Why Is My Dog Whining In His Crate All Of A Sudden?

dog whining softly in his crate

We as dog owners want to do what’s best for our four-legged friends.

Throughout the crate training process, a lot of us probably weathered the storm of crying, whining, and barking while our pups were adjusting to their new sleeping area.

Eventually, our dogs settled down and slept in their crates without incident…or at least we thought so!

In some cases, our dogs may have been quiet in their crates for quite some time but then one night you hear them suddenly whining within their crate again.

What’s the deal with the sudden whining in the crate?

Dogs and puppies may begin suddenly whining in their crate because they are trying to indicate they need something, they are feeling unwell, or they were not fully crate trained in the first place. In most cases, the whining is an easy fix, provided it’s not due to a medical issue.

Determining why our dogs and puppies are suddenly whining within their crate is the first step to help fix the issue and get back to peace and quiet once again.

Below we’ll look at the most likely reasons as to why your pup is suddenly whining while within their crate, as well as what you can do to help stop the whining. We’ll also look at instances where your dog is suddenly barking within their crate, and how the sudden whining while in their crate may be different for young puppies and older dogs.

5 Reasons Dogs Suddenly Start Whining In Their Crates

The first thing we need to do is figure out the “why” behind the behavior so let’s look at 5 of the most likely explanations.

1)  Your Dog May Not Be Fully Crate Trained

If your dog has been quiet in his crate up until recently but has suddenly started whining again while being left in his crate, then it’s likely he was never fully crate trained in the first place.

A puppy or dog suddenly whining within their crate after going for a period of no whining is actually a normal part of the learning process. This sudden reappearance of whining in the crate is called spontaneous recovery and generally occurs in smaller and smaller bursts throughout the crate training process.

Your pup may even begin whining, crying, or barking at a louder and more frantic rate than when they first started the crate training process, which is also a normal part of the learning process.

If you stick with a good crate training schedule and trust the process, these sudden bursts of whining and crying will occur less frequently and pass quickly.

2) Your Dog May Have To Use The Bathroom

When your puppy or dog suddenly begins whining in their crate, they may have to use the bathroom.

This is especially true if you are still working on house-training them, or if they are suffering from an illness or digestive upset.

Following a good potty-training schedule will help you determine when the best times to let your puppy out of their crate and can help reduce the sudden whining in their crate.

If your puppy is suddenly whining in their crate in the middle of the night, it’s likely they need to potty, though if you hear no whining and your puppy is fast asleep it is probably not necessary to wake them up to take them out to potty.

If you’ve recently switched your dog’s food, or they ate something they shouldn’t have, then you might also hear them suddenly whining in their crate because they have to go to the bathroom.

3) Your Dog Could Be Feeling Unwell

If you’ve got a sick or injured pup, you may notice some sudden whining while they are in their crate.

Since dogs can’t really communicate when they are feeling bad, they may vocalize which includes whining and whimpering. This whining can indicate mild discomfort due to a general feeling of unease and anxiety, or it can be a sign of more severe pain.

Certain medications may also cause your pup to feel unwell and cause him to begin whining in his crate.

If you suspect that the sudden whining is related to an underlying illness or possible injury, it’s best to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible to find out the root cause of the whining and develop a treatment plan.

4) Your Dog Might Be Uncomfortable In The Crate

Sometimes the sudden whining is due to your dog indicating that they are uncomfortable being in the crate.

This could be due to the size of the crate, which should be big enough that your pup can easily stand up, turn around, and fully stretch out. If the crate is too small, especially for larger breeds like a German Shepherd, then your pup may not be able to get comfortable and will suddenly begin whining because he is frustrated and uncomfortable. But a crate that’s too large has its own set of problems too.

Sudden whining in the crate can also occur if your dog is uncomfortable with something going on outside of the crate. This could be an excessive amount of activity and noise, or it could be your dog reacting to something that scared him. This can be especially true if your dog’s crate is in a higher-traffic area like the living room.

He may begin suddenly whining while in his crate because he is unsure of what is happening, and the whining is his way of telling you he needs reassurance that he is safe. Your dog may also begin suddenly whining in his crate if there is no bed or mat within the crate and he is uncomfortable just laying on the crate floor.

5) Your Dog Might Want Something Else

Since dogs are limited in how they can communicate with us in ways that we understand, sudden whining while she is in her crate might be your dog’s way of saying she wants something. This could be a toy, bed, food, water, to be let out, or simply trying to get your attention.

While whining is a normal part of the crate training process, sudden whining in a dog that has completed the crate training process could indicate that at some point your dog was reinforced for whining while in her crate and is reverting back to using whining to get what she wants.

If you suspect that your dog is suddenly whining in their crate due to a training issue, you may have to backtrack to the beginning of the crate training process to help your dog understand that she can have what she wants, but only if she is quiet and not demanding.

You can also reach out to a local dog trainer to help you pinpoint what is reinforcing your dog’s whining and steps to take to help fix the issue.

Is It Bad If My Dog Is Suddenly Whining In Her Crate So Much?

If your dog has begun suddenly whining in her crate when she didn’t previously, it’s important to look for the root cause of the sudden whining.

In most cases, it’s not bad and related to the crate training process. In some cases, it can be more serious if it is related to a medical issue.

If you live in an apartment or an area where there are noise ordinances, you might also find that the sudden whining within the crate is irritating your neighbors and you could face repercussions from your landlord, homeowners’ association (HOA), or even animal control if you do not get the whining under control.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Whining In His Crate?

To get your dog to stop whining while in his crate, you must first determine the cause of the whining.

If it is due to the fact that your dog was never fully crate trained in the first place, then you will have to review the crate training process and perhaps backtrack a bit to help your dog understand that the crate is a good place to be.

If the whining is related to your pup needing to potty, then you may need to adjust to a different potty schedule.

If the sudden whining is a result of an illness or injury, your vet may be able to prescribe your dog medications that can help with his discomfort and limit the whining.

For dogs who suddenly begin whining in their crate due to being uncomfortable, you can look at getting them a different crate, placing a more comfortable mat within the crate, or even covering the crate with a crate cover or blanket to make it more private and secure for your dog.

If the sudden whining is due to a training issue, you can reach out to a local dog trainer who can help you set up and stick to a good training plan to encourage your dog not to whine when it wants something.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Barking In His Crate?

If your dog is suddenly barking in his crate, it is likely due to him hearing or seeing something that caused him either some kind of excitement or some kind of anxiety.

Barking is another way that dogs communicate, and there are a variety of different kinds of barks which all indicate different emotional states within a dog. This video does a great job showing you some of most common barking styles and what they indicate:

If the barking is very low, or growling accompanies it, then it is likely your dog is indicating that there is a potential threat that you should be aware of (though it’s important to note that a dog’s idea of a threat can be much different than our idea of a threat!).

If the barking is frantic, then your dog is a state of high arousal due to excitement, anxiety, or fear.

If the barking is fairly monotone or your dog stops periodically and looks around, then it’s likely he is just barking for attention or because he wants something.

How Do I Stop The Sudden Barking In His Crate?

Similar to stopping the sudden whining while in their crate, you must first determine why your dog is suddenly barking in the first place.

If it’s because they are alerting you to a threat, acknowledge them and confirm that there is no threat (unless of course, there actually is an identifiable threat) and then return to what you were doing. By remaining calm and at least scoping out the situation, you are signaling to your dog that you have heard them and are handling the issue.

If the sudden barking is due to the dog being too excited or anxious, you can remove (or hide from view) whatever is causing the excitement or anxiety, let your dog relax for a moment, and then let them out of the crate if possible.

For a dog that barks because he wants something, it’s important to only reward him with what he wants when he is quiet rather than when he is being demanding with the barking. You can reach out to a local dog trainer to help you with this particular issue.

Why Is My Puppy Suddenly Crying In Their Crate?

Puppies that suddenly begin crying in their crate are usually well within the crate training process, and are experiencing spontaneous recovery, which is a normal part of the learning process.

The sudden whining will pass as long as you are consistent and patient with the crate training process.

Sudden crying from a puppy could also indicate that he needs to go to the bathroom, especially if he is not yet fully housebroken.

Why Is My Older Dog Suddenly Crying In Their Crate?

If your older dog is suddenly crying within their crate, there could be a variety of reasons as to why that it is and for the most part it is something you should probably take them to the vet for to make sure there is no underlying illness or injury.

In general, older dogs that suddenly begin crying in their crate is due to the urge to go the bathroom, being uncomfortable within the crate, an illness or injury, or because of declining health due to the natural aging process. While there is some overlap as to why they may whine in their crate, I explain some of the reasons specific to older dogs in this article.

Closing Thoughts

Your dog suddenly whining in his crate is probably nothing to be concerned about.

You may have to revisit some of the crate training process, or work with a local trainer to help determine why your dog is suddenly whining or barking for attention while in their crate.

If your dog is displaying other unusual or concerning behaviors in addition to the sudden whining, then it’s wise to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

In most cases, though, the sudden whining is probably just your pup’s way of trying to get something he wants!

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