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Q&A: Will My Puppy Ever Learn to Like His Crate?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

While there are many strategies for reducing anxiety in dogs, some breeds will never do well crated.

While there are many strategies for reducing anxiety in dogs, some breeds will never do well crated.

My Dog Hates His Crate! How Can I Help Him Relax?

"My puppy cannot relax in his crate. I spent a month gradually increasing time away to an hour, but it always required 15–30 minutes of prep...getting up and sitting down, etc.

Summer is over and things are busier and I no longer have time for the prep before, so he's back to freaking out—can't notice a kong or anything in his crate, just barking, pacing, panting and sweaty paws. I've put on relaxing music, have the hormone diffuser, and just got a sonic bark deterrent.

Is there anything else I should do? Will he ever be able to relax?" —Nicole

Crates Are Unnatural Environments for Dogs

The truth is that crates are very unnatural for dogs, which are social animals. People are also social animals and do not do well when locked into solitary confinement. Some do better than others, but some end up having panic attacks and psychotic breaks.

This goes against what a lot of dog trainers now suggest, but it is the truth. It is not only puppies that cry all night when locked away from their family.

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Read More From Pethelpful

How to Reduce Anxiety in Dogs

If your living conditions require you to keep your dog in a crate, there are some things you can try to help reduce crate anxiety.

I wrote an article on 18 ways to calm an anxious dog, and the reason there are so many is that not all of them work. You have tried music and a hormone diffuser, but there are still other methods.

Calming Treats or Medication

Since you know that the Kong is not working, you can try several calming treats. From your description, though, it sounds like you may need medication. You can discuss ways to treat separation anxiety with your local veterinarian.

If you find that your puppy is too "doped up" on the mood-altering drugs that he is prescribed, go back and talk to your veterinarian and ask about trying something else. As you can see from the list on the article, there are many alternatives you can try.

Consider Doggy Daycare

Please be aware that some breeds will never do well crated and need to be left at a daycare if the owners have to work all day.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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