If your dog hates being confined, and you don’t act quickly, they could develop serious behavioral problems!
If you want to teach your dog to enjoy being in a crate, and stop the whining, shaking, panting, and pacing, read on for advice!
Dog Hates Being Confined
Dogs who hate being confined often suffer from isolation distress, confinement anxiety, or a combination of both. Time and patience are key when training a dog to accept confinement, and some dogs are more likely to enjoy it than others.
Why Does My Dog Hate Being Confined (In A Room Or A Crate)?
A lot of things could contribute to why your dog hates being locked up, including:
- Separation Anxiety: Separation anxiety and confinement anxiety often go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Dogs with separation anxiety are triggered by being removed from their “pack”- whether that’s other dogs, or you. Dogs with separation anxiety can be confined in a room or crate as long as they are not isolated.
- Dog Has Not Been Crate Trained: Your dog just might not know what to do in a crate. If your dog has never spent any time in a crate, it’s a pretty strange, and sometimes scary experience! Try to help your pup get comfortable in their crate by making it a cozy place, and only expect your dog to hang out in their crate for short periods of time, so they know that you’ll always be back.
- Traumatic Experience: Dogs remember bad experiences. If your puppy has a bad experience in a crate, even after they have been crate trained, they can become super resistant to confinement.
- Confinement anxiety: If your dog hates being confined, even when you’re nearby, he is probably suffering from confinement anxiety.
Set your dog up for success by setting up their confined area or crate in a quiet, calm place where they aren’t likely to be bothered, and make sure to come home as soon as possible so that your dog won’t have any accidents or develop separation anxiety.
Dogs are descendants of wolves, who are constantly hunting and traveling. When your dog is confined to a crate or room, they instinctively feel trapped and vulnerable if they can’t escape. Try to make your dog’s confined time comfortable by making sure their crate or confined area is quiet and comfortable. Give them a treat or toy to keep them occupied.
It’s important to put yourself in your pup’s paws and try to understand why they are reacting badly to being confined. If you can understand why they hate being locked up, you can work towards overcoming the problem using good training.
Why Do Dogs ‘Freak Out’ When They Are Being Confined?
If getting your dog to go into their crate or a confined area requires winning a wrestling match with your dog, your dog probably has issues with feeling claustrophobic.
Dogs today are bred to be highly social. They get upset if they are not with their family or pack. Some dogs will whine, cry, bark, pant, shake, scratch, or pace every time they are alone, and being confined only makes them feel more trapped.
Dogs with isolation distress freak out about being confined because they associate confinement with being separated from their pack.
How Do I Train (Counter Condition / Desensitize) My Dog To Not Hate Confinement?
There are two ways to train your dog to accept and even enjoy spending time confined in a room or crate.
Behavioral training works with young puppies and dogs with no past crate training experience. This type of training uses counter conditioning to teach puppies to associate confinement with comfort and rest.
Desensitization training is used with dogs who have already formed a negative association with being in a crate. This style of training rewards the dog as they become more and more trusting of being in or near the crate, until they can start building a positive association with confinement again.
What Not To Do With A Dog Who Hates Being Confined?
Dog’s who are stressed about being confined can be unpredictable, so always be careful to keep yourself safe when dealing with an upset dog. When dealing with an anxious, claustrophobic dog, there are some things you should never do:
- Never use confinement as a punishment for bad behavior: If your dog associates being confined with getting in trouble, they will start to hate being confined when you just need somewhere safe to put them.
- Never leave your dog confined and alone for long periods of time: Increase the time your dog spends in their crate or room gradually; as they get comfortable with their crate, you can increase the time they spend in it.
- Don’t hold or restrain your dog if they are having confinement anxiety: Dogs who are anxious about being confined could behave unpredictably depending on how threatened they feel. If your dog is anxious about being confined, it is dangerous to hug or hold your dog. They could become aggressive if they feel like you are invading their personal space.
Should You Comfort A Dog Hates Being Confined?
The best way to comfort a dog that hates confinement is to train them to accept and enjoy spending time in their room or crate. If your dog is actively freaking out, the best thing to do is to take them somewhere where they are not confined and let them calm down.
Never try to hold or hug your dog if they are experiencing confinement anxiety. Your dog needs to find a way to regain control over their personal space before they can calm down.
Never try to reach for or grab a dog with confinement anxiety. Even gentle dogs may react aggressively if they are anxious about their space being invaded.
Once your dog is calm and relaxed, you can start working with your dog until you get them comfortable with confinement.
Positive reinforcement techniques will help fix isolation distress and confinement anxiety in dogs by building your dog’s confidence, keeping your dogs mind engaged, and eventually getting your dog to relax and feel safe while they are confined.
What Exactly About Being Confined Does My Dog Hate (The Location? Quiteness? Sounds? Temperature?)
Dogs who hate being confined often have a problem with one of these three things:
- Isolation: Dogs are pack animals, and you are their pack leader. Without you nearby, your dog might start to feel insecure and nervous. If separation anxiety is not dealt with in its early stages, it can progress to dangerous and destructive behavior.
- Small Spaces: If your dog is afraid of being confined, even if you are nearby to comfort them, claustrophobia is probably the source of their confinement anxiety. Dogs that experience confinement anxiety might be better behaved if they have access to more space while you’re gone than if they had to be crated.
- Scary Environment: If your dog has had a bad experience while confined, they could associate the confinement area with memories of the bad experience. Dogs who are punished, frightened, or abandoned in their crates are likely to develop an aversion to it.
My Dog Is Getting An Increasingly Dislike Of Being Confined?
If your dog used to be ok with being confined, but now they are avoiding their space, your dog is associating a negative experience with being confined.
Think about your routine before you confine your dog, how does your dog behave?
If your dog gets nervous while you are getting ready to leave, they are probably associating confinement with being alone and anxious while you are out. Use positive reinforcement training techniques and lots of patience to gradually increase your pup’s confidence in being alone and confined. Make sure to give them lots of mental stimulation while they are confined to keep them occupied, and gradually leave them for longer and longer periods of time until they are more comfortable being alone.
Are Being Confined Dangerous To Dogs?
Being confined can become dangerous for both you and your dog if you don’t work with them to feel comfortable with confinement.
If your dog is experiencing confinement anxiety, they can become very protective of the small amount of space they control. Approach these dogs very cautiously and be respectful of their space.
Dogs that have separation anxiety, as well as claustrophobic dogs can be extremely destructive depending on their size and stress level. If you have a large, highly anxious dog, they can cause destruction in your house, and become dangerous to themselves and to you.
Can & Do Dogs Destroy Things While Being Confined?
Dogs can and absolutely will destroy things while being confined.
Some dogs who are confined destroy things because they are bored, while others do it out of anxiety.
Regardless of why your dog is being destructive, you should work with your dog to accept being confined so that they aren’t stressed when they have to be locked up. Make sure to offer your dog lots of treats and stimulating toys while they are confined, so that they associate being alone and confined with comfort and rewards.
What Are The Best Alternatives To Confining A Dog?
If your dog is suffering from confinement anxiety, they may do better if you just let them roam!
If your dog won’t tolerate staying in a crate, see if a dedicated room would be big enough. Make sure this room is a comfortable environment for your dog to be in; away from lots of activity, at a comfortable temperature. Give them lots of comfort items such as blankets, toys and stuffed animals, and present them with stimulating activities to keep them occupied while you are away.
How To Confine A Dog With Separation Anxiety?
If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, you will have to spend lots of time building their confidence with positive reinforcement training until they are comfortable being alone.
If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, they are more upset about being alone than they are worried about being confined.
Start by spending time with your dog while they are confined until they are comfortable being confined. Large, open crates are usually best for dogs with separation anxiety so that they can see their surroundings.
Once your dog is comfortable being confined while you’re around, casually travel in and out of the room a few times. Eventually your dog will realize that you always come back, and there is nothing to worry about.
Once they are comfortable with you coming and going, extend the period of time you spend away from your dog gradually.
How Do You Fix Confinement Anxiety In Dogs?
If your dog struggles with confinement anxiety, it will take some time and patience to counter condition your dog to accept confinement.
Always reward your dog for entering their confined space, and let them leave freely so that they never feel trapped. Once your dog starts associating confinement with a reward, you can start working with them on staying in the crate for short periods of time.
Confinement distress occurs when dogs feel trapped in an enclosed space and panic. Dogs experiencing confinement distress will whine, bark, scratch, chew, and destroy whatever is confining them in order to break free.
Dogs who struggle with serious confinement distress usually need professional intervention in order to counter condition them to enjoy spending time confined again.
How To Get My Dog To Be Ok Alone?
Teaching your dog to be ok on their own takes a little time, and some creativity.
Think of some ways to keep your dog busy while you’re gone that will give them a productive way to pass the time, and keep them stimulated so that they don’t become destructive out of boredom.
When you are teaching your dog to be alone, only leave them for very short periods of time so that they always know you are coming back, and build away time as they get more comfortable.
My Dog Has Anxiety In The Crate?
If your dog is anxious in their crate, here are a few steps to help soothe your dog and keep them happy in their crate in the future.
- Give your dog a stimulating toy or treat dispenser to keep them engaged while they are in the crate.
- Only ask your dog to stay in the crate as long as their interest is held by the toy or treat dispenser.
- Stay within sight of your dog while they are in their crate. They will feel more secure with you around and start associating their crate with rest and rewards.
- Wander in and out of the room until your dog realizes it’s ok if you aren’t always with them. Stay out of the room for longer and longer periods of time until they are relaxed and calm staying in their crate alone.
Why Does My Puppy Dig In His Crate?
If your puppy is digging in his crate, he is probably trying to find a way to escape.
He could be trying to escape because he is afraid of being confined, or because he would rather be with you and is experiencing separation anxiety.
Do Crates Help Separation Anxiety?
With good training early on, dogs can associate spending time in their crate with restful “den-time”.
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, it might be more difficult to get them to accept the crate because it makes them feel isolated.
If you use positive reinforcement techniques to get your dog to associate the crate with rest and relaxation, they can learn to accept the crate, which will help minimize the damage that a larger dog with separation anxiety can cause in a house when they are unattended.
Dog Self Harming In Crate?
If your dog is self-harming in their crate, it is important that you find a solution to your dog’s confinement issues before they seriously hurt themselves.
If your dog is causing themselves harm in their crate it may be time to speak with your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for your dog, or to consult a professional dog trainer who can help to resolve these issues before your dog gets hurt.
Are Crates Good For Dogs With Anxiety?
Some anxious dogs LOVE spending time in their crate.
If your dog gets easily overstimulated, they may love having a nice quiet, comfortable, crate to curl up in.
Some dogs seem to enjoy the “den-like” feeling a crate provides, so placing your crate in a warm room with a blanket or cover over the top, and a soft bed inside might be just what your pup needs to relax and reset in their personal space.
If you have an anxious dog that loves their crate, be sure to approach their space with caution. Dogs that love their personal space might get protective over their crate and could growl or bite any hands that reach in for them!
Puppy Hates Being In Pen?
If your new puppy hates being in a pen, he probably is just nervous about being alone. For most of his life, he had a whole litter of brothers and sisters, plus mom to keep him company, now he’s alone and isn’t quite so sure of himself.
Make sure you give your puppy lots of toys and interact with him so that he associates his pen with mental stimulation and playtime.
Soon he will be playing confidently, not looking for his playmates.
Why Does My Dog Hate Being Locked Up?
Your dog could hate being locked up for two major reasons, separation anxiety, or confinement anxiety.
If your dog is anxious about being alone without you, they will become resentful about being locked up because they know you are about to leave. Teaching your dogs to relax and associate their confined area with rest will help give your dogs a soothing place to spend their time while you can’t be with them.
If your dog is anxious about being contained in a smaller-than-they-would-prefer space, they could become panicky about being locked up in the first place. Make sure you work with your dog a lot near the confined space and never let your dog feel like they’re trapped.
A panicked dog can’t learn anything, so make sure to be patient and slowly teach your dog to accept the crate.
Is It Cruel To Confine A Dog?
Confining a dog isn’t cruel, but it is cruel to neglect a confined dog.
If you have prepared your dog to accept spending time in a crate, they are old enough to hold their bladders for short periods of time, and you only leave them confined for a reasonable period of time, there is nothing wrong with using a crate for your dog.
If your dog spends more time inside their crate than out, is left inside longer than they can hold their bladder, gets anxious or panicked about being locked up, or has no access to food or water for extended periods of time, it is absolutely cruel to confine a dog.
How Do You Fix Isolation Distress In Dogs?
In order to fix isolation distress in a dog, there are a few steps to take:
- Offer your dog a stimulating toy or treat that will hold their attention
- Leave the room or house for as long as their attention is held by the treat or toy
- Return to your dog, praise and reward them for their good behavior while you were gone.
- Repeat with another treat or toy. Give your dog a few minutes of unfocused alone time before you return
- Gradually increase the amount of alone time your dog can handle until they are comfortable on their own.
Does My Dog Have Confinement Anxiety?
If your dog has confinement anxiety, they may display some of the following behaviors:
- Whines, Cries, or panics when confined
- Is a notorious escape artist
- Hates being caught or cornered
- Does not enjoy being hugged or held
What Is Dog Confinement?
Dog confinement is restricting a dog to a specified area, such as a room or crate.
The purpose of confinement is to keep the dog safe and secure while their owner is away or unable to give the dog their undivided attention. When used correctly, dogs can associate confinement with feelings of security and rest.
What Is Confinement Anxiety?
Confinement anxiety is essentially claustrophobia in dogs.
Some dogs get very anxious when they are confined to an area and they feel they cannot escape. Depending on the severity of their confinement anxiety, dogs can cause serious damage to themselves or their confinement area without any behavioral intervention.
Is Keeping A Dog In A Cage Animal Abuse?
Putting your dog in a crate is only abusive if your dog is stressed or neglected by being in the crate.
Dogs that spend time in crates who also get regular exercise, healthy meals, and quality time with their owners can be completely happy and healthy. Young dogs and puppies that need careful supervision are actually safer spending time in a crate when their owners can’t watch them, so that they aren’t able to get into anything dangerous.
What Is Kennel Syndrome?
Kennel syndrome is used to describe a dog that has been de-socialized due to prolonged isolation or very little human interaction.
Dogs who come from pounds and neglect situations often act differently at the pound than they do in a neutral environment because they change their personality to fit their survival needs. Dogs that are naturally timid can become aggressive, while bolder dogs may become submissive and quiet.
Signs that a dog may be suffering from kennel syndrome include:
- Emotional shutdown
- Cage chewing
- Destructive Behavior
- Food aggression
Is It Ok To Lock A Dog In A Room At Night?
It is absolutely ok to confine your dog in a room to sleep at night provided the room is dog-safe, your dog is happy and comfortable in the room, and you are able to let them out by the time they need to use the restroom in the morning.
Never leave your dog in a room with anything that might be harmful to your dog. Similarly, never leave your dog in a room with anything that you don’t want your dog to destroy.
Accidents happen, and sometimes dogs tear things up, so make sure to keep your things safe if you are going to dedicate a room in your house to your dogs!
Is It Ok To Tie My Dog Up At Night?
For your dog’s safety, it is best to only tie your dog up when you can supervise them.
If your dog’s cable gets caught, they could quickly find themselves in trouble. Also, leaving your dog outside and unattended leaves them vulnerable to theft, natural predators, and unplanned inclement weather.
If you are planning on leaving your dogs outside at night, it’s best to build a yard or enclosure that is designed to keep your dogs inside, and predators outside.
Should I Let My Dog Roam The House?
If your dog suffers from confinement anxiety, they may do better having access to the house than they would be confined in a crate.
Make sure that there is nothing out for your dog to get into, then leave them alone for a few minutes at a time, until you build up to the point that your dog can be reliably left alone for longer periods of time.
Is It Cruel To Keep A Dog Locked In A Room?
It is not cruel to keep a dog in their room as long as they are well fed, watered, exercised, socialized, and have the opportunity to use the bathroom every 4-5 hours.
It’s important to set your dog’s room up with lots of comfort items and mentally stimulating toys and treats if your dog is going to spend a lot of time there. If a dog spends all of its time confined in a room alone, they could develop isolation anxiety or Kennel syndrome which can cause a slew of destructive behavioral problems.
It’s best to only confine your dog in a room when you can’t supervise them, so be sure to spend a lot of quality time with your dog if they have to stay confined in one room all the time.
Why Does My Dog Hate Being Locked Up?
Your dog hates being locked up for one of two main reasons:
- Your dog is worried about you leaving them:
- Your dog is worried about being trapped:
If your dog hates being locked up, but seems to calm down when you’re around, they likely have separation anxiety and associate being confined with you leaving them.
If your dog is digging at the crate and panics every time they are stuck somewhere, they likely have confinement anxiety and associate being confined with being trapped.
What Is Dog Confinement Anxiety?
Confinement anxiety is the fear of being enclosed or trapped. Dogs with confinement anxiety have often had bad experiences while confined, and are anxious in confinement as a result of past trauma.
How Do You Treat Confinement Anxiety In Dogs?
For some dogs, the best way to treat confinement anxiety is to simply stop confining your dog.
If it’s possible to dog proof your house and you think your dog can respect their boundaries, experiment with letting them have a little more freedom in the house!
Block off access to any dangerous rooms or objects in the house, and see if your dog’s behavior improves.
If your dog can’t be trusted to roam free, but also can’t handle a crate, try using a more spacious kennel or pen that would help your dog feel less claustrophobic.
To treat confinement anxiety in your dog, you will have to counter-condition your dog to associate confinement with comfort and reward.
Do this by offering your dog high value treats, or treat dispensing toys to enjoy in their comfortable, quiet area. Leave the door to your dog’s room or crate open so they don’t feel like you are going to trap them inside.
Once your dog associates their space with comfort and reward, you can start closing them in for short periods of time. Gradually increase the time they spend confined as your dog gets more confident.
In extreme cases, your dog may need anti-anxiety medication to help them calm down while they are learning to accept confinement. Consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer if you think this might benefit your dog.
Isolation Distress Vs Separation Anxiety
Isolation Distress: Is the fear or being alone. A dog with isolation distress can be calmed by the presence of anyone.
Separation Anxiety: Is anxiety caused by being separated from a specific person. Only the presence of that specific person will soothe them.