There are a lot of character traits dogs have that make dog owners see them as family members instead of another species. Our canine friends are cuddy, fun and loyal. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks. One consistent complaint that many pup owners have regardless of the type of dog is the incessant barking.
As any dog owner knows, dogs use barking as their main communication tool. It’s what they know how to do best, and they are frequently proud of it! Some dogs rarely bark at all, while others seem to never stop.
Common situations that cause most dogs to bark include people coming near their owners, anyone stepping on “their” property, and other animals that venture nearby. While barking occasionally, like when the doorbell rings, is to be expected, non-stop barking can cause problems for both you and your dog.
Many owners choose to crate train their new dog. But a crate won’t drown out or stop your dog from barking. But how to stop your dog from barking in crate?
Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog
Many dogs retain the cave instinct of their ancestors. Historically, feral dogs and wolves sought enclosed dens for safety and warmth. This heritage is still in the genes of most breeds of dog, just as the hunting for prey gene remains, even if it shows up as hiding and digging up their bones. While most dog owners provide both warmth and safety to their dogs, the dog still seeks out small spaces to sleep.
For that reason, among many others, pet experts recommend having a crate in your home for your dog to use. Some of the benefits of crates include:
- Crates can help house-train your dog not to potty in the house. In general, dogs won’t ‘mess’ where they sleep. However, the crate isn’t accident-proof. If your dog isn’t partially house-trained already, it won’t know to not use the crate as a bathroom. Dogs should only be in crates for a limited amount of time. Read the guidelines for how long can a dog be in a crate here.
- An unattended dog can get in a lot of trouble. The urge to chew or get into things they know they aren’t supposed to can lead to frustrated owners and timid, afraid dogs. Crates contain your dog to one area where they can’t chew sofas or shoes.
- Eventually, dogs will view their crate as their ‘safe’ place to relax in. In fact, your dog will hopefully start going in their crate all on their own. This is beneficial to pups who have fears we can’t soothe, such as thunderstorms and strangers in the house. They can choose to go to their crate, where they feel safe and in control.
As popular as crates are, they are somewhat misunderstood. Many pet lovers are skeptical of the benefits of crate training. It’s true, you can’t just put your dog in there from day one and shut the door. Some owners use crates as a punishment or a way to keep their pup out of trouble for hours at a time.
But those who train their pups right tout the benefits of crates. While some dogs may immediately take to the crate, most have to be trained to recognize the crate as ‘their’ space. In the meantime, they’ll probably be barking or whining.
Read our tips and tricks for how to crate train a dog.
Why Dogs Bark
Dogs bark. It’s a fact of life. There’s no humane way to ensure that a dog will never bark. Some dogs bark more than others. You won’t know often a dog barks until you’ve already accepted them into your home.
There are many reasons why a dog barks. Seasoned dog owners can decipher the meaning behind a dog’s bark. For novice dog owners, some of the reasons a dog barks include:
- Sick or injured – If a dog is hurt or in danger, they will bark as well as whine and whimper. If you think your dog is barking due to an illness or injury, a vet visit is in order.
- Boredom – Dogs get bored just like people do. They need mental AND physical stimulation to keep them happy. Remember – a tired dog is a good dog.
- Loneliness – Boredom and loneliness often go hand-in-hand for a dog. Dogs are pack animals and want to be around their family as much as possible.
- Protecting their territory – Dogs use their bark to warn off would-be predators, even if it’s just the mailman.
- Fear – If a dog is afraid, they will bark to try to scare away whatever is making them fearful.
- They want something – If a dog wants to go outside, they will bark to let their owners know.
- Separation Anxiety – Many dogs bark when they are left alone due to separation anxiety. However, excessive barking due to separation anxiety (or another reason) can have serious consequences for you and your dog.
The Problem With Excessive Barking
Excessive barking is, sadly, a frequent reason why dogs are dropped off at shelters or otherwise abandoned. Not only is a barking dog an annoyance to you, but it can also lead to housing problems or issues in your neighborhood.
Many apartment complexes, housing co-ops, and even towns have strict nuisance barking laws. That means a dog is only allowed to bark during certain hours. However, how do you explain to a dog that they can only bark between hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.? You can’t.
As a result, some people face the possibility of losing their housing or aggravating their neighbors if their dog barks excessively. The idea of simply getting rid of the dog is unacceptable to pet lovers, as it should be. A dog is part of your family from the start.
Even more pressing, excessive barking is bad for your dog. As mentioned above, it can indicate a serious medical problem or separation anxiety, keyword – anxiety. Barking can stress your dog out and cause them to injure themselves or get sick.
Crate training your dog can help reduce nuisance barking because they will feel more secure. It may be difficult to do at first, but over time, it’s going to reduce your stress of a barking dog. You can find the best dog crate for separation anxiety here.
How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking in Crate
Without proper training, you will face scenarios such as these: your puppy barking in crate, your dog barking in a crate at night, your dog barking in a crate when alone, your dog won’t stop barking in a crate, your dog whining in a crate.
Do you see the common theme? In crates, dogs bark and whine unless properly trained.
Basically, your dog will be barking in kennel a lot. So the question is, how to get a dog to stop barking in a crate? Here’s how:
- Remove the cause of the barking – If your dog is barking at people walking by the window, put up curtains or move the crate away from the window. Remove whatever stimuli is making your dog bark.
- Ignore, ignore, ignore – Acknowledging a dog barking is giving the dog attention it craves, even if you’re yelling. One of the most successful training tactics – be it jumping or barking, is to turn your back and ignore the dog. Once the dog has quieted down, look at them and shower them with praise.
- Reward silence with treats – In addition to verbal praise, small treats are the go-to for any training method. However, only give treats when your dog does meet your goal.
- Teach your dog ‘speak’ and ‘quiet’ – Along with ‘leave it,’ training a dog the ‘quiet’ command is one of the most useful training achievements for dog owners. But before you can teach ‘quiet,’ you have to teach your dog to bark, or ‘speak’ on command. Using treats and the ignore method above, it is a difficult process, but well worth it.
- Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise – If your dog is full of energy, they will likely bark while in the crate. Exercising your dog BEFORE putting them in the crate will increase the likelihood that they will sleep rather than bark.
Dogs Need Structure and Training
When you go to a fellow dog owner’s house and see their well-behaved dog, do you think the dog was born trained? No! The owner put in the hard work, patience and effort to teach their dog proper manners and to obey commands.
Like children, dogs prefer structure and training rather than chaos. It’s your job to ensure your pup is trained and on a structured routine, though. Proper training to curb nuisance barking can help you stay on good terms with your neighbors and your dog, and save you the headache of an incessant barker.
Once you’ve decided to crate-train your dog, figuring out how to stop the dog from barking in crate is your next step.