7 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Hates The Crate (+ 5 Tips)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
my dog hates the crate

Your dog doesn’t seem to be too happy with his new crate. I mean, they use it when you are gone and all, but why does he suddenly hate the thing? Why does your dog’s behavior suddenly change? Is there something wrong with him?

Here’s Why Your Dog Suddenly Hates The Crate:

The primary reason why your dog suddenly hates his crate is because he starts to see his crate as an uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes this is because they’ve been forced to spend too much time in his crate, and this makes them vulnerable to discomfort and separation anxiety.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why your dog hates his home all of a sudden and explore a few of the things that you can do to help out with this.

1. The Crate is a Bad Place

Some dog owners use crates as a place to put an unwanted dog for time out. This is the worst thing that you could do, and it will likely contribute to this negative association with your crate.

If you use the crate as a punishment, then you’re making them not want to go in there because they feel like something bad is going to happen every single time they enter it. You need to stop doing this if nothing else, so that your dog doesn’t hate his own home!

Another case could be that your dog was scared of the crate from when he lived in a kennel before you adopted him. If your dog used to live in a shelter, then it’s likely that they were crated there, and this negative association may have been formed.

2. Change in Routine and Environment

Your dog is a creature of habit too. If anything about your dog’s life is not the same anymore, he will likely whine to let you know and also because he is uncertain.

One reason for this could be a change in routine or moving the crate into a busier room. If you moved their crate somewhere new, then they may feel strange there and act out accordingly. It can even be as simple as construction outside of the window where they are used to being able to look at what’s going on around them.

Your dog craves routine just like we do, so if something changes, don’t expect his behavior to stay consistent with how things were before.”

The best thing that you can do for him when something changes in his environment, whether temporary or permanent, is to reassure him that you are here for him and provide a safe haven for them. It may be as simple as providing food, water, toys, and of course, love while the construction outside temporarily rouses all sorts of feelings within your dog. Things will get back to normal soon enough!

3. Over-crating

It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience boredom and separation anxiety when they’re forced to spend too much time in their kennel. If you’ve been really busy and had your dog staying inside his kennel for a few hours per day, it can be the cause why your dog hates the crate all of a sudden.

When they start to act out, it means they don’t like being crated every day or all night. Dogs typically love crashing out at home and going into their crates as needed- but if they spend too long inside of one, they’ll get bored with it (and probably resentful).

What’s the difference between boredom and separation anxiety?

As pet owners, we need to know the difference between boredom and separation anxiety. If your dog is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, it will have a destructive response when left alone for long periods of time.

Signs include excessive barking or howling, chewing furniture, digging at carpeting or wood floors, urinating on carpets or bedding materials to mark territory in an attempt to give themselves some comfort as they’re feeling insecure without their owner there with them- all these are sure indications that something more serious may be happening than just being bored by not getting enough attention from their human family members.

Although boredom might seem similar to separation anxiety, boredom is much easier to address with a few proactive steps. For example, you can try introducing new puzzle toys such as stuffed kong to your dog, taking them on walks at least twice a day, or training them new commands.

All of these will give the pet some mental stimulation and keep their mind off of being bored with doing nothing all day long.

4. Something Wrong with The Crate

If there’s something in his crate that hurts him, such as sharp edges or broken parts, then this can be the cause of your dog’s sudden behavior change.

This is why you should inspect his crate regularly to make sure his home is as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Another thing you can do is to check if your canine’s crate is placed in an inconvenient spot.

Perhaps, the place where your dog’s crate is located can make him uncomfortable, and he doesn’t want to stay there for long periods of time. It might be near a noisy area (like the kitchen), or it might have bad sun exposure all day- which could cause overheating problems for dogs.

In some cases, dogs hate their crates due to their location. It might be near a noisy area (like the kitchen), or it might have bad sun exposure all day- which could cause overheating problems for dogs.

5. Other Animals Went Into Their Crate

Dogs can notice small changes happening in their crate. Especially for sensitive dogs, even just a faint scent of other dogs in their house is enough to make them restless for a few weeks.

If your dog is used to being around other pets (e.g., a cat) in the house, they might not mind or even like having them come into their crate now and then, but if it’s something new that smells unfamiliar to him, he may react differently.

6. The Dog’s Age

As your dog ages, many of them will become sensitive to their surroundings and may not enjoy being confined. They also may have a weak bladder that makes it difficult for them to hold urine, which can make an older dog uncomfortable in the crate.

Also, older dogs are more likely to experience joint problems, which could be another reason why your senior dog may be uncomfortable in his crate. Joint problems such as arthritis can make it really painful for your dog to sit or lay down in one position for an extended period of time.

This could be reduced by ensuring they sleep on softer surfaces and don’t sit or stand for long periods of time without taking breaks.

7. Encouraged Behavior

After a thorough inspection, you might find nothing wrong with your furry friend’s crate, but why then he hates it? Everything might seem fine, but then one day, your dog decided to put his foot down and refused to go back in, refusing even if you were right there giving them treats or reassuring words as he paced outside of his kennel.

You might assume there was something wrong with your dog, or perhaps because he was sick. However, there is one simple explanation for this sudden behavior, and it’s because he has learned this act gets him your attention.

How to Make Your Dog Like His Crate Again?

1.  Make The Create The Comfiest Place To Be

In order to make your dog fall in love with his crate again, make it your first aim to make his crate the comfiest place to be.

Even the best crate-trained dog will occasionally damage his crate. So before you do anything else, inspect and fix any damages on the crate, such as a broken door or bent bars.

If the crate is too small, move it to a larger crate so that he can have enough space to move freely without feeling confined or cramped. Give him lots of cool stuff like toys, treats, and super comfy blanket, and a dog bed.

Only after then can you begin to work on creating positive associations with the crate through training.

2. Re-Crate Training Your Dog Again

Did you have to crate train your dog, or was he already crate trained when you got him​? There’re many things that could go wrong during the process that makes your dog ends up hating his crate.

And so, if your dog hates its crate, the solution may be to re-create train your dog again. Remember, while crate training your dog, start slowly.

Try to bring your dog in the crate with a treat and not let them out until they are quiet for at least 30 seconds. The next time you try this, wait another 15 seconds before letting your pup out of his crate again.

Keep doing this process until they remain calm inside their crate without any distractions or treats being present. You should gradually increase the amount of time that your pet stays inside its own kennel, so it doesn’t feel like an imprisonment sentence anymore.

The important thing to remember here is that dogs respond well with positive reinforcement rather than punishment, so make sure you give your dog lots of praise during the re-training process.

3. Desensitize Your Dog

As mentioned before, separation anxiety can cause your dog to hate his crate, and crate training can be used to treat this type of anxiety. The key is desensitizing your dog to being left alone while in the crate.

Here are some steps to crate train a dog with separation anxiety:

  • Put your dog in their crate. Close the door, then let them out after a minute or two. You may pet them when they come out of the crate.
  • Gradually increase the time period that your dog is left alone by increasing how long you leave your dog in there before opening the door again.
  • Once you can leave your dog inside his crate for several minutes. The next stage is to leave the crate door open (after he is potty trained). See if he remains calm and confident while in there.
  • If your dog can be left alone with the door open without being anxious, then you’ve completed desensitization, and they may now have their own space to hunker down in.

4. Use a Good Crate Training Schedule

Having a good crate training schedule can reduce the chance of your dog being anxious with his crate, and make sure you have a safe place for them to sleep at night as well as encouraging good crate behavior (decreasing the chances of accidents and destruction around the house).

Here is an example of a crate training puppy schedule that you could follow.

  • 06:00 am – When your puppy wakes up, let them take a break to go potty. You can give them time to play in their crate.
  • 07:00 am – After breakfast, take a potty break. Play in the crate and take a nap too.
  • 08:00 am – Potty break. Playtime. or nap time in the crate.
  • 09.30 am – Potty break. Playtime. Potty break. Nap in the crate.
  • 12.00 am – Lunchtime. Toilet break. Playtime! Toilet break. Nap in the crate.
  • 02.00 am – Potty break. A time to play. Potty break. Nap in the crate.
  • 05.00 am – When you have dinner, go potty. Rest. After dinner, go potty and then play in the crate.
  • 06:00 pm – Potty Break. Play. Potty Break. Nap in the crate for a little time.
  • 08:30 am – Potty break before bedtime.
  • 09:30 pm – Bedtime.
  • 10:00 pm – 06:00 am – Provide bathroom potty breaks as needed.

5. Consider Other Alternatives

To be blunt, your dog shouldn’t be locked in his crate all day long. Imagine what it is like if you’re trapped in the same room for hours on end with nothing to do.

So if your dog isn’t keen on his crate, try looking at other alternatives. Dog playpens are designed specifically for dogs and, in many cases, offer more living space than a traditional cage does.

You may also want to consider leaving your dog in a small room where he can roam freely and use a baby gate to keep your dog from going to the area that you don’t want him to go near (especially when unsupervised).


The best way to find out why your dog hates his crate is by doing an experiment. If you can, set up a video camera in your dog’s crate and monitor his behavior for the next few days.

What you see will give you some insight into what might be causing him stress. More importantly, it’ll allow you to develop strategies that work with your furry friend instead of against them!

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.