Do you ever wish you could spend every moment with your dog? Sadly, you can’t always be around to keep them busy and entertained.
That's where crates come in handy.
Not every dog is mischief-proof. Some dogs might get a bit too bored while roaming free at home and decide to chew on items not meant for them, which could ultimately be dangerous! Crates provide a safer place for your dog to await your arrival home.
However, being cooped up for hours can lead to crate boredom. While this is common, you can do something to make being crated a positive experience for your pup.
Here are some signs that your dog may be experiencing boredom or anxiety in their crate — and how to tackle them head-on.
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Is your dog bored in their crate?
Crates can be a great way to keep your dog safe and secure when you're not home, but there are telltale signs when your furry friend is feeling bored or worse, having major anxiety.
- Barking or whining too much. When your dog makes these noises, it’s usually a way of communicating their frustration with being confined and not having anything to do in the crate besides snoozing.
- Biting and chewing on the crate. This behavior is a natural instinct for dogs and often becomes more pronounced when they are left in a crate with nothing to do. Anxious dogs may also attempt to escape the crate this way.
- Showing signs of restlessness. Is your dog unable to settle down in their crate? Do they constantly shift positions or fidget? That might be a bored pup.
- Excessive licking or grooming. If your dog exhibits these behaviors while inside the crate, they could either be trying to cope with boredom or soothing their anxiety.
Yup, crate boredom might surface as anxiety — such as separation anxiety (your dog feels distressed when left alone) or confinement anxiety (your dog feels trapped and becomes agitated when confined to a small space).
Other indicators of anxiety that you should watch out for include panting, excessive drooling, shaking, or trembling.
If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take action to relieve your dog's crate boredom or anxiety.
How can you keep your dog entertained in their crate?
Let’s explore practical ways to turn boredom into a tail-wagging good time.
- Transform your dog’s crate into a cozy den. Grab all the items you need to make your dog’s crate the coolest spot they'll love to chill in. Fluffy bed, snuggly blanket, squishy pillow…you name it, your dog will appreciate it. And why not wrap your furry friend in a slice of comfort with this pizza bed mat that's nice and comfy? Anything that can make your dog feel more at ease will help create a relaxing space.
- Beat crate boredom with plenty of toys and treats. You want your dog to think of their crate as a comfort zone. So stock it with their favorite things to create a positive association with the crate. Just be sure to choose safe and durable toys and long-lasting treats, and rotate them regularly to keep your dog interested. You can spread their favorite soft food on a slow-feeder crate lick plate. Or get your dog a Snuggle Puppy with a “Real-Feel” heartbeat to keep him company.
- Provide activities that challenge your dog’s mind. Make crate time mental stimulation time. Use interactive puzzle toys to keep your dog busy and their brain active and engaged. These toys require your dog to use their problem-solving skills to get to the treat inside. Have you met Freddy the Hedgehog? He's the perfect rubber crate-mate for your pup's mental stimulation needs. Or try a squeaky treat dispensing dog enrichment toy for added delight.
- Play your dog’s favorite music or TV show. For the ultimate chill-out experience in their crate, don't forget the tunes or DOGTV to entertain your pooch! The soothing sounds of music or human voices can provide a sense of comfort and companionship for your furry friend. Does your dog enjoy the classical tunes of Beethoven? How about the science-back stimulation of a channel curated just for them? You can experiment with different types of music and shows and see which one your dog responds to the best.
By being a paw-some pet parent and recognizing the signs of a bored dog, you can ensure that your dog's crate doesn’t become a source of stress. So bust crate boredom and encourage your dog to actually look forward to being in their crate!