Is Your Puppy Barking in his Crate? Try These Suggestions

Many an exhausted "pet parent" has experienced a young puppy barking in his crate. This isn't an uncommon experience - your sweet little puppy is in new surroundings, with new people, and may not be accustomed to being alone. "" is often quoted as one reason why a new pet owner is so darned tired!

takes time. Your squiggly, wiggly, bundle of baby canine energy needs to be learn what you expect of him. Here a few tips and suggestions to help you conquer the barking:

  • First of all, make sure puppy isn't causing a ruckus because he needs to go out for a potty break. Puppies have small bladders and need to go out often, sometimes as often as every 2-3 hours.

  • Place a clock on top of the crate. The ticking sound may remind your puppy of a heartbeat and he'll feel less lonely.

  • Place a stuffed animal in the crate - but be careful, since puppies like to chew and you wouldn't want him to ingest anything inappropriate! Better yet, place a recently worn clothing item in his crate... your smell may help to comfort him so that he'll settle down and sleep.

  • Move the crate into your bedroom. If puppy can see and smell you, he just might fall fast asleep (and let you do the same).

  • Loosely cover the crate with a blanket (make sure your pup can still get air!). This helps some puppies feel "protected" so that they calm down and sleep.

  • Exercise! Take puppy out into the backyard for some playtime before bed. Try to tire him out! It may help him sleep... if not through the entire night, then at least a little longer so that you can snooze too.

  • Take the opportunity to teach your pup the "quiet" command. Don't try this if you're feeling tired or cranky - training should be a positive experience for both of you.

Your puppy's crate is supposed to be a safe place for him, a quiet place he can go -- it should never be used as punishment. Some people leave the crate out and the door open so that their puppy can choose to go inside if he wants some quiet time or a little nap.

Dogs learn when they are rewarded for their behavior. Resist the temptation to coo, pet, or attempt to sooth a noisily yapping puppy in his crate, as this can reinforce the behavior. Take your time and work with your puppy... and soon the "puppy barking in the crate" issue will only be a (fondly-remembered?) memory.