Your dog is a part of your family. But like humans, dogs can become very demanding for attention. Crate training is an important part of dogs’ behavioral training that allows them to enjoy themselves.

However, crate training requires a lot of work and consistency. If you’re not consistently following a crate training schedule, you might be instilling negative learned behaviors in your dog like growling or whining to let out.

Understanding Crate Training

Crate training is behavioral and physical training that enables your dog to remain in a designated closed spot for a specific period.

Crate training can help keep your pet in an enclosed space without whining for attention. This is their own safe and comfortable space that they can use to relax and stay out of your hair for a little while including staying out of trouble if you’re out of the house.

Crate training is also an effective way to housetrain your pets, so your home is free from the smell of pet pee. By effectively training your pet to stay in the crate without messes, you can teach them how to hold their pee indoors.


Developing a Crate Training Schedule

A basic daily crate training schedule includes feeding time, playtime, and rest periods in between. However, as a pet parent, you’d know what your dog’s temperament is. If your dog whines when they are away from you, you can begin crate training for a few minutes at a time.

The dog’s age and breed are also some things that you need to consider when developing a crate schedule. For instance, smaller dog breeds like chihuahuas have smaller bladders, so they cannot be locked in the crate for more than a couple of hours.

On the other hand, puppies who are full of energy cannot be expected to stay in the crate for long periods otherwise their lack of activity will cause them to become more demanding during their crate-free time.

Jack Russell Terrier dog lies on top of a cage for safe transportation with the door open

Starting Crate Training

Crate training should first start with half an hour or less on the clock.

Your dog will be willing to stay in the crate if the space is inviting. Making the space cozy and adding chew toys inside will be sufficient to make your dog go inside.

Once the dog goes in on your cue, give them a treat to reinforce the behavior.

Don’t lock the crate in the beginning. Just encourage your dog to stay inside.

Give them a treat when they follow your command to come out of the crate.

Nighttime Crate Training

Nighttime crate training can help potty train your dog for the night. But it requires more patience and understanding than daytime crate training.

Keep them Close to You

If your puppy is new to your family, they might be used to sleeping with other dogs. However, crating them during the night in a separate room can scare them. Initially, keep the crate close to you during the night to help the puppy or dog settle in your house.

Comfort them

If the dog is whining or barking during the night signaling distress, you will have to take them out to comfort them. But beware! This habit can lead to demand barking and excessive whining behavior too. So, gradually letting them sleep in the crate throughout the night is the way to go.

Tire them out

To make them tired for the night, let them play and get exhausted before bedtime. This way they will sleep peacefully throughout the night.

Don’t Feed Them Just Before Bed

Feeding your dog just before bed means they will have to go potty during the night. Feeding 3-4 hours before bedtime and limiting water intake can help them sleep peacefully in the crate. Just before bedtime, make sure to take them out for relief.

Crate Training While at Work

During work hours, it is safer for pets to stay inside a crate or a designated area. To train them to stay in the crate during work, here are some steps you can follow:

  • Place the crate in the living room or a space where your family is often together. This won’t let them associate the crate with loneliness.
  • Encourage the dog to go inside the crate using treats and comforting blankets and toys inside.
  • Put their feeding bowl inside the crate so they can feel easy eating inside.
  • With small 10-minute increments, increase the dog’s time in the crate.
  • Once they are acclimatized with the crate, leave them alone in the space for a little duration, increasing it gradually.

Start leaving them at home alone in the crate for short durations.

Since crate time means the dog should hold their bladder, it is cruel to leave them in the crate if you have a full-time job. In this case, you can hire a pet sitter who can come in to give the pet a potty break and take them out for a little walk.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Schedule

Pets don’t come with a manual. So, any kind of training including crate training needs to be adjusted according to the dog’s behavior and response. Remember not to force anything on the pet as they will become fearful of the crate.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Some common challenges while crate training include anxiety or refusal to enter the crate. You can make the crate an inviting space for the dog. Alternative to traditional crate training methods, you could even enter the crate boundary yourself to encourage the dog to get in and stay.

Ensuring Comfort and Safety

The most important thing to remember is that it takes time and patience to train any pet. By creating a comfortable and safe environment you can make the process a bit easier.

  • Add comfortable bedding to the crate.
  • Stock the food bowl with food (if leaving the dog home alone)
  • Place the crate where the pet feels comfortable.

FAQs About Crate Training for Dogs

Is Crate Training Stressful for Dogs?

Crate training, when done properly, should not be stressful for dogs. In fact, when introduced correctly, a crate can become a comfortable and familiar space for your furry friend. It’s essential to make the crate a positive environment by associating it with pleasant experiences, such as treats, toys, and praise. Additionally, never use the crate as a form of punishment, as this can create negative associations and lead to stress or anxiety in your dog.

Should I Ignore My Dog Crying During Crate Training?

While it can be challenging to hear your dog cry during crate training, it’s important to remain patient and consistent. Dogs may initially protest being confined to a crate, but it’s essential not to give in to their cries. Instead, try to reassure your dog with a calm voice or by placing familiar items, such as a blanket or toy, in the crate with them. Over time, most dogs will become accustomed to their crate and learn to view it as a safe and comfortable space.

How Long Does It Take to Crate Train a Dog?

The duration of crate training can vary depending on factors such as the dog’s age, temperament, and previous experiences. While some dogs may adapt to crate training quickly, others may require more time and patience. In general, consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successful crate training. It’s essential to start with short periods of crate time and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.

At What Age Should a Puppy Be Crate Trained?

Puppies can begin crate training as early as eight weeks old, as long as they have been properly weaned and are comfortable being separated from their littermates. Crate training can be an effective tool for teaching puppies bladder control, preventing destructive behavior, and providing them with a safe space to rest and relax. However, it’s essential to introduce the crate gradually and make it a positive experience for your puppy.

Can an Older Dog Be Crate Trained?

Yes, older dogs can be crate trained, although it may take more time and patience than training a puppy. When introducing crate training to an older dog, it’s essential to go at their pace and make the crate a comfortable and inviting space. Start by gradually acclimating your dog to the crate using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise. With patience and consistency, most older dogs can learn to view the crate as a safe and secure environment.


Crate training is one of the most important and the hardest pet training that you will do. To make the process easier, it is important to adhere to a consistent crate training schedule. If you’re crate training for the night, make sure you establish a bedtime routine that allows the dog to be comfortable throughout the night. On the other hand, if you’re crate training for the daytime, make sure you increase crate time in small increments.

But remember not to lose patience and remain understanding throughout the process for a successful crate training! Last but not least, don’t forget to check our ultimate guide before picking the best soft crate for your dog.

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