How to stop your dog from digging into the couch
Digging is a common problem in dogs. It's often a sign that your dog is looking for something to play with or bury. There are a few things you can do to stop your dog from digging.
First, make sure there are no toys or treats hidden in the couch. This will help your dog learn that digging is not a fun activity.
Second, try to provide your dog with plenty of toys and playtime. This will keep him occupied and out of the couch.
Finally, be sure to train your dog properly. This will help him learn not to dig in the first place.
- Why Do I Need to Crave My Dog?
- Crate Training Expectations: Crying is Normal At First
- Why Do Dogs Crying in Crates?
- Why You Shouldn't Punish a Crying Dog in the Crate
- How to Teach Your Dog Not to Cry in His Crate
- Step One: Make the Crate a Wonderful Place to Be!
- Step Two: Before Crate Time, Exercise Your Puppy
- Step Three: Teach your dog that crying will result in potty breaks.
- Step Four: Avoid Making These Common Dog Crate Training Errors
- Allowing dogs to "cry it out" is ineffective.
- Crate Training Alternatives: Is a Crate Necessary?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Crying Dogs in Crates
- Should I ignore my dog's crate whining?
- How long should you leave your puppy in his crate?
- Should I allow my puppy to cry in his crate at night?
- Should I let my puppy scream?
- How do I keep my dog from digging holes in the couch?
- What causes my dog to dig into the couch?
Giving a dog more attention is one way to stop it from digging because a dog will dig to entertain itself, release physical energy, or get attention from its owner. Try playing with toys, going for walks, or letting your dog socialize at a dog park. If you catch your dog digging, ignore it and, once it's finished, block off the area so it can't get to the hole. If your dog continues to dig, enroll it in a basic training class to learn how to respond to commands, which will make it easier to control its behavior. Continue reading the article to learn more from our Veterinarian co-author, such as how to make a safe area for your dog to dig with a sandbox.
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You're thrilled with your new puppy, but he's been crying in his crate for five hours. You didn't get any sleep last night and are completely exhausted. You're not sure if you want to be a dog owner if this is what it's like.
This is a common issue for new puppy owners. Dogs who cry in their crates at night are exhausting to deal with, and many of the solutions available seem ineffective.
Don't worry, we'll go over how to get your dog to calm down and stop whining in the crate without losing your mind.
Why Do I Need to Crave My Dog?
If your dog has been crying a lot in the crate, you may be wondering if crate training is worth all the trouble. While it is not required, crate training can be extremely beneficial to both you and your dog in the long run.
Crate training can be useful in the following situations::
- Reduced destruction when you are unable to supervise your dog
- Help with puppy potty training
- When bringing home a second dog, give an adult dog time away from a new puppy.
- Allowing a resource-guarding dog to eat in peace and safety
- Keeping a nervous or suspicious dog away from visitors or small children
All dogs should be at least familiar with the crate in order to reduce stress if they must be confined for travel or medical reasons. However, crate training has some drawbacks, including the fact that many dogs cry or bark in their crates.
Crate Training Expectations: Crying is Normal At First
Crate training young puppies usually takes several weeks.
Most puppies under the age of 16 or 20 weeks (4-5 months) will not be able to tolerate being in the crate for more than a few hours. Young puppies simply do not have the bladder control to stay in the crate for long periods of time, and they instinctively cry when left alone.
As a foster dog parent, I anticipate dogs crying in their crates for the first few nights. Because these untrained dogs cannot be trusted in the house, I crate them.
However, I no longer recommend simply letting dogs "cry it out.".”
It's normal for dogs to cry when they're first placed in a plastic or wire crate, but the "cry it out" method of crate training is becoming increasingly obsolete. Rather than simply letting your dog cry it out, we'll go over what you can do to help them calm down.
When crate training a dog, it is critical that you have realistic expectations. Expect some sleepless nights, just like with a new baby.
Most dogs eventually learn to be quiet in the crate, but what can we do to help them learn? Crying in the crate can be a real issue, especially if you live in an apartment or are a light sleeper.
If you're just getting started with crate training, be sure to read our comprehensive guide!
Why Do Dogs Crying in Crates?
The good news is that your dog is not actively attempting to disrupt your sleep or cause you to be evicted!
However, there are a number of reasons why dogs bark or cry in their crates. Fortunately, the treatment for the majority of these underlying causes is the same.
There are several reasons why your dog may be crying in his crate.:
Your dog is lonely. If your dog is by your side when you're at home but is locked in a crate when you leave the house or go to bed, he's probably crying because he misses you. These dogs usually settle down, but they may start crying again if you move around.
Your dog is bored. Crates can be a rather dull place. Dogs that bark at everything all day are probably bored and in need of some stimulation.
Your dog is scared. Some dogs are fine being separated from you but are terrified of the crate. They may dislike the feeling of confinement.
Your dog must be let out of the crate. Almost all dogs who cry in their crates want to get out. However, there are times when a dog needs to be let out of his crate. If a normally quiet crate-trained dog begins whining, he may be sick to his stomach or need to pee - he's trying to tell you that he needs to go outside. Look for a reason why your dog is normally quiet in the crate but suddenly begins to cry.
All of the reasons listed above are perfectly normal crate-training issues that can be easily remedied with some training and management. This is not the same as true separation anxiety.
When dogs with separation anxiety are left alone, they panic. To help with their condition, these dogs will require long-term management, training, and even dog anxiety medication.
Separation anxiety in dogs is common.:
- Dig at the crate
- Bite the crate
- Chew the crate’s bars
- Ram into the crate and take other drastic measures to escape the crate
To deal with your dog's separation anxiety and keep them safe, you may want to consider an especially durable, strong dog crate - but this is not a cure for a panicking dog. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety require training and assistance.
Dogs with separation anxiety do not feel better outside of the crate and frequently have difficulty being left behind no matter where they are left. They won't eat, drink, or relax, and may even injure themselves in an attempt to get back at you.
If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, consult a trainer or veterinary behaviorist, and don't forget to check out our Separation Anxiety Training Plan!
Why You Shouldn't Punish a Crying Dog in the Crate
When your dog whines, barks, or howls in his crate, it's tempting to scold him. For several reasons, it is best not to punish the dog.:
- Your dog may be nervous already. If your dog is crying out of fear, yelling at him will not help. You are your dog's protector, and he entrusts his life to you. Yelling at him when he's scared may erode his trust. He may stop crying because he is now even more terrified, but you haven't really solved the problem.
- Punishment attracts the attention of a bored dog. If your dog is barking because he is bored, you may be entertaining him by scolding him! He may temporarily quiet down because he is interested in the commotion going on around him.
- Even negative attention may serve as a reward for the dog. Many dogs, like children, cry for attention in their crates. You've just given them the attention they crave if you come over to the crate and scold them. They will stop barking for the time being, but this is a surefire way to ensure that the dog will continue to bark in the future.
Even if it's difficult, try not to become frustrated with a crying dog in the crate. There are some better alternatives for teaching your dog not to cry in his or her crate.
How to Teach Your Dog Not to Cry in His Crate
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your dog stop crying in his crate. Many of these fixes are minor adjustments that can make a significant difference for your crying, crated pet.
Step One: Make the Crate a Wonderful Place to Be!
Crate training works best when the crate is properly set up. Before you try to persuade your dog to sleep in the crate, make sure it's a safe place for him to be.
- Leave treats in the crate. You can divert your dog's attention by placing stuffed, frozen Kongs in his plastic or wire crate. This simple fix will come in handy! I keep four or five stuffed Kongs in my freezer at all times. That way, whenever I go out for errands, I can just throw a Kong in the crate with Barley! Freezing them makes them last a lot longer!.
- Feed dinner in the crate. I enjoy feeding dogs in their crates. Instead of leaving their bowl on the kitchen floor, I simply feed dinner to them in the crate. You can either leave the dogs in the crate with their dinner or let them out after dinner. In any case, this is a simple way to begin forming a positive association between your dog and the crate!
- Put toys in the crate. My dog is a squeaky toy fiend, so I used to keep his toys in the crate. He was rewarded for going into the crate with a quick game. It was wonderful to see him start to want to go into the crate on his own!
- Make the crate comfy. Make the crate as comfortable as possible by including a crate mat, a safe chew toy, and something that smells like you!
- Check that the crate is the correct size. The crate must be properly sized for the dog. Your dog should have enough space to turn around and stand up comfortably, but not much more!
- Place the crate in a public area. Because they are lonely, many dogs cry in their crates. A simple solution for these dogs is to keep the crate near the bed in your bedroom at night. If the crate does not fit in your bedroom, sleep on the floor or on the couch near the crate and gradually progress to your final sleeping arrangement. This is similar to what many parents do with their young babies; they don't start with the baby sleeping in his own room upstairs and across the house; instead, they gradually increase the baby's independence.
Some trainers advise playing crate training games to teach your dog that the crate is a safe place to be. I no longer recommend this because it may teach your dog that being in the crate is exciting, whereas we want the crate to be a relaxing environment.
Step Two: Before Crate Time, Exercise Your Puppy
The next step in successful puppy crate training is - drumroll please - exercise. If your dog is still energetic when you put him in the crate, he will have a difficult time settling down. This is especially true for adolescent dogs (those aged 6 to 18 months).
Before attempting to put your dog in the crate, make sure he has gotten enough exercise for his age and breed.
Running around the backyard for a few minutes may suffice for a young puppy. However, an adolescent Labrador retriever (or other working breed) may require an hour or more of exercise before it's time for the crate.
Before I leave for work, my five-year-old border collie usually gets a three to ten-mile run or a twenty-minute nosework session. It's no surprise that I lost weight after adopting him!
Before being left in the crate, most adult dogs require at least a 20- to 30-minute walk.
Check out our list of dog games and suggestions for activity walks for ideas on how to properly tire out your pup.
Step Three: Teach your dog that crying will result in potty breaks.
The conventional wisdom in dog training regarding whether or not to let your dog "cry it out" is changing."The truth is that this method does not work for all dogs.". What can we do if we can't punish them and ignoring them doesn't work?
We can teach our dogs that crying in their crates results in a potty break and nothing else.
But wait, you say, doesn't that reward my dog for crying in his crate?
In a way, yes.
And it isn't the end of the world. Finally, I'd rather have a dog who whines in his crate when he truly needs to go to the bathroom than a dog who understands that crying won't get him anything. That's what's known as learned helplessness, and it's not good!
So, instead of trying to ignore your crying puppy for five hours, I want you to take him out when he cries in his crate. Here’s how it goes:
- Carry him outside or attach a leash to him.
- Stand in one spot outside for no more than two minutes. Don't talk to, play with, or even look at him. Just wait.
- If he goes potty, reward him with a treat and return him to his crate. Put him back in the crate if he doesn't potty. No talking, no playing. Just a quick potty break.
Your dog will quickly realize that crying in the crate results in no affection, comfort, playtime, or anything other than an extremely boring potty break. This will teach your puppy to ask for a potty break when he needs one, rather than continuing for hours because he's bored.
This method usually only takes a few repetitions for your dog to "get it."."You don't have to wait for your dog to be quiet before letting him out; simply take him out if he fusses.".
This method has several significant advantages for teaching dogs not to cry in their crates.:
It teaches your dog what to do and how to get the things he requires.
It teaches your dog that you can provide him with potty access and that you will not ignore his needs.
Your dog does not spend hours in the crate crying, effectively reinforcing the behavior.
You save yourself the stress of ignoring a crying dog, and your dog saves himself the stress of not knowing why you're ignoring him.
You avoid having to break down and let your dog out after hours of crying (which teaches your dog to cry for hours).
You're doing something to help your dog instead of simply ignoring a dog who is upset and crying for help.
Step Four: Avoid Making These Common Dog Crate Training Errors
With so much contradictory information available, it's easy to become confused when working on crate training puppies or adult dogs. Should you squirt your dog with water when he cries, ignore him, or take him out for a potty break?
It's perplexing, but it'll be easier if you focus on step three's instructions and avoid these common crate training mistakes.:
Being inconsistent. Stick with whatever method you choose. I recommend that you teach your puppy that crying results in a boring potty break. However, if the cry-it-out method is working for you, stick with it. Combining the cry-it-out method with the boring-potty method will confuse your dog and slow progress.
Please avoid using punishment in any case; we've already discussed why it's not the best solution to this problem.
Leaving your dog for an extended period of time that he cannot handle. Don't try to leave your Chihuahua or Australian Cattle Dog puppy in the crate for an entire eight-hour workday if he can only hold his bladder for four hours. This means that you may need to seek crate training assistance at first in order to allow your puppy to go outside frequently enough.
If you can't get crate training assistance, leave your puppy in an ex-pen with potty pads for as long as his training and bladder can withstand.
Teach your puppy that crying attracts attention. You can cause a huge problem if you skip the "boring" part of the boring-potty method. Maintain your plan of taking your puppy directly outside, ignoring him for two minutes, and then returning him to his crate. Anything more may teach your puppy that crying in his crate earns him playtime, affection, or attention, which we do not want.
Allowing dogs to "cry it out" is ineffective.
I used to recommend letting dogs cry it out, but I can assure you that this does not work for all dogs. Some dogs scream for hours every night for weeks. That is unsustainable for humans and extremely stressful for dogs.
This method is far more gentle on both you and your dog.
It may take several repetitions to teach your dog that crying in the crate results in nothing more than a very boring potty break. But if your dog continues to cry as soon as you close the crate door, don't keep doing what isn't working!
He requires something that you do not provide.
Return to the basics for constant criers who aren't improving with potty breaks and continue to cry after 10-15 minutes in the crate, even after all of their basic needs have been met. Is your dog getting enough exercise? Does he have a frozen Kong to chew on? Do you leave him alone for too long?
You may have a long road ahead of you when working with dogs who have a difficult time in the crate. Return to the first and second steps. If you're having trouble with your crate training, try switching to a different crate, using a crate alternative (see below), or hiring a trainer to troubleshoot your crate training.
Crate Training Alternatives: Is a Crate Necessary?
While crate training can help with potty training or destruction issues, you shouldn't leave your dog in a crate every day for the rest of his life.
If you and your dog are having difficulty, consider why you are using the dog crate. Could you be using something else for the same purpose? If you don't have any upcoming travel plans, medical procedures, or situations that necessitate the use of a crate, consider other options.
Crate training alternatives include the following.:
- Exercise Pens. An exercise pen (also known as an ex-pen) is my preferred solution for dogs who dislike the crate but cannot be trusted outside of it. Most dogs thrive in more space and are less likely to get into mischief.
- Gates. Indoor dog gates can be used to safely confine your dog to a specific area of your home, such as a laundry room or bathroom. Choose a room with easy-to-clean flooring that still gives your pup enough space to feel at ease. This provides all of the benefits of a crate, but without the bulky cage!
If you need to persevere with crate training but are having difficulty, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your dog in doggie daycare. These options are best for dogs who cry during the day but are ineffective for dogs who bark all night.
Getting your dog out of the crate and keeping sessions brief will aid in training him to love the crate!
You may only need to crate your dog a few times a year, or you may need to crate your dog every day while you are at work. Regardless of how frequently you crate your dog, you don't want them to be unhappy the entire time!
Do you have a crate-crying dog? Let us know if this article helped! We love feedback!
Frequently Asked Questions About Crying Dogs in Crates
Should I ignore my dog's crate whining?
While some whining is normal when a dog is first placed in their crate, we do not recommend simply leaving your dog in the crate if the crying continues after 10-15 minutes. Your dog is crying because they are distressed and unhappy in their crate.
We recommend only taking your crying dog out for a quick potty break and no other fun activities. Crying can get the puppy to go potty, but nothing else.
If your dog continues to cry in his crate on a regular basis, it's time to go back to basics and work on crate training games and gradual desensitization until he's more comfortable in the crate. You might also want to consider adding frozen Kongs, chews, or licking mats to help your dog relax while inside the crate.
How long should you leave your puppy in his crate?
You should not leave your dog in the crate crying for more than 10-15 minutes. If they are still crying on a regular basis after this time, take a step back and focus more on crate desensitization games to help them develop a positive association with the crate.
Should I allow my puppy to cry in his crate at night?
No, we do not recommend leaving your dog in his crate at night to cry. If your dog consistently cries in his crate at night, try increasing his physical and mental enrichment before putting him in the crate for the night. Also, try relocating the crate next to your bed, as some dogs are much more comfortable when they are physically close to you.
Should I let my puppy scream?
We do not recommend allowing your puppy to cry it out. Some dogs will cry for days, weeks, or months if you ignore them because they are in severe distress. If your dog is crying for more than 10-15 minutes in the crate, it's time to focus your efforts on making them feel safer and more comfortable in the crate, rather than ignoring their needs.