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September 2

How to Crate Train a Dog

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Home / Dog Training / How to Crate Train a Dog

Updated: September 2, 2020

How to Crate Train Your Dog

Crate training a dog is an important part of disciplining your dog. When your first bring your dog home, you have to teach them to behave around their new home. A new dog, especially a new puppy, may become excited and chew on the furniture.

Crate training your dog helps you give your new pet the space it needs to slowly acclimatize into your family.

Crate training a dog involves teaching a dog to stay in a crate on command.

A dog crate is basically a portable kennel made of either plastic or metal. If the training is properly done, the crate should provide a safe place for a dog, a "den" if you will.

dog crate

A typical dog crate

What is crate training?

Crate training involves keeping your pet in a crate that they can stand and walk around in.

The purpose of the training is to help the dog find a comfortable place for themselves when they first come to your new home. But there are additional advantages as well.

Here are some of the benefits of crate training your dog:

Leave them at home: If you leave a dog in their crate, then you won't have to worry about them being home alone while you're outside.

Until your dog is familiar with their home, they run the risk of getting into accidents. If you aren't home when this happens, it could be problematic for for your pet.

By crate training your dog, you give them a safe and comfortable space at home where they can wait for you.

Transportation: Another great benefit of crate training your dog is that it helps you transport your dog to different places.

If you need to go to the vet, all you have to do is call out to your dog to get them into the crate. Once they're inside, they are in a place they consider comfortable.

You can simply carry the crate in your car to the vet. The added advantage here is that your dog is being transported in a place they associate with comfort.

This will reduce their anxiety related to traveling. Even at the vet, your pet is likely to feel less scared because their comfortable spot is nearby.

Soft crate - ideal for home use.

Variable size.

All metal - great for in the home.

Variable size.

This one is best for transport to the vet, or in the car.

Variable size.

This crate is great for anxious dogs - especially rescue dogs that need more privacy.

Variable size.

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Crate Materials

A crate is either made out of metal or plastic. They come in different sizes and colors, and are available at all pet stores.

The crate you choose to crate train your puppy or dog should be one that they can comfortably stand up in.

Look for a crate where you also have space to leave the food and water.

However, crate training a dog is a controversial subject at best. There are pros and cons for crate training. We will take a brief look at both sides of this issue and then discuss some points on how to crate train a dog.

Proponents of crate training insist that dogs are "den creatures" by nature, and it is natural for a dog to want to seek an enclosed place during certain periods of the day.

Critics of crate training insist that crate training is nothing more than "caging" a dog, which is cruelty. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

As with anything, crates can be overused and perceived as punishment by the dog.

You be the judge of it - you know your dog best.

Some dogs prefer the crate, especially if it's covered - it feels like their 'den' in the wild.


How do you crate train your puppy?

Crate training a puppy is slightly different from crate training a dog. A dog usually has prior behavioral patterns and may have been disciplined by others in the past. They also have better bladder control when compared to puppies.

If you want to crate train your puppy, then you will have to:

1. How you introduce your puppy to the crate will be a crucial part of the training process. 

The crate should only be associated with positivity and familiarity. At the beginning, introduce them to the crate by using encouraging words and treats.

Leave a comfortable blanket there for them, and even some toys.

2. By feeding them inside the crate, you will give them the idea that the crate is a safe place. 

This is as animals associate the places where they eat with safe spaces.

3. When your puppy is eating inside the crate, close the door and wait. 

See how long your puppy is comfortable with staying inside the crate. Don't leave them at this point.

4. Over time, the time they are comfortable inside should increase to about ten minutes. 

When this happens, you can start to leave the room after you lock the crate's door.

5. Keep an ear out for any sounds of distress, such as whining. If your puppy feels uncomfortable with being in the crate, let them out. 

By forcing them to stay in he crate, you will create a negative association with the crate.

The key to crate training a puppy is to never leave them in a crate for longer than four hours.

This includes if you're going to sleep. If you want your puppy to sleep in a crate, then place the crate near your room. You will inevitably hear the sound of crying deep into the night.

When this happens, let them out and take them to urinate. This is normal as puppies have small bladders.

They urinate once every three to four hours, so they can't stay in the crate longer than that without soiling themselves.

Never this, please.

Never a prison, please.

How do you crate train a dog?

Crate training an adult dog may be easier than crate training a puppy. The dog may also have been crate trained before.

Keep in mind that you should never leave your dog in a crate at home alone unless they are comfortable staying in the crate for longer than thirty minutes.

1. To crate train an adult dog, follow many of the same steps as you would with a puppy. 

Start by feeding them inside the crate and locking the door to see how long they are comfortable inside.

2. Leave the room once you see they are okay with being inside the crate. 

Keep coming into the room and leaving, to check in them.

3. Once they are comfortable with being inside the crate, let them stay there for a while.
4. Always leave a bowl of water and some food for your pet dog.

Crate training a dog requires a lot of patience as it can cause anxiety in dogs.

Dogs are not used to being in crates for long periods of time, and should not be left in their crates.

Crate training also requires a lot of patience and can take many weeks to perfect.

But remember:


Hurrying the process can result in a negative reaction from the dog or the puppy. Always encourage your puppy while they are crate training.

If they whine too much while they are inside the crate, don't get angry with them. Instead allow them to come outside, and try again at a later time.

By using treats and positive words of encouragement, you will be able to crate train your dog faster. Don't worry about leaving them in the crate, as long as it's not for a long period of time.


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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