5 Reasons Your Dog Hates His Crate
There are many reasons your dog hates his crate, but a dog’s crate can be a very useful tool for living with dogs. It provides them with a safe “den” that dogs naturally seek. It gives you an easy way to subdue out-of-hand dogs. It’s often mandatory when traveling, and much safer in the car. It keeps them out of harm’s way. Bentley, for example, MUST ride in a crate in the car, otherwise he literally runs around the car, over the driver’s lap, jumps on the dashboard, lunges out open windows… It’s chaos. Quincy sometimes gets a time out in his crate when I’m mopping, otherwise he’s underfoot and tracking soapy water all over the house.
Unfortunately, many dogs hate their crate. The reasons your dog hates his crate might not always be obvious, but we’ve made a list that might help identify the causes. Both Bentley and Quincy have their reservations about their crates, but once you understand the reasons your dog hates his crate, it’s much easier to work through it and develop stress-free and helpful crate use. Here are a few of those reasons.
5 Reasons Your Dog Hates His Crate
1. He was never trained to like it
Most dogs won’t instantly take to the idea of being locked up. They need to be shown that the crate is a safe place with gentle and patient training. Training a dog to like his crate should be a pleasant experience for him, otherwise he’ll hate it for sure.
Try feeding your dog in his crate. He’ll come to associate his crate with something he loves: food.
2. The crate was used for punishment
A dog shouldn’t associate the crate with punishment. This puts a negative connotation in their mind as well, and they’ll be reluctant to go inside. A crate does have a place in controlling an unruly dog, but it should never be used in a fit of anger. If your dog is out of hand, take a deep breath, calm yourself, then crate your dog.
To avoid this situation, work daily on training your dog. Simple obedience will help you have better control of your dog at all times. As his obedience improves, he’ll look to you for direction more and more.
3. The crate was overused
A crate isn’t a place to put your dog away when you’re done playing with him and leave him there until you want to see him again. Unfortunately, I’ve seen dogs treated that way, and it makes for a very sad and lonely dog. (don’t worry, that dog was rescued!) A dog should be part of the family, and crate time should be brief.
Basic obedience will help you avoid this situation as well. An overused crate often stems from a dog with poor house manners. With training, he will understand what he should and shouldn’t do, and you won’t feel compelled to crate him to keep him out of trouble.
4. The crate was used in place of proper training
Dogs can have all sorts of bad behavior; chewing, peeing on the carpet, getting into the trash… Bentley invents new ones every day. It can be tempting to crate a dog as the default to stop bad behavior, but that’s just a band-aid.
Again: basic obedience will help. For specific issues, work on more specialized training. If your dog chews, he may need more (or different) toys. Investing in a puzzle toy that requires a dog to figure out how to get the treat out may keep him occupied longer. Cayenne pepper in the garbage may cure his trash-tipping habit in just a day or two.
5. He gets teased while crated
Children, other dogs, and even the cat could be bothering the dog while he’s crated. If he’s already unhappy about being crated to start with, free-roaming pets may exacerbate the situation.
Try putting the crate in a quieter part of the house, and make sure children know better than to tease the dog. A frustrated dog can turn into an aggressive dog, so make sure you eliminate teasing immediately.
These are just 5 reasons your dog hates his crate. Can you think of other reasons your dog hates his crate? How does your dog do in a crate? What do you primarily use your crate for? Let us know in the comments below!