We got a puppy 2 days ago. We decided to crate train her and she seems to have taken to the crate well. She goes in there for all her food and water and will sleep in it during the day with the door open. We can get her to stay in there with the door closed without a problem and she'll lie down and sleep.

However, if one of us isn't very close to the crate she goes ballistic. Even if you're just 10 feet away and completely visible, she starts howling, crying, and trying to dig out of her crate. We've tried everything from really wearing her out to giving her a chew stick she really likes before we move away from her.

All the advice I've found says things we've already done or are doing. She's fine with the crate, we don't reward the howling, we make sure she's tired, etc. A lot of advice says to go away for a very brief period, not long enough for them to start howling and then slowly increase how long you stay away. But that's impossible because you can't even get out of sight before she sets off.

It's been a real struggle. I know puppies are hard and it's all about patience, but in this case there is like 0 progress and all the advice feels impossible or already done. One of us has slept on the couch next to her crate each night and we have to take turns using the bathroom if we want to avoid a massive heachache. I've taken work from home for this week but it's a constant torture because I'm stuck in one spot until my bf gets back and can give me a break.

Any advice is appreciated. I want to love this puppy but she's making it very difficult right now.

  • If you tell her to stay in the crate, leave the door open, and step away, what's her reaction?
    – Layna
    Feb 27, 2018 at 6:45
  • Right now we have a crate and connected to it a small playpen. If we leave her in there and walk away she'll run to the end of the playpen and try climbing up it and of course crying and howling. Feb 27, 2018 at 17:17
  • Any progress on this issue? I have the same/similar problem.
    – Jay
    May 2, 2018 at 14:31
  • Unfortunately not much. One of us is still sleeping next to her crate every night. However, I did talk to her obedience trainer and he said that we need to daytime train her to be in the crate as well. So we're going to start that on June 1st when our work schedule allows. May 22, 2018 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


Two things could make a dramatic difference in situations like this.

1) Sleep in an old Tshirt a few nights, then allow the pup to have it in their crate. The shirt will "smell" like you and be comforting for the pup. Trade shirts every couple of weeks until the little one outgrows this need.

2) Drape a blanket or towel over the crate to create a dark cave-like "den" for the pup to sleep in. It will feel instinctive to your pup, somewhat like what a dog would do in the wild. Even if the pup hears you move about, the dark environment should be soothing and calming.


If your dog’s breed is a companion type of dog, it will complain if you go away because it’s their duty to be with you. You can train a companion dog to remain calm when you are away and the dog cannot hear you, but if you are home, then keep it on your side always. It may be too late now but the fact that you did not leave the dog complain makes it think that you are trained to come back and it will continue to do the same. If the dog is still a puppy, you can stop coming back, and it will give up particularly if it is not a companion breed. This is based on my experience with dogs.

  • Could you please give some examples for companion type dogs? :) Apr 19, 2022 at 15:07
  • Sure, shitsu, poodle, bichon, maltese. They are usually long haired and small.
    – Vera
    Apr 20, 2022 at 3:05

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