How To Stop Your Dog From Crying in the Crate

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Dog Training By Kayla Fratt 15 min read February 5, 2021 276 Comments

dog crying in crate

You’re excited about your new puppy, but it’s been five hours and he’s still crying in the crate. You didn’t get any sleep last night and are at your wit’s end. If this is what dog ownership is like, you’re not sure if you’re up for it.

This is an all-too-common problem for new puppy owners. Dogs that cry in the crate are exhausting to deal with, and many of the solutions out there feel useless.

Don’t worry though – we’ll talk about how to get your pooch to settle down and stop whining in the crate without losing your mind.

Why Should I Crate My Dog?

If your dog has been crying in the crate a lot, you may be starting to wonder if crate training is worth all this agony. While it’s certainly not essential, crate training can really be very useful long term for you and your canine.

Crating dogs is a great way to help with potty training or reduce destruction when you can’t supervise your dog.

All dogs should be at least familiar with the crate to help reduce stress if they need to be put in a crate for travel or medical purposes. But crate training comes with some challenges – namely, lots of dogs cry or bark in the crate.

Crate Training Expectations: Crying is Normal At First

With young puppies, crate training generally takes several weeks. Most puppies under the age of about 16 or 20 weeks (4-5 months) won’t be able to stand being in the crate for more than a few hours. Really young puppies just don’t have the bladder control to be in the crate very long, and they instinctively cry when they’re left alone.

As a foster dog parent, I expect dogs to cry in the crate for their first few nights. I crate these untrained dogs because they can’t be trusted in the house yet. However, I no longer recommend letting dogs just “cry it out.”

It’s pretty normal for dogs to cry when they’re first put in a crate – but the “cry it out” method of crate training is pretty outdated. We’ll discuss below what you can do to help your dog quiet down, rather than simply let them cry it out.

It’s important for you to have realistic expectations as you’re crate training a dog. Just like with a new baby, expect there to be some long nights.

Most dogs eventually settle down in the crate, but what can we do to help them learn to be quiet in the crate? Crying in the crate can be a very real issue, especially if you live in an apartment or are a light sleeper.

stop dog crate crying

Why Do Dogs Cry In Their Crate?

The good news is, your dog is not actively trying to make you lose sleep or get you evicted!

That said, there are a variety of reasons that dogs bark or cry in the crate. Luckily, the treatment for most of these underlying reasons is the same.

Reasons why your dog might be crying in the crate include:

Your dog is lonely. If your dog is at your side whenever you’re home, then gets locked in a crate whenever you leave the house or go to bed, there’s a good chance he’s crying because your dog misses you. These dogs usually will settle eventually, but may start crying again whenever you move around.

Your dog is bored. Crates can be a pretty boring place. Dogs that give steady barks throughout the day are likely bored.

Your dog is scared. Some dogs are ok being away from you, but are scared of the crate. They might not like being confined.

Your dog needs to get out of the crate. Almost all dogs that cry in the crate want to get out of the crate. But sometimes, dogs need to get out of the crate. If a crate-trained dog that’s normally quiet starts whining, he may be sick to his stomach or might need to pee – he’s trying to tell you that he needs out. If your dog is normally quiet in the crate but suddenly starts to cry, look for a reason why.

All of the reasons above are perfectly normal crate-training problems that can be fairly easily overturned with a bit of training and management. This is very different from true separation anxiety.

Dogs with separation anxiety are thrown into a full-on panic when left alone. These dogs will need long-term management, training, and even medication to help with their condition.

Dogs with severe separation anxiety often will dig at the crate, bite the crate, and otherwise take great measures to escape the crate.

You may want to consider an especially durable, strong dog crate to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety in order to keep them safe – but this alone is not a cure for a dog that is panicking. Dogs with separation anxiety need training.

Dogs with separation anxiety generally don’t feel better outside of the crate, and often will have a hard time being left behind no matter where they’re left. They won’t eat, drink, or relax and may even hurt themselves trying to back to you.

Talk to a trainer or veterinary behaviorist if you think your dog has separation anxiety – and make sure to check out our Separation Anxiety Training Plan too!

Why You Shouldn’t Punish a Crying Crated Dog

It’s tempting to scold your dog when he whines, barks, or howls in the crate. It’s best not to punish the dog for a few reasons:

  1. Your dog may already be anxious. If your dog is crying because he’s scared, yelling at him won’t help. You are your dog’s guardian, and he trusts you with his life. Yelling at him when he’s scared might hurt that trust. He might stop crying simply because he’s even more scared now – but you haven’t really fixed the problem.
  2. Punishment gives a bored dog attention. If your dog is barking because he’s bored, you might be entertaining him by scolding him! He might temporarily quiet down because he’s interested in the ruckus going on.
  3. Even negative attention could be a reward for the dog. Many dogs cry in the crate for attention, just like kids do. If you come over to the crate and scold them, you’ve just given them the attention they crave. They’ll stop barking in the moment, but this is a surefire way to guarantee that the dog will continue barking in the future.

Even though it’s hard, try not to get frustrated with a dog that’s crying in the crate. There are some better options for teaching your dog not to cry in the crate.

How to Teach a Dog Not to Cry in the Crate

Luckily, there are lots of things to work on to help stop your dog from crying in the crate. Many of these fixes are small things to change that can make a big difference for your crying crated fur-baby.

Step One: Make the Crate a Great Place to Be

Crate training works best when you set up the crate properly. Before trying to convince your dog to sleep in the crate, you’ve got to make sure it’s actually a decent place to hang out.

  • Leave treats in the crate. You can distract your dog by giving stuffed, frozen Kongs in the crate. This easy fix will really help! I have four or five stuffed Kongs in my freezer at all times. That way I can just chuck a Kong in the crate with Barley whenever I run out for errands! Freezing them makes them last a lot longer.
  • Feed dinner in the crate. I like to feed dogs dinner in the crate. Instead of putting their bowl on the kitchen floor, I just feed dinner in the crate. You can either feed the dogs their dinner when you leave in the crate, or you can let the dog out after dinner. Either way, this is an easy way to start building a good association between your dog and the crate!
  • Put toys in the crate. My dog is a total squeaky toy nut, so at first, I kept his toys in the crate. He was rewarded for going into the crate by a quick bout of play. It was great to see him start to actually want to go into the crate on his own!
  • Ensure the crate is the right size. The crate has to fit the dog correctly. Your dog should have room to turn around and stand up comfortably, but not much more than that!
  • Place the crate in a common area. Many dogs cry in the crate because they’re lonely. A simple fix for these dogs is to put the crate in your bedroom at night, near the bed. If the crate doesn’t fit in your bedroom, you can sleep on the floor or the couch near the crate and gradually move towards your final sleeping arrangement. This is similar to what many parents do with young babies – they don’t start with the baby sleeping in his own room upstairs and across the house! They build up to that level of independence.

Some trainers recommend playing crate games to help your dog learn that the crate is a great place to be. I no longer recommend this because it may teach your dog that being in the crate is exciting, and we want the crate to be a relaxing place instead.

Step Two: Exercise Your Pup Before Crate Time

The next step to successful crate training is – drumroll please – exercise. If your dog is still full of energy when you put him in the crate, he’s going to have a very hard time settling down. This is especially true for teenage dogs (around 6 to 18 months old). Be sure to give your dog an age- and breed-appropriate amount of exercise before even attempting to put him in the crate.

For a young puppy, this might just mean running around the backyard for a few minutes. But for an adolescent Labrador retriever (or other working breeds), you might need to spend an hour or more exercising your pup before it’s time for the crate.

As a benchmark, my five-year-old border collie generally gets a three to ten-mile run or a twenty-minute nosework session before I leave for work. No wonder I lost weight when I adopted him!

Most adult dogs will need at least a 20 to 30-minute walk before being left in the crate.

Check out our list of games to play with your dog and suggestions for activity walks to get ideas for how to properly tire out your pup.

Step Three: Teach Your Dog That Crying Gets them Potty Breaks

Conventional wisdom in dog training is changing regarding whether or not to let your dog “cry it out.” The fact is, this method does not work for some dogs. If we can’t punish them, and ignoring them doesn’t work, what can we do?

We can teach our dogs that crying in the crate gets them a potty break – and nothing else.

But wait, you might be saying – doesn’t that reward my dog for crying in the crate? In a way, yes. And that’s not the end of the world. Ultimately, I’d rather have a dog that whines in the crate when he truly needs to go to the bathroom than have a dog that knows that crying doesn’t get him anything. That’s called learned helplessness, and it’s no good!

So rather than attempting to ignore your crying puppy for five hours, I want you to take your puppy out when he cries in the crate. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Carry him outside or put him on leash.
  2. Stand outside in one place for two minutes, tops. Don’t talk to him, play with him or look at him. Just wait.
  3. If he potties, give him a treat and go inside and put him back in the crate. If he doesn’t potty, put him back in the crate. No talking, no playing. Just a quiet, quick potty break.
  4. Repeat.

Your dog will quickly learn that crying in the crate doesn’t get affection, comfort, playtime, or anything except for an ultra-boring potty break. This will teach your puppy how to ask for a potty break when he needs one, but not to carry on for hours just because he’s bored.

stop dog crying crate

This method generally only requires a couple of repetitions for your dog to “get it.” You don’t have to wait for your dog to be quiet before you let him out – just take him out if he fusses.

This method has several major benefits for teaching dogs not to cry in the crate:

It teaches your dog what to do and how to get what he needs.

 It teaches your dog that you can provide potty access, and you won’t ignore his needs.

 Your dog doesn’t practice crying for hours in the crate, effectively strengthening the behavior.

 You avoid the stress of trying to ignore a crying dog, and your dog avoids the stress of not knowing why you’re ignoring him.

 You avoid the risk of breaking down and letting your dog out after hours of crying (which teaches your dog to cry for hours).

 You’re doing something to help your dog, rather than trying to just ignore a dog that’s upset and crying for help.

I used to recommend letting dogs cry it out, but I can say with certainty that that does not work for some dogs. Some dogs cry it out for hours, every night, for weeks. That’s unsustainable for the human and terribly stressful for the dog. This method is far more humane for you and your dog.

It can take several repetitions to teach your dog that crying in the crate doesn’t get them anything but a super-boring potty break. But if your dog keeps on crying the second you close him in the crate, don’t keep repeating something that’s not working! He needs something you’re not providing.

For constant criers who aren’t getting better with repeat potty breaks, go back to basics. Are you giving your pup enough exercise? Does he have a frozen Kong to chew on? Are you leaving him for too long?

When working with dogs that have a really bad time in the crate, you may have a long road ahead of you. Go back to the basics of step one and two. If you’re really stuck, try changing to a different crate, using an ex-pen, or hiring a trainer to troubleshoot your crate training.

Step Four: Avoid These Crate Training Mistakes

With so much conflicting information out there, it’s easy to get tripped up when working on crate training. Should you squirt your dog with water when he cries? Should you ignore him? Or should you take him out on a potty break?

It’s confusing – but it’s easier if you focus on following the instructions in step three and avoid these common crate training mistakes:

Being inconsistent. Whatever method you choose, stick with it. I recommend teaching your puppy that crying gets him a boring potty break. That said, if the cry-it-out method is working for you, be consistent with it. If you mix the cry-it-out method with the boring-potty method, you’re going to confuse your dog and slow progress.

Please avoid using punishment regardless – we’ve already covered why that’s not the best approach for this problem.

Leaving your pup for longer than he can handle. If your Chihuahua or Australian Cattle Dog puppy can only hold his bladder for four hours, don’t try to leave him in the crate for a full eight-hour workday. This means that you might need to get help with crate training at first to let your puppy out often enough.

If you can’t get help with crate training, leave your puppy in an ex-pen with potty pads while you’re gone for longer than his training and bladder can withstand.

Teaching your puppy that crying gets attention. If you skip the “boring” part of the boring-potty method, you can create a huge problem. Ensure that you stick to the plan of taking your puppy directly outside, totally ignoring him for two minutes, and taking him directly back to the crate. Anything extra might teach your puppy that crying in the crate gets him playtime, affection, or attention! We don’t want that.

Crate Training Alternatives: Is a Crate Necessary?

While crate training is a great way to help with potty training or destruction issues, ideally you won’t be leaving your dog in a crate every day for the rest of his life.

If you and your dog are struggling, think about why you’re using the dog crate. Could you be using something else for the same goal?

My favorite solution for dogs that don’t like the crate but can’t be trusted outside of the crate is an ex-pen. Most dogs do better with a bit more space, and they can’t get into quite as much trouble.

If you need to stick it out through crate training but are really struggling, consider a dog walker or doggie daycare. These options are best for dogs that cry during the day, but won’t help nighttime criers. Getting your dog out of the crate and keeping sessions short will help as you’re training him to love the crate.

You might just have to crate your dog a few times a year, or maybe you crate your dog every day while you’re at work. Regardless of how often you crate your dog, you certainly don’t want them to be miserable the entire time!

Having problems with a dog that cries in the crate? Let us know if this article helped! We love feedback!

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Written by

Kayla Fratt

Kayla Fratt is a dog behavior consultant and freelance writer. She is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is a member of Dog Writer’s Association of America. She travels full time with her border collie Barley and her boyfriend, Andrew. Before coming to K9 of Mine, Kayla worked at Denver Dumb Friends League as a Behavior Technician. She owns her own dog training business, Journey Dog Training and holds a degree in biology from Colorado College. When she’s not writing or training Barley, Kayla enjoys cross-country skiing, eating sushi, drinking cocktails, and going backpacking.


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Hi, just adopted my 4 y/o dog on Sunday and he has started howling when crate training. I tried the “boring bathroom trip” method but he refuses to go back into the crate when we get back inside. Any suggestions?

Ben Team

Hey there, Tanner.
It’s tough to know exactly what’s going on from your description, but you may want to try some crate training games — we have an upcoming article about that, so stay tuned!


My husband and I have been trying the boring potty break method for a week now with our 11 week old puppy. His crate is out in the living room and although he cries initially for two or three minutes, he usually goes right to sleep. We have been putting treats and toys in there and trying to make it fun. Plus he gets exercised and is ready to fall asleep at that time. Earlier this week, he was getting us up four times a night. He would sleep from 9-12, then wake us up every two hours. Last night he woke us up every hour. We take him out, make it boring, put him inside the crate and then he goes back to sleep…but only for like 45 min to an hour before starting to bark and cry again. What should we do? We are running on two weeks of terrible sleep. I can’t tell if he is getting worse or not……

Ben Team

Hey, Kyla. It’s kind of like being a new parent, huh?
It sounds like you are doing everything right, just understand that 11 weeks is still pretty young, so he should settle down a bit with patience and time.

You may, however, want to try to exercise him a little more before bed to tucker him out.
Just hang in there! Housetraining is often one of the most difficult aspects of puppy parenthood.

Christine Goggin

I have a 12 week old mini goldendoodle he cries when I put him in the crate even for a few minutes he gets all wet around his mouth and paws from crying and barking so bad. I am at a loss I don’t know what to do. I got him at 9 weeks old. he is fine when he can see me so he sleeps right next to my bed. It’s during the day when I leave.

Ben Team

Hey there, Christine.
If I understand correctly, it sounds like your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety, rather than being upset about the crate itself.
We have a great guide to separation anxiety — go check it out and see if any of those tips prove helpful.
Best of luck!


I have a 10-week-old mini schnauzer that I’ve had for a week. He has no problem being in his crate and sleeping through the night or even napping in there during the day when I stick him in it. Our issue happens when I leave. That is when he cries. I’m single and have no choice but to put him in his crate to go to the store or run errands. I feel frustrated because everyone says crying it out isn’t recommended, but a west paw toy with peanut butter, music, a blanket over the crate blocking the light, nothing works. I feel stuck and can’t find help anywhere. Not sure what to do other than let him cry and pray it doesn’t turn into full blown separation anxiety.

Ben Team

Hey there, Michelle.
Have you considered letting him stay out of the crate when you leave? If he’s not being destructive or having accidents, that may be a simple solution. Giving him a little more freedom while you’re gone may help him feel better. You could also try using puppy gates instead of a crate.

But if you need to keep using the crate while you’re gone, you may find it helpful to “baby step” things. For example, put him in the crate, walk outside, and then come right back 30 seconds or so later (hopefully, before he starts crying). Give him treats and praise, and then try the same thing again, but stay outside for a full minute or so. Lather, rinse, and repeat until he can tolerate longer and longer periods while you’re outside.

Check out our guide to separation anxiety to see some more tips.
Best of luck!


I have an Italian Greyhound and he honestly hates his crate. He is 15 weeks old and I am having a really hard time trying to settle him at night. He cried for 4.5 hours last night and poo’d and pee’d in his crate ( this happens everytime)
He was frantic, barking, howling, crying. I gave him a shower and brought him back into the bedroom. He appeared to be scared of me and wouldn’t go near me.
This morning he is the same, he hasn’t really come near me.

I really don’t know what to do

Meg Marrs

Hey Amy, aww poor guy, it sounds like he is really having a tough time and is scared of his crate. I’d suggest taking a step back and just focus on playing some fun crate training games and do some basic crate training work just a few minutes a day and slowly working your way up to longer periods. You definitely want the crate to have positive associations, and right now it sounds like the crate has become a very upsetting place for your pup. Start over and make sure the crate is always awesome – try feeding your pup some special tasty frozen kongs in the crate, and offering tasty chews he only gets when it’s crate time.

When it comes to nighttime, is he being crated in your bedroom? Your pup will probably feel safer being close to you. You can try having him in the crate at night right beside your bed. Or, alternatively, you may want to consider trying some indoor gates to gate your pup off in a specific part of the room or – during the day – the kitchen or bathroom where he won’t get into trouble and clean-ups are manageable. Crate training really isn’t essential for all owners, and gating your dog off might be more realistic and less stressful at this time.

It also sounds like some of his fear of the crate has rubbed off onto you, which is certainly no good! I’d suggest giving your pup plenty of space for a couple days and let him come to you when he’s ready. Try not to physically pick him up and force him into the crate. You might want to start by just throwing some kibble into the crate now and then throughout the day and let him go in and get the food on his own. Don’t even close the door, just let him go in and investigate and leave as soon as he’s done.

Don’t worry, you’ll get there! It sounds like he’s just a sensitive little guy so be patient and go slowly with him <3


He was probably crying because he needed out to go to the toilet. When my pup 10weeks old cry’s I take him our to the toilet. He has never had an accident in this crate. That followed by a scary shower would frighten any puppy. Poor little guy.


My 15-month old cockapoo was fully crate trained from about 8 months (for sleep at night only). He goes to sleep in the crate located in the living room downstairs and we sleep in the bedroom upstairs. It’s always been this way, and he has not whined or cried for 8 months. Last night, he gladly went to the crate after his final toilet, but cried, whined and eventually howled and barked! He was given a health check a few days earlier and is completely healthy, so it’s not a health issues (especially given what happened next). After 2.5 hours of noise, my partner and I moved his crate in the corridor outside the bedroom. He fell asleep quickly and did not make a sound until the morning. He was back to his normal self even: he wakes up before us and waits silently until we are awake. It was all very odd! During the day today, also, he is his usual self. High energy, playful, and quiet when alone in the backyard. I’m at a loss to explain what occurred last night. A behavioural trainer we worked with since my dog was a puppy advised that he’s probably just testing boundaries. Does this make sense? Any insights would be really appreciated! Not sure what will happen tonight, but I am hoping for a peaceful night for everyone.

Ben Team

Hey, Jas. It’s hard for us to tell from afar, but it’s always possible that he was just having a bad night for whatever reason.
Dogs have good days and bad days, just like we do! Since you’re pretty sure he’s healthy, and he hasn’t exhibited this issue in a long time, we’d just chock it up to a fluke thing.
Best of luck!


Thank you, Ben. It’s so tricky when a behaviour manifests ‘suddenly’. Last night was good, so I am hopeful that this continues. Thanks for all the great advice on the site – it is very helpful.


This method worked wonderfully for our new 10 week old puppy. The first couple nights were horrible. No sleep for anyone at all. After I read this article I did the potty break method and after a couple of nights, no more crying at all. Thank you so much.

Ben Team

That’s awesome, Greg! Glad the article helped.


So I started using the potty technique tonight and it’s been great. After the sixth time of taking him out (24 minutes in) with no words or eye contact, he stayed in the crate for 17 minutes with me out of sight! He could’ve gone longer but I wanted to get him out before he started whining again.
My question is, how many times a day should I work on this with him? 3 times a day and gradually build that 17 minutes up?
I don’t want to overkill the crate training and have it backfire.

Thanks for the advice!

Brittany Griffin

We rescued our pup from a shelter so I’m not sure of his full background. I’ve tried to crate train him however every time he goes in the crate he gets sick, I’ve tried kongs and treats chew toys etc. Also he’s fine when we’re with him doesn’t really chew on things but if he’s left alone for even a short time he chews on anything he can find. Could this be separation anxiety and if so do you have any tips on how to deal with this?

Ben Team

That certainly sounds like it may be separation anxiety, Brittany.
Check out our article about separation anxiety to learn some tips for dealing with it and helping your pooch feel more confident.
Best of luck!

George G

Kayla, you saved my life with this article!! My wife and I got a seven week old blue eyed husky and we were going crazy with the crate training and bitting situation. You have so many good tips that when I tried them, I looked like a hero lol.
You are amazing!! Thank you very much for sharing.

Ben Team

So glad this helped, George!
Best of luck!


Hi there,
We just got a GSP puppy. He slept great the first night in the crate. He woke up a couple times and whimpered so we took him out. But nothing extreme.
The 2nd night was another story. My husband has dealt with a few puppies that would normally stay calm as long as you were near them. But this puppy doesn’t care if he can see you or not. He ended up just putting him between us the 2nd night in our bed. Puppy slept good with no accidents and is actually quite behaved in bed.
The thing is we need to crate train him to be able to at least leave the house for a few hours or so. I’m working from home for the rest of the year and then will be on maternity leave.
I can coax him into going into the kennel at night by cuddling him a bit and putting his teething toy in there. He will walk in and lay down beside it and if I sit there with him he will fall asleep. Once I shut the door he is okay for about an hour or so then wakes up again. Even if we take him out sometimes we have to play with him to tire him back out again or the one time I coaxed him back in the same way I did at bedtime. Please please please any advise. I agree the crying out method is outdated. And we don’t want him to be traumatized of being in there if we don’t do anything.
He seems to pee when he starts to flip out also. No matter if he just went out or not. I think he just gets that upset.

Ben Team

Hey, Ashley.
Sorry about the troubles with your pupper! If you’ve tried to steps we recommend above without success, you probably want to have a professional evaluate him and provide a recommended course of action.
If you don’t have a trainer already, consider reaching out to Kayla’s training business: Journey Dog Training. They offer a variety of long-distance training options.
Best of luck!


This is what we have tried to do, so I appreciate the article and more detailed advice. My issue comes when my puppy has been asleep at night, wakes up and cried, we take him out for a potty break but then he cries right after being put back in the crate. What do you suggest doing then? It’s not sustainable to take him back outside for a potty break but I don’t want to confuse him by mixing the potty break and cry it out method.


We have a 15 week old Cairn Terrier. We have been crating at night since we got him about 6 weeks ago. Some nights he can sleep in the crate no problem up to about 6 1/2 hours. Some nights he whines after about 3/4. When he whines we take him out for a potty break but then we we bring him back in he whines even worse. We have tried to wait it out but its been impossible as the whining turns louder and into jumping and biting at the door and pushing with his paws. Should we take him out immediately again and then put him back in? Often we have to sit with him in the living room until he falls asleep and then just pick him up and put him back in. Is that the right thing to do? We would appreciate any advice you can offer! Thank you!

Ben Team

Should we take him out immediately again and then put him back in?

Hey, Marshall. Sorry you’re having such a tough time with your pooch. This is the best approach though — you want him to learn that crying (etc.) will result in a bathroom break, but it won’t result in free playtime.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a private trainer if he doesn’t seem to get with the program within a week or two.

Best of luck!


I have a 10 week Boston and I usually move the crate from his sleep area to the kitchen area during the day. I leave the door open as we go about our day; he goes in and out when he wants down time. Once he is napping, I cover it, but not too much that he can’t see me when he wakes. He is getting better at not panicking if I am not there

Ben Team

Sounds great, Geneva. Glad you’ve found a practice that works!


Hello i have a 11 week old mini golden doodle who crys in his crate hes brand new what should i do


It literally tells you all the methods to try in the article….

Jill Bloser

We have a 9 week old Aussie who crate trained at night very well. She sleeps all night, not a peep. We’ve had her for 2 weeks now and are trying to crate train her during the day. We’ve both been at home but know eventually we will both have to leave at some point. When we put her in the crate during the day, she barks non-stop when she can’t see us. I have her 2 small toys in there and she has no interest. I don’t know if this is something she will “cry out” or how long we do this until we should know it isn’t working. We’re starting for short periods, half an hour, and it’s constant screaming and barking. She has played beforehand, peed, so we know it’s not for a potty break. I don’t trust her in the playpen because it has mesh and she chews on everything. Any suggestions?



I know its been almost a whole year since you posted this but I had to ask – did you find a solution? We are having identical issues right now with 9 week old lab.

Tracy Smith

I have a 9 week old Boxer and crate training is sometimes going great and sometimes horribly. He barks, screams, whines, howls, jumps around, etc. in the crate and won’t stop. I was doing the wait it out method but that is miserable for everyone, and like the new method I”m reading about here. After taking him out, he often will go right back to his screaming and barking antics and I’m not sure how long to leave him for before taking him out again. What do you recommend? I’m trying 5 minutes and he seems to calm down by then but if he doesn’t, should I take him back out and repeat? When do you stop?

Another hard part about this is that I work from home and sometimes simply have to leave him there while I’m in a meeting even if he is going on and on. Or would it be better to leave him out during my meetings so as not to mix messages with two different methods?

Thank you!

Ann Hilliard

We have a 7 year old, 20 pound dog. He was a rescue that we adopted 6 years ago. We always left him out at night, but discovered he was peeing in the house during that time. We bought a crate a year ago and put it in our bedroom. We put a treat in it at night and he went right in, ate the treat and settled down and went to sleep and would sleep until morning. All of a sudden, 2 weeks ago, he refused to get in his crate so we had to pick him up and put him in it. Then we went and took our baths and came back to the bedroom. During this time, he’s very quiet, just watching us. When we get in the bed, he starts whining and whimpering and making an awful racket. We can’t sleep through that so we get up and go to other places In the house to sleep, but we can still hear him as he gets louder and louder. What to do? What if we take our baths first, then call him to the bedroom and shut the door. He would be with us and his crate door would be open with a treat in it. This would keep him from peeing all over the house and would, hopefully, allow us all to get some sleep. For whatever reason, he won’t sleep in our bed. Any suggestions?

Ben Team

Hey, Ann.
Experimentation is the name of the game, but I’d consider waiting to put him into the crate until you’re completely ready to turn off the lights and go to bed.
The shift in timing may prove helpful.
Best of luck! Just keep at it!

Ann Hilliard

Thank you for the good suggestion.

Sara M

I was told to put the dog crate in a separate room, cover it with a towel, and close the door. This way if i have to get up in the middle of the night it doesn’t cause the puppy to stir/wake. I have been doing this/the cry it out method (just go her 3 days ago). It’s been a little hit or miss. Obviously this isn’t long enough to be effective yet, but i have read several things that say the crate should be in the bedroom so they can see you/hear you breathing. She does stay quieter when i sit in the room with her, even if i ignore her. I also put her to bed earlier than i go to bed, so even if i were to put her in my room, it would be a while before i am in there. What is the best solution?
I am also currently working from home due to COVID and leave her out of the crate during hte day. She usually sleeps somewhere near me or plays with her toys within sight. Is this detrimental to the crate training? Should i have her in there during the day as well? I feel like there is no need – but am not sure if just putting her in there at bed time will have an adverse affect.
She is a 9.5 week old Rottweiler/Australian cattle mix – if that makes a difference.


Sara M

Also, if i take her out and she doesnt go to the bathroom, bring her in, put her back in the cage, she continues barking, how long do i wait between taking her back out again?


Ben Team

Hey, Sara.
It may be very helpful to crate her in your general area (including during the day when you need to do so).
My pup went from crying non-stop to not making a peep when I simply moved her crate so that she could see me.
Best of luck!


for puppies when they wake up at the early hours like 2am for that potty break, do you still do the carry to spot, pee then back into the crate? or carry to spot, pee, offer water/food, then back in crate? or carry to spot, pee, offer water / food, “exercise meaning play”, then back in crate?

Ben Team

Hey, Rosana.
If it’s in the middle of the night, just take her to pee and then put back inside the crate.
Best of luck!


My furbaby Boston was 8 weeks when I got him. He immediately took to the crate the first night. For those late nights (every 2 hours) potty breaks, I carry him to the pee pads, don’t talk 2 him and let him walk back to the crate. He goes in without wandering and settles down again. His crate is covered at night, put him to bed same time, and make sure he is wiped out with exercise beforehand ☺️


Pre-puppy arrival: read every article, book you can to prepare for the newest addition to the family.

Day 1: fall in love with his sweet puppy face and cuddly self. Run around with him, play with his toys, introduce him to his new home.

Night 1: cuddles and crate time. You think, “wow, I seriously have the best dog ever.”

Night 1 (1:30am): take him out to relieve himself. And when he still cries, let him “cry it out” like the books and articles I read told me to do meanwhile wanting to pull my hair out.

Night 1 (3:30am): take him out to relieve himself and try the “cry it out” method again. Am bald from pulling my hair. I start googling advise and come across this article. Total game changer.

Now, anytime he whimpers, we take him out to relieve himself. He’s so smart! He whimpers now knowing it means he’ll get taken out for a potty break and that’s it. No playtime. And nights have become much easier. I’m still bald and wish I had come across this article in my pre-puppy research. Nonetheless, he’s doing great with this method. Thank you, Kayla!


we got out puppy three days ago. We had to travel a long distance without the crate. At night he was cordon off and I slept by him. He did ok. Fed him in the crate and he seemed to like the crate. I put him in his crate for bed and he put the crate by my bed and he did fine. After 4 hours he whined a bit and I took him out then put him back and he slept for another 3 hours. This morning Took him out potty fed him, played with him, walked him for about 15 minutes. Put him in his crate and he just cries and cries. I have tried taking him out for potty breaks with no talking. He runs back to the door. I pick him up and put him back in his crate. He barks not stop. In fact he barked until he threw up. What should I do? I also put one of my old sweaters in the crate for comfort. He still just cries non stop. I’m at my wits end. HELP!!


Brought 8wk old WGS home 3 days ago. Crated at night well until tonight. Would cry a few mins then play and sleep until potty breaks (every 2 hours approx). Tonight freaked out crying and barking for 40 min. Sooo stressful. He was exercised and ready to sleep. Nothing different from other nights. Raised a previous WGS from same age never had this experience. Help!!!!

Ben Team

Hey, Yiayia. That does sound stressful!
If it was just a one-off thing, it’s probably no cause for concern. Dogs occasionally have bad nights.
Just keep an eye on him and see if it happens again. If so, you may want to contact the breeder.
Best of luck!


I have a 13 week old French Bulldog. I got him for 6 weeks now. The very first day I made him a small ex-pen in study room where I work during the days of quarantine and put his bed & water in it with puppy pads. He didn’t make any problem staying alone in there. He just woke me up when he pooped. I guess this teached him staying alone is OK. After 2 weeks I got him a crate and metal ex-pen and put his pen into living room where me and my wife spend most of our day. I also put his crate inside the pen with the doors open with water bowl just outside the crate and puppy pads as far as possible. He is doing great job using puppy pads. He sleeps inside the crate. I use the ex-pen as his living space and just take him out for play time. He has no problem being alone. He never cries or barks in the night alone in the living room. The vet told he will be clear to go outside in 3 weeks from now so i started to crate(potty) training him. I mean when I’m in study room I put him inside the crate with toys and water and take him with me so I can take him out only for potty breaks. I left the pads in the living room and whenever he whines I put him on leash and nothing else. I tire him out before crating by playing fetch for 10 minutes and walking in the house. He stopped crying after I applied what is written here. BIG thanks. My problem is whenever I move my chair he wakes up. He was like this way when he lived in his ex-pen. Whenever I get up from couch he immediately wakes up and follows me to the edge of the pen. Is this normal? Do I have to crate him with me in the study room or is it ok leaving him in the ex-pen with crate doors open? Do I need to teach him “From now on, you can’t go potty whenever you want”?

Ben Team

Hey, Mert.
Glad you found the article helpful and kudos for your training creativity during these strange times.
It is completely normal for your dog to show interest in you whenever you get up — many dogs do this for their entire lives. If you’re getting good results with him using the pee pads, then you can probably go ahead and start allowing him to use them at his own discretion.
Keep up the good work!

Jatin Chirra

This article helped me get everything ready for our 6 week old labradoodle. However, he is just not liking his crate. We have all of his favorite toys and blankets in there, with treats. Yet all day and all night he whines and cries while In it. So far the only way I found to make him sleep in the crate is to make him fall asleep next to me. Then place him in the crate. Is there a way to fix this issue so he sees the crate as his sleeping place? And if so how?

Ben Team

Hey, Jatin.
Glad you found the article helpful. You may want to try to wear out your little pup with a vigorous play session before putting him inside. That may help give him the nudge to nod off you’re looking for.
Best of luck!


How would you crate train a puppy if you use the cry it out method? He would be inside the crate and if he needed to pee, he’d end up peeing inside his sleeping quarters. And if there is a 2 door crate where one door is connected to the external pen area, wouldn’t he rather stay outside instead of in the crate?
Really look forward to hearing from you.

Ben Team

Hey, Jessica.
Not sure if Kayla will have the chance to respond, but I don’t think she’d recommend the “cry it out” method.
As she says,

the “cry it out” method of crate training is pretty outdated.

Best of luck!

Khanh Truong

My puppy would whine for hours at night when we put him in the crate. Sometimes he bites and scratches the floor to try to get out.
We just got him for a couple days. We are still potty training him.
If I want to try the boring potty break, should I praise him after he pees/poops outside? Or should I just give him treat and then put him back in crate?

Ben Team

Hey, Khanh.
Not if you’re trying the “boring potty break” method. The goal of that approach is to keep the trip outside uneventful.
Best of luck!


Hi Kayla,

Firstly I wanted to say thank you for the advice . My pup (8 weeks) is now settling down in her crate. We did, however, notice last night that she’s started eliminating in her playpen (we set this up outside of her crate so she has access to water) and THEN crying! Not too sure what to do here as this is a new behaviour.


Beatrice Robinson

I have a mini Schnauzer and I fed him in his crate so that he would know it’s not such a bad place to be. We are slowly making progress and in a year we should be good. Im still struggling with getting him to go potty. He will go on wee pads I place in the bathroom but he will also come out and go on the carpet. I haven’t lost patience yet. He’s only 10 weeks.

Erin Harrington

I have a 6 month old bichon who barked in the crate when we first brought him home. We used the cry it out method and were pretty consistent with it. It worked for us over time. By about 4 or 5 months old, he got to a point where we crated him at about 9pm every night and he didn’t make a peep, even if we made noise from the other room. One night, after being taken to the vet to have his glands expressed (which was very stressful for him) he went back to barking again like he did when we first brought him home. He’s really regressed and I’m starting to panic. We stuck through those early months of barking and I feel like I’m back at square one. Moving the crate from the living room to the bedroom has helped a bit, but some nights, he can cry for hours. We would love to let him sleep with us, but he has been known to wet the bed and wake in the middle of the night and cause some destruction. Any advice?

Ben Team

Hey, Erin.
We certainly sympathize with your situation! That sounds incredibly frustrating.

It sounds to me that his crying and barking may be anxiety related. Unfortunately, I think you may have to reach out to a trainer or behaviorist for some help. Kayla actually offers a variety of online options.
Check out some of the services she provides (and learn how K9 of Mine readers can get a discount on her services) here.

You may also want to consider trying a Thundershirt — a tight-fitting garment that helps reduce anxiety for a lot of pups. We explain how to make a Thundershirt yourself here.

Best of luck!


I grew up my dogs being crate trained until they were potty trained. After that, the crate wasnt used. A doggy door was installed many years later. I am now an adult in an apartment as a single parent and looking to get my child his first puppy (Boston Terrier). I work 10 minutes from our home. Any tips on crate training in an apartment as a single person who wont be able to let the pup out frequently during the business week? Worried about messes in the crate and whining that disturbs neighbors. I can come home for lunch daily, but what about the in between times or rare days when not being able to take a lunch break crop up?

Ben Team

Hey, Kelsey.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many great solutions for your situation. You’re probably looking at four or five hours between potty breaks during the day, right? That may be too long for a young pooch to hold it.
The best plan would probably be to hire a dog walker or enlist the help of a trusted friend or neighbor during the first month or two.

Alternatively, you could try to sequester your dog in the kitchen or a bathroom with a dog gate, and then put down pee pads or a canine litter box.
Best of luck!


We just adopted a dog that’s 1 1/2 years old. He is a really great dog during thecday. Doesnt bark at all and is compliant. But night time is a whole other story. Every night when I crate him he whines for at least 30 mins to an hour (I do make sure to walk him twice a day and especially before we put him in the crate at night). What can I do to help him understand that the crate is for bedtime and that he doesn’t need to whine. Thank you!


Hello Kayla,

I just adopted a 1 year old Yorkie from a shelter. We think he was lost and the owner never came to claim him. But that means we have no knowledge of his relationship with crates. We started crate training the day he arrived. First day he cried so bad when we put him in the crate during the day that we brought the crate into the bedroom overnight. The next night we put the crate in our kitchen downstairs, and that’s where it has remained for a week. He will only go in the crate if there is some inducement, and even then, he manages to keep his butt as close to the exit so that he can make a quick retreat. We usually close the door anyway. However, as soon as the treat/food is gone, he turns around and begins howling and whining. He also starts twirling A LOT. We don’t know what this means and are overwhelmed by the amount of info online. We tend to leave him in the crate until he cries it out. But there were a few nights there when he cried for at least 30 – 45 minutes straight. Also, he doesn’t always pee outside when we take him, but when he goes back in the crate he will whine and bark and twirl a few times before lifting his leg and shooting his pee outside of the crate. I’m at a loss for what to do. He is surprisingly good with what little freedom he has been given in our family room. We feel confident that we can leave him there alone without an accident, as long as he is on a pee schedule. Eventually I would like to have him sleep in our bedroom upstairs, but I’m not sure if this should be in a crate or not, I.e., is the crate supposed to be long term? Looking for any advise you can provide.

Tina Liggins

Thanks for the advice on crate training


Hi Kayla thank you so much for your article especially the section on the silent potty breaks and positive training.
I have a tip I found on Google. Use a warm bottle of water wrapped in a soft fabric 2 make the puppy feel like he is still with his mother or siblings. I have a Chihuahua so I use a 16 oz bottle. Large dogs I would use a two liter bottle or more than one 2 liter bottle be sure this water is not too hot! If wrapped in a cloth the water will stay hot 4 hours or warm anyway. Thank you again Kayla


So I have an 8 week old husky that I got about a week ago. He’s an absolute angel, and house training is going very well. However, I have to crate him for two hour intervals while I’m at work (I come home, let him out, play a little, and put him back) from 7 until 3:30. We did the slow crate adjustments until he was comfortable enough to go in by himself and just lay in there for a little while. Once or twice, he carried his toys in and played. But every time I put him in the crate to leave, he cries. I don’t force him in, I usually wait until he goes in, or use treats to get him in. I don’t make a big show of leaving, or of coming home. Is this normal? And if it is, how long will it be for him to stop? It’s not the crate he hates, it’s being alone and away from me. Which I know is normal for puppies, but am I doing more harm than good? A trainer friend of mine says I just have to bite the bullet and keep walking to the car when I hear him cry after I shut the door. He does stop crying after while, but sometimes when I come home he acts out and does things he normally wouldn’t, like he resented me leaving. I work on continuing the crate desensitization when I’m home, but I have to crate him when I leave, he’s just too young. Would appreciate any advice, thank you!

Hallie B

Hello! My boyfriend and I recently adopted a 8 week old Great Pyrenees/Mastiff mix. He is an amazing relatively chill puppy. I have high hopes for crate training him, yet he cries when I leave him in his kennel and leave the room. I would like to try your potty break method. I wonder though, once I take him out, put him back in the kennel, leave the room, he immediately will start crying again. What can you do in that situation? Would you repeat right away and take him out again and again until he understands thats all he will get out of crying?


Give the dog a toy or something to eat

Joanie Cos-Y-Leon

How about you get your dog OUT OF THE FN CRATE!!!
Find an alternative, and take care of your pet with love.


I have an American Hairless Terrier that’s 2 years old. We are her 2nd owners and have had her for a couple of weeks. She has really gotten attached to me specifically in the 2 short weeks that we’ve had her. When I crate her at night(and probably when I’m gone too) she screams and cries for hours. It is getting exhausting. The previous owner said she slept in her crate at night. I had purchased a crate, mat and blanket so she would feel secure and cozy. My husband does not want her or the crate in our bedroom. Our other dog who is 14 years old, sleeps with our daughter. I’ve tried to get the new dog to sleep with one of the kids instead of be in the crate but she jumps off the bed and follows me as soon as I walk away. I think it’s loneliness. I’m really hoping she hasn’t developed separation anxiety. I really don’t know what to do with her at night like this. She’s disrupting the entire house with her loud screams.


This article was so helpful, thank you!


I’m really exhausted from the lack of sleep and need to figure out what will work for our dog. We have a 6 year old of the same breed mix and she has been potty trained, crate trained and bedtime trained to sleep in her own bed separate from our bed in our bedroom. We have adopted a new pup about 7 weeks ago. He’s approximately 2 years and we know nothing of his history before he was rescued from the streets this summer. After two weeks of great nighttime behavior sleeping in his bed outside the crate and inside the crate near our bed, he started having seizures and has been on meds for that. It’s been a struggle getting him properly potty trained and nighttime crate trained to sleep alone without the crying. We’ve let him out late just before sleeping and that worked once. Now he just cries until we give in and bring him into our bed. This has only happened a few times but not without consequence. He can’t be trusted and has jumped out of bed and peed on the carpet and also on the bedroom curtains. One thing I will say is that he does fine in the crate when we put him in during the day for work or when we can’t watch him during dinner, etc. He’s always hesitant to go in but will sit in there quietly and lay down and can even see us when we can’t watch him. I wonder if he is lonely at night? He slept in a large crate with his foster home for a month with 3 other dogs and I wonder if he is missing that companionship. My first dog wants nothing to do with him and I don’t think she ever will. He seems desperate for someone to snuggle and nap with. He will snuggle and snore in our bed with us before bedtime and I wonder if that was a bad habit to start at the beginning. It’s what we normally do with our first dog and she scratches at the end of the bed when she’s ready to be let down and will jump into her chair where her bed is and essentially put herself to bed by around 8ish. It did take a long time to get to that point with her, but she was trained since I brought her home at 10 weeks old. Help!


Hi! Thank you for the great article. I got my dog a year ago and my parents ended up getting one this past May. We were never a dog family so this is all new especially for my parents (I have been around dogs more). For the most part they are kept together, but are crated separately. My dog is very good about the crate and never barks. If I go out and come home late I take my dog with me to my room because that’s where she sleeps. My parents dog then decides to bark all night until one of my parents goes downstairs and sleeps on the couch in the room with her crate. I feel like they shouldn’t be doing that and they need to train her to not behave that way. However they are saying it’s my fault for getting home late, even though that happens maybe twice a month at most. Any advice you could give about how to fix this/stop my parents dog from barking constantly in her crate at night would be amazing. Thank you!


OMG I have had a hard time trying to crate my 2 years old border collie. She likes her crate when I’m close. However, in the moment I leave her alone (even to go in another room), she start crying and barking like crazy.
Okay, we started this today. I couldn’t expect a pro dog, but it’s so hard to me see how uncomfortable she is on there. I wasn’t a super fan of crates, but because she started being destructive when I’m out, I was recommended to insert the crate training… I thought I should strart slow putting her there when I’m home… Am I right? Heeelp plss

Veronica Seitzinger

8 weeks old puppy now home 6 days.
We have a mesh “crate” …. floor sleeping worked 3 nights…..but using it for sleep & play space? I’m confused & exhaustion has set in… my husband is out of town….I stayed on our first floor next to Sammy for 3 nights… I cried first night’! He spent huge amounts of energy trying to escape…I’m confused my husband is out of town frequently….
Comments? We purchased a larger mesh pen for downstairs & plan to keep the smaller one upstairs for nighttime or during times I need to clean/laundry/shower etc. Help?!?!?


Please, stop locking your dogs in crates. People will look back on this practice with shame in the future. All these poor dogs crying and tortured in their little prisons for the convenience of humans. Humans don’t deserve dogs.


My 3 month old German Shepard mix cries every time we put him in crate and poops and pee everywhere in the crate, he won’t sleep or stay in the crate while we r out. We put him out for his business right before bed, he cries and howl very loud…what to do, today I had to go out, I was out for 45 min, when I came back he had pooped and pee all over his crate…….


My boyfriend and I recently adopted a rescue dog from a shelter. He’s a 1 year old australian shepard/huskey. We are keeping him in the kennel at night and when at work because he’s never been in a house before. We walk twice a day, morning and night but he barks all night long. We moved the kennel into the bedroom and have also tried a kennel cover to calm him. We are having a hard time with any training because he’s not treat motivated unless he is in a safe place like a corner or his kennel. We have a very hard time getting him out of the kennel when it’s time for a potty break since he considers it his safe place. Would you recomend we continue to force him out of the kennel for the barking triggered bathroom breaks? We are hesitant to try the cry it out since we are light sleepers (worry about earbuds causeing us to miss alarms) and have a roomate.


My dog used to absolutely scream at night. The trick I used was to put a big stuffed animal or two in the crate with him to imitate his litter mates. He hasn’t cried since. He just needed that connection to not feel as lonely.

Mandy Wilson

New puppy cries in crate


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