Help! My Dog FREAKS Out in a Crate (5 Fixes)

Let’s face it; crate training can be a pain in the neck. It’s hard enough to try to get your dog to stay in one place, but it can be even more challenging when that place is a small enclosure. And if your dog is particularly anxious or prone to barking, the whole process can feel downright impossible. 

Crate training can be a great way to help your dog feel comfortable and secure in your home. However, it’s important to remember that not all dogs take to crates immediately.

dog freaks out in a crate
Help! My Dog FREAKS Out in Crate (Fixes)

As soon as they see the crate, they start barking and trying to run away. It can be really frustrating, especially if you’re trying to train them to stay in the crate when you’re not home.

But there’s good news! With a little bit of patience and some TLC, you can train your dog to love their crate as much as their favorite spot on the couch.

Benefits of Crate Training

A dog crate is a safe haven for your furry friend—a place where they can retreat to when they want some alone time or need a break from the hustle and bustle of family life. But many dog owners don’t realize that crate training has many benefits beyond giving your pup a space of their own.

In fact, crate training can be an immensely valuable tool in the housebreaking process, help keep your dog safe in an emergency, and even make car rides and trips to the vet less stressful for everyone involved. 

Still not convinced? Read on to learn more about all the benefits of crate training your dog.

Benefit #1: Crate Training Makes Housebreaking Easier

One of the main reasons people opt for crate training is to make the housebreaking process easier. Dogs are naturally clean creatures and hate soiling their dens, so they will often hold it until they’re let out if they know that doing their business in the crate will mean having to spend more time in there. 

Beagle inside the crate looks away
Beagle inside the crate looks away from his owner.

Crate training also teaches your dog bladder control and provides a regular bathroom schedule, making accidents less likely to happen in the first place. Puppies, in particular, benefit from this type of structure and discipline during a confusing and overwhelming time.

Benefit #2: Crates Keep Dogs Safe in an Emergency 

Another big benefit of crate training is that it can provide a much-needed sense of security for dogs during times of crisis, such as severe weather events or house fires. For example, if you have to evacuate your home in a hurry, you’ll rest assured knowing that your dog is safely contained rather than running around panicked and at risk of getting lost or injured.

Jack Russell Terrier crate
Jack Russell Terrier on a crate training.

Airlines also require that dogs traveling in cargo be crated, so if you ever need to fly with your pup, crate training will already have them accustomed to spending time in a small space. 

Benefit #3: Crates Make Vet Visits Less Stressful—for Everyone Involved 

Vet visits are another situation where having a calm, collected dog can make all the difference. If your dog isn’t used to being crated, being confined to a small space during what is already a scary and unfamiliar experience can exacerbate their anxiety.

Maltese inside dog crate
Maltese inside dog crate getting ready for a travel.

This can make it harder for the vet to examine them and provide proper care. However, if your dog is already comfortable in a crate, they’re more likely to relax and stay calm during vet visits, making the experience less stressful for everyone involved. 

And there you have it—three compelling reasons to start crate training your dog today! Not only will it be easier on you when it comes time to potty train them, but you’ll also have peace of mind knowing that they’re safe and secure in the event of an emergency situation. Crate training truly is one of the best things you can do for your furry friend.

5 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Freaking Out in Their Crate!

There are some dogs who freak out when they’re in their crates. If this is the case with your dog, then don’t worry! There are some things you can do to help them feel more comfortable.

1) Make Sure the Crate is Comfortable

There are a few things that you can do to make your dog’s crate more comfortable.

Here are a few tips:

  • Add a soft bed – Dogs like to have a soft place to lay down. Adding a bed to the crate will give your dog a sense of security and comfort. You can find beds specifically made for crates at most pet stores.
  • Put their favorite toy in the crate – Another way to make your dog feel more comfortable is to put their favorite toy inside. This will give them something to do while in the crate and make them feel more at home.
  • Make sure the crate is the right size – If the crate is too big, your dog may feel like they are lost in it. If the crate is too small, they may feel cramped and uncomfortable. Either way, this can lead to your dog freaking out in their crate. Make sure the crate is just big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in comfortably.

Making your dog’s crate more comfortable will help stop them from freaking out when they are in it. By adding a soft bed and their favorite toy, you will make them feel more at home in their crate. It is also important to make sure that the crate is the right size for your dog.

If you follow these tips, you will have a happier and less stressed dog when they have to be in their crate.

2) Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is key when crate training your dog. Every time they go into their crate without incident, give them a small treat or a toy to play with. This will help them associate good things with being in their crate.

Black and Tan Coonhound puppy in a crate waiting for the milk.
Black and Tan Coonhound puppy in a crate waiting for milk.

Eventually, they’ll start seeing it as their special space where they can relax and have fun!

It’s also essential to never use the crate as a punishment. For example, if your dog has an accident in the house or chews up your favorite pair of shoes, don’t put them in the crate as punishment. This will only make them more afraid of it.

Instead, try using a word like “no” or “uh-oh” and redirect their attention to something else. For example, if they’re chewing on your shoe, give them a chew toy instead. 

Crate training takes time and patience, but it’s worth it! By using positive reinforcement, you can train your dog to love their crate and see it as their own special space.

3) Tucker Them Out With Activity Before Crate Time

If your dog is driving you crazy by barking and whining in their crate, it’s time to try something new. Exercise is a great way to burn off some of that excess energy and help your dog relax before crate time

Cane Corso plays with owner
A young Cane Corso plays with owner.

Dogs are naturally high-energy animals. In the wild, they would spend their days running, playing, and exploring. But in most homes, they spend the majority of their time lounging around.

This can lead to behavioral problems like excessive barking or chewing because they have too much energy and nowhere to expend it. 

That’s where exercise comes in. By taking your dog on a long walk or run before putting them in their crate, you’ll burn off some of that excess energy. This will help them relax and feel more comfortable in their crate because they won’t be as worked up. 

The amount of exercise your dog needs will vary based on their age, breed, and health condition. A good rule of thumb is to start with 30 minutes and then go from there. If your dog is still full of energy after that, try an hour.

And if they’re still going strong after an hour, then you may need to find a different way to tire them out! 

4) Keep Crate Time Consistent

The first question you might have is when you should actually crate your dog. And the answer to that is pretty simple; anytime you can’t directly supervise them. This includes when you’re sleeping, working, cooking, or taking a shower.

Pug in a crate
A Pug is in crate training.

So basically, if there’s a time when you can’t prevent them from getting into mischief, they should be crated. 

The next question is usually about how long your dog can stay in their crate. And again, the answer is pretty simple; as long as they need to! If you’re going to be gone for eight hours, your dog will likely need to stay in their crate for eight hours.

If you’ll only be gone for 30 minutes, they won’t need to be crated for the entire time. 

The important thing is that you don’t want to leave them in there so long that they start feeling stressed or anxious. And on the flip side, you don’t want to let them out so often that they start thinking of their crate as a place where they can come and go as they please. Consistency is critical when it comes to crating your dog!

5) Enroll Your Pup in a Training Class

There are many benefits of crate training classes, including: 

  • Getting your dog used to being in a smaller space. 
  • Helping your dog understand that their crate is a safe place .
  • Teaching your dog how to calmly enter and exit their crate. 
  • Allowing you to bond with your dog and build their trust.

Needless to say, these benefits can be extremely helpful in getting your dog to feel more comfortable in their crate. Not only will they learn how to behave in their crate, but they’ll also form a positive association with it thanks to the bonding time spent with you. As a result, their anxiety will lessen, and they’ll be less likely to freak out the next time they’re crated. 

Final Thought

Crate training doesn’t have to be a nightmare with your dog freaking out—with a little bit of effort (and maybe some treats), you can successfully train your dog to stay calm and happy in their crate while you’re away from home.

Just remember to go at your own pace, be consistent with your training methods, and never use the crate as punishment—that will only make things worse in the long run. Good luck!