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How to Crate Train a Puppy?

How to Crate Train a Puppy?

How to Crate Train a Puppy?

Is crate training absolutely necessary? It depends. But crate training can offer many advantages to both you and your dog. 

If you are a new puppy owner or plan to get a puppy, you are most likely on the fence about getting a crate for your dog, especially if you already have a dog house or a spot for your dog at home. Some owners feel that putting puppies inside crates will make them sad, but others feel that crates are a huge help. There’s more to crate training than just a means of containing your pup. It has many benefits that can make raising and training your puppy much easier and more enjoyable. 

In this article, we will cover the following so you can decide if crate training will be the right choice for you:

  • What Are The Benefits of Crate Training?
  • How To Choose The Right Crate?
  • How To Introduce Your Puppy To a Crate
  • What Other Crate Items Should I Consider Getting? 

What Are The Benefits of Crate Training?

While a dog or puppy crate might look like a “cage” to you, they can actually be a very safe space for pups that they can go to when used correctly. Crate training is the process of introducing and teaching your puppy to be confined in a crate or a kennel without making them feel uneasy and scared. 

Gives Your Puppy Its Own Space

A crate gives your puppy a safe space to go whenever it feels overwhelmed, stressed, or just wants to rest. This is great, especially for busy homes or homes with children, since sometimes your puppy needs downtime. If you have children at home, tell them that when your dog or puppy is inside their crate, they should leave it alone and let it rest. 

Keeps Your House Safe

Dogs without obedience training or yound puppies might feel anxious when left alone. One way of easing their anxiety is by chewing things like your sofa, rugs, and favorite shoes. When going out, even for a quick errand, keeping your pup in its crate will give you peace of mind that you won’t find your home in a complete mess when you return. 

Gives Protection To Your Dog

Sometimes, even though you are at home with your dog, you are busy doing other things and can’t constantly keep watch. Crate training your puppy is a great way to prevent them from getting injured or risking poisoning themselves by leaving your house or eating things that can harm them. 

Helps With Potty Training

Typically, dogs don’t like doing their dirty business where they sleep. With this, you can do crate training and potty training by placing your dog in the crate to teach them how to control their bladder and bowels. Once it’s time for them to relieve themselves, you can bring the crate or guide your dog to the backyard or their pee pad. 

Read: Know Before They Go: Your Guide to Potty Training

Safer Travels

Car trips are much safer for you and your dog if you put them in a crate instead of letting them loose. Not only will you be free from distractions that can potentially cause accidents, but your dog will also be comfortable in his crate. Of course, your dog’s crate will also provide protection to your pup in case of car crashes. ‘

More Relaxed Visits to the Vet

One of the pets’ biggest struggles when going to the vet is staying overnight and being kept inside crates. If your puppy is crate trained, it won’t feel scared and anxious that you are not there since you have established its crate as its safe space. You can also put your clothing with your scent in its crate so they will have an easier visit to the vet. 

How To Choose The Right Crate?

Since crate training has many advantages for you and your puppy, it is equally important to find the best crate. Don’t just pick the first crate that you see. You should take your time and consider which crate would be the best fit for your puppy and your home since a crate that doesn’t suit your puppy will not work as well when doing crate training. 

Follow these quick and easy steps when choosing the right crate:

Step 1: Identify the Size of Your Puppy — Measure the size of your puppy by determining its height and length. This will give you the idea that you should get a crate bigger than your puppy’s dimensions so he has enough room to stand, turn around, and lie down. 

Step 2: Consider the Breed and Adult Size — Aside from getting your puppy’s current dimensions, you should do some quick research on the estimated adult size of your pup based on its breed. Puppies grow very quickly, so you can even opt for a crate that would accommodate it even if it’s already fully grown. This way, you won’t have to keep on purchasing crates as your puppy grows. 

Step 3: Select the Type of Crate — Choose your puppy’s crate based on durability, ease of cleaning, crash safety, and portability. Different types of crates are available, such as plastic, soft-sided, travel, or wire crates. Consider the following when choosing a crate type: 

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Wire cages are easier to clean and offer better breathability

-Travel crates are light and portable but can be easily chewed 

-Opt for an adult-size crate with a divider so you won’t have to repurchase as your puppy grows

-Look for a crate with a tray underneath for puppies that are not yet potty trained

Step 4: Check Reviews — Before buying, it’s always a great move to check reviews online or gather feedback from friends or family about a crate that they are using before buying one. This will give you an idea of various crate options’ functionality, durability, and ease of use. Doing this will help you make an informed decision, and won’t regret getting something you won’t like. 

Step 5: Purchase from a Reputable Seller — If ordering online, review the customer reviews, particularly how they assist customers after sales. If buying in-store, inquire if they offer a warranty or assistance just in case the crate is defective.

How To Introduce Your Puppy To a Crate

Once you have your puppy’s crate at home, expect it won’t get in it immediately. It is important that you introduce the crate to your puppy gradually and positively so that it won’t grow fearful of it. Here are a few ways of effectively introducing your puppy to its crate: 

Create a Positive Association

Don’t ever force your puppy inside the crate, as this will make it afraid of getting in. Instead, encourage your puppy to enter the crate by placing treats or favorite toys inside. Be patient if it doesn’t want to go inside yet or is just looking in and inspecting the crate. Showing your pup that its favorite toys and treats are safe inside will create an inviting and positive space for your puppy.

Make Use of Verbal Cues

Similar to training your puppy with other commands like “sit” and “stay,” use verbal cues like “crate” or “kennel” when it is inside or near the crate. Use an encouraging and positive tone while giving the command so the puppy knows that the crate is a positive place and not a place for punishment. 

Give Mentally Stimulating Activities

71qWywS9LNL. AC SL1500When your puppy is inside the crate, try giving it puzzle feeders, lick mats, or interactive toys to help it stay engaged. These simple toys can help prevent your puppy from getting anxious or bored alone by making them focus on an activity that helps soothe and calm them. Choose a crate lick mat that can be attached to the cage so it won’t move around and make it hard for your pup to enjoy the activity. 

Encourage With Praise and Treats 

Puppies love getting rewards! During the period when you are still introducing your puppy to its crate, don’t forget to praise it and give it their favorite treat as a reward when it enters its crate on its own. Positive reinforcement will make your puppy feel proud of himself and further encourage it to go inside. 

Increase Crate Time Gradually

Even if your puppy is entering the crate on its own, expect that it will be wary of it during the first few days. As such, don’t close the crate door abruptly as soon as it enters. Leave the crate door open so your pup won’t feel trapped inside, then close the door only when it has settled inside on its own. 

Once your puppy has become comfortable entering and staying inside the crate, gradually increase it from five to ten minutes. Add a few minutes each day so it will learn to stay inside the crate gradually. 

Follow a Routine

Create a consistent routine incorporating “crate time” for your puppy and ensure you stick to it. You can choose to use the crate for your puppy’s nap, snack, potty breaks, or even bedtime. If your puppy has become comfortable inside the crate, you can use it when leaving the house. By following a consistent routine, your puppy will anticipate the time of day it will stay in the crate. 

Turn the Crate Into a Positive Space 

To make your puppy feel more at ease and comfortable in its crate, you can create an inviting environment by adding a blanket, bedding, or toys. Some puppy owners find that putting a piece of their clothing inside the crate also gives puppies a sense of security, especially if they sleep in their crates at night. Of course, ensure your puppy is already potty trained or knows not to pee inside the crate before putting items inside; otherwise, these might just get dirty. 

Monitor Your Puppy’s Behavior

Lastly, be very observant of how your puppy behaves during crate time. If it looks uncomfortable and stressed inside the crate, reduce its time before gradually increasing it again. The first thing that you should prioritize is that it feels comfortable and safe inside. 

What Other Crate Items Should I Consider Getting? 

Aside from choosing the right crate, you might want to consider other items that can make your crate training easier since these can add to giving your puppy a feeling of security and comfortability: 

Crate Divider 

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 Instead of buying crates every time your puppy grows bigger, a crate divider would be a great choice since you can easily move and adjust it in the crate as your puppy grows. By getting this crate addition, you can save money that you can use for other items. When choosing a crate divider, ensure the dimensions are correct so it attaches snuggly in the crate. Your puppy can easily topple a very loose divider and might even cause accidents while inside the crate. 

Crate Cover

719ytcj8EL. AC SL1500A crate cover is a great way to help create a secure and private space for your puppy, especially for shy ones. While some puppies are fine without a crate cover, gauge your puppy’s personality to see if it will feel more comfortable having one, especially if you have visitors at home. Remember to remove and don’t leave the crate cover for too long, as it might stink and get dirty. 


71HDLYL9eFL. AC SL1500If your puppy will be napping or sleeping inside the crate, try to make it as comfortable as possible by putting it on a bed. Choose a doggy bed that fits perfectly and won’t slip between the wire spaces below. We love the VANKEAN Reversible Cool and Warm Dog Bed, which is specially made for dog crates. It is machine washable and has a waterproof inner lining just in case your puppy pees. 


71gzGuXx5jL. AC SL1500To prevent boredom and make the crate a positive space for your pup, you can put their favorite toy or one that makes them feel comfortable. Puppies who tend to be anxious love the Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy since the “heartbeat” feature helps lower stress, barking, and whining. This is a great toy that your puppy can actually use inside or outside their crate. 


Chew Toys 

71X2UY8zgzL. AC SL1500One of the struggles of crate training a puppy is that it often tries to chew the crate. This is because it is teething and needs to chew on something to ease its irritability. To prevent your puppy from chewing its crate, make sure that you put its favorite chew toy inside so it can feel at ease when it needs something to chew on. 

Food and Water Bowl 

61OHH5i9HnL. AC SL1500If you plan on feeding your puppy inside the crate or will be using the crate for traveling, you should get a food and water bowl made just for crates. While you can also use the dog bowls your puppy uses outside the crate, the downside is that these often slide around the crate, making it hard for your puppy to eat and drink. Opt for a puppy bowl such as the Kathson Crate Dog Bowl that can be easily attached to the crate. 

Pee Pads 

71LHksRF15L. AC SL1500When your puppy is still potty training and during its first time staying in the crate, make sure to put pee pads inside in case it gets too excited and pees itself. This will save you a lot of time from washing the crate every time your puppy pees. 


Remember, crate training requires a lot of patience. Each dog has unique traits and character, so you need to consider that the time it takes for every puppy to be crate trained also varies. Take the time and let your puppy ease into the crate gradually while maintaining a positive tone. With enough patience and positivity, your puppy will learn that his crate is a place of comfort and safety! 

Need help with crate training your pup? Contact us now!

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