How to Crate Train a Puppy or Dog?

Struggling with soiled carpets, chewed furniture, and the bad behavior of your puppy or dog? Then, it’s time to get them crate trained.

The root cause of all the poor behaviors in the puppies is the lack of training. Without proper guidance, you may feel lost on where to start training your puppy or dog to help them manage their behavior. Well, crate training is the solution.

By introducing crate training into your pup’s routine, you can establish healthy boundaries, cultivate good behavior in your pup, and prevent them from destructive behavior. All in all, you’ll train your dog into a companion you’d cherish the company of.

But, if you are unaware of the right methods and techniques for crate training your puppy, you have landed in the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of crate training your puppy or dog. Along with the process, you’ll also get insights into the valuable techniques of crate training and associating the training with positive reinforcement.

Ready to embark on your crate training journey with your dog? Let’s go.

What Is Crate Training?

Crate training is a method of training your dog to become comfortable in a designated spot.

A crate is basically a dog’s den or personal space where they can let loose themselves, eat, and play. Crate training aims to dedicate your pet to a place where they can remain secure when unsupervised. It is a great tool for housetraining effort and promoting overall calm behavior.

Crate training is not about confining your pet into an enclosed space for an extended time.

Remember, crate training has to be a positive experience for your dog. Make sure you build a positive association with your dog with it. And you must never associate the crate with negative behavior or for punishing purposes.

Gradually introducing your pet to a crate and helping them channel their energy in a positive environment is the way to raise a well-mannered pet.

Crate Training Vs. Kennel Training: Are They Same?

So, now that you know what crate training is. Let’s move to another common question that can often confuse dog owners : “Is crate training and Kennel training the same thing?”

Although both terms are often used interchangeably, they can be slightly different in their usage. Here’s the difference:

Crate TrainingKennel Training
Crate training, as mentioned earlier, is a process of making your puppy familiar and comfortable in an enclosed crate. It is usually small and can be made of materials like plastic, metal, or wire.Crate training has its whole focus on helping the dog manage their behavior with a positive association.On the other hand, Kennel training refers to training your dog to behave appropriately in a dog run or kennel.Kennel is usually an outdoor enclosure where dogs have an enlarged space to walk around.It mainly focuses on staying calm in the Kennel and teaching your pup commands to enter and exit the Kennel.
Crate Training vs Kennel Training

While one is an indoor training tool, the latter is an outdoor training tool, but they both are intended to help your puppy become a range of skills. Both methods, however, are aimed at providing a safe and controlled environment for dogs.

Benefits of Crate Training a Puppy or Dog:

Crate training your puppy or dog has multiple benefits. You can have a look at them below:

  1. Your Dog Will Have a Place That They Can Call Their Own

Having their own space can help the dogs to retreat and relieve any sort of anxiety. They can also turn to their crate in case they need some alone time or solace.

  • Crates Are a Great Potty Training Tool

Dogs naturally avoid soiling in the place they sleep in. Hence, a crate can be super helpful while you are housebreaking your puppy or dog since crates use their natural instinct of not creating a mess to develop bladder and bowel control in dogs.

When in the crate, dogs establish a sense of “holding it,” and you can effectively reduce the chances of accidents around the house.

  • Keeping Your Pup (And Your Stuff) Safe.

Crate training is not only effective in keeping your puppy safe. It works two ways and keeps the stuff around your home safe from getting nibbled and scratched. Moreover, when your pup is unsupervised, it can get into contact with electrical cords, plastic wires and chew on furniture. So keeping the crate enclosed will give you peace of mind that your puppy is safe and has no hazards. In the meantime, you also know that everything around your home is also safe.

  • Promoting Better Behavior and Discipline.

When you are getting your pup engaged in crate training and using positive reinforcement, too, this wonderful combination is the key to promoting better behavior and a well-disciplined dog. A crate can also keep your dog away from falling prey to separation anxiety and excessive barking.

  • Facilitating Travel and Transition

Crate training eases your pup’s transition anxiety and prepares them to stay relaxed while you are on the road trip. Whether you are a pup parent who’s always on the go or you need to take your pup to the vet often, a crate-trained puppy or dog can ease the journey.

Crate Training a Puppy

By far, we have explained what crate training is and how it’s different from kennel training. The next step is to learn crate training from the inside out.

Crate Selection

Before you start the crate training, choosing the right crate for your puppy’s needs is the best possible initiative you can take. And it’s an important decision to ensure your pet’s safety, comfort, and overall success of your pet in crate training.

  1. Crate Types:

There are various types of crates available in the market, including wire crates, plastic crates, and soft-sided crates.

Wire Crates: They offer good ventilation and visibility.

Plastic Crates: They offer a more den-like environment.

Soft-Sided Crates: They are soft and portable.

There are multiple other options too. You may opt for the one that you feel is right for the safety and comfort of your dog. Also, consider the intended use of the crate while making the decision.

  • Size and Space:

One of the most crucial factors that you must not overlook while choosing a crate is its size and space. Your dog should have enough space to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably in the crate.

However, the crate should not be extremely large than what’s needed. Otherwise, it won’t feel like a dog den to your pet. Also, more than the required space may lead to unwanted accidents. You can measure your dog’s height and length and then go for the option that is just right and isn’t unnecessarily spacious.

  • Durability and Safety:

Crate’s durability is also of equal importance as any other feature. Ensure that the crate is well-constructed, has strong latches, and is made of sturdy material.

It also shouldn’t have any sharp edges that might increase the chances of your dog getting injured. Additionally, consider the dog’s natural tendency to chew materials. The crate should be durable enough to withstand the pointy dog teeth. And needless to say, those sharp nails can get any surface scratched.

  • Adequate Airflow and Visibility: Your puppy’s crate should be well-ventilated to keep your dog comfortable and prevent it from overheating. Hence, make sure the crate you choose has a proper ventilation mechanism in the form of holes or mesh panels. But the openings must not be wide enough that can make your dog’s paws or head stuck in them.

Visibility is also important to keep an eye on your dog. So that you can see what’s happening when your dog is inside the crate, it also helps your dog see around and saves them from any potential anxiety.

  • Portability and Storage: Planning to travel with your dog or move your dog’s crate often? Portability and storage features will help you move here and there. You can also consider collapsible or foldable crates. They are easy to store and convenient while moving.

Mind that every dog is different. So, you must think of your dog’s comfort and specific needs, as in temperament and size. Considering these factors will assist you in choosing a crate that provides a comfortable, secure, and appropriate environment for your dog to thrive. 

Easy Steps to Crating Your Dog Successfully

Crating is a fruitful activity if done right. By following the step-by-step method to create the training process, you’ll make it an enjoyable experience for your dog. Let’s walk through the steps one by one.

Step 1: Build a Relaxed Mindset for Your Dog with Positive Association

You must approach the crate training process with a calm mindset. Dogs are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions. That’s why remaining enthusiastic and upbeat will instill some of your positive energy in your dog.

Keep your tone cheerful, and your body language should also convey positivity. Displaying any sort of negative behavior will make your dog avoid crates.

Step 2: Create a Comfy Environment

Make the crate an inviting space for your pet. You can add comfortable bedding or plush blankets to make a comfy layer inside for them to lie on.

But, for the inner lining, consider the material that is easy to wash.

Make sure the crate is well-ventilated and placed somewhere at a bearable temperature. Moreover, you can also add any item that contains your scent, along with a toy that your dog might love playing with.

Step 3: Provide Stimulation with Treats:

Make sure you develop a positive connection between your dog and their crate. Some tasty treats can help you in this regard.

You can begin by placing a treat near the crate and can gradually move the treat inside the crate. Further, you can reward your dog for entering and exploring the crate. This will help you create a positive association.

Step 4: Set Proper Crating Time

Just like any new habit building, you need to start crating your puppy for a small time period. Begin with just a few minutes, and then you can gradually increase it as your dog becomes comfortable with the crate environment. Otherwise, crating your dog for a long time can overwhelm them and might cause anxiety.

The gradual approach instills calmness and confidence in your dog and reduces the chances of any negative behaviors.

Step 5: Detach Every Possible Accessory

We know how important your dog’s name tag, collar, or leash are for their safety. But they don’t have to be attached to them every time, especially when your dog has some time to relax in their personal den, aka, crate.

Removing all the accessories from your dog ensures their safety in the crate. Otherwise, they may get entangled in the crate and cause injury. Additionally, detaching the accessories can make them more comfortable.

Step 6: Take Baby Steps While Introducing Your Puppy to the Crate:

Don’t rush while crating your dog. In fact, you must introduce your dog to the crate and increase their training level at their pace. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Begin by Keeping your dog’s crate with a door open.
  • Allow your dog to roam around it freely.
  • Place your dog’s toys or any favorite treats around the crate to encourage the investigating behavior.
  • Once you feel that your dog is comfortable around the crate, move the treats and toys inside the crate.
  • Avoid any sort of rush.

 Step 7: Patience Will Drive Results

Crate training requires consistency and patience.

Remember that every dog is unique, and some may learn behaviors earlier than others. Hence, patience will be your friend. Offer praise rewards and celebrate your dog’s small victories.

Follow these steps, and you’ll soon have a successfully trained puppy.

Crate Training a Puppy at Night

Crate training your puppy at night is also something you should consider for helping your dog get a restful sleep. Crate training at night comes later once you have introduced the crate during the day. Now you can place the crate in a peaceful area.

Create a consistent pre-bedtime routine. You can include the activities like leisurely walks and some quiet playtime and end the routine with a bathroom break so that your puppy is at ease before entering the crate.

The crate should be cozy and comfortable to promote a night of healthy sleep so that you and your pup can enjoy peaceful nights.

Crating Tips That Can Speed Up the Training Process

Crate training is a time-taking process. Hence, it must be started and endured with a patient attitude. However, there are some tips and tricks that can speed up the process. We are sure you’d be interested in them. Scroll below:

Pre and post-crate potty times are mandatory. They are even of great importance for puppies who are still in the process of learning how to hold their bladders for a long time. An insider tip here we can share with you is that you can assume your puppy’s hold time by the number of months (of their age). Translate these numbers into hours.

Say, if a puppy is 3 months old, that means it can hold its bladder for 3 hours.

Supervising your dog during crate time initially and gradually allowing for unsupervised periods as they demonstrate good behavior helps build trust and confidence.

You can also feed your puppy inside the crate to develop a sense of good connection between both. If your dog is initially hesitant to eat inside the crate, you can start by placing its food bowl somewhere next to the crate. Move the food inside the crate once the puppy is happy to munch nearby.

If your dog starts whining in the crate, take the cue. Do they need to go? If the cries you hear are just after letting them in after a potty break, ignore the noises. Your puppy will learn to comfort themselves and know this behavior will not be entertained.

In case the whining of your puppy is the result of separation anxiety, consult with a veteran to get tailored advice to address this concern.


In summary, crate training presents a valuable opportunity to provide your canine companion with a secure and comfortable space of their own. Through the gradual introduction of the crate, positive reinforcement, and the establishment of a consistent routine, you can help your dog develop a positive association with their crate. By making the crate inviting with cozy bedding and familiar scents, you create an environment that promotes relaxation and feelings of safety.

It is crucial to avoid using the crate as a form of punishment and instead focus on positive reinforcement to foster a healthy relationship between your dog and the crate.

By implementing these techniques, you can unlock the numerous benefits of crate training. From providing your dog with a safe space and facilitating potty training to ensuring their safety and promoting better behavior, the crate becomes an invaluable tool in your dog’s life.

Additionally, during times of recovery or when traveling, the crate offers a familiar and secure environment, reducing stress and promoting a sense of comfort. Ultimately, crate training is a process that not only benefits your dog but also contributes to a harmonious and well-balanced living environment for both you and your furry friend.

So, embrace the journey of crate training with patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement. The crate will soon become a cherished retreat for your dog, promoting their overall well-being and happiness.

Crate Training FAQs:

Dogs should not sleep in a crate for more than 8 hours at night. Older dogs and puppies will need more frequent nighttime potty breaks.

Crate training is a process that can range from a few days to a few weeks or even six months. But most of the time, dogs and puppies take 1-4 months to housebreak completely. The right amount of time depends on several factors, like the dog’s age, training process, past experience of training, and all.

Ans. Puppies should not be left in a crate for more than 3-4 hours at once. Staying confined in the crate can have harmful effects on them, such as they can develop anxiety and think of it as a punishment.

No. Crate training is a great practice and behavioral management-aiding tool, but it is not for all types of breeds. Some dogs are prone to developing separation anxiety and can get panicked. Also, crate training must not take the place of proper exercise and other healthy activities.

You can start crate training your puppy right after you have brought them home. Getting your puppy comfortable with a crate at an early age builds the foundation for their habits at an adult age.

July 8, 2023

Sade Amor

Sade Amor is the Marketing Director of Frenchie FAQ. She is a huge dog lover and owner of a French Bulldog herself. Sade has many years of writing experience and first hand experience raising & training French Bulldogs!

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