How to crate train a puppy during the day

Puppy Cries & Cries When Being Potty Trained in a Crate

When the idea of crate training first become popular, trainers were hard pressed to convince dog owners it was a good thing, because many protested that it seemed cruel to cage their dog all day. However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, like abusing crate time.

Crate Theory

Wolves in the wild have a natural instinct to build a den in which to sleep, eat, raise their young, hide from other predators, and feel safe and secure. Modern day domesticated dogs don’t need dens, as they fit very nicely in homes, RV’s condos, apartments, houseboats and just about anywhere else they can live in harmony with people. However, crates afford dogs a place to call their own. A crate offers today’s busy dog-about-town relief from the stresses of the day and place to go when they don’t want to be bothered. Crate training is a great tool for housebreaking puppies and teaching them other manners, such as not eating the couch or that chic little black dress you adore. However, too much of a good thing is not good for anyone; all things in moderation, after all. There are limits to how long a dog can stay in the crate before it becomes a prison. Wolves in the wild come and go from their den. The crate is supposed to simulate the den experience, so dogs should be able to come and go as well.

Crate Training

Since dogs will not soil their den, the crate provides a substitute den where you can put your dog and be fairly confident he won’t eliminate until you are ready to take him out and allow him to do so appropriately. When using crate training for this purpose, it is important not to leave the dog in the crate too long or you will defeat the purpose. If he is in there so long that he cannot hold his bowel or bladder any longer and he lets loose with the urine, or worse, you will be in a position to have to break him of what could become a habit. There are rules as to how long a dog can stay in a crate during housebreaking. A young puppy, aged 8 to 10 weeks, should be taken out every half hour and allowed to try to go potty. Once the puppy goes potty, he should be allowed to be out of the crate unless you cannot watch him or everyone is going to bed. Little puppies cannot hold their bladder any longer than 30 minutes or so, so you can’t expect your puppy to do what his body won’t allow. As puppies age, they can stay in the crate a little longer with each passing week. Howeven, even older dogs should never be kept in the crate for more than four to five hours at a time. This means, if you work, you should come home mid-day, or pay someone to go in and let the dog out.

Crate Abuses

Leaving a dog in a crate for 8, 10, or 12 hours a day is cruel and tantamount to abuse. Dogs are social animals and seek out the pleasure of the company of other dogs or people to feel secure. Being locked away in a quiet home in a crate for long periods of time is not conducive to building a good bond with your best friend, who eyes you suspiciously every time you make a move to put him in his crate. The crate always should be a place where the dog goes voluntarily, unless it is being used for a specific purpose. It should never be used to punish your dog and you should never put him in there in anger. The golden rule should apply here, if you wouldn’t want to be so confined for long periods of a time all day, you shouldn’t inflict such a situation on your dog. Some may argue that dogs are left in a crate for eight hours at night while the household is asleep, so why is it bad to leave him in there all day? The body shuts down a little during sleep and the need to eliminate is not pressing. During the day, when your dog should be active, his body must be able to respond to normal functions.

Crate Uses

Crates can be used for a lot of different occasions other than just housebreaking. They can be pressed into service as a place for a dog to recuperate post-surgery, or to rehabilitate a sore limb. Crates are great for isolating dogs when they are given chew bones or treats. They offer a place where they can enjoy their treat without the fear or threat of having to resource guard if other dogs are around. They are a source of comfort for some dogs during thunderstorms, or when noisy children come into a normally quiet home, or if there is strife in the air. Crates are great for transporting dogs safely in a car.

Not all dogs like crates, however. Some dogs have phobias or anxieties that are exacerbated by being in a crate. Placing such a dog in a crate for even a few minutes is inhumane and should be avoided. You will know from your dog’s affect if he is one of those who hates the crate. He will tremble, yawn, cry or vomit when placed in the crate. It’s bad to leave any dog in a crate all day, but especially heinous to do so with dogs who fear the crate and worry about being separated from their pack, the family.

Laura Day

March 12, 2019

How to crate train a puppy during the dayThe first couple months of bringing your new pup home may not involve a lot of sleep—and there’s very little you can do to avoid it. The reality of bringing home a new furry bundle of joy is that he will have an incredibly small bladder and need to go all the time. One minute he is playing or running and the next, you are facing a little yellow puddle on your favorite rug with one guilty-looking pup standing over it. Therefore, you have to train him.

You may have heard that the number of hours a puppy can hold his bladder is in direct correlation to the number of months old he is. I would say, from personal experience, that theory is rather accurate. Therefore, if you’re not getting up with your pup every couple of hours, you’re probably going to be welcomed by a few accidents when you wake up each morning, especially when training your puppy. However, there are definitely steps you can take in order to minimize the number of accidents that you’re having to clean up, and ways to potty train him. If you’re going to crate your dog, here are some tips for keeping your home as pee-free as possible overnight.

Stop all eating and drinking a few hours before bed

Have you ever drunk a large glass of water just before bed only to wake up in the middle of the night desperate for a pee? Well, it is just the same for your little pup when you place him in a dog crate. By stopping him from eating and drinking late at night is a great way to crate train your pup and will definitely help curb overnight accidents; however, you are going to need to make absolutely sure that, before doing so, your pup has had his fill—you don’t want a hungry or thirsty pup on your hands. When you stop your pup from eating and drinking a few hours before bed, he will have had the opportunity to go potty at least once or twice during that period of time. Hopefully, he will empty out everything, making it far less likely that he will need to go to the bathroom in the next few hours—even if he is a very young pup!

Make sure your pup is ready for sleep

If your pup is exhausted from playtime and running around before putting him in his puppy crate, this will make him less likely to wake up every hour or so, and immediately relieve his small bladder. When training a puppy, try and make sure that he is ready for a good, long snooze, and really tire him out before bedtime. He will be so pooped that he’ll be more likely to sleep right through the night, making a more fulfilling day for him, and a pee-free night for you! According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies can actually sleep for up to seven hours without relieving themselves—so it definitely is possible.

Take him out before bedtime

How to crate train a puppy during the dayYour pup will most likely have fallen asleep before you—he’s only a baby after all! However, you are going to want to make sure that you take your pup out to relieve himself right before you go to bed. Yes, you’re probably going to wake up your pup (which nobody particularly likes to do when he’s quietly sleeping and adorable), but it’s necessary if you don’t want to get up in the next few hours.

Night time is not play time

If you do take your pup out to the potty during the night, you’re going to want to make it known that you strictly mean business. Do not get overly excited or start playing with your puppy during the night as it will just get him all excited. He needs to know that, just because he’s out of his crate, it does not mean it is time to get up and play. If it’s dark out, then it means that it’s straight to the potty, and back into the crate. As sad as it may be, do not even speak to your pup beside to signal him to go potty. Again, this needs to be a strictly business transaction—but it is a great way to crate train your dog.

Wake your pup before they wake you

What I mean by this, is that you do not want your pup to associate you getting up and giving him attention with him making a fuss by whining or scratching his crate. You want to get to your pup before he starts engaging in this behavior. For the first month or two, as much as you may not want to, you may want to set an alarm during the night to get up and let your puppy out in the middle of the night. As much as this may be a pain, nobody said that owning a puppy was going to be easy! It will be far more disruptive to your sleep if you have to listen to a crying pup all night, not knowing if he’s crying because he has to go pee, or he is a little bored and wants attention! Go ahead and wake up your pup and take him outside to relieve himself.

Crate training a puppy is never easy and separation anxiety can quickly set in with young puppies if not carried out properly. Although it could potentially be a long time before your home is pee-free, especially at night, there are certainly many ways to minimize the number of accidents. If you are alert to your pup’s needs and have set his crate in a place where you can easily hear him, it is not that likely that he will want to relieve himself in his crate, if he associates going to pee with being outside. After all, even puppies do not want to pee where they sleep, especially if he is a confined space. Just be patient and remember that your pup does not want to relieve himself in his crate. Once he is used to being crated and knows you will be coming back, that separation anxiety will disappear quite quickly. Just be consistent with your night-time potty training methods and you will be well on your way to a pee-free nighttime routine for you and your pup.

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

How to crate train a puppy during the day
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!

If you have ever asked the question, “Is it cruel to crate a dog at night?” then you are probably wondering why some people would consider this to be an answer. Crating dogs at night is certainly not cruel in and of itself, but it is done for various reasons. The main reason that crate training dogs at night is to prevent them from being disturbed when their owners go to sleep. It is thought that dogs do not have sleeping patterns of their own and tend to wake up during the course of the night, either because they are checking out the world or because they are looking for something. For this reason, keeping them in a crate at night makes sense.

Another reason that crate training a dog at night may make sense is if your dog is a “scrounger”. In other words, he may want to get out of the crate in the middle of the night to see what’s going on in his owners’ world. He may be whining and crying or he may just be a little mischievous. At nighttime, dogs are much harder to keep track of, so it is much more likely that your dog will get out of the crate and get into trouble. Even though the puppy may have some behavior problems, if he is whining at night it is probably because he is unhappy about something.

Some dogs seem to need a nap in the middle of the night, but then whining and crying will usually keep them quiet until morning. If your dog is one of these dogs, crate training him at night can mean that he doesn’t get to go anywhere when the other dogs are sleeping. This is especially good if you have more than one dog because then you don’t have to take him out all the time. However, he will probably have a better sleep if he can go out during the day when other dogs are awake.

Sometimes, dogs end up getting into their crate during the night because they are just tired. Try to give them a reward right before they decide to go to bed. You could also run a strip of cable behind their bed to simulate an outside environment for them. Just be sure to make it short so they can’t take advantage of it.

Many dogs who have been crate training for a while will whine and cry during the night, but this is normal. They are probably feeling lonely and just want a place of their own to feel safe. It is very hard to turn down a new dog and crate training them at night is one way that you can establish a closer relationship with your new dog.

Of course, you should never punish your dog for whining or crying at night. The best thing you can do is simply ignore it. If they start to whine, take them out to a location where there are other dogs so they won’t feel so isolated. Even if you don’t feel like bringing them out, leaving them in their crate at night could get annoying. Eventually, you will probably wish you had taken them out sooner!

When it comes to crate training your dog, it is best to leave him alone for the night once you get home. This way he will go to sleep more quickly. Take him to his crate when you are both ready and take him out to the designated area. It is not good to be interrupted while he is trying to go to sleep.

Finally, you must remember that your dog may sleep much longer than you do. If your dog sleeps well when you leave him alone, he probably won’t need the extra five hours of sleep that dogs need to function properly. When it comes to crate training your dog at night, you may want to consider buying a crate bed. These dog crates let your dog stay in bed throughout the night, allowing him to go to sleep much quicker!

By: Victoria Schade Updated: May 9, 2022

How to crate train a puppy during the day

New Pet > New Dog > How to Crate Train a Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide From an Expert

How to Crate Train a Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide From an Expert

I f you’ve just brought home a new dog, potty training is probably high on your list of priorities. What if we told you there’s a way to simplify the housetraining process and help your pup feel calm and secure at the same time? It’s true—and it’s all about crate training.

What is crate training? It’s the process of helping your dog learn to spend time in their crate—and ultimately, to adopt it as their own personal space in your home. Crate training taps into your pup’s natural inclination to keep their sleeping space clean—they’re less likely to go potty where they hang out and sleep. Using a crate has benefits beyond just potty training, too; it also helps to keep your dog safe and out of mischief when you’re not around to supervise them, plus it provides a comfy retreat when household hubbub gets overwhelming and your pup wants to relax.

But there’s more to crate training a dog than simply putting them in the crate and closing the door. Dogs need to gradually adjust to spending time in their crates, with lots of positive encouragement from you. Rush the process, and you’ll risk causing your pup stress and anxiety, which can create negative associations with the crate that can be difficult to overcome.

So how do you crate train a dog, and what do you need to know to get started? We’ve got your complete guide to crate training a dog.

The Benefits of Crate Training a Dog

Your dog’s crate might look like a basic enclosure to you, but if you use it correctly, it’ll become one of your pup’s favorite places to be—aside from your lap, of course. Here’s how crates can help both you and your dog:

  • Giving your dog a space of their own: Picking an appropriately sized crate and taking time to gradually introduce your dog to it will help them consider the space a comfy refuge. Dogs typically prefer protected areas when bedding down, so a crate can tap into that natural inclination to rest in a safe space.
  • Encouraging potty training: One of the biggest benefits to crate training is that it helps streamline the housetraining process, since most pups won’t soil where they sleep. When you learn how to crate train a puppy, for example, you’re also learning a key step in their potty training process—two birds, one stone.
  • Keeping your pup (and your stuff) safe: Successful dog raising is all about supervision, especially when they’re puppies. But the reality is that most pet parents can’t watch their pup full-time. Once again, crate training saves the day! Left to their own devices, most puppies will chew anything they can get their teeth on, but a crate helps to keep your curious pup safely apart from your things (and vice versa) when you’re not able to keep an eye on them.
  • Providing a Recovery Zone: At some point in your dog’s life, you may need to restrict their movement due to an injury or medical procedure. Making sure that they’re happy in their crate will make that job much easier.

Some pet parents worry that “locking their dog up” in a crate could be cruel, but the reality is far different. Yes, it’s true that one benefit of crates is that they keep your dog contained (and out of mischief). But when used properly, your dog’s crate won’t feel like a cage. In fact, it’ll feel just like home! The trick is to introduce the crate gradually, without rushing your dog to adjust to it before you leave them in it alone. Let them settle into the crate on their own terms, and your pup will repay you with calm and happy crate time for years to come.

Supplies Needed for Crate Training a Dog

If you want your dog’s crate to become their happy place, you’ve got to make sure it’s just right for them. Here’s what you’ll need:

The Right Crate

Once you start to look at crates you will find there are lots of options. Choosing the right crate for your own pup isn’t difficult once you consider a couple things:

  • Type
  • Size

First up is the type of crate, which can fall into two categories: either hard plastic airline-style crates, like the Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel, or wire crates like the Frisco Heavy Duty Fold & Carry Single Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate. Most pups can learn to be comfortable in either type, but wire crates have more versatility when it comes to door placement and customizing the size of the interior with a divider.

Next, you’ll need to pick the correct size—one of the most important considerations when figuring out how to crate train a dog. Your dog crate should be large enough so that your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably, but not much bigger. Although it’s tempting to purchase an oversized crate to give your pup more room, doing so can derail the potty-training process by giving your pup the space to go to the bathroom at one end while staying dry in the other.

Pet parents of puppies, especially large breed puppies, can anticipate their dog’s growth by purchasing the largest sized crate their dog will need when they’re fully grown and using an adjustable crate divider to keep the available space inside the right size. The Frisco Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate comes with a divider and is available in sizes up to XL, so your crate can grow right along with your puppy.

Other Crate Training Supplies

There’s more to crate training than just a crate. Here’s what else you’ll need:

  • Bedding: You’ll need bedding to keep your dog comfortable, but if you’re crate training a puppy or an older dog who still needs housetraining, avoid extra-plush dog beds. The extra cushioning might absorb urine and make it difficult to tell if your dog has had an accident inside. Some puppies may be tempted to chew up or destroy overstuffed bedding when left in the crate, too. A simple crate mat like the Frisco Micro Terry Dog Crate Mat is a good choice for pups still acclimating to the crate.
  • Treats: Tasty snacks are an important part of the crate introduction process (and any other type of training you want to do with your pup). Small savory treats, like Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Lamb & Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dog Treats, help reinforce the idea that good things happen inside the crate.
  • Toys: For dogs with tons of energy, like puppies, helping them chill out in the crate can be a challenge. That’s where busy toys come into the picture. Giving your pup something to do when left alone inside can help keep them focused and happy until they drift off to sleep. Treat-stuffable toys like the KONG Classic or a West Paw Zogoflex Small Tux Tough Treat Dispensing Dog Chew Toy are tough enough to stand up to most dogs’ powerful teeth and can be filled according to your pup’s level of toy unpacking expertise. (Some pups can get frustrated if the treat toy is too jam-packed.) Always test the durability of any toy before leaving your dog alone with it to make sure they can’t bite pieces of it off that could be a choking hazard.
  • sleep
  • potty training
  • crate training

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We all want a well-behaved dog that doesn’t tear things up and goes to the bathroom outside — and dog crate training is an important part of that. A crate creates a safe environment for your dog and a space that belongs to them.

While many people view crates through the human lens of being “caged up,” dogs are naturally den animals and most enjoy being in small, enclosed places. A crate provides them with a feeling of security, and when trained to use them from an early age, crates can help calm anxiety.

We talked to Anna Flayton, senior dog trainer for PUPS Pet Club in Chicago, for her advice on how to crate train your dog.

Step 1: Choose the Right Crate for Your Dog

“You want to get one that’s durable, comfortable, and flexible with whatever training you’re doing,” says Flayton. For dogs that prefer to sleep in the dark, she recommends kennel or airline crates (which are more enclosed), while wire crates work best for other dogs. It’s important, she notes, that you don’t buy a crate that is too big for your dog. “Depending on how big your dog is going to get, buy the right crate for their adult size,” she advises. “Then get a divider so you can build the space and grant them more and more space.”

Step 2: Establish the Proper Mindset

“The more the dogs associate the crate with a relaxed mindset, the more they’ll ultimately enjoy hanging out in there,” says Flayton. If you put the dog in the crate when they’re playing, then they’ll want to come back out and continue to play. But if you bring them in it when they’re calm, they will likely view it as a place of rest. Start by bringing them in for 10 minutes at a time and work your way up from there.

Step 3: Determine How Your Dog Will Be Most Comfortable

Some people use dog beds or towels to create a comfy environment, but that may not always be the best option. Once again, it’s trial and error. “Depending on the dog you have, they may tear a dog bed apart or they may use it to pee on,” she warns. “It’s not a bad thing for them to just sleep on the crate mat itself. Dogs actually do prefer hard surfaces.”

Step 4: Give the Dog a Treat After They Go Into the Crate

Once again, positive association rules. One of Flayton’s favorite tricks is giving the dog a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that she’s put in the freezer. “When they’re hanging out in the crate, they have something that stimulates them, but they have to work down the frozen peanut butter,” she says. It gets the dog used to being in the crate for a longer period of time, while also associating it with an enjoyable activity.

Step 5: Keep an Eye on the Time

Your dog needs time outside the crate to play, eat, and use the bathroom. Dogs don’t want to soil where they sleep, but if there’s too long of a stretch without a walk, they might end up doing so.

Step 6: Play Crate Games

The dog shouldn’t see the crate as a negative place. To ensure this, incorporate the crate into fun games where the pup goes in and out of the open crate at their own will. Flayton likes to throw the ball in the crate when playing fetch or hide treats inside for the dog to find.

Step 7: Keep Your Dog “Naked”

“Dogs should never, ever have collars or tags or anything on when they’re in the crate,” warns Flayton. If the tag gets caught in the crate the dog could strangle.

Step 8: Set Your Dog Up for Success

Once you are ready to give your dog more time inside the crate, do it in small steps. “You don’t want to go out to dinner for six hours,” cautions Flayton. “Maybe just go get a cup of coffee and come back.” She also advises using a recording device to determine what your dog does while you’re gone. “Are they anxious? Are they pacing? Or are they calm?” she says. “Then you know — and when you come back, you can reward them.”

Step 9: Be Patient

Prepare yourself for at least six months of training. There will be ups and downs since dogs aren’t linear learners, but success will come, says Flayton. “Even when it feels like you’re banging your head against a wall, as long as you stay calm and consistent in your methodology, your dog will eventually look for the reward and you’ll have the opportunity to reward them.”

Selecting the Best Dog Crate

For almost any dog — Wire Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best wire dog crates for your dog.

For the Dog who loves a little privacy — Plastic Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best plastic dog crates for your dog.

For a travel-loving dog — Soft Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best soft-side dog crates for your dog.

Laura Day

May 15, 2019

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Puppies truly are often the most loyal and loving pets that a person could have. Because of this, no one ever wants to leave them! Unfortunately, it’s just unrealistic to think that you can be there with your furry friend every moment of the day. You’ve got work to do so you can buy him more treats, after all.

Young puppies do not need to be left in the whole house alone all day. To crate train a puppy, you must start with a confined, safe space like a crate for them to go when you can’t be there. It can be frustrating at first – puppies don’t especially like to be contained. However, this is for his safety, and it needs to be done.

Don’t give up hope. Crate training your puppy is easier than it seems! Follow this four-step guide, and you can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Introduce the puppy to his new space

You want your puppy to associate his crate with relaxation and happiness instead of dread; it should be a safe place. He will be more apt to go there without fussing or whining if you slowly introduce him to the environment without making him feel like he is being punished.

  • Place the dog crate wherever your family is most often together. This is usually the living room. This way, he feels included and safe because he knows you are there to protect him.
  • Put something soft, warm, and comforting in the crate like a blanket or pillow.
  • Bring the puppy near the crate, speaking to him in soothing tones all the while.
  • Put the pup’s treats or food in the opening of the crate. This will encourage him to go inside and eat. If he doesn’t like treats, try a favorite toy instead.
  • If he doesn’t go at first, try placing the treats near the opening instead of inside. Be patient until he goes all the way in for the food. Never try and force him out of frustration; this creates fear.

Step 2: Feeding inside the crate

Puppies love to eat just like all babies do! This is why you should start regularly feeding yours inside of the crate. Food is associated with happiness and satisfaction. Link that feeling to his crate, and he will not be so apprehensive anymore.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

  • Only place the food bowl as far in as the puppy is comfortable with. Over time, you can start placing it further and further back.
  • Once he is fully inside the crate and eating, close the door gently.
  • After feeding time is done, immediately open the crate door and let your pup out. Do not let him think that he’s been tricked.
  • Gradually increase the time you leave the door closed. Go slow and steady; too fast and your puppy will begin to panic.

Step 3: Teach him to stay

After the puppy has become acclimated to the crate through feeding times and will stay in without panicking, you can start to condition him to stay for a while.

  • Call your puppy over to the crate. Give him a treat and say a command word like “kennel.”
  • Once he gets in, give him another treat and shut the door.
  • Stay in the room with the pup at first. Try to be quiet, so he stays calm.
  • Leave the room after spending some time relaxing with him and come back after a few minutes. Let him out when you get back.
  • Start with small increments of 10 minutes and gradually increase the time that your pup is in his crate. Do not let him out when he whines. If you do this, your devious little fur baby will start to think that whining lets him get out of the situation he does not like. This sets a bad precedent.
  • Once he can stay for around a half hour without being too upset, you can start leaving him in the crate while you go out on short errands.

Step 4: Leave your puppy alone

Crate training a dog is a scary and emotional step for many dog owners, but it is one that is necessary for letting a puppy adapt to being in his crate alone.

  • Put your dog or puppy in his crate with your usual training method shortly before you leave. This should be between 5 and 20 minutes before you head out.
  • When you shut the door and say goodbye, do not get too emotional or stay for too long. You are working him up by doing this, making the time apart harder than it needs to be. Reward him for being good and go.
  • When you come back from your errand, let him out without making a big fuss.
  • Repeat the process when you go places and when you don’t. This will let your pup know that being in a crate does not necessarily mean that he will be alone, creating less fear and resistance when you do leave. It may even help avoid separation anxiety.

Things to Remember

You need to know a few things about crate training puppies that others may not tell you. Following these simple rules will make all the difference between a sad and lonely puppy and a happy one.

  • Never use force to put a puppy in a crate. These aggressive actions will do nothing but scare him, and this will make training much harder. If you want to get it done effectively, be patient and gentle.
  • If you have a full-time job and are away for longer periods, you can’t expect your puppy to be in a crate for 8 hours per day. After a certain period of time, it becomes cruel to do this. Puppies can’t hold their bladders or bowels for very long. The maximum time they should be in their crate is 4 hours. You need to either take him out on your lunch break or find a pet sitter who will come by and help and let them have a potty break.
  • Keep the crate clean. You would not want to be stuck in a filthy, stinky room for any length of time. Why should a puppy have to be?
  • Don’t rush the training. It can take several weeks for your pup to get used to a crate, and that is perfectly normal. Rushing him is counterproductive because again, you are only instilling fear in him.

Be kind, patient, consistent, and gentle. In good time, your puppy will learn that his crate is a safe haven instead of a jail, and he will stop giving you those heartbreaking puppy dog eyes when you leave. Stay strong and don’t give in to the whining, no matter how sad it makes you. Be a super pet parent and crate train as soon as you can!

Reference

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

How to crate train a puppy during the day
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!

  • sleep
  • potty training
  • crate training

AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.

We all want a well-behaved dog that doesn’t tear things up and goes to the bathroom outside — and dog crate training is an important part of that. A crate creates a safe environment for your dog and a space that belongs to them.

While many people view crates through the human lens of being “caged up,” dogs are naturally den animals and most enjoy being in small, enclosed places. A crate provides them with a feeling of security, and when trained to use them from an early age, crates can help calm anxiety.

We talked to Anna Flayton, senior dog trainer for PUPS Pet Club in Chicago, for her advice on how to crate train your dog.

Step 1: Choose the Right Crate for Your Dog

“You want to get one that’s durable, comfortable, and flexible with whatever training you’re doing,” says Flayton. For dogs that prefer to sleep in the dark, she recommends kennel or airline crates (which are more enclosed), while wire crates work best for other dogs. It’s important, she notes, that you don’t buy a crate that is too big for your dog. “Depending on how big your dog is going to get, buy the right crate for their adult size,” she advises. “Then get a divider so you can build the space and grant them more and more space.”

Step 2: Establish the Proper Mindset

“The more the dogs associate the crate with a relaxed mindset, the more they’ll ultimately enjoy hanging out in there,” says Flayton. If you put the dog in the crate when they’re playing, then they’ll want to come back out and continue to play. But if you bring them in it when they’re calm, they will likely view it as a place of rest. Start by bringing them in for 10 minutes at a time and work your way up from there.

Step 3: Determine How Your Dog Will Be Most Comfortable

Some people use dog beds or towels to create a comfy environment, but that may not always be the best option. Once again, it’s trial and error. “Depending on the dog you have, they may tear a dog bed apart or they may use it to pee on,” she warns. “It’s not a bad thing for them to just sleep on the crate mat itself. Dogs actually do prefer hard surfaces.”

Step 4: Give the Dog a Treat After They Go Into the Crate

Once again, positive association rules. One of Flayton’s favorite tricks is giving the dog a KONG toy filled with peanut butter that she’s put in the freezer. “When they’re hanging out in the crate, they have something that stimulates them, but they have to work down the frozen peanut butter,” she says. It gets the dog used to being in the crate for a longer period of time, while also associating it with an enjoyable activity.

Step 5: Keep an Eye on the Time

Your dog needs time outside the crate to play, eat, and use the bathroom. Dogs don’t want to soil where they sleep, but if there’s too long of a stretch without a walk, they might end up doing so.

Step 6: Play Crate Games

The dog shouldn’t see the crate as a negative place. To ensure this, incorporate the crate into fun games where the pup goes in and out of the open crate at their own will. Flayton likes to throw the ball in the crate when playing fetch or hide treats inside for the dog to find.

Step 7: Keep Your Dog “Naked”

“Dogs should never, ever have collars or tags or anything on when they’re in the crate,” warns Flayton. If the tag gets caught in the crate the dog could strangle.

Step 8: Set Your Dog Up for Success

Once you are ready to give your dog more time inside the crate, do it in small steps. “You don’t want to go out to dinner for six hours,” cautions Flayton. “Maybe just go get a cup of coffee and come back.” She also advises using a recording device to determine what your dog does while you’re gone. “Are they anxious? Are they pacing? Or are they calm?” she says. “Then you know — and when you come back, you can reward them.”

Step 9: Be Patient

Prepare yourself for at least six months of training. There will be ups and downs since dogs aren’t linear learners, but success will come, says Flayton. “Even when it feels like you’re banging your head against a wall, as long as you stay calm and consistent in your methodology, your dog will eventually look for the reward and you’ll have the opportunity to reward them.”

Selecting the Best Dog Crate

For almost any dog — Wire Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best wire dog crates for your dog.

For the Dog who loves a little privacy — Plastic Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best plastic dog crates for your dog.

For a travel-loving dog — Soft Dog Crate

Get in-depth reviews of the best soft-side dog crates for your dog.

Make crate training your dog run smoothly with a weekday or weekend training schedule designed to suit your lifestyle. Here are some sample training schedules, along with expert advice from a vet.

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How to crate train a puppy during the day

Putting your new puppy or dog on a crate training schedule can help him adjust to his new surroundings and will give him a head start on learning the house rules right out of the gate. Using a crate helps limit unwanted behavior, such as a dog who starts to rip apart furniture because of separation anxiety or if you have a dog who eats everything he can get his mouth on. Crate training can also help you to house-train a new puppy so she will understand where she can go and — more importantly — where she can’t go to the bathroom.

The benefit of crate training, according to veterinarian Dr. Melissa Webster, the owner of Tampa Veterinary Hospital in Tampa, Florida, “is that when you’re starting with a puppy, you can control destructive behavior. But don’t just put a dog in the crate and walk out of the house. Use positive reinforcement with treats and encourage him with his favorite toy.”

She also stresses making sure to get the right-sized crate. Many people mistakenly purchase a crate that’s too small for their dog, she notes. Use a crate that allows the dog to stand up and stretch out without pressing up against the sides or top.

Crate Training Steps

Follow these three tips, as recommended by Dr. Webster, to ensure that your dog enjoys and actually wants to use the crate:

  1. Feed All Meals and Treats Inside the Crate
    Encourage your dog to want to go into the crate by feeding all of his treats and meals inside it. When your dog stands outside the crate, simply toss in a handful of dry food. He will automatically climb into the crate to eat the food.
  2. Create a Verbal Cue
    Now that your dog enjoys the crate, select a word that will help your dog identify when to go into the crate. For example, if you select the word “crate,” put in the treat and call “crate” as your dog steps in. Once your dog is inside, give her the treat.
  3. Make a Schedule
    Decide how and when you want to use the crate and devise a training schedule. For example, if you’re housebreaking a puppy, your pup will stay in the crate until you let her out to use the bathroom. However, don’t start too young. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that puppies younger than 12 weeks of age will not have enough bowel control to start housebreaking.

Crate Training Schedules
How often you use the crate will depend on your lifestyle. For example, a weekday crate scheduling might revolve around your work or school hours, while the weekend schedule could offer more flexibility. If you have a full-time job that takes you away from the home throughout the day, attempting to crate train a smaller puppy that requires more frequent potty breaks may present a challenge. However, you can still work on crate training a puppy on weekends when you can spend more time at home.

Here are examples of weekday and weekend training schedules that you can adjust to suit your lifestyle:

Sample Weekday Schedule

  • 12 to 16 weeks of age
    Crate your dog for two hours during the day and six hours during the night.
  • 4 to 5 months of age
    Crate your dog for three hours during the day and eight hours during the night.
  • 6 to 7 months of age
    Crate your dog for four hours during the day and eight hours during the night.
  • 8 to 11 months of age
    Crate your dog for six hours during the day and eight hours during the night.
  • Over 12 months of age
    Crate your dog for eight hours during the day and 10 hours during the night.

Sample Weekend Schedule

  • Friday
    On Fridays when you’re home, leave the crate door open. Toss treats into the crate randomly, and if your dog happens to go near the crate on his own, reward him. You should also feed your dog his dinner inside of the crate.
  • Saturday
    Start using verbal cues with your dog on Saturday, beginning with a practice exercise where you will say the cue, such as “crate,” and then toss in a treat. Repeat the exercise about 10 times and then take a break. Throughout the day and evening, repeat this exercise at least three times.
  • Sunday
    On Sunday your dog will begin to learn how to stay in the crate for longer periods of time. Starting in the morning, give your dog the usual cue to get him to go into the crate, then leave him in the crate for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to put in a chew toy or bone so that he has something to occupy him. After the 30 minutes has passed, let him out of the crate but don’t reward him with any treats.

Keep in mind that if your dog exhibits vomiting or diarrhea, the ASPCA does not recommend using a crate until he recovers. Once your dog gets used to being on a crate training schedule, he will not only get in the crate when you leave the house or serve dinner, he will actually get excited to use it.

Kelly Sundstrom is an award-winning journalist, author and artist. As the caretaker of two dogs, five cats and a bearded dragon, Sundstrom understands the importance of training a pet consistently. Follow her on Twitter.

Laura Day

May 15, 2019

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Puppies truly are often the most loyal and loving pets that a person could have. Because of this, no one ever wants to leave them! Unfortunately, it’s just unrealistic to think that you can be there with your furry friend every moment of the day. You’ve got work to do so you can buy him more treats, after all.

Young puppies do not need to be left in the whole house alone all day. To crate train a puppy, you must start with a confined, safe space like a crate for them to go when you can’t be there. It can be frustrating at first – puppies don’t especially like to be contained. However, this is for his safety, and it needs to be done.

Don’t give up hope. Crate training your puppy is easier than it seems! Follow this four-step guide, and you can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Introduce the puppy to his new space

You want your puppy to associate his crate with relaxation and happiness instead of dread; it should be a safe place. He will be more apt to go there without fussing or whining if you slowly introduce him to the environment without making him feel like he is being punished.

  • Place the dog crate wherever your family is most often together. This is usually the living room. This way, he feels included and safe because he knows you are there to protect him.
  • Put something soft, warm, and comforting in the crate like a blanket or pillow.
  • Bring the puppy near the crate, speaking to him in soothing tones all the while.
  • Put the pup’s treats or food in the opening of the crate. This will encourage him to go inside and eat. If he doesn’t like treats, try a favorite toy instead.
  • If he doesn’t go at first, try placing the treats near the opening instead of inside. Be patient until he goes all the way in for the food. Never try and force him out of frustration; this creates fear.

Step 2: Feeding inside the crate

Puppies love to eat just like all babies do! This is why you should start regularly feeding yours inside of the crate. Food is associated with happiness and satisfaction. Link that feeling to his crate, and he will not be so apprehensive anymore.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

  • Only place the food bowl as far in as the puppy is comfortable with. Over time, you can start placing it further and further back.
  • Once he is fully inside the crate and eating, close the door gently.
  • After feeding time is done, immediately open the crate door and let your pup out. Do not let him think that he’s been tricked.
  • Gradually increase the time you leave the door closed. Go slow and steady; too fast and your puppy will begin to panic.

Step 3: Teach him to stay

After the puppy has become acclimated to the crate through feeding times and will stay in without panicking, you can start to condition him to stay for a while.

  • Call your puppy over to the crate. Give him a treat and say a command word like “kennel.”
  • Once he gets in, give him another treat and shut the door.
  • Stay in the room with the pup at first. Try to be quiet, so he stays calm.
  • Leave the room after spending some time relaxing with him and come back after a few minutes. Let him out when you get back.
  • Start with small increments of 10 minutes and gradually increase the time that your pup is in his crate. Do not let him out when he whines. If you do this, your devious little fur baby will start to think that whining lets him get out of the situation he does not like. This sets a bad precedent.
  • Once he can stay for around a half hour without being too upset, you can start leaving him in the crate while you go out on short errands.

Step 4: Leave your puppy alone

Crate training a dog is a scary and emotional step for many dog owners, but it is one that is necessary for letting a puppy adapt to being in his crate alone.

  • Put your dog or puppy in his crate with your usual training method shortly before you leave. This should be between 5 and 20 minutes before you head out.
  • When you shut the door and say goodbye, do not get too emotional or stay for too long. You are working him up by doing this, making the time apart harder than it needs to be. Reward him for being good and go.
  • When you come back from your errand, let him out without making a big fuss.
  • Repeat the process when you go places and when you don’t. This will let your pup know that being in a crate does not necessarily mean that he will be alone, creating less fear and resistance when you do leave. It may even help avoid separation anxiety.

Things to Remember

You need to know a few things about crate training puppies that others may not tell you. Following these simple rules will make all the difference between a sad and lonely puppy and a happy one.

  • Never use force to put a puppy in a crate. These aggressive actions will do nothing but scare him, and this will make training much harder. If you want to get it done effectively, be patient and gentle.
  • If you have a full-time job and are away for longer periods, you can’t expect your puppy to be in a crate for 8 hours per day. After a certain period of time, it becomes cruel to do this. Puppies can’t hold their bladders or bowels for very long. The maximum time they should be in their crate is 4 hours. You need to either take him out on your lunch break or find a pet sitter who will come by and help and let them have a potty break.
  • Keep the crate clean. You would not want to be stuck in a filthy, stinky room for any length of time. Why should a puppy have to be?
  • Don’t rush the training. It can take several weeks for your pup to get used to a crate, and that is perfectly normal. Rushing him is counterproductive because again, you are only instilling fear in him.

Be kind, patient, consistent, and gentle. In good time, your puppy will learn that his crate is a safe haven instead of a jail, and he will stop giving you those heartbreaking puppy dog eyes when you leave. Stay strong and don’t give in to the whining, no matter how sad it makes you. Be a super pet parent and crate train as soon as you can!

Reference

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

How to crate train a puppy during the day
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!

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Leaving a puppy alone during the day is doable, but you have to do it right.

Puppies need much more supervision than adult dogs, which limits you when it comes to leaving them alone.

In fact, young puppies shouldn’t be left alone for longer than two hours at a time!

So remember to take that into consideration. Unfortunately, many of us have to work outside the home.

As much as we’d love to stay home cuddling our puppies all day, someone has to keep food on the table (and dog food in the bowls)!

Today, we’ll talk about leaving a puppy alone during the day, and what you need to do to make it safe and successful!

Leaving a Puppy Alone – Considerations

One of the most important things to remember about puppies is that they aren’t just miniature dogs.

They require extra supervision, time, and potty breaks.

They can also be destructive little buggers when they’re bored or scared, so you have to have a game plan.

Let’s check out a few tips that will make it a little easier to leave your puppy home alone during the day.

Heads up: This post contains affiliate links. We earn a commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you.

1. Crate training

How to crate train a puppy during the day

One of the best things you can do with any dog is crate training, but it’s especially important if you’re leaving puppy alone all day!

It allows you to safely leave your pup home for period of time during the day.

Understand that you can’t just toss your puppy in the crate and walk out the door, though.

You need to make the crate a safe place that your puppy loves to be in. That way when you’re gone, he will still feel safe and secure.

Crate training also cuts down on destructive behavior as well as preventing potty messes throughout the house, both while you’re home and away.

Make sure to add some items in their crate to make them feel comfortable, such as toys, blankets, etc.

2. Time Limits

You can only leave a puppy alone for so long.

Leaving a puppy alone for 4 hours is doable. Leaving a puppy alone for 8 hours straight, though? Definitely not the best idea!

Those little guys have smaller bladders and less control over those bladders than adult dogs.

When leaving a puppy alone during the day, you’ll need to either have a friend stop over every 2 to 3 hours to check in on your pup and take him for a walk or hire someone to do it.

Otherwise, your puppy either gets very uncomfortable, makes a potty mess all in his crate, or both.

If you do need to hire a dog walker, you’ll want to make sure they’re trustworthy.

Handing over your house keys and your dog can be a little terrifying.

I suggest talking to your vet, family, and friends for recommendations.

Before you hand over those keys, ask for references (and actually check them).

You can also go through a service that runs background checks. It may sound extreme to get a background check for a dog walker, but remember, they’ll have access to your home.

By the way, if you’re planning on leaving a puppy alone at night, you absolutely want to hire a pet-sitter.

That is, unless you work night shifts and get your pup used to that type of schedule, in which case the other rules apply.

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How to crate train a puppy during the day

How long can you leave a dog in a crate during the day? If you’re crate training, it’s an incredibly important question! Crate training is one of the best training methods for dogs. I’ve talked about this method and its benefits before. With crate training, you give your dog a safe place when he’s scared, an excellent way to reinforce potty training, an area to put him when things are too crazy in the rest of the house. It also helps give your dog a real sense of routine and security that’s hard to get with other training methods.

One question that I always read is how long a dog can stay in a crate. This is usually posed by people who have to work or whose dogs tend to freak out when they’re left alone. And while crate training is great and gives us some leeway on protecting our houses from our dogs and our dogs from themselves, we can’t rely on it solely.

How Long Can You Leave A Dog In A Crate

That depends on how old the dog is and what time of day it is. Regardless of his age, a dog can generally stay in his crate all night. Just like us, when a dog sleeps, his body slows down. He doesn’t eat or drink, so he usually won’t need to get up in the night to eliminate. “Usually” is the key phrase, here. In puppies or older dogs, this may not always be the case.

During the day, the time varies quite a big based on your dog’s age. Puppies can only be left in their crates for a short period of time due to their need for frequent potty breaks. Older dogs shouldn’t be left in their crates for an overly long period either due to the stiff joints and arthritis that come with age. Here’s a breakdown of the time frame during the day for dogs of different ages.

  • Puppies 8 to 10 Weeks Old – 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Puppies 11 to 14 Weeks Old – 1 to 3 hours.
  • Puppies 15 to 16 Weeks Old – 3 to 4 hours.
  • Puppies over 17 Weeks and Adult Dogs – 4 to 5 hours.

You’ll notice that the list stopped with 4 to 5 hours. That is the maximum that any dog should be left in their crate. Crate training is one of the best methods out there, but it’s not the answer to everything. Most of us have to work, and that’s where crate training logistics come in.

Crate Training and Being Away

During the day, you’ll have to think a bit more about crate training and leaving the dog alone. If you have a puppy, you’ll want to be sure that you really run him in the morning. Play with him until he’s absolutely zonked. A tired puppy is a good, content puppy. If you’re lucky, he’ll sleep until you can get home on your lunch break or the dog walker comes.

For dogs of all ages, a good walk before you head off to work is key. Also, because no dog should be left in his crate for longer than 4 to 5 hours, you’ll want to either come home on your work break or hire that dog walker I just mentioned.

Leaving your dog in his crate for too long can actually lead to physical and behavioral issues, so it’s vitally important to have a way to get him out of the crate mid-day. Otherwise, you could be looking at tendon issues related to being confined or behavioral issues like hyper excitement or fear – also due to being confined for too long.

Crate Training is Great, It Just Takes Some Tweaking

Crate training is one of the best training methods out there. You just have to keep time limits in mind. If your dog is thoroughly potty trained and without any separation anxiety issues, I actually recommend that you do not crate him at all. Just let him chill in the house. If he’s not destructive, you’ll have no problem. If you’re worried about accidents, you can even keep him in a tiled area of the house.

If your dog does need to be in the crate, remember the time frames associated with crate training and plan accordingly. With just a bit of tweaking, you’ll be able to protect your home, your pooch, and your sanity when you’re at work or out for the day.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Crate training at night feels like a very different process to doing so during the day.

For a start, you want to be asleep while it happens!

But as long as you lay the right groundwork during the day, you’ll soon find that everything clicks into place.

Crate training at night starts on night three…

When you bring your puppy home at eight weeks old, he’ll feel very worried.

Even the most confident pup will have a bit of a wobble upon being torn from his home, siblings and mother.

During the day he’ll probably be okay, because he’s with you. But leaving him alone at night straight away can be very upsetting.

That’s why we recommend putting the puppy in your bedroom for the first two nights.

A box by the bed

You don’t need a grand set up for this temporary stage.

Grab a sturdy, high sided box. Line it with veterinary bedding and pop it by the side of your bed.

Let your puppy see you climb into bed next to him, so he knows he’s not alone.

Then any fussing he makes when settling to sleep, you’ll know is just grumbling rather than actual fear.

Most puppies will sleep happily beside the bed from around 11pm until they need a pee at 2 or 3am.

When you hear them stir, scoop them straight up into your arms, and carry them to their outdoor pee place.

Stay boring, calm and quiet. Don’t play or chat.

When they’re done, bring them back and pop them into their box again.

If you’re lucky, you’ll then make it until 6am for morning!

Laying the foundations for crate training at night

During those first two days, when your puppy will sleep in your room at night, you can lay the foundations for crate training at night.

To do this you need to introduce the crate to your puppy, as a wonderful place to be.

How quickly you can do this will depend a lot on your puppy.

Very curious and confident puppies will scope out the crate straight away.

I’ve even had one that settled immediately down for a nap!

Others will regard it with great suspicion and take some encouragement.

We’ll assume here that your puppy is of the more reluctant disposition, and you can move quickly through the stages if they aren’t.

Toys and treats!

Your new puppy’s crate should be a constant source of rewards.

Every time they aren’t looking in it’s direction, drop a few pieces of kibble onto the bedding for them to find.

Leave puppy safe toys, like a puppy Kong or Kong Wubba, for them to find when they go scouting about.

It should be a snug and safe area for them. Where no one bothers them, and there are ways to relax and things to occupy them.

Shutting the door

Once your puppy is comfortable going in and out of their crate, you can start shutting the door.

Just shut it and open it again immediately to begin with.

The point at which you can do this will depend upon how relaxed your pup is in the crate.

Don’t start shutting the door if they are worried. Wait until they have a positive association with the crate.

Increasing the duration

Once your puppy can be happily inside the crate while you open and close the door, you can start to build up time with it closed.

Begin with just a count of five, then ten, and work up to 30 seconds.

Do this in small sessions, throughout the course of the day.

Over the period of a few days you will be able to build up to the point that the crate can be closed for the duration of one of their naps.

Napping in the crate

Puppies sleep a lot, and when they get tired it’s a great time to get them used to spending a longer period in the crate.

When they are showing clear signs of tiredness, pop them into the crate with a handful of kibble and a nice chew toy or two.

Close the door, but remain in the room.

When they have gone to sleep and woken up again a while later, go straight to the crate before they can get upset.

Pick the puppy up and carry them into the backyard for a pee break.

Crate training at night

Once your puppy is happy in the crate during the day, you will be able to settle them into the crate at night safe in the knowledge that they are not afraid.

Your puppy might still complain when you first turn the lights off, but you need to stay strong and ignore their fussing.

Remember, they’ve been with you for two nights and had time to get used to the crate during the day.

They aren’t scared, they are probably just frustrated at not being together.

Most puppies settle down after just a few minutes, provided that they’ve been slowly acclimatized to the crate during the day.

The crate training at night back up plan!

If your puppy is not ready to be shut in the crate during the day for a nap after the first couple of nights, then you’ll need a short term solution.

This comes in the form of a puppy play pen and some puppy pads.

Set up the play pen around your pup’s crate, and cover the floor in puppy pads.

This will give your puppy the option of leaving the crate and relieving themselves without making a mess, but give you a safe place to leave them overnight without the door shut.

Still struggling?

If you’re learning to crate train a rescue dog rather than a puppy, this article may be of more help to you.

Bad nights with a puppy can really start to get you down.

Sign up and get access to our incredibly helpful, members only forum.

We can’t wait to meet you there, and take those first steps through puppyhood together.

Crate training an older dog might be something you find yourself doing from scratch. Whether you’ve rescued an adult dog that was never trained to go in a crate or you simply never got around to crate training your pooch when he was a young pup, this lack of training can make things stressful for the both of you when you’re suddenly faced with a need to keep your dog in one place for an hour or so. If you find yourself in this boat, read on to learn how to crate train an older dog.

Reasons for Crate Training an Older Dog

How to crate train a puppy during the dayWhile some pet parents see crate training in a positive light, others may have reservations about crating their dogs. No matter which dog crate camp you belong to, there are a number of good reasons to crate train an older dog, says Rover.com. Here are just a few:

  • Safety and preparedness for emergencies and natural disasters
  • Safe transportation and easier travel with your pooch
  • Easier and safer trips to the veterinarian
  • Confinement during illness or injury recovery
  • To provide a safe space in stressful situations

However you may personally feel about dog crates, the fact is that in an emergency your dog is often safer in a crate than he would be in a harness or simply left on his own. It’s important to remember that, while there may be exceptions for dogs with traumatic backgrounds, generally dogs don’t share the negative associations we humans attach to crates. And for those that do, those negative associations can be turned into positive ones.

Challenges of Training Older Dogs

The phrase “you can’t teach a old dog new tricks” is patently untrue. Older dogs are most certainly capable of learning new things, but training them can be more challenging than crate training a puppy! For puppies, everything is new and exciting, and they haven’t become attached to routines. Older dogs, on the other hand, are creatures of habit, and sometimes it’s necessary to help them unlearn old habits before they can learn new ones. The key is to be patient. It might take a lot of repetition and practice, but eventually your older pooch will rise to the occasion.

On the other hand, a calmer, older dog might appreciate the cozy hideaway of a crate more than a puppy would. Choose a low-traffic, quiet location for the crate so he can escape to it for a nap during your next holiday party or loud day with the kids.

How to Crate Train an Older Dog

Follow these steps to turn the crate into a positive experience for your older pup:

  1. Prepare the crate. Select a crate that’s large enough for your dog to comfortably lie down, stand up,and turn around in, says Rover. Place a comfy blanket inside to make it more enticing, and leave it sitting with the door open in a spot where your dog can see it and check it out, allowing him to get used to it before you begin.
  2. Prepare yourself. Set aside any negative feelings you have about placing your dog in a crate. Dogs are extremely sensitive to our emotions, and if you’re stressed about crating your dog, he will be too. Don’t begin training until you can do it from a calm, relaxed and happy place.
  3. Prepare your dog.Preventive Vet recommends giving your dog some exercise before a training session, both to burn off excess energy so he’ll be relaxed and to allow him a chance to relieve himself so he won’t be distracted by the need for a bathroom break.
  4. Build positive associations. Begin by placing treats and maybe a favorite toy or two near the opening of the crate. Praise your dog when he goes near the opening to retrieve an object or treat.
  5. Entice your dog inside. Once he’s comfortable with getting close to the crate’s opening, begin placing treats and toys inside. You might even try placing his food and water bowls inside the crate. Start by placing them at the front of the crate, and gradually move them toward the back until your dog completely enters the crate on his own.
  6. Try closing the door. Start by closing it just for a second before opening it and letting him out again. This will show your dog that he can trust you to let him out again. Repeat this until he remains calm when the door is closed, and then increase the time by a few seconds. Keep repeating, gradually adding on a few seconds at a time. Once he starts making himself comfortable inside the crate, practice leaving the door closed for a few minutes at a time, gradually working up to an hour or more.

If your dog panics or becomes agitated, stop, let him out, and take a break. Don’t be surprised if you have setbacks and need to start over from an earlier step or even from the beginning. Once your dog is willing to remain in the crate, unless he needs to stay in it overnight, don’t leave him in it for more than a few hours at a time. Tiny dogs and senior dogs with small or weak bladders shouldn’t remain crated for longer than they’re able to hold the urge to use the bathroom.

Regardless of whether you plan to crate your dog regularly, crate training your older dog and reinforcing that training with regular practice will prepare him for those times when a crate is necessary. With proper training, the right attitude,= and a lot of patience, a dog crate can be a positive and even soothing experience for your pet.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Introduction

Crate training is an essential element to ensuring your puppy is safe and secure. Keep reading to find out how to crate train your puppy.

Some puppies take to it very easily and find safety and security in there crates, while others can be a bit more challenging.

You can decide whether to only use the crate until your puppy is potty trained or if your puppy loved it as much as mine did, then let them use it for there whole lives.

Carry on reading below to find out how to make sure your puppy is happy and content using her crate.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Let’s delve into crate training your puppy

Let me be upfront and say that most puppies do not like crates and a good portion of these puppies will test your patience to the limit.

So, if this is the case, then why should you train your puppy to be happy in a crate?

  • A crate can be very useful when potty training your puppy.
  • Your dog can see the crate as his den and will then feel safe and secure.
  • Crating your puppy stops it from destroying items while unsupervised.
  • The crate also allows your puppy to have some down time when she is tired.
  • It is a safe place for your puppy when you have visitors or workmen in your home
  • You can take it with you when you go on holiday for them to sleep in at night
  • A crate is a safe way of transporting your puppy in the car
  • You can sleep soundly at night knowing your puppy is safe

As you can see there are lots of advantages to crate training your puppy.

How to crate train your puppy?

Your Cavapoo puppy should already sleep in its crate from the first night.

The best way to start is to place the crate in your bedroom so that she can hear and see you. Cover the crate with a sheet or towel, leaving only the front section open.

Place a small dog bed or basket in the crate. The size of the crate should just be big enough to allow her to stand, stretch and turn around.

Make sure she has gone outside to potty right before bedtime.

Place her in the crate and use a specific word or phrase. Eg – ‘bedtime’, ‘sleep tight’. Use the exact same phrase or word every night.

If she has fallen asleep elsewhere then pick her up and place her inside the crate and quietly close the door.

Try to use the crate during the day as well and even when you are at home to get her used to being inside it. Do it for very short periods of time and make it a fun event.

Give her some treats or even her meals inside the crate so that she has a pleasant experience while being in there.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

Below is a list that will hopefully be of help to you if your puppy barks, whines, cries or yelps at night while in there crate:

  • Before bringing your puppy home from the breeder, take either a toy or blanket and rub it all over her litter mates and mother to pick up their scent. Place the toy or blanket in the crate. This will hopefully help your puppy to sleep better surrounded by familiar smells.
  • Crying in the middle of the night might be because she needs to go potty. Take her out to the designated potty area and once she is done, place her straight back into her crate. Do not initiate or allow any play time and be totally quiet.
  • Puppy’s last meal should be at least an hour and a half to two hours before bedtime.
  • Also, cut off access to water at least an hour and a half before bedtime so that she will not need to pee too often.
  • Make sure she is tired. Have an extended playtime just before bedtime makes sure that she is exhausted and wanting to sleep.
  • Always cover the crate at night, leaving only the front section open. This makes her crate feel more cozy and protected.
  • Place the crate close to your bed so that she can see you. If she starts to cry then hang your arm down so she can smell your scent or else try to sleep on the floor next to her crate for the first few nights.
  • Place some snugly toys in her crate. No toys with squeakers or else you will not sleep.
  • When she falls asleep during the day then gently move her from the floor and place her in her crate. For the first few times, leave the door open. Once she is comfortable with her crate then you can close the door.
  • Try lying down in front of the open door of her crate and blocking the doorway. Hopefully she will think you are napping with her.
  • Try the toy that simulates the mother’s heartbeat.
  • You will need to take your Cavapoo puppy out to wee a few times during the night until she is a little older. This should only be for the first month to 6 weeks. After that, only take her out once a night and see how she copes.

How to crate train a puppy during the day

What NOT to do when crate training:

Never ever use the crate for punishment. She needs to see it as a place of protection and safety and not as a place where she is banished if she is naughty.

Do not bang the sides of the crate to try and shut her up. I know that it can be trying listening to a crying pup but this will just make things worse.

Do not leave her in the crate during the day for more than 3 hours at a time. Her bladder is still too small to hold her wee for such an extended period of time.

If you need to leave her alone for long periods then rather leave her in a cordoned off area of the house or make use of a playpen so that she can move around.

Click Here for reviews of wire crates that you can consider for your pup.

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Crate training is a common first step for new puppy owners in the United States. But what if your puppy truly hates the crate and doesn’t seem to get into trouble outside the crate? Is it worth the hassle of crate training?

In today’s Ask a Behavior Consultant, we tackle the case of the well-behaved but crate-hating puppy:

My puppy does not like being in her crate and often finds ways to escape; however, when outside crate doesn’t destroy anything and often just plays with toys or sleep. I have tried treats, slowly increasing times in crates. Should I force the issue?

The Great Crate Debate

Outside of the US, crate training is a lot less common. In fact, there are laws regulating crate training in some Scandinavian countries that make crate training outside of sport and working dog contexts almost obsolete.

I think that’s probably a move in the right direction – while crates are incredibly useful, some Americans really overuse them. It’s pretty common for dogs to spend 8+ hour workdays in the crate, then go back in at night – that’s 16 hours in a cage that’s just barely big enough to turn around and stand up in! Yikes.

Again, that’s fine as a temporary management or training tool. I think that in the United States, we’re far too used to leaving our dogs inside of crates for more than half the day.

This article from The Guardian outlines the “Great Crate Debate” – a fascinating read!

If My Puppy Hates the Crate, Should I Make it a Priority?

Here’s my “hot take” on this problem:

If your puppy truly is well-behaved outside of the crate and you’re not planning on a crate being part of her regular adult life (like being crated at agility trials), why force the issue?

I personally prefer to use baby gates or exercise pens to contain dogs whenever possible, rather than putting them inside a crate.

Most people use crate training as “a means to an end.” The point of the crate is to be a management tool. Crates help keep puppies from chewing on cords, chasing the cat, or peeing on the floor.

But if your puppy (or adult dog) already doesn’t chew, chase, or have accidents, you might not really need the crate!

That said, there are some benefits to teaching your dog to be comfortable in the crate.

For example, teaching your dog to be comfy in the crate means that travel or vet visits that require a crate will be a bit less stressful – because your pup is already used to the crate.

How To Teach Your Puppy to Love His Crate

Good crate training can take a long time. So if you really want your puppy to love the crate, be prepared to be patient.

I don’t recommend using the “cry-it-out” training method. That just strengthens your pup’s lungs, so to speak. It also teaches your puppy that you won’t come rescue him when he needs you!

Instead, I recommend taking your puppy outside for a quiet, boring bathroom break if he fusses. Puppy whining = 2 minutes on leash outdoors, no playtime, no treats, no baby talk. Then back in the crate.

Ideally, though, you’re only going to leave your puppy in the crate for as long as he can handle. Here’s an example of how that would look:

  1. Hide treats and toys inside the crate with the door open throughout the day.
  2. Intermittently call your puppy to the crate. Gently lure him inside.
  3. Feed him a few pieces of his breakfast or dinner while he’s in the crate with the door open.
  4. Once he’s great at that, start feeding him through a closed door. Practice latching and unlatching the door.
  5. Once he’s succeeding with that, start using puzzle toys and long-lasting chews (the link shows off some of our favorites). Leave him in the crate for longer and longer, adding mere seconds to each practice round.

Once your puppy is able to calmly tolerate being in the crate for a few minutes while you’re next to the crate, you can start some of the exercises below.

These are not in a specific order – one may be easy for one dog, and hard for the next!

  • Start standing up and walking away while your pup is in the crate.
  • Practice crate training while your puppy is sleepy and while you’d like him out from underfoot anyway, like while you’re cleaning the house. Drop treats into the crate every few minutes while you work.
  • Leave your pup in the crate while you watch TV. Drop treats into the crate every so often to preempt fussing and crying.
    • The goal is NOT to reward the crying – but to avoid it by keeping your pup comfy. If your pup starts to fuss, do the 2-minute bathroom break!
  • Leave your puppy in the crate while you shower or go get the mail.

If you know you have to leave your puppy for longer than he can handle, use the exercise pen, baby gate, or other setup. Leaving your puppy alone to panic in the crate just teaches him that the crate is a scary place!

Kayla grew up in northern Wisconsin and studied ecology and animal behavior at Colorado College. She founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She’s an avid adventurer and has driven much of the Pan-American Highway with her border collie Barley. She now travels the US in a 2006 Sprinter with her two border collies, Barley and Niffler. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams.

Puppies are constantly learning, whether it’s from their environment, from socializing with people or other animals, or from direct training.

This creates a critical foundation that will set the stage for their adulthood. Providing puppies with the appropriate socialization and basic puppy training allows them to grow into confident adult dogs.

Follow this step-by-step puppy training guide to set you and your puppy up for success!

When Can You Start Training Your Puppy?

Training a puppy starts as soon as you bring them home, which is typically about 8 weeks of age. At this young age, they can learn basic puppy training cues such as sit, stay, and come.

Tips for Training Your Puppy

Here are some basic puppy training tips to get you started.

Use Positive Reinforcement

There are many different methods of training your puppy that you might have heard about or even seen in person with a dog trainer. However, there is only one acceptable and scientifically backed method of training, and that’s the use of positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a reward to encourage a behavior you want. The use of punishment—including harsh corrections; correcting devices such as shock, choke, and prong collars; and dominance-based handling techniques—should be avoided, because these can produce long-term consequences that result in various forms of fear and anxiety for your dog as an adult dog.

To apply this, first find out which rewards work best for your puppy. Some puppies might find something as simple as a piece of their normal kibble exciting enough to train with, while others might need something tastier, like a special training treat.

Then there are the puppies that are not motivated by food at all! For those puppies, try to find a toy they enjoy that they can get when they do a good job. Praise is also a way to positively reinforce a puppy. Petting or showing excitement and saying, “good job!” may be all you need for basic puppy training.

Keep Training Sessions Short

When training a basic cue, keep the sessions short, about 5 minutes each, and try to average a total of 15 minutes per day. Puppies have short attention spans, so end your session on a positive note so that they are excited for the next session!

Use Consistency When Training Your Puppy

It is important to be consistent in your approach to cues and training. Use the same word and/or hand signal when you teach your puppy basic cues such as sit, stay, and come.

It is also important to reinforce desired behaviors consistently, even when it’s not convenient. So if your puppy is at the door needing to go outside to go to the bathroom, stop what you are doing, let them out, and reward them for going to the bathroom outside.

Practice in Different Environments

Taking a puppy to a new environment like a park or the beach and asking for a cue is vastly different than training at your house. This is due to the variety of new sights and smells they will encounter outside the home.

Make attempts to practice in different settings to set your dog up to be confident no matter what their situation. Please keep in mind that puppies should not go to areas where there are a lot of dogs until they have finished their puppy vaccination series!

Be Patient

Puppies are growing and learning, just like young children. They will make mistakes and may not always understand what you are asking.

All puppies learn at different speeds, so stick with it and don’t get frustrated. Maintaining a consistent routine with feeding, potty breaks, naps, and playtime will make your puppy feel secure—and a secure puppy is ready and able to learn!

Basic Puppy Training Timeline

So when do you teach your dog the different cues? When does house-training start? Here’s a puppy training timeline that you can use.

7-8 Weeks Old

Basic Cues (Sit, Stay, Come)

You can start with basic cues as early as 7 weeks old:

Say a cue such as “sit” once.

Use a treat to position your dog into a sitting position.

Once sitting, give your puppy the treat and some praise.

Leash Training

You can start leash training indoors at this age. Because puppies don’t have their full vaccinations at this point, it is unsafe for them to be walking around where other dogs walk.

Start by letting them wear the collar/harness for short amounts of time while providing treats. Increase this duration slowly. Once your puppy knows how to come to you, you can walk around inside on the leash with no distractions. You can move the training outside once your puppy has all their vaccinations.

General Handling

Get your puppy used to being touched. Gently rub their ears and paws while rewarding them. This will get them used to having those areas touched and will make veterinary visits and nail trims less stressful when they are older!

8-10 Weeks Old

Crate Training

Your puppy should see their crate as a safe and calm place. Start by bringing them to their crate for 10- minute intervals while they are nice and calm. Reward them for going in their crate. You can even feed them in their crate to create a positive environment.

10-12 Weeks Old

Learning Not to Bite

Puppies become mouthy at this age. Putting things in their mouths is how they explore their world, but it is important to teach them not to bite your hands or ankles. When they start biting at you, redirect them to a more appropriate object to bite, such as a toy.

12-16 Weeks Old

Potty Training

Maintaining a schedule is important for potty training. Make sure to take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after eating, and after playtime and naps throughout the day. At this point they should start having enough bladder control to learn to hold it. Reward your puppy with a treat every time they go to the bathroom outside.

6 Months Old

Puppies are entering the adolescence stage by this point, and it is the most difficult stage to start training at. That is why it is important to start training them as young as possible! At this stage you will continue training to solidify and strengthen their skills in more public and distracting settings such as dog parks.

How to Help Prevent Puppy Accidents

A new puppy that is weaned, around 8 weeks old, is too young to avoid crate training. A crate is a personal space for the puppy that can provide security and comfort when it no longer has its mother. In addition, it can prevent accidents. Crate training can play a vital part in adjusting a new puppy to its home environment, making the puppy feel secure, and giving it a small area of personal space.

Place a blanket or towel in the crate so that the bottom of the crate is soft and comfortable and the fabric can be easily cleaned if the puppy has an accident. Ensure that the crate is large enough for the puppy to easily lie down, stand, sit up, and move around. Since the puppy will grow quickly, a larger crate is typically a good option, especially for large breeds. Place a few dog toys in the crate for the puppy to play with.

Place the puppy in the crate at regular intervals, such as at the puppy’s nap time. The puppy should spend about 1 to 2 hours in the crate during the day. This gets it used to the crate quickly. Remove the puppy’s collar whenever it is placed in the crate to avoid its catching on anything and choking him.

Leave the crate open when the puppy is not in the crate to allow it free access. Wandering in and out of the crate will not only get the puppy accustomed to it but will also make the crate a den or room for it.

Avoid putting food and water in the crate with the puppy, which may be knocked over and have to be cleaned up, which is unpleasant for both the puppy and the owner. If the puppy is in the crate for an extended period, put up a water bottle instead. The bottle is hung so that the puppy can have a drink when thirsty but is not in the way if it moves around.

Take the puppy outside immediately after removing it from the crate. An 8-week-old puppy should be taken outside for a potty break every 1 to 2 hours. The puppy is not yet old enough to control the need for constant bathroom breaks. Owners should put the puppy in the crate for a few minutes every hour or so until the puppy is accustomed to the crate and place the puppy in the crate when they are at work or unable to watch the puppy. If leaving the puppy in the crate for extended hours, place the crate in a bathroom or small room with newspapers or similar items on the floor and leave the crate door open. The puppy will have a space for using the bathroom without making a mess of the crate.

Never scare the puppy into the crate or put it in the crate for punishment. Negative actions should be avoided during crate training or the puppy will become reluctant to enter the crate.

You should begin crate training puppy shortly after you bring him home. Introducing your puppy to a crate from the beginning makes house training easier, provides a safe place to keep him when he can’t be supervised, and serves as an ideal way to travel with him. The sooner the crate training process gets underway, the sooner your puppy will have a den to call his own.

Four easy steps

Place the crate in a high traffic area

If you have a wire-style crate, first cover it on three sides with a sheet or blanket to create a more den-like, protective atmosphere. Put your puppy’s crate in a room you’re often in such as the kitchen or family room. He should be able to see what’s going on around him while he’s crated so he feels like he’s part of the pack.

Let puppy investigate at his own pace

Put your puppy next to the crate with the door open. Set a treat or some kibble in the crate to encourage him to go inside and then praise him. Repeat this process of luring and praising for several minutes. Never force your puppy to go in the crate, which can be scary for him. The best results come by crate training puppy to enter the crate voluntarily.

Feed puppy in his crate

To begin feeding your puppy inside the crate, draw him inside with his food bowl and gently close the door behind him. Open the crate door just before he finishes eating. If your puppy wants out shortly after you close the door, let him come out but keep his food bowl inside the crate and close the door. Wait for him to “ask” to be let in again. Repeat this until mealtime is over. Then take him outside to use the bathroom.

Close the door when he’s ready

Once your puppy seems comfortable going in and out of the crate, place a food-stuffed chew toy inside. If he goes into the crate to play with the toy, gently shut the door for a minute or so then open it and call your puppy. Give him lots of praise when he comes to you. Make sure the chew toy remains inside the crate when your puppy comes out. Repeat the process several times leaving the door shut for longer periods.

If your puppy whines or barks in his crate, do NOT open it right away! He’ll quickly learn that whining and barking opens the door, which can hamper the crate training process. Wait until puppy settles down and is quiet for 10 seconds, then open the door and let him out. Be sure the stuffed chew toy stays in the crate and close the door. Note how long your puppy was in the crate before he started to whine and next time keep the door closed for a shorter period.

Tips for crate training puppy

Keep experiences with the crate positive

Feed your puppy in his crate, gently place him inside when he falls
asleep elsewhere, and give him super-yummy, food-stuffed toys each time he’s in the crate. Also, keep comfortable bedding in the crate and make it the only soft surface in the room or playpen. All of these will encourage your pup to play,
eat, and sleep in the crate.

Only use a crate for time-outs when your puppy is comfortable in it

It is fine to use the crate as a time-out location when your puppy gets out of control as long as he’s trained to relax in the crate FIRST. Never crate-confine an untrained puppy as a punishment. When your puppy is misbehaving, first give him a warning like “uh oh”. Then if he persists in the naughty behavior, say “time out” to let him know he has made a mistake and crate him for twenty to thirty seconds, just long enough for him to calm down. Then let him out and try to interact with him. If he persists in the behavior, crate him again for twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat the process until your puppy stays calm when you let him out.

Use the crate both when you leave AND when you’re home

Your puppy will associate the crate with your absence if you put him in it only when you leave, which can cause problems. Be sure to crate your puppy for short periods while you’re home with him as well as when you’re away.

You can crate your pup in your bedroom overnight as long as you stay alert to any fussing. If it occurs, silently take your pup to his potty area. Remember, nighttime is not playtime so keep activity to a minimum.

Use the crate, but don’t abuse it

Only crate puppy for one hour during the day, and be sure to alternate crate time with playtime. If you need to leave your puppy alone for longer than one hour, use a long-term confinement area instead. Prepare a puppy-safe room or playpen that contains his crate along with bedding, chew toys, water, and a potty area. (Place wee-wee pads diagonally across the room from the crate.) Be sure your pup gets plenty of exercise before he goes in.

If you have to leave your puppy in long-term confinement for more than a few hours during the day, you should consider doggy day care or hire a pet sitter.

Learning how to crate train a puppy can be a simple process if you’re patient. And, in the end, your puppy will have a new den to call home.

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Does your puppy keep you up all night?

Sleepless nights take the fun out of having a new puppy. We’ve all been there!

It takes a bit of patience to teach your puppy to love their crate, but you’ll settle into a bedtime routine before you know it. Our force free methods help you get there sooner, with less stress.

These methods also work for adult dogs who have never been crate trained.

Why You Should NEVER Punish Your Dog For Barking In The Crate

When it’s 3AM and your puppy is barking and whining in their crate, you’re bound to be a bit annoyed. It’s tempting to yell at your puppy or turn to aversive training methods, but that’s always a bad idea.

The problem with punishments is that they deceptively create a “quick fix”. Your puppy might quiet down for a few minutes – but they’ll still feel scared and alone, yet unable to express that. This also means the puppy may continue to bark when nobody is home to punish them.

You want your puppy to feel safe and secure so they don’t even want to bark. When the crate is a part of their nighttime routine, they’ll start to fall asleep within minutes of going inside for the night. If they love their crate, they’ll happily nap when you’re not home, instead of barking the whole time.

Force-free crate training means your puppy will not be afraid to bark if they have to go potty, if someone breaks into your home, or if there’s otherwise something wrong. Your puppy will sleep peacefully in their crate because they feel safe and secure, and they have learned that they can trust you to be there when they really need you.

Preparing Your Puppy-Friendly Crate

Your puppy’s crate will be their safe haven.

Line it with a bed that is thick enough to keep your puppy from sinking to the bottom. Furnish it with enough blankets for your puppy to burrow. You may want to use old towels if you’re concerned about chewing or potty accidents.

Crates are valuable tools for potty training because puppies typically do not go potty in them – if the crate is set up correctly. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and stretch out, but not so big that they will use one side as a restroom. Most crates come with dividers to make the interior space smaller, then you can make it larger as your puppy grows.

You can use a crate cover or blanket to block out light and sound. That way, your puppy will be able to sleep peacefully inside, even during the day.

Crate Training During The Day

An 8-week old puppy will need to sleep up to 20 hours per day, broken up into naps. So, you’ll have lots of opportunities to create positive crate experiences before bedtime.

The crate should be open most of the time when you are home. You can hide little treats inside for your puppy to find on their own.

Whenever you play with your puppy, you’ll notice that they get very sleepy after about 30 minutes. Encourage your puppy to go into the crate on their own for naps. If it’s comfy enough, your puppy will seek it out without being placed inside.

You can practice locking your puppy in the crate for 15 to 30 minute sessions during the day. Do this while you are in the room, perhaps watching television or washing dishes.

Try putting your puppy in the crate with a Kong or similar fillable food toy. Puppies have sensitive tummies, so go easy on rich treats like peanut butter. You can fill it with their canned or raw food, or kibble that has been soaked in water.

The goal is to crate your puppy for short periods of time so they do not experience separation anxiety. Realistically, though, your puppy may need to be crated for a few hours at a time when you are not home. This will be stressful for them in the beginning, but most dogs adjust quickly.

Crate Training When You Go To Work

If you work at a full-time job every day, you’ll need to speed up your puppy’s crate training. There are plenty of ways to make it easier.

Before you leave, make sure your puppy has pottied, eaten, and had water to drink. Play with your puppy and/or go for a walk so that they are sleepy. Tuck your puppy in. Within a few weeks, your puppy’s sleeping schedule will be synchronized with your work schedule.

At 8-10 weeks old, your puppy will need to go potty at least once every three hours. Smaller puppies may need up to 4 potty breaks during an 8-hour workday. You can hire a dog walker or pet sitter to let your puppy out or take them on walks.

Puppy Potty Camp from Healthy Houndz is excellent for people who work. Not only will your puppy be on the fast-track to going accident-free, they’ll also learn foundational cues and social skills, while spending time with other dogs who act as role models for your puppy.

To prevent barking when you are not around, try putting some music on. Music has been shown in studies to have a calming effect on dogs , particularly reggae and classical tunes. The music can also help drown out the sounds of passersby, which can keep your dog on alert.

The First Few Nights

A bedtime routine will make adjusting to night-time crating so much easier.

Make sure your puppy goes potty one last time. Play until they get tired. Many puppies get wound up at night and tend to nip. Make sure they run out of steam before even attempting to crate them.

You can use a lavender-based essential oil scent to lull your puppy to sleep. Some essential oils are harmful to dogs, so it’s best to use a calming spray that is made for pets.

What To Do If Your Dog Starts Barking In The Crate

A little bit of barking and whining is to be expected at first.

Your first response to crying should be to take your puppy out and give them a chance to go potty. Regardless of whether they “go” or not, they will need to wind down again once they go back in the crate. Tuck them in again. Wait for those little eyes to close.

If you’re certain that your puppy is “empty,” they might be lonely. Place the crate right next to your bed, if possible. Your pup might settle down if they can cuddle with an unlaundered t-shirt that carries your scent.

You could also try emulating the warmth and sounds of sleeping with littermates. A ticking clock and a heat source like a microwaved sock full of rice can help.

Sometimes, puppies bark because they’re bored. If your puppy is awake with the late night puppy zoomies, they may need more exercise during the day. An overstimulated puppy is the hardest to put to bed; it’s better to spend a few extra minutes playing than to let them bark and bark for hours.

Help For Sleep Deprived Puppy Parents

Crate training is one of the hardest parts of having a puppy. If you stick through those first few weeks, though, it’ll be so worth it. And you don’t have to go at it alone.

At Healthy Houndz, we’ve overcome every imaginable puppy problem without using force, pain or fear. Get in touch today to hop on the fast-track to a happy, well-rounded dog.

by Madonna Holko

Your breeder may have accustomed your puppy to sleeping and eating in its crate. If so, the crate is already its “den,” a safe, quiet place to relax. It is not a good idea to allow the puppy to have the run of the house unless someone is watching it. It will take several weeks for it to become accustomed to its new home and learn where the papers or the door to the outside is. We have found that most dogs are not completely reliable (they cannot be left unattended for many hours) until they are about eight to ten months old. Because puppies are naturally clean, they do not want to soil the crate and learn to “hold it” until released. This makes the crate a huge aid in housetraining, provided you do not confine the puppy for more than a few hours at a time. It is good to use a water bottle attached to the crate for drinking, to keep a water bowl from being tipped over or water from dripping off your Shih Tzu’s moustache and beard all over its chest and the floor. Feeding in the crate also makes it a highly desirable place to be. When bedtime is announced, encourage your puppy to go into its crate by itself by giving it a “cookie.” Puppies are usually eager to jump in the crate once they learn the system.

The puppy must be given an opportunity to relieve itself immediately when it wakes up in the morning, followed by breakfast and an hour of supervised playtime. Usually the puppy is then tired, and it will want to take a nap. If you can, put the crate in an out of the traffic spot. Playing a radio or nearby television should help settle the puppy when it must be left alone. (The intercom/television plays all day in the dog room here—all the different stations, from hard rock to country to easy listening/all sorts of programs from Disney, to sitcoms, to QVC, to football games, to get the dogs used to strange voices and sounds.) It also helps cover up odd noises that might frighten the puppy.

When the puppy is comfortable in the house and knows where to go when it needs to eliminate, it will probably be very happy sleeping in someone’s room/bed. However, there will still be times that it is better to crate the puppy—naptime, dinnertime, bedtime, or when there are workmen or visitors present. If you put the puppy in the crate and it makes a big fuss that doesn’t end within a few minutes, drape a sheet or large towel over the crate to block the puppy’s view of the world. Usually, this will settle it down. If this doesn’t work, close the door to the room if you can. Do not respond by taking the puppy out. It is not afraid; it simply wants its way and it is trying to find out if it can get it. If it is really persistent, don’t shout or bang on the crate. Open the door, use one hand to hold the puppy in place, and with the other hand take hold of its beard to force it to look at you and very firmly tell it, “Quiet!” Then, close the door and walk away. The puppy will probably be quiet for a minute or two and then may start again. Give it a minute and then repeat the command. If you find that the puppy is driving you up the wall put the puppy, in its crate, somewhere else for the time being. A favorite toy or two can also make the crate more interesting.

Crate training is worth the effort. Whatever its age, a well crate trained dog is a pleasure to live with, a great travel companion, and a welcome guest.

Nick Jones

Dog Behaviourist and
Dog Expert Witness
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Crate training can often divide opinion among dog owners. Some feel worried about persuading their puppy to sleep in a crate as they think of it as a ‘cage’. For others, a dog crate is a useful aid for toilet training and offers a secure retreat for their pet.

Quick Links

  • What are the benefits of using a crate?
  • How do I choose the right crate?
  • Where should I put the crate?
  • When should I use the crate?
  • How should I crate train my puppy?
  • What if my puppy gets anxious?
  • How can I make the crate comfortable?
  • When should I stop using a crate?

What are the benefits of using a crate?

When introduced properly, a crate can be a safe place for any puppy, particularly if they’re feeling tired or nervous. It gives them somewhere to retreat to when they’re not being supervised and can help settle a pup into a new environment. It can make travelling with a puppy a lot easier too.

In my experience, a dog crate can be a brilliant aid for toilet training puppies as it takes advantage of their den instinct. Most dogs won’t soil in their sleeping quarters, so using a crate can help form a distinction between where they should and shouldn’t go to the toilet.

But it’s important to note that crate training isn’t essential for any dog owner, it’s a choice. Decide what’s best for you, your dog and your home.

How do I choose the right crate?

I always recommend that a crate should be big enough for your puppy to comfortably sit and stand at full height, turn around, stretch out and lay in a natural position.

Depending on the breed, you may need to replace the crate with a larger size as your puppy grows.

Where should I put the crate?

Always position your puppy’s crate in a quiet part of the house well away from areas of passing people.

When should I use the crate?

The crate should only be used for short periods of time – when direct supervision isn’t possible or during the night. Make sure you let your pup out regularly if you’re using the crate at night.

As part of your puppy’s toilet training routine, whenever you let your pup out of the crate, take them to their designated toilet spot immediately to maintain consistency.

How should I crate train my puppy?

For me, crate training a puppy should always be a gradual process. Don’t rush, never force your pup to stay in the crate and introduce it in a positive sequence of events.

Here are the steps I recommend you follow…

    Step 1: Start by fixing the door open so it can’t swing shut and scare your pup. Place treats or toys in the crate and allow your puppy to explore at their leisure.

Once they’re happy taking treats in the crate, throw the treats inside until your puppy is happy to walk all the way inside the crate to retrieve them. Be patient – this can take 10 minutes or several days!
Step 2: To help your pup get more familiar and comfortable with their crate, start increasing the amount of time they spend in the crate by feeding them in it. If they happily enter, close the door and put the latch over for a short time to familiarise your pet with the sound of the door closing. Once the door is shut, give your pup a treat before bringing them out.

Gradually increase the amount of time they stay in the crate after they’ve finished their food. If they’re reluctant to enter, feed them near the crate and eventually put the bowl inside as they grow more confident. If your puppy shows any sign of distress – such as whining or barking – you may have increased the time in the crate too quickly and you’ll need to reduce the time your puppy spends in the crate or leave the door open.

  • Step 3: Start leaving your pup in the crate for longer periods of time – beginning with five minutes. Alternate between you being in the room and being out of sight. Repeat several times during the day while gradually increasing the time intervals. Giving them toys or treats will help to distract and calm them.
  • Step 4: Once your pup is happy to be left for half an hour, you can start to leave them for short periods of time.
  • If you follow these steps carefully and patiently, your pup will soon become fully crate trained.

    What if my puppy gets anxious?

    I sometimes see pups that struggle with feeling enclosed in the crate, so it’s important to combine the time in the crate with a positive experience.

    Try filling an empty toy with food that will keep your puppy occupied for around 15 minutes. Allow them to play without interaction but stand close by. Placing food and water bowls in the crate will help your dog associate it with meal times. It’s important to never use the crate as a form of punishment – this will only reinforce it as a negative experience.

    If you feel that your puppy isn’t getting on with their crate then remember that crate training is a choice not a must so it’s up to you whether you want to continue.

    How can I make the crate comfortable?

    Put comfortable bedding inside the crate and place it in a draught free area out of direct sunlight. You could also put a blanket over the top to make it feel cosier.

    When should I stop using a crate?

    This can depend on your dog, your home and your preference. Once your puppy is trained and no longer likely to make a mess when left out of their crate, you can look at phasing out its use. This would normally be expected from around the age of 9 months old. Some dogs do it sooner, but I’m not usually in a rush to stop using a crate.

    For many people, the space taken up by a crate can be an issue and owners are often keen to see it go. But there’s nothing stopping you from keeping a crate in use as a bed or a secure rest space for your pet, something that can be particularly useful if you have children around the home.

    Bell’s crate training story

    Find out more about crate training your puppy by watching this short video.