How to Deal with Barking when Crate Training

By Jaime Simpkins

Most dogs take to crate training without any problems, even though they would rather stay out of their crate, where they have fun with you. There are some dogs that just don’t want to go in their crate at all and they will bark and whine to try to get you to let them out. Fortunately, this is something that you can fix, although you’re going to need put some time and effort into it. Keeping your dog's crate in the family room may ease some of the barking. Dog crate furniture is a stylish crate that wouldn't take away from the decor of your room if you decide on keeping him in the family room.

The simplest way to handle this is to just ignore it. If your dog isn’t getting what he wants from barking and making a noise, he will eventually give up. The problem with this is that while you are crate training, you will be giving him treats to reward him for going into the crate. If the timing of the treat is a bit off, your dog may associate his barking in the crate with getting a treat. This is definitely not the message you want to give him.

If you want your dog to stop the noise while you are crate training him, you’ll get the best results by teaching him to stop barking as a completely separate behavior.

Before you consider training him to be quiet, you should make sure that there isn’t a genuine reason for his barking, like needing to go to the bathroom or wanting food. You definitely don’t want to teach your dog to be quiet when he actually needs something, unless you like cleaning up a mess.

Assuming that isn’t the case, it’s time to start training your dog to be a little less noisy.

The best way to train a dog is associate his behavior with a reward. It is very important that you never let your dog out of his crate when he’s barking, because he will then associate getting what he wants with barking. Basically, you’d be training him to bark.
Clicker training is a great way to teach your dog to be quiet.

The first step is to spend some clicking and then treating your dog. You want to spend about five minutes at a time doing this, making sure to click and treat as many times as possible within the five minutes. Repeat this 5 minute training session two or three times a day, and your dog will rapidly associate the click with a treat. Once you’ve got him making this connection, it’s time to start training.

Although it won’t be easy, you need to ignore your dog while the whining and begging is going on. As soon as he stops, then you click and treat. Your dog might only stop barking for a minute, so you’ll need to be quick to catch that quiet moment.

This teaches your dog to associate being quiet with getting a reward.
Once he understands what he has to do to get the reward, you will then start to use a word that means “be quiet”. When he is quiet, say the word as you click and treat, and he’ll gradually learn what that word means – “be quiet”!

This isn’t an overnight process, and it does take some time and effort, but teaching your dog to stop barking is going to save you a lot of frustration, and will make crate training a much more pleasant experience.