How to Crate Train a Puppy

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Best practices to crate train a puppy or new furry friendUtilizing the dog’s innate need to find a cozy, peaceful, and secure location when the world around them is too loud or overwhelming, the proper crate training process makes your puppy take use of this inclination. It’s crucial for keeping dogs from chewing on anything inside the house, preventing puppy cries, and housetraining them. The safest method to travel with your dog in the vehicle is by using wire crates.

Many individuals believe that crating a dog or young puppy is cruel. All those terrible connotations include cages, zoos, and other things. It prevents the new puppy from gnawing on items like electrical cables and your brand-new shoes while you aren’t there to watch. It is comparable to a baby playpen in that regard. It is also a crucial tool for housebreaking puppies and older dogs. Mother dogs teach their pups not to urinate in their sleeping areas. Puppies still in the den will crawl away from where they are resting and relieve themselves in a location they have designated as their toilet spot. They are already hardwired, not too solid in their sleeping quarters.

Using the Natural Denning Instinct of the Dog

Let’s start by looking at how dogs act in the wild. Adult wild dogs will inevitably locate a den or secure location to rest. The dam builds a den where the young puppies are born in the wild and maintained until they are mature enough to go outdoors on their own. She educates children that going to pee where they sleep is not acceptable. Naturally, domestic dogs will also build dens. If no other safe place for them to a den is available, you will often observe a dog sleeping next to a piece of furniture, under a table, or on a desk. Having this behavior from the moment you bring the puppy to a new home is not cruel. Giving the puppy or dog a safe space to call its own is cruel.

Crate Caution

A kennel does not provide a miracle cure for typical canine behavior. A dog could feel caged and angry if it is utilized improperly. A puppy’s crate won’t be a good option for all pet parents, but it can be if the crate is given a positive association for the crate. The right crate is a great way to get a puppy used to an enclosed space (like a crate) which can then be associated with a safe, and comfortable place for your pup.

  • Dog Crates may be used to control normal behavior but should never be used as punishment. For instance, it is more beneficial to put your dog in a cage with an interactive toy before visitors arrive to prevent accidents with food or leaping than to wait for misbehavior and then put your dog away. Using goodies to lure your dog into the dog’s crate until they like doing so can establish a pleasant relationship with it, regardless of time.
  • Keep your dog out of the crate after a short while. Because they don’t receive enough exercise or human connection, dogs kept in crates all day and first night may develop anxiety or depression. To lessen your dog’s time in the cage daily, you may need to adjust your schedule, get a pet sitter, or enroll your dog in a daycare center. Additionally, there are tools other than crates. You may use a rope in your own bedroom or living room to keep your puppy from wandering off while sleeping if you’re attempting to prevent them from chewing on items or having accidents in the middle of the night.
  • Under six months old, puppies shouldn’t be confined for more than three to four hours. They are unable to maintain bladder or bowel control for that long. The same holds for housebreaking mature dogs.
  • Put your dog in a crate until it can stay home alone without making a mess or engaging in harmful behavior. Before allowing your dog access to the whole house while you’re gone, you might gradually transition him from his crate to a small space, such as the kitchen.
  • For your dog to enter the crate when they need a secure place, it should always contain a comfy bed and be kept open while you are at home. This is just another sign that your dog needs some peace. Teach kids and guests to leave their dogs alone if they see them entering the cage.
  • Although a cage may serve as your dog’s cave, your dog shouldn’t spend most of its hard time there, just as you wouldn’t live all of your life in one area of your house.

Crate Selection

There are many different kinds of crates:

  • Plastic (commonly called “flight kennels”) 
  • Fabric atop a robust, foldable frame
  • Metal, collapsible pens

The majority of pet supply shops and pet supply websites provide crates in different sizes. Some are expandable as your dog gets bigger, which is great for young dogs.

Browse Dog Crate on Amazon

Your dog should be able to turn around and stand in the box. Select a crate size that will fit your dog after adulthood if they are still growing. Your neighborhood animal rescue could rent out crates. Until your puppy reaches adult size, you may rent a crate that is the right size for them until you can buy a permanent crate.

Training Process

Depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences, proper crate training may take a few days or many weeks. When proper crate training, it’s crucial to keep two things in mind: the crate should always be connected with something enjoyable, and proper crate training and potty training should be done in a series of incremental increments. Don’t move too quickly.

Step 1: Introduce Crate to Your Dog

A common family gathering spot in your home is the family room, so place the crate there. In the container, provide a soft blanket or bed. Allow the dog to explore the crate at their own pace by removing the door or leaving it propped open. Some dogs will be curious by nature and immediately begin to sleep in the crate. Should yours not be one of them:

  • First thing, bring them over to the container and engage them in conversation in a joyful manner. To prevent hitting your dog and frightening them, ensure the crate door is open and securely fastened.
  • Drop some tiny food goodies nearby, inside the door, and ultimately inside the crate to entice your dog to enter. Don’t push them inside if they first balk at entering completely.
  • When your dog is relaxed enough to enter the crate to receive the food, keep throwing goodies inside it. Try placing a favorite toy in the crate if they aren’t interested in rewards. This process might take a few minutes or many days.

Step 2: Feed Your Dog in Crate

Start giving your dog its regular meals close to the crate after introducing them to it. This will make the container seem nicer in your mind.

  • Put the food dish or interactive puzzle toy filled with food to the rear of the crate if your dog is already willing to enter the cage before you start Step 2.
  • Put the dish just as far inside as they can without being scared or worried if they are still hesitant to enter. Place the dish a little bit further back in the crate each time you feed the pack animals.
  • You may shut the door after your dog is seated comfortably in the crate to finish its food. Please open the door as soon as they complete their food the first time you do this. As they feed more often, keep the door closed for a little longer until they spend about 10 minutes in the crate after each meal.
  • You may have extended the duration too soon if they complain about needing to go outside. Try keeping them in the container for less time the next time.

Step 3: Practice with Longer Crating Periods

You may restrict your dog for a brief period while you’re home until they eat their normal meals without displaying any signs of fear or distress.

  • Invite them to the container and reward them there.
  • Give them a vocal cue, like “crate,” to enter. Pointing to the inside container while holding a treat can entice them.
  • Reward your dog, praise them, and then shut the door when they’ve inside the crate.
  • Spend five to ten minutes sitting quietly near the crate before leaving to spend a long time in another room. When you go back, sit quietly for a little while before letting them out.
  • Several times a day, repeat this practice, progressively extending the crate time you leave them in the container and your absence from sight.
  • You may start putting your dog in the crate while you’re gone for brief periods and letting them sleep there at night after they can remain calmly in the crate for around 30 minutes with you, mainly out of sight. This might take a few days or even the first couple of weeks.

Step 4 Part A: Crate Your Dog When Leave

You may start placing your dog in the crate for brief durations when you leave home after. They can stay there for around 30 minutes without becoming scared or agitated.

  • Using your standard command and a reward, place them in the container. You may also wish to provide them with safe chew toys in the crate.
  • Change the length of time you put your dog in the crate as you go through your “getting ready to go” routine. You may cage them anywhere between five and 20 minutes before you leave. However, it would help if you didn’t create them for a lengthy period.
  • Your departures should be brief and unfussy; avoid becoming sentimental. Reward your dog for going into the crate, give them a little pat on the head of the little guy, and then gently go.

When you get home, refrain from rewarding your dog’s excitement by being too positive with them. Maintain a low profile when you arrive to prevent raising their anticipation of your return. To prevent your dog from positive associations being crated with being left alone, keep sometimes crate-training them when you are home.

Step 4 Part B: Crate Your Dog at Night

Put your dog in the crate using your standard command and a goodie. Placing the crate in your bedroom or close by in a corridor would be a good idea if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outdoors at night to relieve themselves, so it’s important to hear them when they cry out to be taken outside. It’s best to initially keep older dogs close by so they don’t connect the crate with loneliness.

Including time spent with your dog, even a good night’s sleep is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your pet. After your dog rests soundly through the night with the cage close to you, you may gradually transfer it to the place you want.

Potential Problems

Whining: It may be difficult to determine whether your dog is a whimpering dog or a crying puppy when in the cage at night because they want to be let out or need to go for a potty break outdoors. Your dog hasn’t previously been let out of its crate as a reward for whining if you’ve followed the training techniques described above. If so, attempt to tune out the complaining. Your dog will probably quickly cease whimpering if they are trying you. Never reprimand them for complaining.

Use the word they associate with going outdoors to relieve themselves if they continue complaining after you’ve ignored them for a while. Take them outdoors if they react and get animated. This should not be a leisurely excursion; it should have a purpose. Wait at one location in your yard where they often use the restroom. The best action is to ignore your dog until they stop whimpering if you’re sure they don’t need to go potty. You’ll be less likely to have this issue if you’ve advanced progressively through the training phases and haven’t done too much too soon. You may need to restart the proper crate training procedure if the issue gets out of hand.

Separation Anxiety Problem: The issue won’t be resolved by attempting to treat separation anxiety with the crate. Your dog may not be destroyed if it is in a crate, but it could hurt itself trying to get out. Only counterconditioning and desensitization techniques may treat separation anxiety issues. You may need assistance from a qualified expert in animal behavior.

Too Much Time in Crate: Using a crate is not a miraculous fix. A dog may experience frustration and feel confined if not handled properly. He spends too much time in too little space, for instance, if your dog is crated all day while you are at hard work and then all night. He requires further accommodations to meet his emotional and physical demands. Additionally, keep in mind that pups under six months shouldn’t be confined for longer than three to four hours at a time. They lose control of their bladder and bowels for extended lengths of time.

Some Other Reasons to Crate Train Your Dog


Let’s say you need to transport your dog via air. For this, they must be crates. Flying is difficult enough for a crate-trained dog but makes it far more traumatic for a dog who has never flown by itself. Can you think of a good reason for the dog to be crate trained?


What if you leave the dog in a boarding kennel because you need to travel? Crate-trained dogs will have little trouble comprehending and adjusting to this circumstance. Typically, you can bring the dog’s crate to the kennel so that he might feel more comfortable sleeping in his bed.

Crating in Car

Another justification for proper crate training is to keep the puppy or dog secure in the automobile. Nobody wants to consider what may occur in a vehicle accident. Car doors may fly open, and an uncrated dog can bolster away in fear or jump into oncoming traffic and be struck by a vehicle. The dog may be knocked about if it is locked in a crate in the vehicle during an accident, but the crate will likely prevent the dog from getting injured, may help keep the dog contained within the car, and will keep him from getting lost if the car doors fly open, even if the crate is ejected from the car. If your dog is in a cage and can be readily transported to a secure place, the emergency services personnel are more likely to keep your dog safe and confined if you are injured in the accident.

Crating Adult Dogs

You can crate-train an older dog to accept the crate, even though it is probably simpler to do it with a puppy. Like I described with the puppy, coax him inside the crate with food or his favorite toy while leaving the door open. Continue doing this until the dog is willing to enter the crate for a reward. When the dog is willing to enter the crate for food or a toy, have him lie down inside for a brief period with you seated on the floor in front of the crate. Then, release him. If the dog feels at ease resting in the back of the crate, continue doing this for a few days or a week. Please close the door for a few moments when the dog seems to be at ease laying down, then remain there to converse with the dog as we did with the puppy before. Please open the door after the dog has been silent for a few seconds, let the dog out, and then ignore him for a few minutes to prevent the act of coming out from becoming connected with a lot of praise. While the dog is in the crate, give him gently, quiet praise; then, when he comes out, ignore him for a little while. As soon as he feels at ease spending extended lengths of time in the crate, keep doing this without any negative connections. No of their age, most dogs can be educated to use crates using this technique. Maintain a pleasant attitude while being firm. If you can, try to extend your time gradually. Give yourself as much time as possible if you need to teach your dog to fly in a box. Ideally, a month or longer. If you don’t have that much time, make the most of it by doing as many repetitions as possible. Take a break of around an hour between training sessions. The more repetitions you can do without making the dog feel stressed out but maintaining pleasant connections, the better. If you or the dog becomes anxious, stop.