You have successfully crate-trained your dog. And you made sure their crate is as comfortable as it can be.
That’s why they have no problems going into it.
However: Recently, your dog began avoiding their crate. At all cost.
When you get them inside the crate, they bark or cry.
And you can’t help but think:
“Oh no… my dog hates the crate. What can I do?”
Good thing you found this article.
Here you’ll discover:
- How to crate train your pooch the easy way.
- 11 reasons why your dog suddenly hates the crate.
- Why you should put your dog in the crate even when you’re home.
- 11 easy tips to make your dog love their kennel (again). Hint: #11 is very effective.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog suddenly hate his crate?
Your dog suddenly hates his crate due to separation anxiety. When you’re away, it encourages them to engage in destructive behaviors. Other factors include: negative association with the crate; age and illnesses; changes in the crate; boredom; long hours in the crate; and lack of training.
People also ask:
11 reasons why your dog suddenly hates the crate
#1: You only crate your dog at night, and when you leave
Doing this teaches your dog that being crated means you’re leaving them.
So, they begin to hate being in their kennel. This also means your dog spends more time in the crate than outside.
If not done right, crate training might lead to your dog fearing their kennel. And they might perceive it as a jail.
Check out also: Why is my dog acting crazy (all of a sudden)?
As you are well aware, dogs have feelings too.
Just like a human infant, dogs can experience distress when left alone. And being crated can further sadden your pooch.
Separation anxiety affects the relationship between a dog and their dog parent. This behavior can lead to worse scenarios you wouldn’t expect in the first place.
And this is also challenging to deal with. Because every time you leave them, they become destructive.
It starts the moment you’re about to leave. You see your dog suddenly panicking in the crate when you lock them.
Any dog with separation anxiety can show this behavior. But it’s more likely to happen with newly adopted dogs.
And because they don’t like being locked, your dog will cry or bark. Even well into the night.
Reading tip: Why is my dog so hyper at night?
You have to get up almost every minute to try to console them. It can be very exhausting.
From here, it could get worse:
They might start chewing and destroying things during the day.
A friend of mine once left her Poodle home alone to run an errand.
When she returned, an unexpected sight welcomed her:
Her dog and the half-destroyed pillow.
You see, this behavior is not something to ignore. Things might not go well if the problem persists.
Causes of separation anxiety
Behavioral problems from separation anxiety are caused by:
- Noise sensitivity.
- Changing homes.
- Being rescue/adopted dogs.
- Old age (separation anxiety can reappear with age)
- Changes in their home life (losing someone, having a new baby in the house, someone leaving, etc).
Also, social isolation is hard to deal with. Because dogs have been bred to be social animals.
So as much as possible, try to detect the signs of separation anxiety. Then provide the necessary treatments (see tip #7).
Check this video of Rachel Fusaro. Here she shared how she handled her Labrador’s separation anxiety in the crate:
#3: Changes in the crate
Did you know that even a small change can make a big difference in a dog’s life? Especially for sensitive dogs.
Recall if there have been changes in their kennel.
A small crate for a big dog is not an option. They need a comfortable space. Big enough for them to move around and stand up without crouching.
Some dogs hate being confined in small spaces. In such cases, it’s better to put them somewhere with lots of space.
The kitchen, for example. Or in the living room with a portable fence.
Dogs’ strong sense of smell is one of their superpowers. In fact, theirs is 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans.
That said, they can trace almost everything through smell.
So if there are changes in the smell of their crate, it might turn off your dog. The smell might make them stay from the crate.
Poking your dog’s belly with your fingers is a fun play. But not if the poking comes from something sharp off the crate.
I know some dog parents who said that the broken crate made their dog hate it.
The dogs ended up barking or whining. And unless you inspect and fix their crate, they won’t be comfortable being inside.
#4: Age and illnesses
Just like humans, some dogs are grumpy bears in their old days.
In their younger years, a dog might love being inside their crate. But as years pass, their perception could change.
Also, illnesses and diseases come with age. Joint pain, bladder issues, stiffness, and deterioration of cognitive function. These are just some that afflict old dogs.
These play a role in the discomfort your dog feels whenever they’re in the crate.
#5: Other animals have been in the crate
As I’ve mentioned, dogs have a very strong sense of smell. Even if you blindfold them, they know it’s their bed or crate by smelling it.
If other dogs have been in their crate, they’ll know it.
A friend of mine recently brought home a cat. She already had two dogs (both are Golden Retrievers).
The cat would roam around the house, even in one of the dog’s crates.
Soon, my friend noticed that her dog does not want to sleep in the crate. She also observed her crate trained dog suddenly barking at night.
That was when she took action. She replaced the bed in the crate with a washed one. The Golden Retriever sniffed the new bed to her heart’s content, then started sleeping on it.
Boredom will find your dog suddenly crying in their crate.
According to this report, boredom is:
“A lack of desired stimulation or behavioral opportunities.”
Unfortunately, there is only research in the field of boredom in dogs. But researchers agree that it also affects dogs.
Did you know that boredom affects dogs mentally? This research has proven that.
Lack of stimulation damages the animals’ brain, the author says. That’s because neurons die if not stimulated.
As a result, animals experiencing boredom will have smaller brains.
Also, the study says that dogs avoid boredom by engaging in anything that breaks monotony. Even things they don’t normally do, such as eating non-edible items.
The author furthers that the biological indicators of boredom are:
- Seeking stimulation.
- Increasing sleepiness.
While some dogs will sleep their boredom away, others will do something destructive.
And it doesn’t matter if your dog is crate-trained. If they’re locked in their crate, they will try to get out. And once freed, they will find something to do.
They might wander around the house in search of interesting stuff. So don’t wonder if you come home to find your place a warzone.
#7: Lack of training
Maybe your shelter dog hates the crate.
You see, being caged in a shelter is different than being crated at home.
Animal shelters are usually packed and dogs are caged. Whether dogs like it or not.
So when you take them home, your rescue dog hates the crate. They might see it like the one where they were caged at the shelter.
If you don’t crate-train your dog, they will not voluntarily get inside a crate.
#8: Crate in an inconvenient spot
If your dog hates going into the crate, look at where you have placed it.
Is it where your dog is exposed to the sun? Or is it in drafty areas during the cold days?
Perhaps the crate is somewhere noisy, where it’s difficult for your pooch to rest. Particularly if your dog is a senior.
So instead of being in their crate, they’d rather be somewhere else.
#9: Long hours in the crate
Why does your puppy hate his crate all of a sudden? The answer could be: they’ve been in there too long!
Imagine yourself being in a small room. Even with your favorite book, or something else to do, it can get tiring.
That’s the same for dogs. Some dogs are balls of energy. They need to move.
So, they hate being in one place for a long period of time.
This also ends in boredom.
What’s more, crating your dog for too long can lead to depression and anxiety. These are the inevitable results due to lack of exercise and human interaction.
#10: The crate is a “bad” thing
One reason why dog parents put their dog in the crate is to avoid a mess. And I couldn’t agree more with you on that.
Yes, this puts your mind at ease. Inside the crate, your dog can’t do further damage.
Unfortunately, your dog can perceive crating negatively.
They might see it as punishment. And they don’t like that (as much as we don’t).
As a result, your dog sees their crate as a bad place. Or a confining, uncomfortable place. And it will make them want to get out.
Try to look as far back as possible. Have you done something to make your dog perceive their crate negatively?
Let’s say your dog had an accident in the house. You didn’t want them to walk all over their pee.
Maybe you were bent on forcing your dog into a crate?
Worse, you were shouting and mad every time you wanted them in their crate.
These are just some of the triggers that make your dog hate their crate suddenly.
In addition, your dog suddenly hates the crate due to a bad past. This is the typical case for dogs from stores. Or puppy mills.
Most of them are born and raised, shipped, or traveled in a crate. So as they age and move into a new home, they perceive being crated negatively.
#11: You let your dog out when they bark (or cry)
Sometimes it’s a bad idea to give what your dog wants. Because it achieves the opposite of what you want to happen.
Let’s say your dog is in the crate. They’ve been barking or crying for a while now. Oh, how your heart breaks to hear them.
And so you come to their rescue by letting them out.
I totally understand how you feel.
But letting them out of their crate won’t help them become well-trained. If anything, they won’t go past their dislike for their kennel.
So the next time you put them in the crate, they’ll bark or cry again. Because they know soon, you’ll let them out.
11 tips on what to do if your dog hates the crate
#1: Crate train your dog the easy way
How do you crate train a dog with separation anxiety?
I have some simple steps here:
- Put your dog in their crate. Close the door. Remain in the same room, then let them out after a minute. You may pet them for not crying while inside.
- Gradually increase the time your dog is in the crate.
Up the training by keeping the crate’s door open.
Take this slow, so don’t leave them in their kennel for 15 minutes right away. What you want is to get your dog accustomed to being inside the crate.
If you reach that moment, try leaving the room while your dog is in the crate.
Better yet, give them a stuffed Kong while you’re gone. It helps divert their attention away from your absence.
Note: Be very patient with your dog when crate-training them. Some dogs learn fast, while other dogs require more time to adopt a new behavior.
#2: Schedule crating time
Crating time depends on the situation. It can be about an hour, to more than half the day.
Whatever the circumstance is for you, I’m sure it’s difficult to make a decision. It’s really heart-breaking to leave your dog in a crate.
Thankfully, proper scheduling helps to reduce anxiety and damages.
If you have a job, it helps to check in on your dog. Say, spend lunchtime at home.
Let your dog out so they can do their business.
Or if you can’t go home, have someone drop by your house.
When you come home, let your dog play outside their crate. Give them the freedom to exercise and let out their pent up energy.
Put them back in when it’s their bedtime (if they sleep in the crate).
This will soon be a routine for your dog.
Warning: Be careful not to put your dog in the crate when they did something bad. This is to avoid them making a negative association with their crate.
#3: Ask for help
When you will be gone for a short while, make sure you leave your dog with toys. These help alleviate boredom and keep them busy.
For business trips leading to days of absence, ask help from relatives or friends. Perhaps one of them can take care of your pooch.
If this isn’t possible, find some dog boarding services around your area.
Remember, though, that dogs react differently. They might not like your relative or friend. Or being in a boarding house for dogs could make them anxious.
To avoid these situations, use the crate-training instructions in tip #1.
#4: Reward appropriately
So your dog hates crate training. Who can blame them, right?
In that case, help your dog love their crate. Yep, it’s possible.
Just look at this pooch being in their crate, with the door open:
During crate-training, don’t forget rewarding your dog. Use high-value treats. Hotdogs, cheese, or slices of ham. I’d even suggest the smelly treats.
Once your dog gets a whiff of those, they’ll be more in attention.
Also, rewarding your dog helps them associate crating with something good.
And that’s what you want to achieve.
Warning: Don’t be over the top with rewards. Watch out how much your dog eats to avoid gaining weight.
#5: Make crating a positive experience
Make crate-training an enjoyable experience for your pooch.
First, determine what causes their discomfort. It could be the crate, how you handle your dog, or the loneliness they experience.
The issues can range from material factors to psychological ones.
Second, solve the problem. If it’s the crate, then it’s better to get something more appropriate.
The crate should be big enough so your dog can stand without crouching. But not too big as to encourage him to poop or pee in one corner.
You might have to buy a bigger crate. But this is a good investment in the long run.
If the problem is how you handle your dog, changes must begin now. Stop forcing them inside.
The crate should only be associated with positive things.
Starting with comfort and safety.
Important reminder: Know that untrained dogs will hate the crate at first. So take your time introducing the crate to them.
Do so by placing toys inside. Perhaps if they have a favorite pillow or blanket, use it as well.
You can also lure your dog into the crate by placing a treat inside. When they get in, say something like “Yes!” or “Good girl/boy.”
Your dog then sees getting in the crate as having positive consequences. They will naturally repeat getting inside.
To avoid boredom or loneliness in the crate, leave them their favorite toys. This will leave them with something to do while crated.
#6: Make your dog comfortable
“My dog won’t sleep in his kennel!”, you say.
And I can think of a reason why:
Your dog is not comfortable.
The bed could be dirty or soaked with pee. It could be worn out with some thin spots. Or some debris is poking at your dog whenever they’re laying down.
One way to keep their bed comfortable is to clean your dog first.
Give them a bath. Or wipe them down if that’s enough in your case. Just make sure to get dirt and debris off their fur as much as possible.
Also, regularly check their bed. One of your other dogs, or your cat, could have peed on it. Or your dog themselves peed on the bed while sleeping.
Regularly wash their bedding, including their pillow and blanket. Doing so also helps reduce skin problems.
Meanwhile, inspect the crate for damages. Especially if your dog has separation anxiety and chews on the crate when trying to escape.
There may be sharp edges that cause wounds or discomfort to your dog.
The good things out of crating
With your dog loving being inside the crate, it will benefit everyone. How? It:
- Curbs anxiety and loneliness (for your dog).
- Keeps the house clean and orderly. With the right discipline, there will be less poop and pee to clean.
- Provides both of you with personal space. Sometimes you and your dog need time away from each other. Crate training provides just that.
- Gives you peace of mind. When you’re away, you’ll know your dog is safe in their crate. And you also feel at ease when you have visitors.
#7: Treat separation anxiety
This research says that separation anxiety manifests when dog parents are not around.
The author observes that…
Excessive barking and whining are common undesirable behaviors in relation to separation anxiety.
Other signs include:
- Escape attempts.
- Peeing or pooping inside the house.
- Increased motor activity (trembling, pacing, etc)
Also, the author observed that anxious dogs are more attached to their dog parents. This leads to separation-related behavioral problems.
Adding another dog in the family can solve separation anxiety in some cases. Now your dog will have company when you’re gone.
However, do note that having another dog doesn’t keep one dog from having separation anxiety.
Sometimes, your dog may need medications. Clomipramine and fluoxetine are commonly used for dogs with separation anxiety. These medications are antidepressants.
Again, these medications are not the be-all and end-all in treating separation anxiety. Behavioral therapy may be needed as well.
So I strongly advise you to consult with a vet first regarding your dog’s condition. Then they can refer you to a behaviorist to work with your dog.
Your vet and the behaviorist will determine the treatment according to your dog’s needs. It could be a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.
At times, long-term medication is needed.
#8: Use a playpen
If your dog hates the crate suddenly, what should you do?
If your dog hates the crate during the day
Remember my friend’s dog, Oreo? She wasn’t crate-trained before.
That’s because she hated being cooped up in her crate during the day.
She slept on it overnight (she had no choice). But come morning, her monster mode was on.
She would chew anything and bark to express her distress.
What my friend did was use a playpen. It was spacious than the crate. It gave Oreo enough space to run around, rest, and play.
The playpen limited her usable space. But it was only temporary. My friend used the playpen until Oreo got used to it.
After that, Oreo was back to crate with additional basic training.
#9: Let your dog do their business before bedtime
You’re already in bed. Then you hear your dog barking or crying from their crate.
Your dog calling you from the crate are signals for multiple reasons. Perhaps they want to pee. Or they’re scared and need reassurance.
Your dog hates the crate at night
Try doing this:
Place the crate in or out of your bedroom. Anywhere where your dog can see you.
It will help calm your dog because they can see you from their crate. And it’s convenient because you can see whether they need to go outside.
The first night could be disastrous, but that’s fine. The key is consistency.
Note: Have your dog pee or poop immediately before bedtime. This reduces the chances of them howling from the crate because they need to go out. However, some puppies have smaller bladders. So you need to take them out a few times throughout the night.
Gradually practice them being away from your presence at night. This is a vital supplement to tip #7.
This can also help to crate train a dog with separation anxiety.
#10: Enroll in a training class
Some dogs hate the crate altogether. And this makes you feel hopeless.
But there’s a solution.
Why not enroll in a training class?
I assure you. You and your dog will learn so much from the trainer, other dogs, and dog parents.
This is also a chance for you to get to know your dog better. And strengthen your bond.
#11: Tire your dog out
Your dog barks while in the crate. Or they don’t stop spinning around or trying to escape.
That tells you how much energy your dog has.
So, tire your dog before putting them in the crate. Before you leave for work, take them walking. The length depends on your dog’s age, breed, and health condition.
But if your dog can do it, walk them for an hour. Or do some tiring activities such as playing catch, frisbee, or running.
You can also give them puzzle toys while you’re getting ready for work. Toys that keep their mind working are the best choice.
So when you’re ready to leave, your dog is tired – physically and mentally.
Let’s hope they don’t throw a fuss next time you place them inside their crate.