Dog Whining In Crate All Of A Sudden

Was your dog good in the crate until recently? You probably invested time and effort into getting him used to his crate as a puppy, but somewhere along the road he started complaining about his crate. First of all, don’t worry: It is not a sign that you did anything wrong or that he will always hate his crate! Today we will look at 6 possible reasons he may dislike his crate all of a sudden – as well as how to fix this!

Table of Contents

sleeping young dog

#1 His sleeping schedule changed

Let’s face it – being in a crate is kind of boring. There is not much to do for a dog inside a crate. Dogs that succeed at crate training usually do one thing in there – sleep! The puppy owners that succeed the fastest with crate training are the ones that only put their puppy in when he is tired.

As your dog ages however, his sleeping schedule will change. He will need fewer naps and less sleep overall than when he was a wee little baby. 

If you put a dog that is wide-awake into a crate, chances are he is going to whine and cry. Make sure that your dog is tired and has had some exercise before he goes into the crate. You should never crate your dog after he just woke up – he has way too much excess energy at this point!

Evaluate your pup’s sleep schedule and see if you perhaps need to crate him at different times.

If you got your puppy through a rescue, it is likely that his sleep schedule will change after the first 1-3 weeks in the new home. Rescue dogs often sleep very much initially, but as they adjust to their new home their need for rest decreases.

#2 His eating schedule interferes

Young puppies have to go to the bathroom very frequently. It takes only a few hours for a meal to pass through their digestive system. When you first crate-trained your puppy, you probably adjusted his schedule to these bathroom times. As your dog is aging, his eating schedule will change. His digestion will also mature! If your dog is all of a sudden whining in the crate, it might be that he truly needs to go potty. Take him outside and if he does go, you should adjust your eating and crating schedule based on his new potty habits.


#3 He needs more enrichment

A bored dog is not a good dog! Especially dogs from working breeds require daily exercise, training and mental enrichment. Your dog who whines in the crate may simply be bored. Provide adequate exercise and stimulation for your dog several times a day. Give him puzzle toys, have him do some nosework challenges, teach him a new trick, try out some agility … the list of possibilities is endless! Your dog is not picky – he will enjoy any kind of activity he can do with you.

beagle puppy in a wire crate

#4 His environment is changing

Did anything about the surroundings of your dog’s crate change? Perhaps you moved it into a busier room, or there is construction outside the window. Dogs are creatures of habit, and when things change, their behavior changes as well. If anything about your dog’s crate’s environment is not the same anymore, it is likely that he will whine to let you know, and also because he is uncertain. Find out what might be the reason, and try to restore the original state of your dog’s surroundings!

#5 Something scared him while in the crate

Sometimes dogs get scared while they are in the crate and associate this fear with the crate itself. For example – perhaps somebody in your neighborhood lit some fireworks while your dog was crated. Or a loud thunderstorm happened and your dog was in his kennel. These negative events can be strongly linked to the crate in your dog’s mind. If this is the case, you need to be very patient with your whining dog – he is simply afraid and needs your reassurance. Try to sit with him and comfort him. He needs plenty of positive experiences to once more associate the crate with a place of rest and comfort.

#6 He was crated in a scary place

This point is closely related to the last one. Dogs are often crated in places that are scary for them. If you adopted your dog from the shelter, he likely lived in a kennel there – surrounded by strangers, barking dogs, bright lights, the stench of urine and cleaners. This alone can form a strong negative association for the dog!

But the pound is not the only place at which dogs can get scared of crates. If you had to leave your dog at the vet for a procedure (perhaps even overnight), he would have been kept in a strong kennel there. In addition to going through uncomfortable or even painful exams, your dog is probably very scared that he was kept in a crate in such a foreign place far away from his family. Once more, you need to be very patient with these dogs and get them used to their crate again slowly.

The bottom line

It is not uncommon that dogs that previously did great with crate training suddenly start whining and crying in the crate again. The reasons can be manyfold – from changes in sleep and eating schedule over negative and stressful events to boredom and lack of enrichment. You should generally not ignore any sudden behavior change in your dog – this also applies to crying in the crate.

Brainstorm and try to remember what could have caused the change in your dog. Even subtle changes in the environment that we might not even notice (such as construction on the road in front of your home) can have a profound impact on your dog and his demeanor in the crate.

The good news is that with being patient, adjusting your dog’s schedule if needed and adding extra enrichment and exercise, he will likely soon go back to being great in his kennel.

black and white dog in a crate