How to Train Your Dog to Use A Crate

Easy
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Crate training dogs can become an important part of everyday life for your family. Puppies take comfort in their crates while their owners are away. If your puppy is going to be left alone for extended periods of time while you are working or out of the house, think of your dog's crate as her personal bedroom. As you begin to crate train her, give the crate a special name that she will recognize as her special place to go and be safe while you are away. Keeping your dog crated while you are out of the house will keep your belongings safe from puppy attacks. Many owners find their couches saved from chewing, doors, and baseboards saved from marking, and the dog left feeling safe, comfortable, and self-contained within a confined space when using a crate. Puppies, especially, can become overwhelmed when left alone in your home while you are gone. If left to the entire house alone, your puppy could get into garbage or household cleaners, which could cause harm. Children's toys could also be destroyed, or other household items such as your furniture. For a puppy or an adult dog, an entire house with free reign is a lot of space to wreak havoc while you are away.

Defining Tasks

A crate big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around is big enough for your dog to rest, sleep, and quietly play while you are away from her. While you will want a crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, you want to make sure that it's not too big. Too much space could make your dog feel uncertain and unsafe. If left with too much space, your house training dog may use part of the crate to urinate, separating a sleeping area from a potty space. This could mean if you have a dog who is going to grow a lot over the first two years of her lifetime you may need to partition a large crate off or use different crates as your puppy grows into a larger dog.

Depending on the age of your dog, it may take about two weeks and possibly up to four weeks to get your dog not only used to the crate but also feeling as if the crate is her home away from home when you are not around. It is important to use the same word each time you command your dog to go inside her crate.

Getting Started

You will need:

  • An appropriate crate for the size of your dog.
  • Treats for rewarding your dog and enticing her to get into the crate.
  • Bedding and toys for comfort and entertainment while your dog is in the crate.

Some owners provide a small dish of water for their dog while in the crate. However, if you plan to be gone for an extended period, your dog may have an accident in the crate, leaving her feeling discouraged

Remember, do not use the crate as punishment. It should be a safe place for your dog. If she associates the crate with punishments, she is not going to want to be in her crate when you are away for extended periods of time.

The General Crate Training Method

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General Crate Training method for Use A Crate
Step
1
Introduce the crate to your dog
Place the crate in a busy area within your home such as your family room or near your kitchen to introduce the crate to your dog.
Step
2
Encourage her to enter
Bring your dog over to the crate with the door open for her to sniff and explore. Set a small treat inside and encourage her to go inside and walk around. Do this several times over the course of the first day you have the crate.
Step
3
Feed inside the crate
If possible, you can give your dog a meal inside the crate to create a level of comfort for her.
Step
4
Increase duration
Once your dog can spend approximately 30 minutes inside the crate with you at home without fear or anxiety, place her in the crate with a treat, your verbal command, bedding, and toys.
Step
5
Leave the house for a short period
If possible, the first few times you leave the house should be short trips. Take a walk around the block, make a trip to the grocery store, or run an errand or two. When possible, try not to make her first time in the crate without you home a full day for you at work, for instance.
Step
6
Repeat
As much and as often as you can, repeat this process to get your dog used to the crate for longer times. Note that a house training puppy may only be able to make it for a few hours without the need to go outside.
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The Night Sleeping Method

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Night Sleeping method for Use A Crate
Step
1
Location
If you are training a puppy to sleep in a crate at night, you may want to start with the crate in your bedroom or any hallway near your room, so your dog feels close to you and safe.
Step
2
Introduce and encourage use of the crate
Using the method above, introduce the crate to your dog with verbal commands and treats.
Step
3
Leave her in the crate
Using a keyword and treats, leave her alone for small periods of time.
Step
4
Tucking in
Begin your nighttime routine with your dog in the crate and the door open.
Step
5
Close the door
Once your dog settles down, you can close the door while still talking to her and letting her know you are nearby.
Step
6
Head to bed yourself
If you do not like the crate in your bedroom or a hallway near your bedroom you can move it once your dog is comfortable understands the verbal commands such as “let's go night-night” and begins to enter the crate on her own when she is ready for bed.
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The Luring Your Dog into the Crate Method

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Luring Your Dog into the Crate method for Use A Crate
Step
1
Strategy
If your dog is uncomfortable with the crate training process, you can lure her into the crate.
Step
2
Use a food lure
Place her food inside the crate as a lure.
Step
3
Encourage her to enter
With a soft voice, encourage her to get inside.
Step
4
Keep her in while eating
Sit with the door open, blocking the doorway as she eats.
Step
5
Encourage her to stay inside
Provide a comforting voice and tone while she is inside the crate.
Step
6
Reward on release
When it is time for her to come out of the crate, make a big deal of releasing her. Tell her she is a good pup, and offer her a special treat reserved just for crate release time.
Step
7
Repeat
Each time you need to place her in the crate, try this method until she understands she is safe and secure as well as loved.
Step
8
Understanding
This method works for dogs who may have been abused or locked in small cages or crates for extended periods of time without love and encouragement. An abused dog may associate a crate with a past life and will be fearful of it. Showing her she is safe, and you will return while providing her love and attention will teach her to trust you and her safe space more over time.
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 09/27/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Guaro
French Bulldog
1 Year
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Guaro
French Bulldog
1 Year

We rescued Guaro about 2 months ago, at the shelter they said he is about a year old, he is not house broken yet, we are crate trainning him, also it seems like he was abused and he is really shy and nervous, he loves his crate even when we are at home and we keep it open. We have Cutie a 2 year old maltese mix, she is really well behaved and house broken completely. Can we leave Guaro in his crate and Cutie loose while we are not at home? Cutie doesn't enjoy the crate and we leave her unsettled and barking.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tatiana, If Cutie was left out of a crate in your home while you were gone before you got Guaro, Guaro does not seem aggravated by Cutie when he is in the crate, and Cutie is not pestering him through the crate walls, then Cutie is fine to be left out while Guaro is crated. If you have never left Cutie out while you are gone, then leave the house for five minutes and see how she does. If she does okay, then leave her out for ten minutes another day. If that goes well, then leave her for thirty minutes. Gradually increase how long you leave her out for while you are gone. A long trip to the mailbox, a walk around your neighborhood, or a short trip to a nearby store are good times to do this. Keep adding more time until you have reached two hours. If she does alright for two hours for a week to two-weeks straight, then try leaving her for a normal work day or day where you are gone. Just be sure that you are not gone for longer than she can hold her bladder for. If she handles the full amount of time consistently, then she is ready to be given freedom in your home while you are gone. If she destroys something or begins having accidents, then you need to wait another three months and then try again using the same gradual process. If Cutie is fine being left out but seems to aggravate Guaro when she is free and he is confined, then confine Guaro in a part of the house that Cutie cannot get to. For example, put Guaro's crate in a bedroom and close the door so that Cutie cannot come in, or use a baby gate on your stairs if you have multiple levels in your home, and place Cutie downstairs and put Guaro's crate upstairs, so that she cannot get to him to bother him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months
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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
7 Months

My dog would usually go to his crate and go to sleep as usual. A couple weeks ago, he started whining in his crate for a couple minutes after we put him in there. Up until a couple of days ago, he started barking nonstop as though he was not crate trained.

What's wrong with him, and why is he doing this? Is he trying to test the limits? I suspect so. If he is, what do I do? Reward him when he's quiet?

P.s. the crate is his bedroom.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, If he is not having accidents in the crate during a normal day, then he is likely just testing limits because of his adolescent age. He probably thinks that being out of the crate is more fun and so he is protesting being crated. Stay firm and if that is the case the phase should pass. You can reward him by going to him when he is quiet and quietly dropping a couple of treats inside. You can also give him a hollow chew toy such as a Kong, stuffed with kibble dog food and a little peanut butter when you put him in there during the day. Check out the video that I have linked below and add some structure to going in and out of the crate to establish a calmness and respect related to you and the crate. Generally spending some time every day or so doing a bit of training in general should help to build his respect for you at this age. Be sure to be consistent with your rules and enforcing them at this age also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7lyzbgTXjU Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Skye
Lab Pei
7 Years
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Question
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Skye
Lab Pei
7 Years

I rescued Skye six years ago from a very abusive family where she was locked in a crate 24/7 and attacked by other dogs I would like to be able to crate train her but she gets very overwhelmed when there is a crate on our property and won’t enter the house or yard when there is one as she is so scared we have tried food toys but she will go hungry instead of go in the same room as a crate are there any alternatives?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Audrey, If you are home during the day you can use the "Tethering" method for potty training, and use an exercise pen with chew toys in it to keep her safe when you cannot watch her. If she does not tolerate an exercise pen, you can also screw an eye-hook into your baseboard in a central area, where there is hard-floors and not carpeting. Attach a chew proof leash to the eye-hook and hook her to it. Vir-Chew-Ly makes such chew proof leashes. The leash and eye hook are best for when you are home but in a different part of the house and can't have her attached to you. When you are going to be gone for longer, I suggest trying an exercise pen, and if that is not tolerated, dog proof a room with hard-floors as a last resort. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you have to be gone for more than 2.5-3 hours before she is potty training, I suggest setting up an exercise pen somewhere that you can block her from getting to later, such as a heated garage, guest bathroom, laundry room, securely fenced deck (if it's warm outside), or basement room. Purchase or create a disposable grass toilet and place that in one end of the exercise pen for her to use as a toilet. Spray the grass with a potty encouraging spray (Hurry Spray, Go Here, or something similar). If you can't use an exercise pen, you will have to place the grass pad in the room she is confined in - but this will lead to more accidents in the process so it's not ideal. The goal is to keep her close to the grass which smells like somewhere she should go potty and resembles the grass you will be taking her to outside when you are home. The exercise pen will keep her from getting into mischief also. Give her food-stuffed chew toys in the exercise pen to make it a pleasant place. You will probably need to choose a more sturdy exercise pen or anchor it to the walls in a corner because of her size. Check out the article that I have linked below. Pay attention to the "Exercise Pen" method. The article mentions litter box training, but the training works for grass pads also. Since you are primarily potty training outside, not all of the steps will apply but there are some tips for helping her learn to go potty on the grass pad, if needed. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Make sure you choose a grass pad with real grass and not fake turf. Here is one grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18051296575568864591&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 You can also build your own grass pad and control the size more easily. To build a grass pad: purchase a wide, shallow plastic storage bin, and cut a piece of grass sod so that it fits inside. Place the grass sod into the box, scoop the poop to keep it clean and replace the sod as needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
10 Months
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Question
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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
10 Months

Is it okay to put my dog in his crate when we are eating? It's new year's and we put him in there to separate him from us. As expected, he would bark from the food we're eating, but I'm working on the "quiet" command.

I tried getting him to stay on the couch now that my parents don't want him on the blanket anymore. I let my chihuahua in to the kitchen and let her roam free since she doesn't misbehave, but as like the basement, should I train my chihuahua to stay there as well to make training easier for Lucky? Or should I just train just Lucky to stay on the couch? It may seem unfair to him, and that's why it seems like it's harder. If it does make it harder to just train him only, should I make it easier for him by keeping my chihuahua locked in a room away from us and then train him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, You can definitely crate him while you are eating. Just give him an interesting chew toy in the crate and continue to work on the "Quiet" command with him. It will be easier for Lucky to stay if both dogs are laying down but letting your Chihuahua roam while he stays is also fine. It will just take longer to teach because it requires a bit more self-control from Lucky. That level of self-control is your goal in the end though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
10 Months
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Question
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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
10 Months

My dog is used to the crate, but it's not like he will go in there by himself whenever he wants to. He still prefers to not go into the crate, so we have to walk down with him to get him to go into the crate.

Is he fully trained? I heard from others that their dog would go into their crate whenever they'd like, so how can I train Lucky to do this?

When we first got him the crate, we would just throw him in there every night and he would whine for 45 minutes, and then it slowly decreased within 3 months of him used to sleeping in there. Is that the proper way to train him? Even if it is not, should I start from scratch and re train him even though he is quiet at night?

Aside from teaching him the quiet command, what else can I do to curb his anxiety when we crate him in the daytime?

P.s. I remember when I first started being a puppy owner, I was used to my chihuahua who would always go bathroom outside right away. I didn't know puppy training, so I would often get frustrated at Lucky and kind of "take it out" on him. Did I traumatize him??? He was only 3 or 4 months when we first got him, and if he is, how can we bond back together?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, Whenever you put him into the crate give him a command which means he should go in, like "Crate", then toss a couple of treats in there and shut the door behind him. Also, you can toss a food stuffed Kong chew toy in the crate with him, which should help him not be so bored and learn to like the crate more. Continue to walk down with him if he needs it, because he still needs to go in whether he wants to or not, but giving him the treats can help him want to go in on his own eventually. Most dogs also do not start going in the crate just to relax until they are a bit older. I used treats and stuffed Kongs with my own youngest dog, and she didn't mind going it, but it wasn't until she was about three and had less energy that she started going into the crate to simply take a nap when the door was open. Make going into the crate more pleasant with treats and food-stuffed Kongs, then give him time to mature and calm down also. Being rough with him probably did damage your relationship some, if he does not seem always anxious and worried about you, I wouldn't say he it traumatized though. The best thing you can do is what you are already attempting to do, practice training him and try to be more patient and kind to him to re-build his respect for you. That doesn't mean that you cannot correct him, tell him no, or be firm when needed, but when you do so try to be calm, patient and firm. Think about the calm people whom you respect. They say what they mean and back it up, but they are patient, calm, and you still know that they love you when they do it. The discipline and the fairness and patience often help you respect and appreciate them even more - even though you might like not getting in trouble and having a consequence. When you teach him new commands like "come" try to make those fun and rewarding. Behavior issues sometimes require corrections to address (often in combination with positive reinforcement for doing the correct behavior after too), but when teaching new commands like obedience and tricks, you can use more positive reinforcement and make it fun. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
11 Months
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Question
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Lucky
Labrador Retriever
11 Months

Recently, there was a wind chill vortex in Chicago, where I'm from. Usually if I want him to go bathroom, I would just attach multiple leashes to one another, making a 10 to 20 foot long leash so I can let him walk out the back door and potty on my lawn. (I do pick up the poop later on during the day). I do this everyday, without having to even step foot out the door, and just watch him go potty and open the door and let him back inside.

Since it was around -20 f outside during the vortex, he did walk down to his crate and stayed there a couple times after going potty, but that's the only rare time he's ever done that. I did my best to reward him for what he did, and we would close the door and lock it. He would then start whining in a little bit. He usually goes next to the heater and stays there, which i'm fine with. I also do want to teach him stay at the heater, as his "bed" for when we eat. He does that around a third of the time, though, since he's cold enough.

Also, he is still going through the "teen" phase, but we kind of went through it successfully, with my dad telling him to "quiet", or "good night", almost as if Lucky was a child. He occasionally wakes up when we go and do things at night, so that is no big deal. What can I do to further improve what I'm doing for this scenario?

And since I am so skeptical of my training, and because I think I may have went too fast with him, I went back to the pure basics, strolling around my house with Lucky on a leash, telling him to sit at random times, rewarding him when he does. He knows what sit is, he just does it reluctantly, even when I have a tasty treat in my hand, right next to him (he usually jumps up to snatch the treat, but I just yank the treat back before he gets it.) Should I do that? My thinking is, if he fully masters the basics (sit, down, I didn't teach him come yet) (I estimate right now he obeys 40 percent of the time) in even the most distracting environment, it will make it easier to teach him the things you have told me. Is that true?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, Working on the basics is always good. It helps him understand you better, develop better self-control, learn how to learn, and it's great for your relationship with him. I highly suggest continuing with the basics and gradually building on those with him. For the crate, check out the article that I have linked below. I suggest following tips from all of the methods to make the crate as fun as possible, but especially work on the "Surprise" method, dropping treats into the crate when he is quiet. The more pleasant you can make the crate, the more you give him something interesting to do in the crate, like chewing on a food-stuff chew toy, and the more you practice being in there with pleasant things, like treats being dropped in while he is being quiet and food-stuffed chew toys, for shorter periods of time - such as thirty-minutes to an hour during the day, the more he should get used to going in there and learn to relax in there. He may not go in there just for fun until he is older though because at this age he is busier and wants to be in the middle of everything. When he is older and likes to take naps more, the crate will probably become more pleasant if you have done things to help him get used to being in there while younger. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Duke
Mastador
3 Months
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Question
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Duke
Mastador
3 Months

I just adopted my new puppy Duke! The little man is absolutely adorable except when he enters the crate. I have had him for a little over a week and have gotten to the point where he enters the crate willingly but wants to exit as soon as he gets in. It takes a lot of coxing and petting to get him to stay in the crate with the door open.
The main issue is when he is in the crate and no one is around, he will scream, cry, whimper and howl (sometimes it sounds very horrific). I have done a really good job at ignoring him and not even entering the room when he is displaying this behavior. When I leave the house he is entertained with a peanut butter filled kong or something else along the same lines. I briefly tried diffusing lavender oil to calm him but it didn't seem to work much. Lastly, I tried soothing "dog" music and that didn't work either. My biggest concern is this turning into an adult separation anxiety. How do I make my puppy not loose his marbles when ever I leave the room?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gianna, First, continue to practice the crate regularly. Crate Training can actually HELP prevent separation anxiety, even though it can be hard at first. Giving him a food stuffed Kong is great, continue doing that. Second, how long has this been going on for? Most puppies take about two weeks to adjust to being in the crate, up to a month is still normal. Some puppies figure it out in just three days. If it's been less than a month, then more extreme measures aren't needed yet. Try to make the crate routine calm and not a big deal - meaning try not to act sorry for him or cuddle him in the crate, even though that's hard to do. He will feel less nervous if you seem confident about it though. Third, continue to ignore the crying. When he gets quiet, return and sprinkle treats inside, then leave again. Follow the Surprise method from the article linked below. Liking the Crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Also, work on the Crate Manners protocol from the video linked below for exiting the crate, to make the crate a calmer place in general. Crate Exiting: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Finally, give it time. If you stay consistent and don't let him out while he is crying and work on crating him for at least an hour each day most puppies will learn to settle down in the crate within two weeks. If the behavior continues there is a more intensive separation anxiety protocol that you can follow to stop separation anxiety or destructiveness in the crate. If it continues past two weeks, comment on Wag! again and ask for the separation anxiety protocol, reminding me of his history. At this point, his behavior is normal puppy behavior though and it simply takes time and consistency. It sounds like you are generally doing a good job. Work on the Surprise method and the crate exiting manners. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Carter
French Bulldog
9 Weeks
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Question
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Carter
French Bulldog
9 Weeks

Hello!

We have had Carter for 1 week now. He has been hit or miss on crate training at night. I have been trying my best to positively associate him with his crate during the day with treats and also placing him in there when he falls asleep to see that it’s a safe place. I feel like I have read every piece of info on crate training and am at a loss. I would say 2 out of the last 7 nights he slept well but other than that he screams and cries. I tire him out before bed, he has gone potty; all of his needs have been met. One spin: he has Giardia that we are hopefully nearing the end of treatment. This means less than solid and sometimes more frequent poops (poor thing). I currently let him out about every 1-2 hours and have him in his crate on a nightstand next to my side of the bed with clothes that I have worn in it so he can burrow. But I’ve also read you shouldn't put anything in the crate with them and you shouldn’t have them near you because ether become too dependent on it. So I guess what I’m asking is: crate in our room or no? can I put anything in the crate for him to snuggle/burrow or no? How often should I be letting him out at night to teach him to hold it? What if he has an accident due to upset stomach from Giardia? Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aimee, You will have to make some accommodations for pup that you wouldn't normally do because of his giardia. That shouldn't effect the end training goals and what pup learns in the end, but it does mean you will have to spend some additional time making a slow transition to the end goal, instead of starting that way. Since you need to know when pup has to go out and pup does have to potty more frequently, I suggest keeping him next to your bed and continuing to take pup out frequently throughout the night to go potty; do that until pup's number of poops and the consistency of the poops are normal again - keep in touch with your vet about anything medical (I am not a vet). Once pup is well based on symptoms and your vet's expertise, then you can start transitioning pup to more independence. You can either move pup out of your room and use an audio baby monitor to listen out for when pup wakes up needing to potty, or you can leave pup in your room but place the crate in an area where pup isn't so close to you - like the spot you would later want a dog bed to go. Both setups have benefits. Keeping pup in your room makes it easier to hear them when they wake for potty trips - which will be 1-2 times per night for a few more weeks once pup's digestive system has improved. Moving pup out of your room now makes gets pup used to sleeping in a separate room from you - which is good for future travel and a good idea if you prefer pup not to sleep in your room long term. You can choose whichever option you prefer - just know that if pup stays in your room, you will need to practice pup being crated in a room by themselves some during the day so they are used to being alone at times and don't develop separation anxiety later from the lack of alone-time while growing up. Getting used to time alone during the day happens naturally for many puppies when their pet parents leave for work during the day and they are crated while they are away. When pup is well, take pup potty right before bedtime, and anytime they wake after it has been at least 2 hours since they last went potty. Pup will be able to hold it for 3-5 hours normally if they stay asleep that whole time. They will have to go out sooner if they wake up sooner though - the bladder tends to "shut down" while a dog sleeps, allowing them to hold it longer while asleep than while awake. When pup is well, wait until pup wakes up to take them, instead of waking pup up to help pup learn to sleep through the night sooner. When pup wakes up, take pup potty on a leash, keeping the trip boring and quiet, with no treats, food, or play. Place pup back into the crate right after the potty trip, and go back to bed - ignoring any crying that happens at that point - knowing that pup doesn't need to go potty, but simply wants attention and needs the opportunity to learn how to go back to sleep. Keeping the potty trip boring, waiting for pup to wake on their own, and ignoring any crying after crating pup again are the quickest ways to get pup to sleep through the night sooner - as soon as their bladder is able. I generally don't recommend putting anything absorbent in the crate because it can encourage pottying in the crate and be a choking hazard if pup discovers they want to chew the item; however, a pup will occasionally do fine with something snuggly in there. You can either take the item out now as a preventative, or if you keep it in there, just keep a very close eye on it and if pup starts a bit of chewing on it (even a little gnawing - that's usually how it begins) or has even one accident on it - remove it right away - don't wait for pup to have multiple accidents on it or chew it a bunch. Delaying removing it will create the most issues. Check out www.primopads.com for an example of a non-absorbent bed you can put in there, and a durable chew toy like a Kong is fine in the crate normally. It's normal for it to take pup up to 2 weeks to adjust to the crate, and with pup having stomach issues, the process could be a bit harder honestly. Keep ignoring the crying at times when pup doesn't have to go potty (I know that's a bit harder to tell right now, but hopefully will get easier since pup is recovering). Once pup is well, as a general rule, while awake, a puppy can hold it for a maximum time of the number of months they are in age plus one. At 9 weeks - that is a 3 hour maximum. When asleep that number sometimes doubles (if pup stays asleep that long), making that number 5-6 hours for pup at this age. When pup is 3 months old, the number while awake will be 4 hours, ect... I like to give an hour wiggle room because some pup's naturally have less mature bladders. Once pup is well, ignore any crying that happens sooner than 2 hours since the last potty trip. If it's been at least 2 hours and pup wakes up after having been asleep (or cried for the whole 2 hours - which isn't unheard of but shouldn't last more than 3 nights going for that long, if you are consistent), then take pup potty. If pup doesn't wake up to go potty - let them sleep until they wake up on their own at night unless that is leading to accidents in the crate. If accidents are happening in the crate because pup isn't waking you up when they need to go, then you may need to remove the clothes - that could be the cause. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below for more details on what to practice in the crate during the day. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Darby
boxer airdale terrier
7 Months
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Darby
boxer airdale terrier
7 Months

We have been crate training since April this year. Our dog is now 7 months old. He intermittently cries around 30 minutes then stops for 10-30 min, repeat. Its a cycle. We are currently training him in a new plastic shell crate we got about a week ago. Even before we changed crates he was the same. We've tried music, something on the tv, he doesn't play with the toys or acknowledge kong toys or bones, he ripped apart his bed, we've tried ramping him up in time, put treats in to lure him in, don't let him out until he stops crying. He is soaked when we let him out because of his anxiety. We even tried a bark collar and that had absolutely no effect. He has progressed to sleeping in his original wire crate but that is in the same room. We are working towards slowly inching the crate outside the room but not making much progress. We are now crunched for time as he needs to be crate trained by mid September or we risk having to give him away and don't know what else to do. We DO NOT want to do that. Do you have any suggestions or different things to try with him?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Ginger
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Ginger
German Shepherd
1 Year

Ginger had her crate ever since November 2019. It was one of those crates where you had to build them after you buy them. My family didn't really crate train her properly at first, but then we started to do it correctly. A few months later, I felt like Ginger was already crate trained until one night, she started whining in her crate and managed to break the crate's door. I swore the door was locked because we would never unlock it during the night. I already knew she didn't have to go to the bathroom because she wasn't standing in front of the backyard door. However, this only happened one time. After that, I decided to do separation anxiety training. Now my family is planning on moving to a different state, but we don't know if we're gonna take Ginger with us by car or plane yet. Even if we take Ginger on a walk before the trip, I feel like she'll try and knock down the crate door again, and I don't want anyone or myself to try and repair again. Any suggestions?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Hello! You have a rather unique situation. If I were in front of you, I would ask you a series of questions to get a better understanding. I will do my best with the info provided. And thank you for providing all of that information! Safety is crucial for travelling. And your concerns are very valid. Aside from adding extra security to the door (like zip ties which I am not sure an airline would approve) I think your safest bet is to talk to your veterinarian about a short acting sedative. I have had many clients give a sedative to their dog for safe travelling. I believe this may be one of few options for you. You are already taking advantage of training. And you feel exercise won't be enough. Your vet will know what type is best for her breed and how long you think the plane or car ride will be. Good luck to you and safe travels!

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Chewbacca (Chewy)
Shih Tzu
2 Years
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Chewbacca (Chewy)
Shih Tzu
2 Years

Chewy has always had a little anxiety and been jumpy when you approach. He has now begin to growl a lot and snap. At first it was usually if you bumped him while he was sleeping or got to close to his face. Over time he has gotten more aggressive with growing and not backing down with it like he’s possessed lol. About 5 months ago he bit my 22 year old on the nose when she was trying to take a selfie with him he broke the skin he also has my husband on the foot and bit her friend in the face when he was to close to his face. Chewy is really protective of me and smothering with me. He sleeps with me most nights because he won’t stay in his bed he waits until I fall asleep then jumps in my bed. Sunday was the worst he was sitting on my lap and I was rubbing him then he began to growl, usually when he does that I move him off my lap because it’s a precursor to him losing it. Sunday I did not get him off when he was growling because I was talking to my husband next thing I knew he had bitten me in my mouth I went to hospital ended up with 9 stitches to my mouth. Chewy has a doctors appointment on Thursday to rule out anything medical however something has to be done. I just purchased a crate yesterday we have never used a crate. I now need to do something about his behavior.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
236 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
11 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Trixie
Maltese Shih Tzu
11 Months

Trixie has been trained to use crate as her bed. She sleeps through the night with her bedding inside the crate and crate door closed. Every morning she barks to let us know that she is awake, so we can go and let her out. We wanted her to get used to being inside the crate during daytime so that if any guests arrive, we can keep her in the crate and she can have her own space as she is a restless and anxious dog around strangers and other dogs. For this we started training her by giving her meals inside the crate. She stays until the meals are finished and then barks to let her out. We also tried giving her stuffed kong and letting her inside the crate. However she stays inside without our presence only for few minutes, then she starts barking to let her out even when the kong is not finished. I open the door, pickup the kong, again let her in after few seconds. She again concentrate on kong for may be another 2-3 minutes and barks. This repeats. How can we teach her to stay quiet inside the crate for long?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
917 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anjali, Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. This method will involve allowing her to bark some, and waiting until she takes breaks on her own, so she can make the connection between taking a break and you rewarding, without letting her out when she barks unless you know she needs to go potty. If she barks continuously without a break in the barking even for two seconds for 45 minutes straight, then you can interrupt the barking with a noise like an odd sound on your phone, and reward when she gets quiet to listen. After several attempts at this, after a repetitive rewards while quiet, don't interrupt, let her bark for longer and see if she eventually pauses on her own for you to reward that. Add the hint of noise as needed but give long spans of time to try to catch her being quiet on her own too as she progresses, so she can make that connection between quieting herself and the reward. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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