Crates offer a controlled setting when your full attention can’t be on Fido. See the benefits of the crate, my 5-step crate training plan, & crate types.

How To Crate Train Your Puppy (In 5 Simple Steps)


Welcoming a new puppy into your home? One of the best things you can do is invest in a dog crate. Crates offer a safe and controlled setting when your full attention can’t be on little Fido. And get this: Since dogs are naturally den animals, they actually like confined spaces. So, when introduced properly, the crate will become a secure place for your pooch to rest and relax. 

A few benefits of crate training your dog:

  • Can help speed up potty training
  • Can help keep bad habits from forming, like chewing the furniture 
  • Helps get your puppy into a routine
  • Gives your puppy a safe haven during stressful times
  • Prepares pets for traveling

Before we dive into the 5-step crate training success plan, it’s important to note: You shouldn’t leave your dog in the crate for hours on end. If you have a young puppy who isn’t familiar with the crate yet, keep sessions anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. As your pup matures, if you’re heading off to work, cap crate time to 4 hours. Either come home at lunch to let your fur kid out for some exercise or enlist the help of a professional dog walker! 


5-Step Crate Training Success Plan

1) Fill The Crate With Your Pup’s Stuff

Before you introduce your fur baby to their new crate, fill it up with their bed/blanket and some toys. This will help your pup view the crate as a fun place.

To crate or not to crate … that was my big question! See the benefits of crate training and the 5-step crate training success plan!

2) Introduce Your Dog To The Crate With The Door Open

If your pup explores the crate on his own, give lots of praise! If not, sit next to the crate and call your canine kid over. After a few moments of exploring, invite your pup inside. The goal is to get him to go inside on his own. To do this, put a treat in the middle of the crate. Once he’s inside, offer lots of praise. It’s important to make the crate a positive place.


3) Close The Door For A Short Period Of Time

When you first introduce your fur baby to the crate, don’t close the door. You don’t want him to feel trapped. Once he seems comfortable with the crate, though, close the door for a second or two. When you open the door, give lots of praise. Try this several times over a span of about five/ten minutes.


4) Leave The Room

Now that your pup is familiar with the crate and isn’t afraid of a shut door, try leaving the room. Leave them in the crate for about a minute. When you come back into the room, stay calm. If your pet is whining, wait until he calms down. If you let your little one out when he cries, he will associate crying with getting what he wants.


5) Leave The House

The first few times you leave your dog in the crate home alone, only leave for a short amount of time. Try a quick trip to the gas station or grocery store.

*While some dogs take to the crate right away, it may take others longer. Don’t rush the process.


NEVER …

  • Never use the crate as a form of punishment. The crate should always be looked at as a positive place and somewhere your pets can go to feel safe.
  • Don’t leave your pet in the crate for more than four hours. It’s important to remember that puppies have tiny tanks – they will not be able to hold their bladders for more than a few hours.

Choosing The Right Crate For Your Dog

Brands, types, and sizes – there are a bunch of different crates on the market, and picking the right one is crucial.


Sizing

One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make when choosing a crate is getting one that’s way too big. If you’re using the crate to help potty train your pup, an oversized crate will defeat the purpose. It should be large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and stretch. But it shouldn’t be so large that they can go to the bathroom on one end and then sleep on the other end. Naturally, dogs don’t want to soil where they eat and sleep. 


Types

Now let’s talk about the type of crate you should use. Here are the four main types of crates (plus, the pros and cons of each):

Wire Crate

Pros:

  • Ideal for most dogs
  • Most models come with a removable plastic tray for easy clean-up
  • Most brands are collapsible, making them easy to travel with

Cons:

  • Escape artists have been known to break out of some brands (check out how the crate closes)
  • Not that attractive

Plastic Crate

Pros:

  • This type of crate is good for traveling
  • Good for escape artists
  • Good for dogs who like small, cozy places

Cons:

  • Your puppy may get too hot in this type of crate since the air circulation isn’t the best
  • Not that attractive

Soft-Sided Crate

Pros:

  • Good for travel
  • Many are aesthetically pleasing
  • Okay for smaller breeds

Cons:

  • Not ideal for avid chewers/ destructive dogs

Decorative Crates (these are often made out of wood)

Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing 

Cons:

  • Not ideal for avid chewers/ destructive dogs