Crate Training a Puppy - Everything You Need to Know

In the wild, dogs retreat to their dens to sleep, hide from danger, and nurture their families. When used properly, crate training a puppy can create a safe and cosy home for your puppy to sleep at night, while also curbing destructive behaviour.




Why do you need to crate training a puppy?


Crate training can have numerous benefits for you and your dog if trained correctly. Here are some as a starting point but we're sure you will also find many more along the way.


It is super important that we introduce the crate properly and create positive associations for your dog from the first time they are introduced to the crate. This will help them to feel safe and secure in it and a place where they want to go and relax. It will also enable you to use the crate in a range of different situations when needed. Think of the crate becoming your dog’s favourite chill-out place and having the same effect as when you come home and sit down on the sofa with a nice cup of tea or coffee after a long day.


You need to create a cosy den for your dog and make it an area which they will want to hang out in. Let’s get started and turn their crate into the place to be by playing The Great Crate game.


Benefits of crate training a puppy?


  1. Safe space The crate can be used as a safe place for your dog to rest whilst at home.

  2. Confidence boost Once they learn to love their crate you can also use this to help teach them how to become confident and secure in being left at home on their own.

  3. Toilet training Crate training can also be super helpful with toilet training as it will be the place where your dog rests and sleeps and often they will want to keep this area clean and not want to toilet here.

  4. Travelling Crate training can also be transferred to situations such as car travel and vet stays too. The possibilities are endless!


How long can you leave a puppy in a crate?


There is no set rule for how long a puppy can stay in a crate. It depends on how comfortable they are in their crate and how confident they are staying on their own. The steps we outlined in this article will help to gradually teach your pup to stay in a crate. Never leave your dog in a crate for too long as they can get depressed and anxious. If your puppy is under 6 months, they shouldn't stay for more than 3 hours at a time, because they need frequent toilet breaks. If your dog doesn't show destructive behaviour you can also teach them to stay in the enclosed area of your home, like a living room.


How to crate train a puppy or dog?


Step 1


The crate can be used as a safe place for your dog to rest whilst at home. Once they learn to love their crate you can also use this to help teach them how to become confident and secure in being left at home on their own. It is super important that we introduce the crate properly and create positive associations for your dog from the first time they are introduced to the crate. This will help them to feel safe and secure in it and a place where they want to go and relax.


It will also enable you to use the crate in a range of different situations when needed. Choose an area of the home where you would like to set up your crate. Avoid areas that may be too hot or too cold, too noisy, or uncomfortable in any way.


You also don't want your dog in an area that is isolated from the rest of the family. Once you have chosen your area, set up your crate. Ensure that it is nice and cosy by adding a soft bed or mat for your dog to lay on. Add some awesome toys in and a water bowl. Without your dog present place some tasty treats and/or Kong inside the crate on the bed and leave the crate door open.


Let your dog into the room with the crate and stand next to the crate.


Encourage them to investigate the crate by having a look yourself and saying in an excited voice ‘Hey Pup, (or insert your favourite nickname for your dog) look at this! It’s the greatest crate!” and look around the crate.


Point to the crate and let them go into the crate in their own time to locate the treats. They may want to take the treat out of the crate at this stage – this is fine.


Step 2


Grab some tasty treats that you know your dog really likes. Point to the crate and let your dog into the room with the crate and let them go into the crate to search for the treats.


As soon as they go into the crate say “GOOD” and drop a couple of treats into the crate.


Wait two seconds and if your dog remains in the crate say “GOOD” and drop a couple of treats in the crate.


Step 3


Grab some tasty treats that you know your dog really likes. Point to the crate and let your dog into the room with the crate and let them go into the crate to search for the treats. As soon as they go into the crate say “GOOD” and drop a couple of treats into the crate.


Wait three seconds. If your dog remains in the crate say "GOOD" and drop a couple of treats in the crate. At this stage your dog doesn't need to be in a sit or down – they can be in a stand if they prefer.


Repeat this 10 times then finish the exercise by giving your dog a fuss and how awesome they are and then letting them choose to remain in the crate if they wish or come out.


Step 4


Today we are going to teach your dog to settle in their crate and learn to love their crate. The main aim is to teach them that good things come when they are in the crate.


Grab 10 tasty treats that you know your dog really likes. Stand next to the crate and point to the crate and drop a treat inside for your dog.


Wait for your dog to go into the crate and as soon as they do say “GOOD” and drop a couple of treats onto the mat between their paws.


Wait one second. If your dog chooses to remain in the crate say “GOOD” and drop a treat between their front paws. Then wait for another second and drop another treat between their paws. Repeat this until you run out of the 8 treats.


You are looking for your dog to choose to stay in the crate for the remainder of the 8 treats with a second between them. Once you have completed the repetitions you can give them a release cue by saying “All done” or “Okay” and call them out of the crate with a treat to finish the game.


Complete the same process above but increase the duration to two seconds between treats for 10 treats. Then repeat the same process again for three seconds, four seconds and five seconds.


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Top crate training tips


If at any point your dog tries to move out of the crate or looks a bit worried go back to the previous task until they appear confident again.


The aim of the game at this stage is to teach your dog that they have a Great Crate and good things happen when they are inside the crate and you touch the crate door briefly


What is the best dog crate?



Soft-Sided Dog Crate

A soft -sided dog crate is made our of soft walls. They are affordable and lightweight. They are easy to carry and great for travel. On the other hand, the soft-sided dog crates are harder to clean and don't work too well for pets who likes to chew things.



Plastic Dog Crate

Plastic dog crates are stronger than soft-sided crates and easier to clean. They're often used for transportation.


Dog Crates Metal or Wire

Metal dog crates are the most well-known type of crates. They are the best option for dogs that like to chew and destroy things. They are easy clean and hard destroy. However, they are heavy and hard to transport.


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