My Dog Barks Non-Stop in His Kennel – What Should I Do?

dog barks non stop in crate

Many dogs struggle a lot with crate training. How should you respond when your dog barks non-stop in his kennel?

In today’s Ask a Behavior Consultant, we’re tackling the following query from our reader:

“My 7 month old Chihuahua -I just got him this Saturday- wont stop barking in his kennel, we’ve tried everything. I’ve put a blanket over his kennel, ignored him and everything. If we don’t get this together I’m going to have to get rid of him, please help.”

– Sincerely, Non-Stop Barker

If you’re dealing with a dog who pulls extremely hard on leash, be sure to check out the following resources from Journey Dog Training:

I’ve crate trained a lot of dogs, and I know firsthand how hard it can be to deal with a dog who barks non-stop in his kennel.

I’m glad that our reader being so proactive by seeking help for her dog’s crate-barking problem right away. That said, I hope she’s able to work through it for at least a week or two.

When she wrote to me, she’d only had the dog for three days. Fixing most behavior problems will take more time than that!

Let’s get into how to teach a dog to stop barking in his kennel.

How to Stop a Dog from Barking Non-Stop in His Kennel

This owner said that she’d tried putting a blanket over the dog’s kennel and ignoring the dog. Those techniques are quite common. They also are not always the best tactics.

Sure, some dogs will quiet down when their kennel is dark. Other dogs will give up if their barking is ignored. But many dogs don’t give up so easily! Here’s what I’d suggest doing instead:

  1. Make the crate an awesome place to be. Use puzzle toys and Karen Overall’s Relaxation protocol to teach your dog to quietly and calmly hang out in the crate.  
  2. Consider using an exercise pen instead of a crate. Some dogs just do better with more space! And who can blame them? Crates are tiny. Exercise pens or baby-gated rooms give your dog the ability to play, sleep, drink, or even use the bathroom if you give her a puppy litter box. Much better, right?
  3. Build up your dog’s crate tolerance. You don’t start marathon training with a 25-mile run. You start with 3 miles, maybe less. If your goal is a crate-trained dog, start with 1- minute training sessions (or less in some cases). If your dog is crying in the crate, you’re moving too fast.
    • That said, there are probably going to be times where life dictates another schedule. That’s where the next step comes in.
  4. If your dog starts to fuss in the crate, let her out right away. Take her outside to go to the bathroom. Wait outside with her on leash for 2 minutes. Then go back inside. Don’t scold her or play with her. You’re totally ignoring your dog, other than the fact that you’re on the other end of the leash! Just show her that crying gets her a potty break, nothing more. If she goes to the bathroom, great! If not, that’s ok too.
    • This teaches your dog that she can get a bathroom break by crying (a great skill), avoids teaching your dog how to cry for hours on end, and avoids rewarding your dog with social attention for crying.
  5. When you return inside, give your dog something to distract her. Put her back in her crate or exercise pen, but give her something else to do. Puzzle toys are great for this.
  6. Only let her out of the crate for playtime or cuddles when she’s quiet. If you want, you can release your pup as soon as she quiets down. Or you can wait until the end of your nap – but try to only release her from the crate for fun times when she’s quiet. This avoids rewarding your dog for making a fuss.

Crate training can be a total drag. If you don’t travel or do dog sports, you might not really need to crate train your dog. But if crate training is a must for your house, this is how I do it.

What to do if your dog barks non-stop in his crate? Click through to learn my 6 tips to train your dog how to relax and stop barking in his kennel. #cratetraining #dogtraining journeydogtraining.com

Comments 54

  1. I’m trying to teach a dog that a kennel is a safe space not punishment or abuse.
    I just rescued a dog who was only kept in a kennel with its previous owners an they would bang on the kennel when he would bark.
    A kennel is a good fit for our house an for him at the moment cuz we are also house training due to using a pee pad.
    Will these tips still work or should I find another approach.
    Today is day 2 we are leaving the kennel door open all day an when he goes in on his own to lay down we praise an give a treat.

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      1. My puppy is 11 weeks and since I’m staying at my sisters she’s in the pin and she will sleep for hours but then she just won’t stop whining or barking n I need some help on how to stop that so she doesn’t wake up my nephew Bc he is 6 and goes to school I’ve tried everything n she’s driving me nuts

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    2. Help! I’m having similar issues as Georgia! I adopted a puppy I fostered. I had her and her littermate for 3 weeks. Both were just under 8 weeks and slept together in a play pen. When her littermate left I started crate training. She does okay in the crate as long as I’m in sight. When I leave she will continue barking and crying for hours and hours. I’ve had her alone for two weeks. The barking never stops or gets better. I’ve tried leaving for smaller amounts of time and rewarding her if she doesn’t bark. We’re not making much progress. What do I do?

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        Does she stay relaxed in the crate while you’re in the room? If so, I’d practice crate training while you cook dinner or watch TV to start!

      2. I am having a similar problem is he is only two months old and he slept in the crate for an hour while they were other dogs in other crate but as soon as they left he starts howling he eats in there and he’ll take treats in there and he’ll lay in there when it’s open but he won’t stay in there and not cry or whine

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    3. This who idea does not help me. The dog in question is my roommates dog. He leaves her in a crate, and she barks none stop, for as long as he’s gone. She is too big for me to take out of her crate and then put back in. What do I do? I even tried classical music. Nothing works. Please help.

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  2. I adopted a rescue pup 5 days ago. He’s 13 wks old. He does ok in the kennel as long as I’m in site. If he can’t see me he barks and scratches at the crate. I’ve tried peanut butter frozen in a kong(lasted 5 mins) some of my clothing, towels, and his toys in crate. I sit by the crate 5 min after he lays down, but as soon as I sneak out he starts barking. He exercises before crate time. He’s fine at night as the crate is next to the bed and he can see me. HELP! I don’t want him crying on end when I have to leave for Dr. Appts. Thank you

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  3. I have a golden doodle and he barks when I put him in the kennel outside. He barks when someone comes to the door.
    He does not bark otherwise. He was re-homed because they did not have time for him. I am a widow and enjoy his company.
    I want to be able to put him in the kennel when I have to go somewhere. What would be a good way of training him to stop
    barking?

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  4. I recently tried this and not making much progress. His barking has been going on for over 6 months now. I live in an apartment and have gotten complaints about him. He’s calmed down more than he has before but as soon as I leave the house and he hears the lock click, he starts up.

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      It sounds like that could be more related to being alone than being in the crate – is that true? If so, separation anxiety treatment may be more helpful than just crate training.

  5. I recently just got a puppy, she is a mini aussie, lab, catahola dog. She is 4 months old and has a really hard being in her crate by herself. She will cry and bark non stop when left in her crate with no one around. I have been on a consistant schedule with her and has been following how to do it, yet she is still not a fan of the crate. How to I get her to not bark in the crate?

  6. I have a 6 month old female greyhound mix. I have used the crate since I got her at 3 months. She barks and heavy pants and whines while in the crate . I feed her in the crate with the door open and she will nap in the crate and sleep in the crate so long as the door is open. I will place puzzle toys and treats in the crate and
    She will not eat them if the door is closed. Once I open the door she grabs the treats and eats them outside the crate. I don’t know how to get her to like the crate door shut. I have also tried the crate covered and uncovered. It’s less noisy for me with it covered honestly.

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      Hi Rosa, how does she react with the door closed if you’re sitting right next to her? Could you get her to lick some peanut butter from a spoon if you were right there?

      1. I have the exactly the same problem, he would lick the PB and stay quiet if I am there but if I leave will start barking, only if the door is closed. If it’s open he doesn’t mind and even sleeps there for himself.

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          It sounds like we might be needing to take smaller steps! Try closing the door for 1 second, then returning. Or closing the door halfway before returning. It’s incremental progress, but in the long run it’ll be faster!

  7. Hi Kayla! Thanks for your helpful suggestions and resources! We’ve got a 16 week old border collie pup (so fun). She’s great in the crate at night or whenever we’re both in the other room. She’s extremely vocal about her displeasure that she’s in the crate if we’re both in the same room as the crate doing something else. She gets lots of exercise, love, playtime, training time–but we’re two people working from home in a one bedroom, and we’re trying to figure out how to work in the same room as the crate without having her bark/whine so very persistently. We’re trying to ignore the barking (hard) and reward the quiet (easy), but it also feels like every time we treat her quietness it reminds her that we’re around? And that attention is an option for which she shall keep barking?

  8. Hi! We adopted our six year old pug at the beginning of June. He was not used to a crate at night but actually did decently well adjusting to it. The issue is last week he threw up multiple times in his crate and now is having major issues with it. He becomes extremely anxious in it and barks nonstop. I washed his crate bed and the actual crate after he threw up in it. I have been doing small increments throughout the day but he does not really calm down. Any advice? Thank you!

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      Hi Cassidy, will he willingly go into the crate with the door open? If so, then start there! It’s also probably worth it to get a new crate – a wire one if this one was airline, or vice versa.

  9. Hi! I’ve had my german shepherd-lab since April and he’s 6 months. It took until about a month to get him to sleep though the night and that’s next to my bed. He barks non-stop the entire time I leave, sometimes he’ll take 5 minute breaks but it’s sporadic and unpredictable. He barks sometimes if he’s in it and I’m home but it’s awful when I leave, even just for 5 minutes. I’ve tried leaving him bones and kongs and he will only eat them if I’m next to the crate. I only let him out when he’s quiet and I exercise him before I put him in during the day. We also play crate games every day and he eats his meals in there. I’m getting really desperate, 4 months of this is too much. Do you have any tips?

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  10. I have a six month old male dachschund and we have had him for 4 months. He’s slept in a crate every night and after a few weeks was able to go 5-6 hours! Since then, he’s been doing 8 hours a night….pretty impressive, right? But a few nights ago he began to bark after only being in the kennel an hour. I probably made a mistake of letting him out that night (mostly to find out what was up) because every night since then he’s barking and whining. Last night I moved the crate from the master bathroom to the garage, just so we didn’t have to listen and could get to sleep. I figured he could handle it since he has for so long. I’m just not sure if it is the right thing to do. What is your suggestion?

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      Hi Jeff – you could do a few different things. You could try slowly building up the crate tolerance again, or you could let him sleep loose. I let my dog sleep out of the crate and that has solved most of our nighttime crying problems. It’s lazy, sure, but it’s also practical. Over time I taught him to sleep in his crate again, but he mostly sleeps lose and we’re both happier.

  11. I’ve a English bulldog who is not understanding that his reward for making outside. She’ll pee right at the front door before we go out . Every time she makes outside I praise her with a treat. But she is still peeing at front door before I can get her out the door.

  12. my dog sleeps all through the night. he is a 16 week old lab puppy. but he wakes up very very early (4am) and barks. so we get up and take him outside and put him back in his crate so i can go back to sleep. but he wakes up again 30 minutes later and barks until i get back up. ive tried ignoring it(knowing he’s already relieved himself-he is housebroken)
    what can i do to help? when i say “quiet” he does quiet down for about 10 minutes. the. starts back up again

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  13. Had our puppy a week now and he has full blown melt downs anytime he goes Into crate which is weird cause he was always in one before with siblings but we tired building up tolerance, blankets/ quiet place busy places, putting toys all the tips but as soon as you shut or lock door he barks non stop crys and bites at crate or himself. He literally has to be right under someone al all times. its exhausting for us and him not sure what else to do at this point nothing soothes him in crate but we also dont want him to learn if I make enough noise they will let me out. Also potty training progress all goes away once he has had anytime in crate.

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  14. I recently have moved into a studio apartment with a friend. She has a male lab with a pitbull mix (he is fixed) and I have a AKC Registered Black Lab (unfixed). They have been together for a few days. We are still suprised that he still wants to hump my female with his male other parts gone. She will chase him in the yard and nip at him. He will also come up to her at times and try to be up on her (not sure if this is playing or not) We just want the two dogs to get along rather than wanting to squabble all the time, and just lay down and be good. What are your thoughts? We normally have to keep one in the crate for a couple hours and alternate.

  15. Hi

    I have a 18 week old Springer, who has been created since we got her at 8 weeks. Happy in crate all night and if she is tired. I can put her in crate during day but after 15mins she will start barking continuously. If she hears me re enter room she stops as knows she only gets out when she is quiet. How do I get her to last longer. She does not like treats in her crate and refuses to eat them until let out. Any help greatly appreciated, her barking is crazily loud.

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      Hi Natalie, that’s such a challenge! I crate my dogs primarily when they’re tired at first and aim to cate them next to my desk while I work. I then gradually leave for a tiny bit at a time when they’re sleeping, and eventually for an hour or two – but it’s a lot of teenie tiny absences. It sounds like the main problem is when you’re nearby and she can hear you but not access you?

  16. ok… i need serious help. I have a 20
    week old havanese puppy and what we’ll do at night is have her go potty, and when she does, we put her in her crate with a fan on. in the beginning she did great with thi, but now she will bark for up to 45 minutes until she stops, and last night she barked for about 70 minutes until we HAD to get her out. we left her out for a few, she did end up peeing, and so i hung out with her for a few more minutes and put her back in. but then she started barking again for over 45 minutes. please help!!!

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      Hi Kate, where is your dog’s crate located? I suggest putting the crate in your bedroom near your bed at night to help your dog relax and sleep. Over time you can move it away, but start with it nearby in order to get success (and sleep)!

  17. Here’s one I can’t find any info on: I work nights and sleep during the day. My puppy barks and whines while I’m gone and I stay in an airbnb with roommates. How can I get him used to me not being around at night??

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      Hi Kristina – is it possible to put his kennel in the bedroom beside your roommates? He will likely stop crying when he knows he’s sleeping safe near others. Baby mammals instinctively get scared – and cry for help – when they realize they’re alone, especially at night.

  18. Hi I have just got a rescue chuweenie. We’ve had him for a few nights he won’t stop crying in his crate. We have it in the living room and we’ve tried paddings and his bed in there a personal item in the kennel a blanket over it he crystal nonstop. We also have tried the potty breaks he usually won’t go but has gone right outside of his crate when we bring him back in. I don’t know what else to try?

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  19. We tried that last night after I saw some of the comments on here. He still cried it we want to keep trying to crate him but the only way he sleeps is if he’s next to one of us out of the crate.

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  20. Hi.
    I just brought home an American Bulldog standard type. He’s almost 9weeks. I’ve made play pens instead of a crates. He does very well at night bc I have a 2nd pen next near my bed. If he wines once I’ll say something quietly and maybe drop a hand down to crate level so he knows I’m there, he instantly quiets down and goes back to sleep, he can almost last the whole night without a peep. All is wonderful.

    Until daytime. He then hates being left alone while awake. Even when I’m in the same room as the main play pen and he can see me. I have a very thorough schedule that I follow. He’s pretty much house broken at less than 9weeks. But he will not stop crying/barking in his play pen. Going back and forth outside is very tedious as I do have to get work done at home. I get stressed then he gets stressed and then it gets worse, it only stops when he’s asleep. His Frantic Activity Play (FAP) is very high, I can never seem to calm him down once he’s in this mode, if I take him out then it returns once inside again.

    What am I missing here?? Night time and potty training is good, but that’s not the fun part of having an active breed dog. I want this behavior addressed now while he’s very young.

    I’ve trained other dogs like him. But this is a first for me starting strictly from indoors. No fenced yard with pen and dog house.

    Please give some advice. Thanks.

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      Hi Erik! It sounds like he’s really frustrated with being left out – is that how you’d describe it? This is common for puppies but can be really difficult to work with. I’d be happy to help over the phone, or you can get some really great advice in the Pandemic Puppy Raising Support Group on Facebook.

  21. Hi! I have a 4yr old min pin & 2 year old yorkie. We’be been working with them and crates for about a year. The yorkie is fine in crate at all times except for the occasional bark. The min pin, however, was tougher. He took longer to get used to the crate as two houses ago, he rarely used one. He’s gotten better and sleeps in there calmly & will hang out in there with the door open for naps and relaxing. The problem comes with when we leave. If I leave on my own, I’ll crate them about 30 min before leaving, and they’re fine. My wife does the same thing. But when we leave together, he loses his mind and howls. We just moved in to a new place and don’t want him to bother neighbors and want him calm. What can we do?

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  22. Hey! I have a 5yo adult shih tzu. There’s been a lot of mistraining for this family pet so he was never properly trained just left in an isolated room to bark away and eventually stopped. But now that he’s moved houses and we have nearby neighbors he can’t bark like crazy anymore so I’ve been giving in to avoid trouble or just hoping he stops but it gives me a lot of anxiety hearing him bark. Would the take him out to pee trick work everytime for him and how long until I see results? He sleeps in an exercise pen and is calm some night but still barks for attention at times on other days. I’ve heard it helps to teach him to speak and quiet command too. Or just sit nearby him in crate until he stops and let him out. I would just like the best way with results preferably in a month if possible because my family is thinking of giving him away otherwise please help :/

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  23. Our 3 year old pit/ German shepherd is always barking during the day. He can sleep all night but at 6:45 he is like an alarm clock every day. He is trained to be in a kennel and we also have a bigger dog cage where he has more room to move and we rotate him thru out the day. But he will still bark all day. If we tell him NO he stops for a bit but then continúes. The only reason we can’t leave him out the kennel is because he will tear everything if he is not being supervised. Im going crazy with him and I really don’t want to give him away. He’s my daughter’s favorite.

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  24. We’ve had our 8 week old puppy for three days and he is getting progressively worse with his crate. The last three nights we have made sure to take him out potty several times a night but he is waking up around 2:30-3:00am wanting to be awake for the day. We’ve tried ignoring his whines (after we’ve taken him potty), but they continue for 40+ minutes until we let him out of the crate. We go to bed at around 9:30pm and both have jobs so running on such little sleep for very long is going to be majorly difficult. What can we do?

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