How To Crate Train Your Dog

Ultimate Pet Air Travel Guide:Dogs are den animals that like to have its own space to rest, nap, or hide from. This instinct in dogs needs to be mentally stimulated with practice and companionship. Crate training is the process of teaching a pet pal to accept a dog crate or cage as a familiar and safe place to live on.  

This training procedure is tedious and time-consuming but is seen to be very useful and helpful in any situation.  This article will enlighten the crate training process in detail and will also discuss the benefits of crate training a furry friend.

Why Does a Dog Need to Be Crate Trained?

A dog needs to be crate trained due to following reasons mentioned below:

  • Dogs don’t like to soil their dens hence crate training them will aid in keeping the house tidy. 
  • The crate is also seen to limit access to the rest of the house while the puppy or dog learns the house rules that include not to chew on furniture, not to sit on the furniture and so on. 
  • Crates is one of the safest options to transport the dog through land or air.
  • Crate training will also help to take the pet to places where it cannot freely move around.
  • Crate helps the dog to relieve its stress easily as it provides a den-like atmosphere.
  • A crate is seen to help prevent injuries and poisonings for dogs when are left alone by the pet parents at home.
  • Crate training helps to protect the furniture and floor of the house.
  • A dog that’s properly crate trained will be more comfortable and relaxed when they need to be taken by a crate to a vet, groomer, or a boarding kennel.
  • The dogs will be happier, safer, and less likely to have a surgical failure or other complications following any surgeries that require post-operative restrictions

What are the pointers that one needs to bear in mind while choosing a crate for crate training?

The following pointers need to be concentrated on while zeroing on the right crate

Crate type

Depending on one’s puppies or dogs’ personal needs and budget a pet parent can choose any of the above-mentioned crates for training it.

#1: Plastic portable crate

Plastic dog crates are mostly suitable for small to medium-sized dogs. These plastic portable crates are entirely made of thick plastic, have a front-facing swinging door and a top carrying handle. This crate type is useful for dogs that like to travel with their owners. These crates are good for car and air travel as it is portable, safe and sturdy.

#2: Folding wire pooch crate

The wire crate available can be easily folded, hence one can easily carry or transport them. These crates come in all sizes, and the fidos have an unrestricted view of the house from within and are easy to maintain as well as clean. Placing a cushion or thick blanket down on the metal bottom tray enhances the comforts for the pooch. 

A common drawback with these crates is that as they are roomy many dogs use a half portion of the crate for potty and sleep on the other, hindering the housetraining initiatives. 

#3 Soft-sided dog crates: The soft-sided dog cages are not the right choice for all dogs as they are usually made of canvas or nylon that can be more destructible than wire or plastic crates. Dogs that scratch or chew the things around due to boredom are not good candidates for this crate. 

Note: This crate type is not advised for initial puppy training and is also recommended for highly soft and calm adult dogs.

#4: Heavy-duty dog crate:This Crate type is best for giant breeds or crate destroyers, or for frequent escape artists. The heavy-duty crates are not suitable for crate training small to medium-sized dogs as the chances of using them for dual purposes that are housebreaking and resting increases as it is too roomy for them. But are best for transporting large breed dogs.

#5: Fashion kennels: This crate type has a dual purpose that can be used as a kennel as well as furniture. Experts do not recommend these crates for dog training. Fashion kennels are not portable, high maintenance and quite expensive.  This crate is best for pooches that are accustomed to sleeping in cabinets. 

Pooch Measurements

The dog’s height, length, and weight need to be accurately measured. Calculate the pets back from the neck from where the collar sits, to the base of the tail. An apt crate for the dog needs to be large enough so that it can turn around with ease but can also curl up and stretch out when lying down. Based on the crate material extra inches need to be added based on an individual pooch.

How to Crate Train a Puppy?

Selection and Setting Up the Crate

Purchase a crate: Select a crate based on the individual dog breed, type, and personal choices as well as budget. Zero on a crate by keeping the factors mentioned above in mind.

Make the crate comfortable: The crate training process is seen to work faster with a dog’s instinctive desire to have a warm, safe place to sleep. Hence one needs to make the pet comfortable in its crate by placing a soft bed or blankets inside it. As puppies are not housebroken, one should line the crate with thick, comfortable towels that can be easily removed and washed.

Crate placement: Place the crate in a central location in the house where the puppy will be able to see the activities taking place inside the home. 

Note: Positive associations with the crate play a pivotal role in this training. 

Introduce the dog carrier to the furry friend

Place the crate with a soft blanket or towel in an area of the house where most of the family spend its time. 

Bring the dog near the crate and talk to it in a happy voice tone. Keep in mind to keep the doors of the crate securely wide open so it won’t hit the dog and frighten it.

Encourage the dog to enter the crate by dropping some of the pet’s favorite food treats or toys from near it till the inside of the crate and practice the pet to go inside the crate. 

Most of the furry pals refuse to go all the way, in at first, continue tossing treats into the crate until the dog walks calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. 

It may take a few minutes or as long as several days for the pet to accustom to the crate.

Feed the pet pal’s meals in the crate

After introducing the dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate for a better and pleasant association with the crate. 

If the dog is readily entering the crate when you begin this step, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. 

If the dog is resisting to enter the crate, place the dish only at a distance inside the crate where he or she will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Later on for each feed, place the dish a little further back in the crate.

Once the dog starts standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, the doors of the crate can be closed with the eating dog inside it. 

Initially, open the door as soon as the pet pal finishes its meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer until it stays in the crate for 10 minutes or more post a meal. 


  • If the pup whines to be let out, one may have increased the length of time at a faster pace. Try leaving the dog inside the crate for a shorter time period. 
  • If the dog whines or cries in the crate, one should not open the crate door still it stops its action of whining or crying, otherwise, it will whine or cry each time when it wants to get out of the crate.

Habituate the pup to stay in the crate for longer time periods

After the dog starts binging on its regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, one can confine it there for short time periods while being around it. 

Call it over to the crate and treat it with a goodie. Command it to enter the kennel pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in the hand. 

Post its entry into the crate, praise and feed the treat and shut the door behind.

Sit quietly near the crate for 5-10 minutes and move out of the room for some minutes. 

Post returning sit quietly again for a short time, then let the furry pal out of the crate. 

Repeat this process several times a day. 

With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave the fido inside the crate and the time slot you leave it alone. 

Once the dog starts to stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes without people around it, one can start to leave it crated when one goes out for short time periods and/or let it sleep there at night. 

Training a dog in this step may take several days or weeks.

Training the Dog Based on Different Situations

Crating the dog when home alone: After the dog starts to spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, one can begin leaving it crated for short periods when home alone. Command it to go inside the crate as practiced before and place toys inside it to play with.

Restrict the crating time from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Refrain from making the departures emotional and prolonged. Praise the dog briefly, treat it for entering the crate and leave quietly.

Post returning refrain from rewarding the dog for excited behavior. Keep one’s arrivals low key. Continue to crate the dog for short periods from time to time when the owners are even at home so that it doesn’t associate crating with being left alone. 

Note: The dog should not be left alone in the crate for more than four to five hours continuously at a stretch during the daytime.

Dog crating during the dusk: Command the dog to go inside the crate with the regular technique. Initially, it is advised to place the crate in the bedroom or hallway, especially for the puppies as they often need to be let out during the night, and one will want to be able to hear the puppy whine to be let outside. 

Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that they do not associate crating with social isolation. Once the dog sleeps comfortably through the night with its crate near the pet parents, one can begin to gradually move it to the location one prefers it to place it.

Training for guests not comfortable with dogs: When guests uncomfortable with dogs are visiting one’s home, place the dog in its crate before they arrive or have the crate ready for cases where the dog gets overexcited, calmly bring it the pet pal to the crate and place treats and toys inside to make it comfortable.

d. Traveling with the pooch: Crate training is pivotal for preparing dogs to be transported that include air and car travel and also vet visits. Habituate the dog by making frequent trips with them in its crate; this will ensure that the dog will not associate transportation with events that may cause it to stress. Dogs that have never used crates are more likely to be anxious during such trips making it uncomfortable when being confined.

Training Completion

Post completing the crate training each day one needs to follow the steps mentioned below for positive reinforcement.

Trip for elimination: One is advised to take the puppy for a loo walk immediately post crate opening after a long period to discourage the act from relieving itself in its crate.

This will build the dog’s confidence and will clearly register in its mind that its demands will be met if it cooperates. Practicing this will not be difficult, as dogs have as an instinct of not soiling its sleeping area.

Place the crate at center spot in the home: If the dog has developed an affinity for its crate during training, one can permanently place it at a fixed spot inside the home without the door.

Small crates can be easily moved due to its small size whereas medium to large crates need to be placed at one spot due to its size and weight. Hence zero on the right spot before placing them.

Seek expert help if required for training: If all efforts to crate train the dog fails, or you do not have enough time to train them one can reach out to a professional trainer for help.

Browse the net for the best in the job or take help from friends and colleagues with pet pals at home. Check all the credentials of the trainer and one can also talk to the previous owners of the pet trained by them for better clarity.

How to Crate Train a Dog?

Crate training an adult or senior dog is quite different from crate training a puppy. The training process period depends on the dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences. The following steps need to be followed while crate training an adult pooch:

  • Prepare the dog for crate training by draining their energy out either by going for a long walk or play with it and make sure they do not have to go to the loo during the training.
  • Dogs take a longer time to get crate trained. One must not only be patient and kind but should also do their best to create positive associations between one’s dog and its crate. One can try feeding the dog its meals near the crate.
  • Make the dog’s crate nice and comfy, with one of the pet pals favorite old t-shirts of its owners, some of the dog’s favorite toys, and a nice soft blanket. One should leave the door open so that the dog can use the crate as it pleases. 

Note: Comfort plays a pivotal role in getting a dog to accept his or her crate. 

  • Once the dog makes itself comfortable inside the crate with the door open, one can start the training of keeping the door closed for small amounts of time. Start the door closing training with a five-minute interval and stay in the same room or at the distance where the dog can see its parent.
  • Practice crate training the dog by gradually increasing the five-minute intervals and working up to the point where an individual can leave the room without upsetting the dog. Once the dog starts to stay peacefully inside the crate for thirty minutes, one can start leaving the dog for short time periods home alone.

What Are The Potential Problems That One Will Face During The Crate Training?

The following problems may be confronted during the crate training process:


Many dogs cry while in the crate at night, it is always difficult to decide whether these pooch whine to be let out of the crate or need to go for a loo visit. One should always try to ignore it if this what the dog had done during the crate training process.

If the whining continues after being ignored for several minutes, one needs to use the command they associate while taking the pooch to loo trips. If the furry pal responds and becomes excited, take it outside. This should be a purpose trip and not playtime. 

On the other hand, whining to be let out needs to be strictly ignored. If the pup or adult whines loudly then it clearly shows that the crate training was done at a faster pace and needs to be restarted all over.

Separation anxiety 

Experts are against the use of a crate as a remedy for separation anxiety as this is not seen to solve the issue. A crate may prevent the dog from being destructive, but the chances of the dog getting injured while trying to escape increases. Separation anxiety problems need to be only resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures conducted by an animal behavior specialist.

Crate training FAQs

Q. Why does my puppy whine when closed inside the crate for a ten-minute interval?

A. If the puppy is in the initial stage of crate training the chances of whining are higher as it still must get accustomed to the crate. Ignore this at this stage for better crate training results. Even post ignoring if a puppy whines it can be due to loo visit, quickly take it out as the chances of using a crate for potty will reduce.

Q. Can a crate be used for exclusively potty training?

A. Yes, crates can also be used for exclusive potty training. Train the dog to use the crate only for potty if you cannot take it out often for loo visits frequently.

Q. Why dogs think locking them in a crate is a punishment?

A. If one uses the crate for punishment or reprimand the dog while they’re in their crate, then the fear of entering the crate develops and will associate their crate with stress and other negative experiences, making crate training efforts much harder from both sides.

Q. Can one leave a dog in the crate all day when one is out to the office?

A.  No do not leave the dog in the crate all day. Crates are no substitute for a dog babysitter. A dog that is locked in a crate most of the time may develop anxiety and depression issues. Consider hiring a pet sitter or walker or take the dog to daycare so they can get the physical and mental exercise they need for each day.

Q. Should the dog know one’s arrival or departure when at home?

A. Do keep the excitement to a minimum when you always return or depart from home. A low-key arrival will help reduce the dog’s anxiety and anticipation. Engage the dog with fun activities prior to leaving the house and leave without its notice.

Q. What are all places where crate training can be applied?

A. Apply crating to all the necessary real-life scenarios which include sleeping and eating period of the pet parents, guest visit, ride in the car, etc. This will habituate the crate training process effectively and will positively reinforce the puppy.

Final thoughts

Patience, practice, and consistency will easily make a dog learn that its crate is a safe place and not a prison. The chances of the crate becoming the dog’s new favorite place to relax enhances. Happy parenting!!!



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Yeshwanthi Kamalraj
Yeshwanthi Kamalraj is a freelance copy editor, Pet sitter, and content writer who mainly focuses on scientific journals and health-related web pages. Before becoming a freelance content writer Yeshwanthi worked for Cenveo publishers as document analyst for various science journals published by Taylor and Francis Journals and later continued as a freelance copyeditor for the same publishers. Post marriage in 2009 Yeshwanthi developed a keen interest in pets after her husband and she brought a labrador puppy home. This interest helped her to explore a new niche of the pet sitting world whose journey is still on. Yeshwanthi is a dog lover who in her freetime enjoys listening to music, cooking, and meeting new people.


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