Why does my dog growl when I close his crate door

Crate Aggression Fixed – Why Does My Dog Growl When I Close His Crate Door?

One of the many challenges you may face with your dog is crate aggression. Your dog may be friends with you for one moment and then suddenly start lashing out the moment you close the crate door.

No need to worry. We got this one!

Before anything else, you must understand what crate aggression is.

And more importantly, get the answer to “Why does my dog growl when I close his crate door.”

Crate aggression is the aggressive behavior in dogs when placed inside a crate, cage, kennel, or a doghouse.

Dogs may lunge, growl, bark, or even bite the person approaching and handling them inside the crate.

Your dog may growl at you when you put him in his crate for the following reasons:

  • Anxiety or fear: Some dogs may feel trapped inside their crates, which might make them anxious.
  • Medical issues: Your dog may be in pain or discomfort.
  • Improper or no crate training: Your dog may see the crate as a punishment.
  • Guarding of resources: Your dog may be guarding his den and his possessions.
  • Traumas: Previous negative experiences of pain or fear associated with the crate.

Now, let’s dig deeper and learn how to solve crate aggression.

Read the article till the very end to reclaim the ‘Alpha Position‘ you just lost! And make your furball say, ” Sorry I messed up, Hooman, here is a kiss!!”

Solving Crate Aggression: 4 steps

Why Does My Dog Growl When I Close His Crate Door

There is no quick fix for crate aggression. You must persistently work with your dog until you reach your goal.

After some days and daily repetitive sessions, your dog’s crate aggression will disappear.

Just follow these easy steps, and you will be well on your way to solving this problem.

Leave Your Dog Alone

Dog crate aggression

Before starting, make one thing clear. Never, and we repeat, never pet your dog when he is in his crate!

The dog is locked in a tiny room all alone, and there is no way to escape. Then, suddenly, somebody approaches him while he is cornered. “Yikes!”

Leave him alone and let him be, for now.

Your dog growling inside a closed crate is signaling that he is uncomfortable and does not want you petting him.

Calm Him Down While He’s Inside The Crate

Dog enjoying a treat

Now, secondly, work on calming your pooch, both inside and around the crate.

You have to leave the crate door open and reward your dog with high-value treats for entering.

By high-value treats, we mean treats he does not normally have (like chicken mince and peanut butter on the crate walls).

Hide the treats in and around the crate.

Let him use his prey drive to sniff and find the treats. These treats will be used as positive reinforcements and will eventually help your dog make a positive association with the crate.

Work On Him Being Comfortable Around The Crate

Dog comfortable around the crate

The next thing to do is to use some calming techniques right outside the crate. Make him sit or lie down around the crate and gently pet him.

Massage his head and stroke his ears, and keep him calm for a while.

Do not make any loud, excitable commands which might trigger your dog to run away from the crate.

You have to associate the crate as a place for your dog to calm down and relax. Talk to him gently and in the calmest tone.

Eat Sleep Repeat!

Why Does My Dog Growl When I Close His Crate Door

Keep repeating the above steps in your daily sessions and slowly start transitioning all the above steps to inside the crate. But do not close the door yet till you see the following sign.

When you see your dog completely calm and frequently relaxing inside the crate, close the crate door slowly for a split second and open it. Reward your dog.

Keep on increasing the time for when the crate door remains closed before opening it again.

Just add a few seconds daily so that your dog can handle it calmly.

Once your dog reaches a benchmark of half an hour without going aggressive inside the crate, it is time to celebrate.

Just keep on visiting him quietly after every half an hour or so. Give him a treat for being a good boy when you visit him.

Winding up: Things to watch out for!

Crate aggression can be very upsetting both for you and your dog. But, with time and consistent efforts, it can be cured.

Please note that you should only open the crate door as a reward for good behavior, not when the dog is misbehaving and forcing you to comply with his demands.

Also, keep the advancements and appraisals in your training period slow and steady. Small increments daily, if everything else goes well, will get your job done.

Do not get upset, and give up if your dog messes up at some point. Go back to step 1 and repeat the process at a slower pace this time. Your fur buddy is dependent on your love and support; never give up on him!

Like what you read? Have a quick look at our other blog posts. We try very hard to cover challenges related to dog kennels, dog houses, and dog crates.

Happy crating! πŸ™‚

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