Crate Training a Puppy: Choosing a Create, How to Crate Train and More

Home: Dog Training: Crate Training a Puppy

Crate Training a Puppy

“Puppies four months and older should be able to sleep through the night.”

Crate Training a Puppy is a good idea for a number of reasons. A crate can help you with house training a puppy. Crate training is absolutely essential if you ever intend to fly with your dog. And crate training is a good idea so your dog can ride in a crate in your personal vehicle and stay safe. Here are some tips.

Choosing a Crate

Many people are confused about what kind of crate to get. There are actually several kinds of crates. One popular crate is the hard plastic airline apzsproved dog crate.

This crate is often a good choice for puppies. It’s hard plastic so even if your puppy chews on it, it will survive. It is airline-approved so if you fly with your puppy, the airline has approved it. And, it’s easy to clean. Many puppies and dogs also like it because it’s cozy and den-like.

A hard plastic dog crate is an especially good choice if you intend to use a crate in your vehicle since they can provide some protection in case of an accident.

Another kind of crate is a wire metal crate. Metal dog crates are popular with many people because they are lighter weight and many of them are foldable and collapsible. They are easy to carry if you need to take the crate with you somewhere, such as a training class. They usually have a pan or tray in the bottom so they are also easy to clean. They have the advantage that your dog can see out of them easily if he likes to watch what’s going on around him, yet you can place a sheet over the crate to give your dog some privacy. These crates also work well for crate training a puppy.

Other crates include canvas crates and wicker crates. These crates are typically very lightweight and they have their fans. However, a collapsable dog crate that in canvas or wicker is not recommended when crate training a puppy since they are easily torn or chewed.

Crate Training a Puppy
Photo by Bethan Hazell Photography

When choosing between large dog crates and small dog crates, you don’t want the crate to be too large. If the crate is too big your puppy will simply sleep in one end and relieve himself at the other end of the crate. You can purchase a crate that will be the right size for your puppy when he’s an adult dog. This may be very big for your puppy right now, of course. If it is too big right now you can buy a divider so your puppy can only use part of the crate. This will help for house training purposes.

Introducing the Crate

Crate training a puppy starts with introducing your puppy to the crate. You can do this very easily by placing the new crate somewhere in your house where the puppy will find it. It’s a good idea to place the crate in a room where you’ll be spending a lot of time at first so you can keep an eye on the puppy.

Place a comfortable mat or some towels in the bottom of the crate. Add some toys and safe things to chew on. Then place some treats in the crate. Make the crate as appealing as possible to your puppy and leave the door open. You should allow your puppy to go inside the crate as he likes. He should soon find the treats and toys and discover that the crate is not a scary place. He may stay in the crate or he may bring the toys out. Either way is fine. Continue to place good things in the crate for a day or two so your puppy can get used to it.

After your puppy has gotten used to the crate and he’s going in and out of it freely, you can start to close the door after him for a few minutes. He should not be alarmed as long as he can see you in the same room. When you open the door you should praise him and give him some treats. Repeat this procedure several times a day for a couple of days.

You can slowly increase the amount of time that your puppy stays in the crate. Make sure that you are staying where your puppy can see you. You can gradually start leaving the room for short periods while your puppy is distracted with the toys and chews. Continue to increase the time that your puppy spends in the crate up to about half an hour. You are crate training your puppy.

Crate Training

Crate training a puppy gets a little harder once your puppy decides that he wants out at some point, or when he may not be able to see you. There will most likely come a time when your puppy is going to bark or howl to get out of the crate. However, if you always keep your puppy supplied with safe toys and safe things to chew while he’s in the crate, and you have slowly gotten him used to the crate, he should quickly stop the barking and howling behavior.

Practice leaving the room for a little while and returning. Practice leaving the house for a short time and returning. Let your puppy get used to these times when he’s alone before you actually do leave him alone in the crate. Remember to praise him and offer him some treats when you let him out of the crate.

Crate Training a Puppy at Night

Many people like to have their puppy sleep in the crate at night. You can place the crate in your bedroom if you like, or you can keep the crate in another room. Night time crate training can help a puppy with his house training since house training a puppy is often easier once the puppy stops having accidents at night.

Remember to put away your puppy’s food 3-4 hours before bedtime and remove his water an hour or two before bed to help him make it through the night without needing to potty. House training a puppy goes much easier when you use a crate.

Puppies four months and older should be able to sleep through the night without needing to go outside if they are pottied before bedtime, so a crate can help them learn to control themselves.

Crate Training Success!

Crate training a puppy isn’t that hard to do but you do need to be firm and consistent. Remember that you should not expect any puppy or dog to stay in a crate an unreasonable length of time without a potty break.

If your puppy is in the crate during the day he needs a break and exercise every three or four hours. Most puppies learn crate training very quickly.

Return from Crate Training a Puppy to the Dog Training Information page

Return to Dogs and Dog Advice home page