Crate training is a challenging part of owning a dog. Getting your pet comfortable with being inside a kennel can sometimes seem like an impossible task, especially if they bark continuously while inside. If you are like many dog owners who struggle to keep your pup quiet while in the crate, keep reading for tips on correcting this type of behavior.
Make the Crate a Home
When beginning crate training, it’s a good idea to make the crate a comfortable place to be for your dog. Instead of a punishment, going into the crate should be a nice experience for the dog. Make sure it’s comfy with a soft blanket or pillow, and make sure there are a few toys or puzzles inside. This way, your furry friend can entertain himself. Since many dogs bark out of boredom, making sure there are things to do inside the crate will keep boredom to a minimum.
Try a Kennel Alternative
Some dogs don’t like feeling caged in. When they’re feeling stressed out, they’ll bark to let you know they need help. These dogs may benefit from an open-top pen that feels less claustrophobic. You can even try a spare room with a baby gate.
When you’re first starting out with kennel training, you’ll want to begin slowly. Entice the dog to enter on his own by placing a treat or toy inside. Close the door and leave him there for just one minute. If he starts to cry before then, let him out for a break. Keep building up the time you leave him inside to get used to it without being overwhelmed.
Give Bathroom Breaks
If your pup starts to cry while in the crate, let him out immediately. Remember, the crate should be a comfortable place for him, not a stressful one. The trick is to take him outside immediately for a bathroom break, even if he might not need to go. Then, return him immediately to the crate after a couple minutes outside. This will reinforce the idea that whining will get him a bathroom break (a skill he can keep using), but that’s it—no toys or treats, except inside the crate.
When you return your dog to the crate after a potty break, make sure he has things to do inside. A favorite stuffed animal or puzzle toy can be enticing, and he’ll see that barking in the crate will take him outside – far away from the fun distractions inside the crate. As long as he has something to do, he’ll learn the kennel isn’t all that bad.
Reward Quiet Time
It’s important not to let your dog out of the kennel if they’re barking, except to go outside. Once he quiets down, you can let him out to play. He’ll soon learn that being quiet will get him out of the crate, while barking will either keep him in or take him outside for a very short break before going back in.
Contact Canine College
If you’re struggling to get your dog to stop barking while in his kennel, you might benefit from enlisting the help of professionals. Canine College is the expert dog trainer in the Holbrook, MA area and can assist with any behavior correction and training needs. We offer private training sessions to help address these specific behaviors and skills. Give us a call at 781-767-3908 today to get started!