How To Crate Train A Puppy: [Ultimate Guide] | PUPPYFAQS

How To Crate Train A Puppy: [Ultimate Guide]

how to crate train a puppy
(Last Updated On: December 15, 2022)

Dogs especially puppies always have a lot of trouble such as soiling your carpet or chewing your shoes. Thus, it’s important and essential to train your dog soon when it’s a puppy.

Familiarizing your dog with the crate is reliable support for the potty-training process and teaching your puppy the rules at home. Moreover, this item helps you move your pet from place to place and transport it in your car quickly.

Puppies don’t automatically take to the crate, even some of them may fear the crate, and your task is to crate train your puppy correctly. You have to make your puppy accept the crate as its safe space where it can relax and take naps and sleep at night.

There is no need to worry too much because they don’t have any preconceived notions about this. Therefore, you just need to follow my guide on how to crate train a puppy below, and the success is in your hands.

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How to choose the best crate:

When it comes to how to crate train a puppy, The most important thing you have to prepare is a suitable crate, so in this section, I will show you how to choose the best crate for your dog:

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The size:

The proper size is large enough for your dog to stand, sit even stretch out. This video will show you how to choose the right size dog crate:

The kind of crate to use:

On the market, there is a multitude of crate types, and their price also varies. For example, there is one kind that looks like a piece of furniture. You can use it with 2 functions: a crate and a side table. Before giving the last decision, remember to make sure it can meet the needs of the dog and yours:

  • Kennel style crate made from the hard plastic material is an enclosed design excepted ventilation holes on sides. Its front doesn’t have holes, but it comes with a wire door. In case you would like to purchase one to use on the next trip with your pet, there are many models which are airline compliant.
  • Wire mesh crate is made from the hardwire so your dog can’t chew, but this design allows the pet inside to see all the outside. The low price isn’t the reason this product isn’t the best option. That’s because the majority of dogs want to experience the “den” feeling, but this crate can’t provide that.
  • The plastic crate is secure for your dog because the sturdy walls are solid. However, it is not the top choice to use as an in-home crate due to its less visibility. It suits for trips on plane more. Some airlines require a crate to transport your pet, and this model can meet that requirement.
  • Puppy Pen: If you own a very young puppy, I highly recommend you a puppy pen. This design comes with the wire walls without floor or cover so it’s not an ideal choice for older dogs which can quickly move the pen across your floor even flipping it over. In case you don’t have other options excepting an enclosure for your old dog, it must be used with your supervision.
  • Fabric crate is also an ideal option for puppies. Thanks to the compact and lightweight design that you can fold flat to store easily, it suits with trips: traveling, camping, and sporting events. This product brings the best convenience when your dog is well trained because it’s not secure

Note: You can apply the washable cloth bedding on the hard bottom to create a comfortable and safe surface. Keep in mind to locate a piece of plywood on the top of the model to extend a foot beyond after that drape the cloth bedding down the sides. This way protects your dog away from chewing the blanket.

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The instruction on how to crate train a puppy:

How to crate train a puppy can last within a few days even weeks, depending on the age of your dog, its temperament as well as the experience in the past. Just follow step by step below, the success will come soon:

Introduce your dog to the crate:

how to crate train a puppy

The first rule is not to force your dog into the crate and shut the door as well as never punish by putting it in the crate. The crate is a place to bring your pet the safe and comfortable feeling, not a prison.

While introducing your dog to the crate, apart from setting the model in the desired location, you also have to open the door. It’s better to spread a blanket with the smell of its mother or littermates inside the crate. 

This is an ideal way to attach its attention. Moreover, when keeping the door open always, your dog can go out and enter anytime. After he has accepted this as a daily habit, you can close the door.

Once your dog gets used to the crate, you should give it a lot of enthusiasm actions and words of praise with your happy voice. This makes it understand that accepting the crate means receiving the positive feelings from you – its owner.

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Apply a crate command:

how to crate train a puppy

After being successful with the previous steps, you can try with command when you want it comes or goes out. Choose one of the following commands: “crate” or “kennel” then combine with a hand gesture indicating its crate.

Food as a treat is an excellent thing to crate train your dog. Say the common. If it follows your command, reward it with a treat.

Crate train at night:

how to crate train a puppy

For some new puppies, they haven’t been crate entirely trained while you still have to ensure its safety overnight. Let you play with your dog until it feels tired after that locate in the crate. 

A treat can distract it to enter the inside. Leave the room and come back a few times until it doesn’t cry anymore.

In case the technique I mentioned isn’t useful that means your puppy hasn’t slept alone. For the first couple of nights, let you put it in a cardboard box to allow the puppy to sleep bedside.

Give your puppy bathroom breaks before sleeping:

At night, you just should leave your puppy alone no longer than 4 hours. Thus, you need to set the alarm clock about every 2-3 hours. Throughout the night you will need take your new puppy outside to go potty or on pee pads.  My recommendation is to skip using pee pads and go directly outdoors. Perform the same steps for older dogs. 

However, the toilet time of the adult dogs over 12 weeks can a little longer to train. During this process, use a command like “hurry up”. In training Sassy I would take her outside on the grass and constantly saying “hurry up” and give her praise once she did potty. You puppy should understand that it is not play time.

Acclimate your dog to be alone in the crate:

If you put your dog in the crate during the long time you are away from your house, it’s straightforward to cause the alone and abandoned feeling. Thus, avoid doing this thing. Although there is no an exact rule on how long you can leave your dog in the crate, you can refer to this general guideline:

  • 30-60 minutes after 9-10 weeks
  • 1-3 hours after 11-14 weeks
  • 3-4 hours after 15-16 weeks
  • Over 4 hours after 17 weeks

You had better vary the time you put your dog in the crate about from 5 to 20 minutes before leaving. Take around 5 minutes to ignore and observe your dog in the crate before going. When it’s quiet, you can come back and ignore it for a few extra minutes then let it out of the crate.

Pro Tips:

  • Turn on TV or open a soothing song for your dog while letting it in the crate. This can help it calm down
  • You should put the crate in an ideal location consistently. Refer to the high-traffic areas in your house where most of the members usually spend their free time there together (living room, for example). Make sure, at your dog’s sleeping time, there isn’t any activity so that it can sleep well in that place. What’s more, choose an easy-to-clean location in anticipation of toilet accidents. I strongly recommend you the tile floor in place of a carpeted area.
  • Put your puppy’s favorite toy, treats (cheerios, cubes of cheese or pieces of chicken) and comforter in its crate to make that place as lovely, ideal, and comfortable as possible. The healthy dogs don’t need water overnight (you can add water in the crate when the weather is sweltering). What you place the inside must meet the standard of sturdiness to avoid a choking hazard or at least they have to resist chewing. Let you imagine that how is terrible when your dog stays alone and chew, swallow something’s small, causing a bowel obstruction.
  • Remember to increase the door-closed crate time gradually. If you see the signs of whining about you raise the door-closed crate time too fast, you need to come back a shorter time.
  • Don’t let your dog out of the crate when it’s crying as it can misunderstand that is the excellent way to go out.

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Remember that the success only comes when you connect the crate with something pleasant. Introducing your dog the crate is the most critical part. You can use a command while training. Crate training at night is also essential and indispensable. In particular, don’t forget to acclimate your dog to be alone in the crate.

Have you been successful on how to crate train a puppy? Can it consider the crate as a place to rest and relax? I am waiting for your comment.


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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