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Crate Training and Screaming

3723 Views 24 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  TrentL
So Gunner has been here 3 nights.. each getting better but my goodness does he have a set of lungs! The minute he is put into his crate he does a blood curdling scream. He was beside our bed but we reluctantly had to put him in the kitchen because it seemed like he knew we were there and was crying out to us while in the bedroom. After I put him in the kitchen, I sat around the corner and he whimpered a bit but didn't scream. He doesn't like his crate and even if we put toys and treats in it, he won't go in. I hate to just sit there and let him cry but I know its for no reason. He doesn't have to potty when he does this because I take him out and he does both. Should I start feeding him in his crate? He loves his food, so I figured if he got fed in there he would like it. Or do I just let him cry himself to sleep?
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I faced a sort of similar situation a couple of weeks ago and got some great advice from the people in this forum. Here's the link to that thread:

Few things that worked for me:
1) crating during the daytime: the ignore advice
2) crating at night: having the crate next to my bed, lying down on the floor next to the crate with my pillow until Wolfie dozed off a bit, afterwards when I am in bed whenever he whimpered I just put my fingers inside the crate so that he could sniff them (he usually settled down after that)

Another thing I tried to get him used to the crate during the daytime was having the crate door open, say kennel up, gently put him inside, treat him, have him come out immediately, treat him again. I think I did that over and over for almost an hour it seems. He did need to be physically put inside though most of the time during that exercise.

Wolfie gets a treat every single time he gets into his crate. I buy the Nutro Max Puppy biscuits. He seems to really like those and the only time he gets them is when he has to go inside his crate.

Regarding the ignore advice, the yowling was just horrifying and I'm sorry, I couldn't just stay in the house and ignore it. So during the daytime, what I did was this: crated him, gave him his biscuit, put a toy and a rawhide in it (he LOVES rawhide) and left the house for an hour. I could hear him hollering as I pulled out of the garage. When I pulled into the garage, I could still hear him (much less noise this time). The minute my key touched the door though he was quiet, so I let him out. Over the next few days, whenever he was crated, I realized he was keeping quieter and quieter (I would sneak back to the side of the house to snoop). He would start whining whenever he heard the garage door open on my way back but keep quiet when the key touched the door. Now, he stays quietly in his crate all throughout.

Hope this helps! And best of luck with the crating!
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Congratulations on Gunner -- he is so handsome!

Have you read "Before you get your puppy" by Dr. Dunbar on

Our baby is only to be born so I can only refer to the resource I was impressed with ..

Best regards,
play games around the crate, keep a real happy upbeat voice when working with him, play a chase game that ends at the crate (him chasing you, not the other way around). Make sure you reward him if he even looks at the crate. Ava would howl, cry and scream. Now when I say "kennel" she races for her crate and waits for me to close it. If I'm too slow, she will come find me, then race back. Also, try wrapping a wind up clock in a towel and place in the crate with him, this helped Ava. Good luck!
oh my, my pup is 11 weeks now and is still screaming bloody murder when first crated. I tried to do the short intervals and build up, but she still hasn't taken to it. We've been working on this for about 4.5 weeks now. However, the screaming stops after about 5 mins, which is just fine for me. Also I've noticed that if she is sleep, and I pick her up and put her in the crate, she'll just lay down and go back to sleep with out all of the phanfare.
THIS IS MY BIGGEST FEAR IN 7 WEEKS! I am dreading this.... i got lucky with my previous 2 dogs as they were quiet from day one. Please have mercy on me gsd pup! LOL
That's my problem. My last dog never made a sound unless he was playing or someone came to the door. I tried picking him up and putting him in his crate while he was asleep and he immediately cried when he realized he was in the crate. I tried putting treats in there but after he finished, he screamed again.
Let's look at plan B - No Crate! (OMG! Blasphamy!) What about just tethering your pup to the bed when you sleep with a 4 ft tether? Try another confinement for day time instead of the crate.
Welcome to puppyhood. I looked forward to going to work (nights) just so I didnt have to listen to Bear. You would have thought we were killing him. What worked really well for us was to just put him in the crate and leave. Everytime we came home he was asleep. After that he was fine. He still has his moments tho.......
just stick with crating. The screaming will lessen as the pup realizes that screaming does no good. Just hang in there!
For those who haven't brought home their dogs yet, what I do when my puppies come home is the first two nights, I sleep on the floor next to the crate. I make sure that the puppy has been 1. fed 2. pottied 3. doesn't have fans on him or anything else that might upset him (a slight breeze from a ceiling fan and a box fan while you're lying on the bed can feel like a hurricane when you're a small pup on the floor). 4. stuffed animals in the crate and soft bedding 5. isn't thirsty.

I know a lot of people say don't give the puppy water hours before he goes to sleep. Here's my read on it. You're going to be up a couple times a night because pup has a tiny bladder anyhow. Why put a tiny THIRSTY puppy to bed? He'll be miserable. Let him drink water, especially now, when it's hot out. Also, leave a small light on. Some breeders don't leave their puppies in complete darkness (ask the breeder). And even if they do, your pup is entering a fear stage. Your pup might be afraid of the dark.

Then for the first two nights, I sleep on the floor. next to the puppy's crate. In my case, I take my big dog's beds, put them together, toss a comforter on them, and actually sleep pretty well. My head is right next to puppy's crate. I don't let puppy out of his crate because I know that I've checked off boxes 1 through 5 above. He's fine. Usually, the pup whimpers about 15 minutes and falls asleep. When he whines because he has to potty, I'm right there to hear it, and we get potty training off to a great start.

Night # 3, puppy goes to sleep without me lying next to him, but when I put him to bed, I make sure that I stay in the room (as Dh and I are getting ready for bed) and we talk the whole time. We don't talk to puppy. We just talk so that he knows we're there. Fans are still turned off, and the small light is still left on for now. After about a week, I'll put puppy to bed on his own, but the fans are turned off and the light is left on. By week 3, puppy can go to bed with the light off. It's a harsh transition from the whelping box to a whole new family in a whole new house, so I do it in steps.

My dogs always get bedtime snacks. Even my senior. We announce 'Bedtime!" and everyone runs into his crate or her bed. If you're in the hallway, you better move quick or you'll be trampled. So yeah, puppy learns to love getting into her crate for the snacks. And she sees that the Big Kids go to bed quickly and easily too.

I really think a lot of it is about how we approach it. If you were just plunked into a new country, wouldn't you kind of panic? Wouldn't you prefer that someone helped you transition in steps? I'm not saying that you should let the puppy out of the crate or give in to him. I don't even talk to my pup once she's in her crate, unless I am positive she is doing a "potty scream." (Sometimes, bladders don't empty the first try, or they pee, but don't poop when they need to.)

But check air conditioning vents and fans. Turn them off or at least, make sure they absolutely aren't blowing on the pup. With my current puppy and my last two puppies, fans blowing on them (or too much air indirectly blowing on them) would make them SCREAM more than any other thing. Being thirsty would make them whine inconsolably. If you're giving snacks or food but not water, your pup is likely thirsty. Yeah, you'll have to get up once more during the night. But you'll be able to sleep more overall, because your pup isn't screaming.

Look at the world from your pup's point of view. Look at everything that could be affecting your puppy. Flapping draperies? Sharp lights from street lights shining right into the crate? High pitched noises (any whirring sounds, buzzing noises, etc)? Loud thumping bass coming from the TV room? You and your adult dogs may have become used to these sounds, but to puppy, this is a Brave New World. We need to introduce him to these slowly. I've had my pup 4 weeks. She goes to bed by herself every night. The fans are on low. And there's no commotion. We got off to a good start. Not because I'm a great trainer. I just believe in a nice gentle transition. If your pup hates her crate, start all over. It will take longer, but I've done this with adult rescue dogs. They just want to know that your home is a safe and comfortable place to be, 24/7. It can be done.
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Last night was fairly uneventful. I let him sleep on the floor beside my bed from 10-12.. He woke up and played until 1 and then we put him in the crate and he slept until 5am with only minor whimpering.. I put him back in his crate and the screaming started again but slept until 9. Hopefully in the next two weeks he'll be okay and only cry when he has to potty.
Just hang in there! I am worried sick about my puppy doing this when I bring him home in september. I have no other worries except this, simply because I live in a low rise condo and dont want them to complain.
Hello...Our little Yeager ( 8 week old GSD ) was sleeping in his crate beside my bed, only screamed during the night to go outside ( 2--3 times ). Now he is in the family room and still screams 1--2 times during the night , I can hear the little guy and we go outside. During the day when we are home he has the run of the house , soon to be just the kitchen and family room. We have two other recue dogs, Angus ( 7 year old Dane and St. Bernard mix ) and also Oddie ( 3 year old GSD mix ) both make wonderful baby sitters they all play and get along.
I cannot get Jaeger to stop screaming like he is dying while in the crate. He makes the loudest sound I have ever heard a dog make! We've tried wearing him out, treats in the crate, lying by the crate...he simply goes insane when separated from the rest of the pack. We've been letting him sleep on the bed at night, but it won't be long before two people and a GSD in a full sized bed will be too much.

I think tonight I will try bringing his crate to the bedroom and setting it up between my side of the bed and the dog bed where our oldest dog sleeps. She is a very smart part GSD mutt and is very good with the pup (she has raised both dogs and cats with me and is a pro). Think good thoughts for us! It would sure be nice if we could get him to tolerate limited crating!
I am SO thankful that we don't have this issue with Grim! He may whimper for a couple seconds (and I'm not exaggerating on the time), then all is quiet. He's slept through the night with a clean crate every night so far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this continues! Not all pups are the same, so for those waiting don't worry about what hasn't happened yet. You may luck out like I did!
Yeah the first night Draven slept tethered to to the couch which I slept on but he had an accident (I didn't hear him whine)

Input the crate down Nd put him in it and slept on the couch still but he was right against the couch and could sniff my hand that i left near the crate

Took him seconds and settled down and slept

But when we crate him in another room where he can only hear us another story
I would love some advice about our sweetheart. He's nine weeks, doesn't mind his crate and often goes in on his own with a toy. However, he's a terror and often needs a little time to cool down. How much crate time is humane. He's out of his crate almost all the time but today I put him in for a half hour to rest and he did. He's fine at night. He's whining to go out to poop and in between time gets taken out regularly but still has widdle accidents in the kitchen. Should he be crated more or are we on the right track? We are on a split shift as he is my son's dog and the pup adores him. He loves me but I'm gran and the softie, or so he thinks. When my son goes off to work usually late afternoon, our Shadow gets very upset and cries and wants to go looking for his soulmate. When he's over that, he's into everything and it's often relentless. I chase after him to get him to stop chewing one thing and within seconds he's off chewing another. He's got toys and we use the distraction ploy a lot.

Any pearls of wisdom would be gratefully received. Are we being too soft and he should be in his crate more or does that impinge on his puppy exuberance.
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You want just enough crate time to assure that the pup is alive and still has a home! ;) Puppies do get crate time. It assures they grow up to be dogs. (It keeps them out of mischief & keeps the owners 1/2 way sane.)
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