The Don'ts of Crate Training
If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether she is whining to be let out of the crate, or if she needs to be let outside to eliminate. Initially you can ignore the whining. Your dog may stop if she is just testing to see if she’ll be let out. If the whining continues after you have ignored it for several minutes, you can repeat the phrase your dog has associated with going outside to eliminate. If she responds and becomes excited, take her outside. This should be a trip with a purpose — not play time.
If you are convinced that your dog does not need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore the whining completely. Most attempts at punishing the behavior actually end up inadvertently reinforcing it because the dog is getting attention from you. During the process of ignoring whining, expect it to get worse before it gets better. You cannot give in, otherwise you will have taught your dog that she must whine loud and long to get what she wants! If you have progressed very gradually through the training steps and have not attempted to hurry the process and cut corners, you will not be likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to restart the crate training process from the very beginning.