Puppy Crate Training 101: How To Crate Train A Puppy

Last Updated on October 7, 2020 by Sofia Coleman

Puppy crate training might take some effort and time, but can be beneficial in various circumstances. If you adopt a new dog or puppy, you can use the crate to limit his access to your home until he knows all the house rules– such as what he can’t and can sleep on and where he can’t and can chew.

A crate is also a way of taking him places where he might not be welcome to run freely, as well as a secure way of transporting your pooch in the car. If you properly crate train your puppy, he’ll think of it as his refuge and will be happy to hang out there when needed.

What Is Puppy Crate Training?

Before discovering how to crate train a puppy, we must first be clear on what puppy crate training truly is.

It’s the process we execute to teach our dog that their crate is a particular place all of their own, a place where great things happen, so they become willing and even expect spending relaxed, comfortable time there.

A crate-trained puppy will freely go in and out of their crate without any pressure, feel relaxed being locked in sometimes, and will be comfortable inside, showing no signs of anxiety and causing no fuss.

They will feel secure and safe, look completely satisfied without crying for release, and usually head to the crate of their own accord.

Benefits of Crate Training Your New Puppy

Crates help both ends of the leash: you and your puppy. They aren’t just safety and relaxing for your dog; they also give you peace of mind and valuable time of relaxation! Below are a few of the reasons that puppy crate training is useful:

  • Help with obedience house training: A crate is a wonderful tool to help house train a new puppy.
  • Noise refuge: The crate gives a safe and secure place for your puppy to relax and a place to stay well during stressful times like parties, holidays, thunderstorms.
  • Easy transport: Crates make it easier to transport your puppy in the auto securely.
  • Injury and Poisoning prevention: A crate can help avoid poisonings and injuries for puppies when they’ve left home alone while you go to work or run errands.
  • Protect your things: Puppy crate training helps protect your floors, furniture, and the rest of your house while you’re out.
  • Home away from home: A puppy that’s effectively crate trained will be relaxed and calm when he needs to be crated at the groomer, vet, or a boarding kennel.

How Long Does It Take To Crate Train A Puppy?

There is no precise answer to this question. Depending on your pooch’s character, this whole process might take a few days or a month. It varies hugely from puppy to puppy.

With the puppy’s I’ve owned, I never had a problem.

Sure, they bark now and then, and it wasn’t all plain sailing, I would be lying if I claimed it was easy, but after only a few days, they were mainly quiet throughout the night and feel relaxed to spend time in his crate during the day.

With proper, consistent training, most dogs are happy spending more time in the crate within 1 to 4 weeks.

How to Choose a Crate

Different types of crates are available:

  • Wire crates are collapsible for easy transport and storage. 
  • Soft-sided crates ideal for puppies or small breed dogs.
  • Wooden crates are offered in various styles to integrate into your home decoration for a permanent solution.
  • Plastic crates feature a durable and sturdy material.

Crates can be found in many different sizes and models and purchased at most pet supply stores.

Browse Dog Crates on Amazon

Your pooch’s crate needs to be just large enough for them to turn around and stand up in. If your puppy is still growing, pick a crate size that will fit their adult size.

Your local pet shelter may rent out crates. By leasing, you can trade up to a suitable size for your dog until they reach their full size when you can purchase a permanent.

The Puppy CrateTraining Process

The process we’re going to use for puppy crate training is a combination of shaping and luring, which are excellent ways to train your puppy without needing to add force.

What we need to do is think of the end objective, that of our dog laying relaxed and happy in the crate, for an extended period and with the door shut, alone with nobody else in the room.

After that, think about how we can achieve the results we want in many incremental and simple steps. List those actions, and develop a training plan to take us from step 1 to the end.

Step 1: Introducing your puppy to the crate

Place the crate in your home area where the family spends a lot of time, like the kitchen or living room. Place a towel or soft blanket in the crate. Bring your puppy over to the crate and talk to him in a calm tone of voice. Ensure the crate door is safely fastened open, so it won’t hit your puppy and frighten him.

To motivate your pooch to get in the crate, drop some small treats near it, then inside the door, and finally completely inside the crate. If he refuses to go in at first, that’s fine–don’t force him to go into it.

Continue throwing treats inside the crate until your puppy can walk calmly into the crate for the treat. If he isn’t interested in treats, try throwing a preferred toy in the crate. This step can take a few minutes or several days.

Step 2: Feed your puppy meals in the crate.

After introducing your puppy to the crate, start feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will develop a positive association with the crate.

  • If your puppy is readily entering the crate when you start step 2, place the food bowl at the back of the crate.
  • If they continue to be reluctant to go into it, place the bowl only as far inside as they will go without becoming anxious or afraid. Each time you feed them, put the bowl a little further back in the crate.
  • As soon as your puppy is standing conveniently in the crate to eat their meal, you can shut the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as quickly as they complete their meal. With each succeeding feeding, leave the door shut a few minutes longer until they’re staying in the crate for at least 10 mins after eating.
  • If they start to whine to let them out of their crate, you may have raised the length of time too rapidly. Next time, attempt leaving them in the crate for a shorter amount of time. If they do cry or whine in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop; Or else, they’ll discover that the way to leave the crate is to cry, so they’ll keep doing it.

Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods

After your puppy is eating his regular meals in the crate without any indication of stress or fear, you can start leaving him there for short periods of time while you’re home. Call him over to the crate and offer him a reward. give him a command to get into the crate like, “kennel up.”

Encourage him by indicating the inside of the crate with a reward in your hand. After your puppy gets into it, Give him lots of praise, offer him the treat, and shut the door.

Sit near the crate for three to ten minutes and then go into another room for a couple of minutes. Return, sit calmly again for a short period of time; after that, let him out of the crate.

Repeat this process many times a day. With each repetition, slowly increase the length of time you leave your puppy in the crate and the length of time you spend in the other room out of sight of your dog.

Once your puppy stays calmly in the crate for 20 to 30 minutes with you out of sight most of the time, you can start letting him sleep there in the night or leaving him there when you’re gone for short periods of time. This can take several days or weeks.

Step 4 -1: Crate your dog when you leave

After your pooch can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or worried, you can start leaving them crated for short time periods when you leave your home.

  • Place them in the crate using your normal command and a reward. You may want to leave them with safe toys in the crate.
  • Vary the time during your “preparing to leave” routine to place your canine in the crate. Although you shouldn’t leave him in the crate for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to ten mins before leaving.
  • Don’t make your departures prolonged and emotional. Praise your puppy quickly, reward them for going into the crate, and then leave silently.

When you come back, don’t reward your pooch for excited behavior by passionately replying to them. Keep arrivals low-key to prevent raising their fear over when you will return. Continue to crate your puppy periodically when you’re home, so they don’t associate crating with being left alone.

Step 4 -2: Crate your dog at night

Place your pooch in the crate using your normal command and a reward. Initially, it might be an excellent idea to put the crate nearby in a hallway or your bedroom, particularly if you have a puppy.

Puppies frequently require to go outside to potty during the night, and you’ll need to be able to hear your puppy when he cries to be let outside.

Older dogs should originally be kept nearby so that crating doesn’t become connected with social isolation. Once your pooch is sleeping conveniently through the night with his crate near you, you can start to move it to the location you want gradually.

Potential problems

Too much time in the crate

A crate isn’t a magical solution. If you don’t use it correctly, a puppy can feel anxious and trapped. For instance, if your pooch is crated all night and again all day while you’re at work, he’s spending excessive time in too small a space. Other arrangements need to be made to accommodate his emotional and physical needs.

Also, keep in mind that pups under 6 months old shouldn’t be left in a crate for more than four or five hours at a time. They can’t hold their bowels and bladders for longer than that.

Separation anxiety

Trying to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won’t solve the problem. A crate may avoid your puppy from being destructive, but they might get wounded in an try to escape.

Separation anxiety issues can only be solved with desensitization and counterconditioning treatments. You may need to see a professional animal-behavior specialist for help.

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