How to Crate Train a German Shepherd Puppy at Night

Medium
1-3 Months
General

Introduction

Crate training your German Shepherd at night will give you peace of mind while you sleep. Your Shepherd puppy will eventually realize his crate is a safe, comfortable, and secure place for him to sleep. He will start to see his crate as his personal bedroom space, and when he's ready to turn in for the night, he will likely go into his crate all on his own. For you, crate training your German Shepherd puppy for night time sleep will mean you can rest peacefully knowing he's not going potty inside the house, chewing on your couch, or digging up your carpet. Puppies can cause all kinds of mischief when left to their own devices. Crate training your German Shepherd puppy gives him a detailed plan of when it's time to go to bed and where he needs to be to do so.

Defining Tasks

To crate train your German Shepherd puppy for night time sleep, you're going to need to set up an appropriate size crate in an area where you are comfortable with him sleeping. When he's a very young puppy, he may want to be close to you in your bedroom or at least nearby. If you have trouble sleeping with a whining puppy, you may consider putting him in a spot away from your bedroom. 

This training will be repetitive and rewarding. The most difficult part of crate training your German Shepherd puppy is remembering that he's going to need to go potty overnight because he's still little. By the time he's ready to sleep through the night, your training should be just about complete, and he will be heading to the crate all on his own when he's ready to go to bed.

Getting Started

Ensure the crate you choose for your German Shepherd puppy is just the right size for the dog to stand up and turn around once he's an adult. You can start with a smaller crate as a puppy and increase in size if you have additional crates available. Be sure to set up the crate with lots of soft, comfortable bedding and some chew toys to keep him entertained when he's awake inside the crate. Your German Shepherd puppy will also need lots of tasty treats as he gets to know his new crate and to reward him for making good choices in the crate.

The Safe Place Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Pick a crate
Choose a crate the right size for your German Shepherd. You can choose a crate now for his adult size and install a partition to size it appropriately for your puppy or get a small crate now and a new crate as he grows older and larger. The crate should not be too large but just right for your German Shepherd to stand up and turn around inside. Do not give your puppy German Shepherd too much room, as he may use some of the extra space to go potty.
Step
2
Bedding
Add comfortable, soft bedding to the crate to make it a comfortable place for your German Shepherd to be at night.
Step
3
Toys
You may want to add one or two chew toys for your puppy to chew on while he’s waiting to fall asleep or when he wakes up to entertain himself until you let him out of the crate to go potty.
Step
4
Placement
Place the crate in a room where you are both happy with your German Shepherd sleeping at night. He might like to be near you or he may want a cool, quiet place to sleep at night. Remember while he is house training, he will need to go outside every few hours to go potty.
Step
5
Sleepy time
When your pup is sleepy, even during the day, place him in the crate. Before sleep, be sure to take him outside to go potty.
Step
6
Treat
Once your German Shepherd puppy is inside his crate, give him a treat and let him settle down. Sit outside the crate for a moment, blocking the door so he cannot get out. Do not close the door just yet.
Step
7
Settle and sleep
Once your German Shepherd begins to settle down and sleep, close the door and step away. For these first few times in the crate, try to stay close by so you are around when your puppy wakes.
Step
8
Waking
Once your German Shepherd wakes, he will probably cry. Take him out of the crate and outside to go potty as quickly as you can.
Step
9
Repeat and practice
You will need to put your German Shepherd puppy in his crate each time he is sleepy so he can get used to sleeping in the crate. Start putting him in the crate for night time sleep as well the same night you introduce the crate.
Step
10
Rewards
Give your puppy rewards for staying in the crate and for getting in the crate. Once he wakes, you might want to hold off on treating him until he goes potty to avoid becoming distracted and risking an indoor accident.
Recommend training method?

The Nighttime Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Dinner and play
Be sure to give your German Shepherd dinner and playtime before bed. You might want to feed your puppy at least three hours before he is to go to bed in the crate for the night. Play with your German Shepherd to exert any excess energy he has. He’s a puppy, so he has quite a bit of energy.
Step
2
Potty first
Take your German Shepherd puppy outside to go potty. Give him a treat once he’s done going potty. If he still has a bit of energy to get out, play with him a bit. He should be tired once you put him in the crate.
Step
3
Crate
Get your German Shepherd’s crate ready with soft bedding and a toy rope or other quiet chew toy.
Step
4
Place in crate
Place your German Shepherd puppy inside the crate and give him a treat. Close the door.
Step
5
Whining
Ignore your puppy as he whines. And he will whine. But know he is okay. He is safe. And he will settle down.
Step
6
Potty
The only time you don’t want to ignore your Shepherd puppy’s whining is if he needs to go potty. If you took him out before bedtime, he shouldn’t have to go again right away. If it’s been a few hours, he probably needs to go. This will change as your puppy gets a bit older, but until he’s about eight or nine months old, expect at least one visit to the potty during your sleeping hours.
Step
7
Sleep
Your German Shepherd puppy will eventually go to sleep. He will sleep soundly, and over time, he will see his crate as his personal sleeping space. Giving him this space to sleep at night will increase his sense of security and build trust with you.
Recommend training method?

The Good Night Command Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Introduce crate
Set up your German Shepherd’s crate and introduce it to your puppy. It should have soft, warm bedding and a toy or two for your pup to chew on while falling asleep.
Step
2
Command
Tell your puppy it is time to go to bed. You can give him a command such as 'go night-night' or 'it's time to go good night.' Be sure you say the same words each night as you put your German Shepherd inside his crate.
Step
3
Place in crate
Put your puppy inside his crate. You may need to pat on his bedding and encourage him to walk in, sniff, circle around, and lie down.
Step
4
Treat
Once your pup is inside his crate, give him a treat for obeying, listening and going to bed.
Step
5
Repeat command
Use the command again to tell your German Shepherd puppy good night. This will just condition him to recognize the words and the action of going to bed.
Step
6
Ignore
Your puppy is likely to whine, especially for the first few nights he's in his crate alone. Ignore him. If he has gone potty and he is sleepy, he will go to sleep. He may need to go potty in the middle of the night, however, so be sure to take him out if he wakes after a few hours in the crate.
Step
7
Upon waking
When your German Shepherd wakes up, he's going to need to go potty right away. Be sure to take him out of his crate and take him outside to go potty. Use this opportunity of going potty to give him a treat to reward for sleeping in the crate as well as for going potty outside.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Zeus
Shepherd
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zeus
Shepherd
3 Months

He’s new and we just got our shepherd and we constantly give attention and take outside regularly but he comes inside and poops now we have resorted to kennel and letting out thru day yes we reward and treat him never abuse or strike kennel is the worst for him and us. I could understand but he’s never potties in kennel and stays for hours let him outside then bring him in and don’t kennel bam poops in the foyer

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
81 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dennis, Check out the article that I have linked below. Follow the exact steps for the "Crate Training" method in that article. That method should address whatever his specific issue is. Do not skip any steps or it will be less likely to be effective. Expect him to cry in his crate for the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately it is common. Follow the method, including the steps to get him used to being in a crate and he should adjust. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Zeus's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Trey
German Shepherd
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Trey
German Shepherd
11 Weeks

We have had this puppy since 7 weeks old and he is still crying all night in his crate. Also he poops in his crate every time we leave the house. Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
81 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jackie, Work on teaching Trey how to calm himself down and self-entertain. Place him into the crate while you are at home during the day, or early evening if you are gone to work normally, to practice calmness while you can give him feedback. The night before you do this place your puppy's dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food turns into mush, then add a little bit of peanut butter or treat paste to it, and very loosely stuff a hollow Kong chew toy with it. When it is stuffed, then place the Kong into a bag and put it into the freezer. You can also stuff several Kongs ahead of time to save on time later on, and then just grab one from the freezer as needed. When you place your puppy into the crate while you are at home or gone off, then place a Kong inside with him for him to chew on. Whenever he becomes quiet for at least two seconds, then walk over to him, drop several soft, small treats inside the crate, and then walk away. Start by crating him for ten minutes, and then when he is being quiet for at least a couple of seconds, go over to him, slowly open the crate door, and if he rushes out close it again. Repeat opening and closing the door when he tries to exit, until you can leave the door open and stand a couple of feet away and he will stay inside. When he will do that, then tel him "Okay" in an upbeat tone of voice and encourage him to come out. Make sure that the crate that you are using is just big enough for him to turn around, stand up comfortably, and lay down, but not so big that he can poop or pee in one end and then stand in the opposite end in order to avoid it. If the crate is too large, then he will loose his desire to hold it in there. Also make sure that you have been using a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean up any previous accidents in the crate, and if you have not, then go get one and clean the crate with it to eliminate the smell enough for him not to be able to smell it still. Only the enzymes will break down the smell enough for your puppy not to be able to smell it still and be encouraged to go there again. Also puppies can only hold their bladders for the number of hours that they are in months plus one. So at 11 weeks of age, the maximum amount of time that your puppy can hold his bladder for its three and a half hours during the day. Any longer than that and he will be forced to eliminate in the crate and overtime will loose his natural tendency to hold it in the crate. Make sure that he is pooping outside before you leave him too, especially if he is being fed during the hour prior to being crated because even if he just eliminated outside he will need to poop again within thirty minutes of eating. Many puppies get distracted outside after they pee and do not finish using the bathroom if you do not insist that they go and remind them what to do. Make sure that you do not let him out of the crate while he is still barking. Wait until he stops, even if he only stops for a couple of seconds. When he stops, then calmly praise him and let him out, practicing the door manners that I mentioned above. He is still young, so barking at his age is not unusual for some puppies with certain personalities. Doing the above and giving him more time should help, but if it gets any worse then hire a professional trainer or behaviorist in your area who has experience and success dealing with separation anxiety. He generally needs his confidence build, to be taught self-control, how to self- entertain, and how to calm himself, and it is easier to start working on those things during the day when you are not half awake and frustrated, and then to transfer that training to the night time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Trey's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd