A Guide to Crate Training a Puppy [9 Simple Ways]

Fact-checked

There are many divided opinions about crate training your pet, especially a puppy. Crate training a puppy can be done in a number of ways, but the most important thing is to choose the right method for your pet.

In this article, we’ll explain what crate training is, how to choose the right way to crate train your pet, how to choose the right crate, as well as what the pros and cons of the whole crate training process are.

Read on to find out the details!

What Is Crate Training?

Crate training is the process of teaching a pet to accept a dog cage or crate as a familiar and safe place; it’s a method of teaching your puppy to act non-destructively at home.

Crate training your dogs means providing them with a safe environment and personal space, and crate training can play an essential part in your dog’s behavior. Even though some think of using crates as caging up a pet, they’re actually a natural environment for them, since dogs are den animals and like to have their own space to rest or hide. A crate gives a dog the feeling of security, and, if trained from an early age, it can help calm anxiety.

Crate training a dog is a practice that uses the natural instincts of the dog as a den animal, although it takes approximately six months of consistent training.

DID YOU KNOW? According to most experts, crate training is still the most common approach for teaching puppies what’s right or wrong, as well as reducing separation anxiety.

The Pros and Cons of Crate Training

How to crate train a dog and if it’s a good choice is a subject of perennial debate. When it comes to this topic, opinions among dog trainers are divided. While many rightfully think teaching a dog proper behaviors and boundaries at home is a good thing, others think crate training is too harsh.

Let’s see some pros and cons of crate training a new puppy, and what the effects are.

Pros Cons
A crate keeps the dog away from harmful objects Can cause physical frustration at first
Helps hone the dog’s den instincts Can cause emotional distress, as your puppy might see it as a punishment
Makes the toilet training process easier Can be dangerous if you don’t take preventive measures
Can help curb separation anxiety Can be dangerous if the dog wears a leash or collar
Provides the dog with personal space Can be dangerous if there isn’t enough ventilation

Crate Training Pros

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits crate training may bring:

  • A Crate Keeps the Dog Away From Harmful Objects

Crate training a dog will be a great choice if your dog loves chewing objects. As dogs, and especially puppies with this habit can accidentally swallow something poisonous or dangerous if left without supervision, a crate might be a useful tool.

  • It Helps Hone the Dog’s Den Instincts

As dogs are den animals by nature, they need a home to go to, and perhaps you’ve noticed dogs can find a particular place in the house by themselves and go there when they’re sad or tired. If used wisely, a crate can serve as that place they feel is their own, honing their den instincts.

  • It Makes the Toilet Training Process Easier

Crate training a puppy on schedule and teaching them when and how to use the toilet may be a difficult process. But if you have a bigger cage for your puppy, it can help them localize and understand where and when to relieve themselves. Put a small potty in the cage to help your puppy associate with the scent and be aware that it’s their bathroom.

  • It Can Help Curb Separation Anxiety

Being away from their families can be very difficult and stressful for some puppies, but if you’re crate training a dog with separation anxiety the right way, it can become their safe place and make them feel more secure. Moreover, if your dog suffers from extreme anxiety, you can try some of the best CBD oils for dogs.

  • It Provides the Dog With Their Own Personal Space

As every member of the family has their own personal space, it’s only fair for your dog to have a place of their own as well, and the crate will be just that. It will be a safe and quiet place where they can lie down and relax if they need to.

Crate Training Cons

Even though crate training has many benefits, there are also some possible disadvantages to consider:

  • It Can Cause Physical Frustration at First

When you decide to start crate training a puppy, you need to be aware the first night won’t be easy. In the beginning, they can be reluctant to go into the crate, and you’ll notice that for sure, as they’ll likely bark, whine, howl, yelp, or make another voice cue you may have never heard before just to get the door opened. So, can you handle the pressure and stay deaf to their whining for your attention?

  • It Can Cause Emotional Distress As Your Puppy Might See It as a Punishment

If the puppies are left in the crate for longer periods of time, they’ll consider the crating period as a punishment. Because of this, it’s not recommended for the puppy to spend more than four hours at a time in the crate, as it will have a negative effect. If you’re wondering how to crate train a puppy fast, leaving them alone for hours is not the answer.

If you’re not at home for a long period every day, you better hire a pet sitter to take care of and accompany them.

  • It Can Be Dangerous if Preventive Measures Aren’t Taken

First of all, you need to make sure the crate is put together properly. In case it’s improperly constructed, it could collapse and injure the dog. If you’re not sure whether you’re doing the right thing with the whole process, it’s best to consult your vet.

  • It Can Be Dangerous if the Dog Wears a Leash or Collar

If you want to know how to properly crate train a puppy, remember to take off their collar to prevent accidental choking. It can be dangerous for the puppy to wear a collar or leash in the crate, as they can get caught in the bars, which may result in strangulation.

  • It Can Be Dangerous if There Isn’t Enough Ventilation

Make sure the crate is big enough for the dog’s comfort. Some cages can be too small for your dog, and if the bars are extremely close together, it can restrict the air that’s supposed to circulate within, causing your puppy extreme discomfort.

Key Takeaways

What is crate training?” is a frequent question from new pet owners—crate training means teaching your dog to associate with their crate in a safe and secure way, so it can be their safe place when they’re tired or overwhelmed.
Even though some think crate training means “imprisoning” the dog, it’s just the opposite, it provides them with their own space where they can rest and even calm their anxiety.
You can create positive associations with the crate using some treats and games.
Most importantly, you need to be patient! Crate training your puppy can take 6 months of consistent training.

Crate Training a Puppy: How to Do It

Before you start crate training your puppy, you need to be aware of the following:

1. Choose the Right Crate for Your Puppy

Dog’s crates come in various types—plastic, wire, soft-sided, and wooden dog crates. They come in different sizes, and you can find them in most pet supply stores. The crate has to be large enough that your dog can stand and turn around.

2. Introduce the Crate to Your Puppy

Place the crate somewhere in your house where the family hangs around. Additionally, put a bed or soft blanket in the crate, as well as your puppy’s favorite toy, and keep the crate door properly open. Let the dog explore the crate on their own—as dogs are very curious, they’ll be interested to try it.

3. Determine How the Puppy Will Be Most Comfortable

When crate potty training a puppy, you need to determine whether the dog bed, the blanket, or a towel will be a comfortable environment for your dog—some dogs may tear them apart or pee on them. If your dog feels comfortable, they can sleep on the crate mat only, as some dogs prefer hard surfaces.

4. Give the Puppy a Treat After He Goes Into the Crate

Another positive association rule—give your puppy their favorite treat or meals to enjoy in the crate. This way, they’ll spend more time in the crate having a good time. Also, this will motivate the dog to go into the crate, as they’ll expect a treat in return.

5. Keep an Eye on the Time Spent in the Crate

When potty training a puppy with a crate, you can’t leave your dog in the crate for too long, as they’ll still need time outside to play and use the bathroom. It’s not right to soil where they sleep, but if they stay without a walk too long, they’ll probably end up doing so.

6. Play Crate Games With the Puppy

In order to ensure the dog won’t see the crate as a negative place, you need to incorporate fun games that will motivate them to go in and out of their crate at their will. You can use a small ball or hide treats inside the crate so they’ll be busy searching.

7. Crate Your Dog When You Go Outside and at Night

You can start crate training a puppy at night after the puppy starts staying in the crate for 30 minutes or so without getting anxious. Begin by leaving your puppy in the crate for short periods when you go outside the house.
At night, put the puppy in the crate using regular commands and a treat. It’s better to put the crate near your bedroom to hear if the puppy has some needs.

8. Set the Puppy Up for Success

When learning how to crate train a puppy, try leaving them alone in small steps once you feel your dog can stay in the crate independently. You can’t go out and leave them for hours, but perhaps you can go and get a cup of tea and come back. You can also use a recording device to monitor your dog’s behavior while you’re gone.

9. Be Patient

Most important of all, you need to be patient and trust the process. Consistency is key, even though the process might take up to six months. You need to be prepared for ups and downs, as dogs are not linear learners, but in the end, you’ll be thankful.

How to Choose the Right Crate for Your Dog

How to crate train a puppy and how long it will take may also depend on your crate choice. For a new pet owner, it can be quite difficult to decide what kind of crate will be most suitable for your puppy, as there are many types, shapes, and sizes. To help you out, we’ll take a look at each of them separately:

  • Plastic Crates

Plastic crates are ideal for pet owners who travel a lot, as they meet some airline requirements. These types of crates feature sturdy and durable materials.

  • Wire Crates

Wire crates can provide good airflow for the puppy, so they’re especially suitable for dogs living in warm climates. Moreover, they’re easy for storage and transport, as they’re collapsible. Also, how long does it take to crate train a puppy may depend on the crate’s size and material.

  • Soft-Sided Crates

Soft-sided crates are compatible for small breed puppies or those already accustomed to staying in a crate. Its materials are flexible and lightweight, which makes it easy to set up and tear down.

  • Wooden Crates

Wooden crates are more stylish types of crates that can be found in various designs, which can be suitable for your home décor.

After you decide what type of crate will be best for your dog, you need to choose the right size as well. When it comes to size, keep in mind your dog needs to have enough space in the crate and feel comfortable to stand up, stretch out, turn around, and lie down. If you’re crate training a new puppy in an overly big crate, they’ll use one side to sleep and the other to relieve themselves.

DID YOU KNOW? Apart from its many benefits, the dog’s crate can also be suitable as a whelping box during the dog’s pregnancy and when in labor.

Conclusion

Although crate training has both pros and cons, remember never to force or punish your dog to stay in the crate, as it will affect them badly. If you hear your pet crying or whining in the middle of the night, they either just want to go out of the crate, or need to go to the bathroom. If the whining doesn’t stop, say the words he associates with going outside. It’s normal for these things to happen through the process of training, so don’t get disappointed if they do.

FAQ

How long can you leave a 8 week old puppy in a crate?

A good rule of thumb is to leave the puppy in the crate based on their age in months, plus one hour. So, 2 months (8 weeks) plus 1 hour = 3 hours. Before taking the puppy into the crate, make sure he’s really tired so he can take a nap.

What is the best age to start crate training a puppy?

You can start with crate training a puppy as soon as possible or from about 2 months ( 8 weeks) or so.

Is it OK to crate a puppy at night?

Crate training your puppy at night is really helpful for his overall house training, but keep in mind that he needs to have consistent opportunities to go to the toilet outside during the night.

ABOUT AUTHOR

When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

Latest from Ofelia

Best Cat Trees The Cutest Dog Breeds That Will Melt Your Heart When Should You Euthanize a Cat With Kidney Failure? What to Do When Your Dog Dies and How to Say Farewell Properly

Leave a Reply