How to Train Your Older Dog to Sleep in a Crate

Medium
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your older dog could be a rescue dog, or you could have had the same dog in your family for many years, but as he's becoming older you need to keep him sleeping in a safe place. Some older dogs start behaviors such as marking or even having accidents in the house as they age. Rescue dogs may need some help with self-control as they get used to their new world and new home. A crate provides a comfortable and safe place for your older dog to go when it’s time for sleep. This can help ease any anxieties or confusion your older dog may be feeling. Think of your dog’s crate as a bedroom of sorts for your pup. A place to go when he’s not only tired but also nervous or anxious. 

Defining Tasks

Training an older dog new tricks takes time and repetition. Your older pup will get used to a new idea with some tasty rewards and encouragement to sleep in a closed off, comfortable place. Take this training slowly and try to avoid locking your older dog in a crate for long periods of time right off the bat. If you have time to build up his tolerance for the crate, he will begin to see it as a safe place rather than punishment. Before you buy a crate, make sure you know the size you will need for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up inside the crate and turn around. It doesn’t need to be too big, and a crate too small will be too constricting for your dog. Make sure you also have soft bedding for your dog, so sleeping is cozy and comfortable.

Getting Started

To start this training, you will need an appropriate size crate, bedding not only large enough for your dog and the crate but also comfortable enough for your dog to want to stay for long periods of time once he is used to the crate. You can entice your dog to get into the crate, encourage him to stay, and reward him for doing well with tasty treats. 

The Increase Increments Method

Effective
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Step
1
Introduce crate
If your older dog has never been in a crate or you're not sure because you have adopted an older dog, the first thing you need to do is introduce a crate in your home to your dog. Try to put the crate in a place where it will remain and where you want your dog to be sleeping. Leave the door open and put a couple of high-value treats inside, encouraging him to visit.
Step
2
Once inside
Once your dog travels inside the crate to grab those tasty treats, talk to him with the door open. Encourage him to lay down on some soft bedding you have inside, pet him through the door, and even offer him another tasty treat.
Step
3
Stay inside
Go about your day encouraging your dog throughout the day to get inside the crate. During these first few days while you're introducing the crate, keep the door open. This might mean you need to be around to supervise your dog. If you catch him inside his crate without you encouraging him or asking him to go in, give him a treat to acknowledge that he's done something good.
Step
4
Time to sleep
Whether you want your dog to sleep in the crate at night or to be in the crate during the day while you are away from the house, when it is time for your dog to sleep, encourage him with treats to go into the crate and close the door. Only do this after your dog has gotten used to the crate for the last few days.
Step
5
Treat
After you close the door, give him another treat. With lots of love and verbal praise, tell him it's time to go to sleep and step out of his view.
Step
6
Not too long
Don't leave your dog in the crate for long periods of time, especially at first. You want him to think of his crate as a safe place, almost as his personal bedroom. Not as punishment.
Step
7
Longer times
Increase the time your older dog is left in the crate over a period of time. As soon as you are able, open the door and let him out. Be sure to take him outside to go potty at the end of every session in the crate.
Step
8
Rewards
Make sure you give your dog a nice tasty reward as soon as you open the door to the crate to let him out.
Step
9
Over time
As your dog gets used to sleeping in his crate, especially if he is a rescue dog, he will begin to see his crate as his personal private a space. You may see him go into his crate and sleep on his own without you having to tell him to go in. He may even get to the point where you can have the door off of the crate or left open because that's where he wants to sleep.
Recommend training method?

The Comfort Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Get a crate
Before you introduce your dog to the crate, be sure you have the correct size crate for your dog. If he's an older dog, he'll need enough room to stand up and turn around. You do not need to leave space for a potty area or an eating area. Just make sure he is comfortable and safe.
Step
2
Introduce crate
Put the crate in a place you want your dog to sleep. Be sure to think about where you want your dog to sleep at night. For instance, if your dog would be more comfortable in your bedroom, you may want to place the crate in your bedroom with the expectation that he sleeps in your room with you but inside his crate.
Step
3
Fill and explore
Fill your crate with soft comfortable bedding. If your dog is attached to a toy or stuffed animal, be sure to put that in there as well. Let your dog explore the crate before you even put him inside of it. As a new fixture in this room he may want to walk around it and if it look at it and he may even walk inside. While your dog is exploring, do not close the door on him if he goes inside.
Step
4
Playtime
Before you put your dog in the crate, wear him out with some play time. Go for a run or walk or play fetch outside in the yard and wear him out. You want him to be nice and tired ready for a nap when you come back to the crate.
Step
5
Nap time
After you have tired your dog out by playing, walk him to the crate and put a high-value treat inside. Encourage your dog to lay down on the soft bedding you have provided in the crate and eat his high-value treat.
Step
6
Verbal praise
Sit in front of the crate, blocking the door but without closing it. Talk to your dog and offer him some verbal praise. You can tell him he's a good boy, you can tell him he's very tired after your play time together and he needs to go to sleep. You could encourage him to lay down by offering him another treat or patting the bedding. If he knows commands such as 'down' you can also use this to get him to lay down.
Step
7
Sit outside
If your dog is eager to get up and walk out of the crate, continue to just sit outside the crate blocking his way but not closing the door. If he's not settling down and going to sleep you can rub him behind his ears pr hug him gently, but try to remain quiet to encourage sleep.
Step
8
Sleep time
Your dog goes to sleep you can get up and leave the crate. If you are unable to keep your eye on him you can quietly close the door or just pull it to without locking it so you don't wake him. If he notices you're leaving you can offer him another treat and quietly say "go to sleep".
Step
9
Practice
While your dog is getting used to being in the crate, wear him out before you put him inside. Over time, he will eventually realize that this is a great place to sleep and he will just go into his crate to sleep.
Step
10
Reward
Be sure to reward your dog when it's time for him to get up. If he's awake, open the door and let him out. Offer him a treat when he leaves to let him know what a good boy he is for sleeping in his crate.
Recommend training method?

The Short Stints Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Crate introduction
You will want to introduce the crate to your dog slowly. But let him get inside for short periods of time. When you first introduce the crate, set it up with your dog. Put the bedding inside, put a toy inside, and maybe put an edible treat toy inside the crate. Talk it up with your dog to get him excited about it.
Step
2
Dog inside
Encourage your dog to go inside the crate by using a high-value treat. Place the treat in the back of a crate so your dog has to walk in to get it.
Step
3
Short stint
Keep your dog's time in the crate limited for the first several tries. You can close the door and sit outside the door, or you can leave the crate door open and still sit outside the doorway, blocking your dog from coming out.
Step
4
Out
After the time you allotted for the dog to be in the crate is up, open the door or move out of the way and let your dog out. As soon as he steps foot out of the crate, give him another treat.
Step
5
Repeat
Repeat these steps a few times a day until your dog can be in the crate for an hour without whining or being upset. Once your dog can be in the crate for an hour, make that your new threshold time and repeat the steps above until your dog can be in for two hours. Continue to repeat bringing your dog out after the short stay in the crate until he is going to sleep and staying asleep until it's time to wake up.
Step
6
Night time
You will know your dog is comfortable in the crate when his time is up and he's not awake and eager to get out. Once this happens, he should be able to stay in the crate all night long while you both sleep.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 12/07/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Porsche
West Highland White Terrier
10 Years
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Question
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Porsche
West Highland White Terrier
10 Years

We just got this rescue, 10 yrs old, never in a crate before, trying to train just for night time, first night wined for 3 hrs. Has a young dog in crate next to him already crate trained, finally feel asleep, just repeat this every night? Will she get used to it? Hard to do the treat thing with other dog, unless we give to both.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rick, Most dogs will adjust given time and consistency for 2-4 weeks. Some dogs adjust as soon as three nights, but it can take up to 1 month. Stay consistent if you go this route though - because letting pup out when they don't really have to go potty will make it take longer. Following treat methods during the day at the same time can usually help the process go more smoothly with less crying. It isn't required for many dogs but helps the process. If you wish to do that, then check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. Because you don't want your other pup to eat all the treats in an open crate, you can skip right to the part where you lock pup in the crate - giving treats if he gets quiet for a few seconds. Only give treats during the day though - no food at night. At night, at this stage it will simply look like ignoring the crying. Going to bed early so that the house is quiet but everyone is reading or doing things in bed can make this process easier - so pup isn't keeping everyone awake during the crying phase before he finally falls asleep. I would also move his crate away from your other dog's crate, so that your other dog doesn't get agitated. In the end the other dog's presence probably won't be helpful enough to your new pup to make it worth your current dog having to listen to it so closely. Even though pup may cry some at first in the crate for a few weeks, the amount of time it takes pup to quiet down will probably decrease to 30 minutes within a week. If you don't see improvement, then check back here. You can correct the crying - but that's not recommended as a first course of action. Almost all dogs will cry at first and will adjust without corrections if things are consistent and time is given. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Vinnie
Dalmador
23 Months
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Vinnie
Dalmador
23 Months

Our 23month old has always slept in his crate in the kitchen (took a few months before he slept through the night) and slept in there willingly and peacefully only waking us if he had a bad tummy and needed to go out. Whilst we were on holiday, he stayed with the in-laws, sleeping in his crate in the kitchen with their dog. Apparently he cried a bit the first night but was then fine for the remaining 2 weeks. On return home, the first night he slept in his crate as normal without a sound. The next night he woke us twice in the night (and went to the toilet) but night 3 he woke us not needing the toilet and it has got progressively worse to the point where he spent the whole night crying and barking. We know the best thing to would be to let him cry it out but we live in a semi-detached with young children next door so it’s not an option. For the past week he has slept on his bed in our room which is wrecking our sleep as he gets up, paces about, whines at us to get up and spends long periods licking himself noisily!

We know he still likes his crate as he ran to it when fireworks were going off nearby and happily goes in there in the day it’s just his night time routine that has become messed up. Any tips to get him back in there at night other than just letting him cry it out would be appreciated!!?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Edel, Since pup is already used to the crate and the crying appears to be him being demanding and not something else, I suggest correcting. Crate him during the day some and whenever he stays quiet in the crate, sprinkle some pieces of his dog food in without opening the crate door, then leave again. Whenever he barks in the crate during the day, go to him, tell him "Ah Ah", then spray a small puff of air from a pet convincer - which is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air, at his side (NOT face), then leave again. Practice this so that he learns quietness equals rewards and barking equals corrections. At night, whenever he cries, tell him "Ah Ah" and spray a puff of air at his side through the crate, then leave again. Don't reward the quietness at night because you don't want him needing to go potty or waking up for treats, just correct the cries. Since you are practicing this for a bit during the day, the treats during the day should help reinforce the quiet lesson without having to give them at night, and the consistency of correcting along side rewards should serve as a yes - be quiet, no - don't bark lesson. Only use unscented air canisters - NOT citronella - citronella is too harsh because of how sensitive a dog's nose is, and lingers for a long time, making it confusing for a dog. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Shih Tzu
18 Months
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Question
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Max
Shih Tzu
18 Months

Hi, we have rescued Max into a loving family home from a large outdoor farm space with no rules! He clings to/follows me all over the house and whilst he will go in his crate to eat or for short periods he won’t stay there at night without both crying and thrashing hysterically at the bars. We have tried to do this every night slowly and gradually with little success. He is now shaking during the day and I worry we are trying too radical a change to his routine too quickly. Any advice welcome.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, cute little Max is lucky to have you!. Be patient and yes, you are right that things will take time. Getting him to like his crate is the first step. Here is an excellent guide: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate. All three of the methods are good. Please take a look. Another option is to set up an exercise pen area. Max will be safe in one spot but will not feel so confined in a crate - which is a big change based on his upbringing. This is an excellent article on setting up a welcoming space for Max at night. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. All the best!

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Question
Rocco
French Bulldog
6 Months
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Question
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Rocco
French Bulldog
6 Months

Hi,
Rocco is 6 months old and I made the mistake of allowing him to sleep in my bed very early on. I got him a crate when i first brought him home, but never properly followed through with training him unfortunately. He does stay in the crate at times in the day when I'm out and i often find him there when it is open if I've been out. However, I would like him to sleep in his own bed, rather than mine. I am afraid that he is becoming too attached to being with me and I mean right beside me constantly! Am i too late to train him to sleep in his own bed? Help please!
Thank you
Ashley

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It is definitely not too late to re-train to sleep in his own space. The adjustment period might take a little while, up to about a month, but it is worth it. You can start by putting his crate in your room at night. You can leave the door open if he will stay in there. If not, just close the door. If he is whining or unsettled, try to ignore him for a good 20 minutes. So you may need to set this up before you actually need to go to bed. Do your best not to give in. He will start to understand that he needs to stay in his place. Teaching him to sleep on an open bed of his own may be a little trickier, because he is able to move around on his own. You can start with his bed next to yours like the kennel. And just re-direct him to his bed if he jumps on yours. Eventually you can move either the kennel or bed out of your room and into the space you want him to be in.

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Question
Lilly
Shepsky
12 Years
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Lilly
Shepsky
12 Years

I am trying to get my dog to stay in a crate all night and she wont do it. she whines and yanks at the bars all night. last night she had diarrhea all over the crate twice. I am at a loss.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hannah, First, is the diarrhea happening during the day too when not in the crate? If the diarrhea is something going on in general and not just because pup is in the crate, you will need to check with your vet and get that resolved before being able to make progress with the crate. I am not a vet. If the diarrhea was due to anxiety and pup is otherwise fine when not crate, then I would address the issue behaviorally. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below and work on that method to get her used to you being out of the room while she is crated. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate She also needs to build her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine if you haven't already done so. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets by obeying a command like Sit first. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open as well as closed. Give her something to do in the crate or on Place during the day while you are out of the room (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ If pup's independence is worked on enough and the crate introduced gradually, and pup taught to stay inside with the door open, often that will be enough - but will take a lot of patience and repetition from you. If doing the above is not sufficient, you may need to use a form of mild correction to interrupt pup while also rewarding calmness and quietness in the crate. I would hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help you with this, to tailor the training to her and be able to evaluate how she is responding. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tony
Golden Retriever mix
5 Years
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Tony
Golden Retriever mix
5 Years

Hi, we rescued Toby a few days ago and he has anxiety due to the amount of things he’s been through within the past 30 days at the rescue and his trip there. The first night he slept soundly in his cage because he was so exhausted he didn’t have time to put up a fight. We tried it again the next night and he threw a fit, barked so loud for so long. I decided to sleep on the couch so he could see me and that just made it worse so my mom and I eventually let him out and he got mad at us, he eventually settled down on the couch and my mom and I decided to sleep in the living room with him since he can’t reach the bed. Almost every 20 minutes Toby would get up and check on us to make sure we where still there, it was a very long night. The past few days we’ve been sleeping on an air mattress with him in the living room and he does fine however, we want him to start sleeping in his cage by himself. We have started putting him in the cage short times during the day and he barks when he can see us but when we leave he stops barking (you’d think it’d be the other way around) we once left for about 3 hours and he did great when we came back he was sleeping. I’m scared it may be too soon to start leaving him in there at night and I don’t know how to go about doing it, could you please help us😅

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on crate training. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Maddie
Jack Russell Terrier
7 Years
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Question
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Maddie
Jack Russell Terrier
7 Years

Hi,
My parents nan has recently died. We have adopted her 7 year old Jack Russell.
She had been with her previous owner for 5 years and had been completely spoiled!
So far she seems to be settling in fine but has some separation anxiety issues.
She has never been left alone before. Luckily she is only Ever on her own for 2-3 hours now.
The issue is that she will whine if left on her own in a different room or shut out.
She has always slept on the bed, however we don’t want this to continue, we don’t mind her in the room just not on the bed.

We have tried stair gates, shutting her in different rooms, Letting her have full roam of the house except the bedroom but she will whine and howl all night and has destroyed 2 doors.
What would the best method
A) get her to sleep in a crate
B) on her own bed
C) in another room completely

Any help would be great

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think that setting up an exercise pen area may be ideal for Maddie. Buy her a super comfy bed and make the area accessible to her during the day as well. Take a look here (minus the litter box of course, if she is trained to pee outside): https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. The following guide is to teach a dog to like a crate (and if you choose a crate, it is good for teaching that) but can be used to help Maddie like her exercise pen. All of the methods are good but the Surprise Method may work well because it encourages her to go into the area on her own during the day: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate. Because she is used to sleeping on a bed you may have to persevere if she whines a few nights. But she may settle just being in your room. You can also try buying dog appeasing pheromones which work to emit a natural scent that is calming via diffuser. You could try that near the pen area at night. Good luck!

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Question
Bruno
Dachshund
6 Months
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Question
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Bruno
Dachshund
6 Months

Hi there, I am struggling a lot with my miniature dachshund and in quite desperate need of some advice. Unfortunately we have had to move flat twice (due to unforeseen circumstances). Our pup was completely crate trained and slept through until 8am (with no problems!which was incredible) but since moving to our new flat beginning of January he will not sleep at all in his crate through the night. At the beginning, when we moved here, we had him sleeping in our bed for just over a week as he was suddenly so distressed whenever we put him in his crate. We then started reintroducing the crate but found after two weeks of persistence we buckled a bit as we were exhausted, so ended up letting him in our bed at 5am so we could get some extra shut eye. This worked for a while but then noticed he kept pushing back the time. We are really struggling as he makes a very shrill high pitched bark that is quite piercing and we have already had a noise complaint from the neighbours, which has been quite stressful. We are now at our whits end and are considering whether an antibark collar would help? Please can you provide some advice? We are putting our hand in his crate when he wakes to try and reduce the barking but he just starts whining again as soon as our hand is removed. Look forward to your response.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I usually avoid recommending bark collars, or recommend using them as a last resort. But in your case, you can probably go with a vibrating collar. They vibrate instead of shock. Your dog has fallen into a very undesirable habit, AND you run the risk of being fined. Your dog simply needs to re-establish his good habits and re-train his brain to sleep in a little longer. The use of a collar and potentially something that emits white noise (a fan or white noise machine) will help to block out any noises that may be contributing to his early morning wake up calls.

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Question
Oscar
Shih Tzu
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Oscar
Shih Tzu
6 Years

Oscar is becoming more anxious and fearful while we’re away and especially during storms. He mauled the carpet in the room we keep him in. I’d like to retrain him to sleep in his crate, but he hates his crate.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kim, Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate I also recommend looking into Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and specifically some of the separation anxiety cases he has videos talking about if pup won't adjust to the crate even after using the Surprise method. For most dogs the Surprise method is sufficient but there can be more extreme cases of separation anxiety. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Haggis
Labradoodle
5 Months
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Question
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Haggis
Labradoodle
5 Months

Haggis happily go and sleep in his crate( downstairs, in a dark space) in the evening but he wake up very early (4 to 5 am)some time needing a pee. He does go back in the crate after visiting the garden but start weeping once I go back upstairs to my bedroom.
If we let him up to our bedroom, he fall asleep again until 7:30/8 am when we wake up.
What do I need to do to get him to fall back asleep in his crate?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lidwine, First, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least five hours since they last went potty outside. Keep the trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go. When you return them to the crate, you have three options at this age. 1. You can either ignore pup barking until 7/8/9 (whenever you normally want to get up) - which will probably mean an hour of barking for a few days until pup learns to just go back to sleep until breakfast, and gradually begins to sleep longer and not need that 4:30am potty trip as their bladder capacity increases. 2. Another option is to stuff 1 or 2 kongs with puppy food and freeze the night before, and give pup that in the crate for a few weeks, until they are old enough to not need to 4:30am potty trip, then you will need to ignore/correct the crying later, once pup is older and can be expected to sleep through. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. 3. The third option is to correct the crying once you return pup to the crate after the potty trip. 5 months is usually the earliest I would recommend doing this, so it can be done now or once pup is a bit older if you use the Kong solution for a bit. To correct pup, first, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. When he cries at night or early morning, after you take pup potty and return them to the crate, or pup cries before 4-5 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night/morning though - practice during the day proactively to help pup learn that quiet is good, since you don't want to encourage pup to stay awake in the early morning, but to go back to sleep instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Koko
cockapoo
6 Months
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Question
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Koko
cockapoo
6 Months

Koko is fairly happy in his crate. We’ve done lots of in and out training and he has some of his high reward frozen Kong treats in there. He will opt to go in the crate on his own sometimes during the day. However at night he does not want to go in the crate to sleep. He whines and won’t settle until he is let out. Sometimes he does a wee and drinks water, sometimes he just finds a spot on the floor to sleep and won’t go back into the crate without another set of whining. We have made the crate super comfy, it’s got a cover so it’s dark and it’s near where we sleep. What should we do when he wakes up and whines in the night?
Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
822 Dog owners recommended

Hello Susie, First, if pup cries after it has been at least 6 hours, at this age pup likely really does need to go potty at that time. I suggest taking pup potty on leash when they wake then if it's been at least six hours since they last went potty outside. Keep the trip calm and boring - no play or treats, then right back to the crate after they go. When you return them to the crate and they initially cry when put in, you have three options at this age. 1. You can either ignore pup barking until its been 6 hours since the last potty trip. Consistency with this is super important. If you let pup out, they will learn to continue crying until let out the next time. For most puppies this means 1-2 hours of barking for a few days until pup learns to just go back to sleep. Some puppies are extra persistent or their are apartment neighbors who complain so this route isn't an option though. 3. Another option is to correct the crying once you return pup to the crate after the potty trip, or if they cry when first put in. 5 months is usually the earliest I would recommend doing this because most puppies will adjust if you are consistent with ignoring the crying when little (although exceptions are certainly out there that need a different approach than ignoring). To correct pup, first, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. It sounds like pup probably already is quiet most of the time during the day, so you will mostly just be sprinkling a treat in every 10 minutes at the beginning of this, working up to one treat at the end of 3 hours, just to reinforce pup loving the crate. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. When he cries at night or early morning, after you take pup potty and return them to the crate, or pup cries before 5-6 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell him Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night/morning though - practice during the day proactively to help pup learn that quiet is good, since you don't want to encourage pup to stay awake in the early morning with treats, but to go back to sleep instead. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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