Puppies may cry and bark in a crate out of natural habit, since they are accustomed to whining to get their mother's attention. However, there are other reasons for crying and barking. If you have done everything to care for your little guy's needs and he still barks, he is seeking attention.
Discover why your puppy is crying or barking. Make sure he is tired out before putting him in his crate. Use the potty phrase you have developed for him to see if he needs to go out. Check if the crate is soiled. If all his needs are met, then you can assume that he just wants to get out of his crate.
Ignore the crying and barking. Use a command such as "stop" or "quiet." If you give into his crying and barking, he knows that his actions will get your attention. Ignoring the sounds can be hard to do because you want him to be happy, but giving in will cause you more problems when he barks all the time for your attention.
Make the crate inviting. If he is a new puppy that has just arrived at his new home, he is probably used to being with other puppies and his mother. Wrap a ticking clock in a towel and put it in his crate. A wind-up or battery-operated clock with a loud ticking sound is a good choice to mimic a heartbeat. If you wrap the clock in a towel, the clock is protected and the pup can lie against the towel as he would his mother.
Place an article of your clothing in the crate. If your puppy has been with you for a while, he may not want to leave your side. The article of clothing has your scent and gives him comfort.
Entertain your pup. Make sure he has a toy to chew on or a toy with a place for hidden treats. This will keep him occupied.
Place the crate in a room where he can see and hear everyone. If it is nighttime and your pup starts barking, place the crate in your bedroom.
- Always leave the door open to the crate when he is not in it, so he knows he can enter it when he wants to. You may want to toss in a treat so he will go inside. Praise him when he enters the crate. The crate needs to be a pleasant experience.
- Make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise so he is tired when he enters the crate.
- Don't keep the puppy in the crate for long periods of time. He can stay in the crate one hour for every month of age. If he is 2 months old, he should not be in the crate for more than two hours at a time.
- Never use the crate for punishment.
- Don't put him in the crate until he is calm. An anxious puppy will start whining, crying or barking.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.