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Dog Crate Training And Anxiety: A How-To Guide

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

You may be surprised to hear that training your pup to love their crate can help with various situations, including separation anxiety. Crate training is a common staple in the canine housebreaking process.


Dogs and puppies are den animals by nature. Crate training takes advantage of these natural instincts and creates a quiet, comfortable, and safe space when their environment becomes too overwhelming or loud.


When used correctly, crates often prove to be excellent training tools and valuable resources for helping prevent unwanted and unhealthy behaviors. It's essential to create a positive association with crate training, especially if your pup is prone to separation anxiety.


In this blog, our experts at CanineJulz will cover:

  • What dog crate training is

  • Proper crate training steps

  • Crate training tips for dogs with anxiety

And much more!

Image of Boston Terrier puppy sitting outside dog crate.
Dog Crate Training and Anxiety

Table of Contents:

  1. Dog Crate Training And Anxiety: What Is Crate Training Exactly?

  2. What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs And How Can A Crate Help?

  3. 5 Crate Training Tips for Dogs Who Have Anxiety

  4. What Crate Type And Size Is Best?

  5. Conclusion

People Also Ask:


Should I put my dog in a crate at night?


When crate training a puppy, having them sleep in a crate helps teach them to control their bladder. This is because dogs don't like to relieve themselves in the same space they sleep.


How long does it take to crate train a puppy?


With consistent and well-planned training, most puppies are fully crate trained in three weeks.


How do you calm an anxious dog in a crate?


Put your pup in their crate and leave the room for short amounts of time. Slowly increase the time you leave the room. You can give them a toy or treats that take time to consume before you leave.


Dog Crate Training And Anxiety: What Is Crate Training Exactly?


Crate training is the process of teaching puppies and dogs to accept the crate as a safe and familiar space that's all their own. Many dog trainers and pet owners believe that crate training is a vital part of housebreaking new puppies.


For example, puppies already know that they don't like to soil their bed or "den". If you set up their crate correctly, your puppy will likely wait until they leave their crate to go to the bathroom.


By doing so, it will help put you in control of:

  • How

  • When

  • Where

Your pup relives themselves.


While you can crate train at any age, the earlier you begin, the better that your dog might not develop issues with separation anxiety.


However, it's also important to note that anxiety levels in dogs can vary depending on personality, age, and breed.


What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs And How Can A Crate Help?


Separation anxiety is fairly common in dogs. It's a condition in which a dog shows signs of distress and behavior problems when separated from its owner. (For more information about dog separation anxiety, check out our blog!)


Most dogs with separation anxiety show signs of uneasiness within minutes of departure from their owner. While common, it's not completely understood why some canines suffer from the condition while others do not.


Since separation anxiety describes pups that are overly dependent or attached to their owners, signs of the condition can often include:

  • Over vocalization (constant barking, winning, whimpering, etc.)

  • Distress behaviors (body shaking, looking scared, worried, etc.)

  • Destruction of furniture and other household property

  • Biting, nipping, and chewing

  • Soiling inside the house

Anxious dogs can be frightened and become overwhelmed easily, even when they're potty-trained. Doing what you can to pinpoint the source of their anxiety to eliminate it is important for their long-term happiness.


There are many factors that contribute to canine separation anxiety.


The most common include:

  • Health problems

  • Environmental changes

  • Age

  • Breed

  • Prior abuse or neglect

When it comes to helping treat and prevent anxiety in your dog, crate training can be very helpful. If your pup has their own space that they view as quiet and safe, it can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and fear.


5 Crate Training Tips for Dogs Who Have Anxiety


Crate training can be great for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety. Having a safe place and have somewhere to settle down while you're away helps during treatment and prevents them from destroying your home.


Below are 5 tips our team believes can help your experience if you're looking to introduce a crate to your dog with anxiety:

  1. First and foremost; it's important to understand that crate training may take longer when compared to other dogs who don't suffer from anxiety. If you have an anxious pup, patience throughout this process is vital for their health and happiness.

  2. Try leaving your furry friend in their crate while you're home, not just when you're leaving the house. If your pup learns they only go in their crate before you leave, the crate might become an anxiety trigger.

  3. If your dog shows signs of distress on their crate, try expanding their space into a more permanent confinement area. By making this safe space larger, it gives your pup more room to move around while still keeping them safely confined. Confinement areas should always include a comfortable sleeping space, water, and a few toys.

  4. Dogs with separation anxiety may benefit from calming canine pheromones. You can either lightly spray some on their crate bedding or use a diffuser plugged in near their crate.

  5. Believe it or not, we've seen some dogs with anxiety benefit from white noise or calming music when undergoing crate training. Try turning on a fan or some music to help drown outside noises that make your dog anxious when in their crate.

What Crate And Size Are Best?


There are various types of dog crates available, all made from different materials. Two of the most popular types of crates are wire and plastic.


Wire crates offer lots of airflow and allow your pup to view their surroundings more easily. Plastic dog crates provide more insulation and privacy, making them the more popular choice for traveling.


When choosing a dog crate, make sure it's the right size. This can be a little tricky, as you don't want it too large or too small.


Choose a crate that's just big enough for your pup to comfortably:

  • Lay down

  • Stand

  • Turn around

For example, Julie and our team suggest choosing a crate that is about one and a half times longer than your dog's body length. Try measuring their body length from their nose to the base of their tail.


Multiply the length by two and that's how wide an area they need in order to be comfortable in their crate!


Conclusion


Before you begin tackling dog crate training and anxiety, you must understand that using a crate won't get rid of their separation anxiety. While crates can help prevent feelings of fear and destructive behavior, they aren't an end-all solution.


Canine separation anxiety can only be resolved with specialized training and conditioning techniques. At CanineJulz, our certified dog trainer, Julie, specializes in helping both dogs and their owners overcome feelings of stress, fear, and separation anxiety.


Our goal is to create happy and confident dogs, and we offer private training classes focused on alleviating separation anxiety!


To learn more, contact CanineJulz today!

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