Complete temper tantrum in the crate

  • Complete temper tantrum in the crate

    Posted by Lee on February 10, 2021 at 10:23 AM

    I have a 14 week old german shepherd who I have had for 3 days. She is generally very mellow and easy going. However, when it’s time for her to be in her crate, she transforms into a 3 year old child who want ice cream NOW (you get the mental picture). She starts out a bit whiny, then will progresses to bounding off the crate sides and howling like the hound of the baskervilles. She’ll calm down, watch things for awhile then start the process all over again. She does the same thing in the crate in the car. I’ve added good toys and some treats to lure her in, but she eats those and starts this routine. Will she just get over this or is this building a fear of her crate? What I do is say “hey, hey, hey” which she stops and listens to and that can help break the cycle a bit.

    Lee replied 3 years ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Bill

    February 13, 2021 at 2:40 PM

    Hi Lee – I feel your pain. As I waited for my GSD’s flight to arrive and did my research I knew the crate was supposed to be a safe place for the dog and that I should do nothing to make the crate anything but a positive place for my GSD (now 5.5 years old). After his arrival and our integration period, it was time for him to go to the crate. Day 11 – gave the command and he went to the crate like a rockstar. Then day 12 arrived, gave the command for the crate and nothing. Tried walking him to the crate – he wasn’t having it. Stressed and perplexed, I called the breeder and training team the next morning and told them of my problem (didn’t know about RC at that time). I knew I was not supposed to make it a negative experience and what was I to do? I was told that this was an easy fix and would be resolved as soon as we got off the phone. Long story short, it was an easy fix. By the time they got done telling me that going to his crate was not an option and that no matter what, when I gave the crate command – he was going in and that was that. Emboldened by this new found confidence after I got off the phone with them, I gave the command with the full knowledge that he was going in the crate…. and he did. The difference for me was, I knew it was a safe place, I knew he was going in, and therefore the confidence with which I directed him to the crate communicated to him this was not a negotiable – he went in like a rockstar, no problem.

    As to the whining and desire to be out with the rest of the pack, it is critical that whining does not precede getting out of the crate. The dog must be calm and quiet before exiting the crate and opening the door does not mean, run free. Opening the door means, the dog waits for the release command and then the dog exits.

    Getting there may be a challenge. You may have to work in short periods of time being consistent in not letting the dog out when it is whining. You have to wait for a quiet period and then praise and release the dog so there is no connection between whining and getting out of the crate. As you know the crate is a safe place, and assuming the dog is not sick or needing to relieve itself, there is no need for whining. For me, this was a mindset change. While in the crate I knew he was not sick or injured, should not need to relive himself, therefore I can ignore the whining. I did, it worked.

    When your dog is whining in the crate while in the car and you say, “Hey, Hey” those interrupters work to interrupt the dog’s “complaints/protests”. Follow up when the dog calms – mark the desired behavior and you should see more of it and for longer periods of time until one day you forget it was ever an issue. All the best in your journey – when today’s crate behavior is better than yesterday’s you will know you are on the right track.

  • Jill

    March 28, 2021 at 7:56 AM

    Curious on how this is going? We have a 9 week old Boston Terrier who goes into the crate willingly but we are having similar issues. I have a 3 year old Lab X who was EASY to crate train, and my past dogs have not ever made such a fuss. Maybe I was just lucky? This is my first small breed dog as I’ve hard large dogs and I want to treat her like any of my other dogs but the sleepless nights are HARD. We’ve started leaving the room when she starts to scream, waiting until she settles and returning to the room to reward her quiet behaviour. At night when she cries we wait for her to settle before we go to take her out for a potty break. Is there something more we can do? We hand feed and do crate games, she always has a Kong or a chew in there with her but she’ll finish it and start to cry or just ignore it altogether.

  • Lee

    March 28, 2021 at 11:19 AM


    She is doing great in her crate in the house. It was persistence and a treat tossed in ahead of her EVERY time and a little “HEY” said loudly as needed. In the car it was not great. Think a lot of that was car sickness though. I needed more cargo area/less huge crate in my van so I removed the crate and I’m transitioning her to a seatbelt harness. That’s another challenge like the crate. She wants to sit next to the Great Pyr on the van floor. Difference is—he stays there. She’s nosey and wants to nudge up next to my arm on the console. Harness is taking some work and its gonna be a couple weeks at least till she gets the hang of it. Stick with the crate. Small dogs are harder from what I know. Stay strong!!

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