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.

Comments 20

  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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    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 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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