
You may put them into the crate because of this. You can’t leave them out of the crate if you are worried they will destroy your furniture or eat your shoes, after all.
However, there’s not a lot to do in the crate. This can lead to boredom, or make it worse. They will then go crazy in the crate, like a small child who needs something to occupy their time.
Why does my dog go crazy in his crate at night?
If your pooch goes crazy in their crate at night, there are a few basic reasons for this, in addition to the reasons listed above. They are likely either wide awake, experiencing separation anxiety, or they need to go potty.
As we just learned, a crate isn’t a very entertaining place to be. In the wild, dogs den when it’s time to rest. They don’t spend many of their waking hours confined to the den.
If your dog is far from sleepy when you put them into the crate, they will go crazy out of sheer boredom.
Have you ever laid in bed unable to sleep for a long period of time? You probably felt crazy as well.
There are a few reasons your dog may be wide awake in their crate at night. As dogs grow, they require less sleep. So the bedtime that worked well for your puppy might not be ideal for your adult dog.
The other common cause is a lack of exercise. If they aren’t active during the day, they won’t be able to sleep well at night.
Needs to Potty
If your dog suddenly begins whining or going crazy at night, they may need to potty. Perhaps their potty habits have changed, or you adjusted their feeding schedule.
Your pooch is most likely away from you when they are in their crate for the night. This can lead to separation anxiety. If they go crazy anytime you leave the home, this is likely the reason why.
Why does my dog go crazy in his crate when I leave?
If your dog goes crazy in their crate when you leave, it’s likely caused by separation anxiety. Dogs can become overly attached to their owners. When their owners leave, they feel afraid and insecure.
What to do about my dog going crazy in his crate?
The good news is there are ways to fix any issues causing your dog to go crazy in their crate. No matter the cause, it will take patience and perseverance to correct the problem.
Create Positive Associations
One way to correct crate craziness is to create positive associations. If your dog doesn’t like their crate, this can help them to learn to love it.
This is effective for poor crate introductions and negative experiences. If an environmental change is the culprit, you may need to correct that, before moving to this step.
You’ll need to start slow, particularly if your dog is very fearful of the crate. Begin by being with your dog near the crate. Pet them or play with them with the crate close by.
Once your pooch is comfortable with this, try placing a treat or their favorite toy inside the crate. If they go in willingly, give them lots of praise. Do not force them to stay or close the door.
Once your dog is comfortable with this, try closing the door. Stay with your dog, and monitor their reaction. If they get upset, work on the previous step again.
If there’s an environmental change or issue, do what you can to remedy it. Be sure it’s in a quiet area, but not one too far removed from the rest of the family.
Be sure that the temperature is comfortable, and that they have a comfortable bed in their crate.
If boredom is causing crate craziness, you’ll need to address this. You can add a few toys or a treat to their crate to help. However, most of your efforts should focus on busting boredom when they aren’t in their crate.
Give them plenty of exercise and regular play sessions. A puzzle feeder can also help with mental stimulation.