How To Crate Train a Puppy in 2024

Crate training servicesWelcoming a new furry member into your family is always an exciting experience. However, it’s essential to establish good habits for your new dog right from the beginning. You can develop good behaviors and prevent them from learning unwanted habits by training them early. Before you can teach your new dog tricks, though, starting with the essentials like crate training is best.


Crate training remains one of the most effective and popular methods for teaching dogs, and it’s likely to be so in 2024. Through crate training, your furry friend learns the boundaries of their living space, providing them with a comfortable and secure den-like environment to call their own.


Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or looking for a refresher, this guide will walk you through how to crate train a puppy, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between you and your canine companion. Remember that training a puppy differs from training an older dog, so this process may not be as effective for older dogs.


What Is Crate Training?


Crate training involves teaching your puppy to view its crate as a safe and comfortable area to stay in when unsupervised. Like many animals, dogs are natural den dwellers and prefer to stay in enclosed spaces to protect themselves. The crate acts as a den for the puppy, giving them an enclosed area to sleep and retreat. Puppies learn to associate crate with safety, relaxation, and a resting place through crate training.


The crate training process involves gradually introducing the puppy to the crate by making it a positive and enjoyable experience. The puppy is gradually trained to spend more time in the crate. Additionally, crate training can help with further house training, such as potty training and preventing destructive tendencies around your home.


Benefits of Crate Training a Puppy


Once you learn how to crate train a puppy, you’ll find the following benefits for yourself and your little pup:


  • Effective Potty Training: Dogs want to avoid soiling their dwelling space. Once you’ve established their crate as their den, they will learn to hold their bladder for as long as possible. This makes it easier to create a potty time routine that signals when they can relieve themselves.


  • Supervision During House Training: New puppies can be a handful for the first few weeks in their new home. Rather than letting them roam freely, fur parents can monitor them better when they’re in their crates, and no one can watch them. This can reduce the risk of damage around the home and prevent puppies from learning destructive behavior.


  • Establish a Routine: Dogs can pick up on routines, which can help if everyone in your household has a fixed schedule. Giving your puppies a designated area to sleep and rest can make establishing a routine easier.


  • Prevent Separation Anxiety: Crate training establishes a space where dogs can feel safe and comfortable. If you and your household leave the house regularly, crate training can help prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety.


  • Easier Transportation: Many dogs feel nervous when being transported in vehicles to other locations or when taken to the vet. Crate training gives your pet a familiar space to feel secure as they’re transported.


How To Choose a Crate for Your Puppy


Choosing the right crate for your puppy is essential for their comfort and safety. A crate that’s too small for your pet can make them feel cramped and uncomfortable, hindering your crate training. Here are some steps to help you choose the best crate:


  • Determine the Correct Crate Size: Measure your puppy from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail and from the top of their head to the ground. Add up to 5 inches to these dimensions to ensure your puppy has enough space to stand up, turn around, and lie comfortably.


  • Buy Separate Crates for Multiple Puppies: As much as possible, give your puppies their own space by buying one crate per puppy. If you have small puppies, you could let two puppies share a large crate, but only if they come from the same litter. As they grow into adulthood or by the time they reach 15 pounds, they should have their personal crate.


  • Choose the Crate Type: There are plenty of crates to choose from. Consider the pros and cons of the following crate types:


Best For Pros Cons
Fabric Crates Playful puppies
  • Durable 
  • Portable
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Chewable 
  • Limited airflow, especially for warm seasons
  • Limited visibility
Plastic Crates Anxious puppies that want more privacy
  • Sturdy material
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Less ventilation 
  • Some models can be damaged
  • More expensive than other options
Steel Crates Larger dogs that are more prone to destructive habits that damage their crates
  • Most heavy-duty option
  • Difficult to escape
  • Doesn’t absorb odors and stains
  • Difficult to transport
  • Requires additional cushioning for comfort
  • More expensive than most options
Wire Metal Crates Dog owners who want a complete view of their pet while in the crate
  • Best ventilation and visibility
  • Easy to clean
  • Collapsible
  • No privacy for puppy
  • Risk of injuries if paws get stuck between wires
  • Larger puppies can chew on wires and escape
Wood Crates Dogs that are already house-trained
  • Aesthetically appealing for any setting
  • Better insulation for colder locations
  • Durable
  • Prone to absorbing odors and moisture
  • Less portable
  • Risk of splinters, depending on the quality of your crate


  • Consider Your Puppy’s Size: Ideally, pick a crate that fits your puppy, even as a full-grown adult. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a bigger one as they age. Large dog breeds tend to grow significantly, while smaller ones have a less significant size difference as adults.


  • Choose the Crate’s Location: Consider where you will place the crate in your home. If it is in a busy area, a plastic or a soft-sided crate may provide more privacy and help your puppy feel more secure.


  • Consider Your Dog’s Needs: As mentioned above, some crate types are better for certain puppies. Pets with anxieties or special needs may require additional accessories or features that are only found in certain crates.


How To Crate Train a Puppy: The Basics


Once you have the right crate, you can start crate training your puppy gradually. Getting your puppy to feel comfortable in their crate can take time, so use these steps as a guide.


  • Introduce the Crate Gradually: Your puppy won’t instantly make the crate its den. Place the crate in a designated area, preferably where your puppy will spend most of its time. Start by making it as cozy as possible and, when supervised, leave the crate door open.


  • Create a Positive Environment: Some crates may require a blanket or extra padding to make them more comfortable. Place this and other treats, toys, and your puppy’s favorite items in the crate. Adding chew toys can help relieve their stress. Praise them when they go near or inside. This will help them associate the crate with positive emotions.


  • Feed Your Puppy: Ideally, start feeding your puppy close but not inside the crate. Gradually put their food bowl closer to the crate until you can finally put it inside. Leave the door open during mealtime so the puppy can enter and exit freely.


  • Avoid Punishing with the Crate: If your puppy does something wrong or destructive, avoid using the crate as a time-out spot. The crate should always be a positive and safe space for your puppy. Using it for punishment will only create fear and negative associations.


  • Encourage Resting in the Crate: While your puppy is calm, place them in the crate and then use cues like “nap time” or “crate time” before closing the door. If they get anxious, stay nearby to help alleviate their stress. Gradually increase the time you keep your puppy in the crate. Eventually, they can be adjusted to feel comfortable sleeping in the crate.


Train Your New Puppy with Unleash Fido


Crate training is an effective and humane way to teach your puppy good habits and create a safe space in your home. You can ensure a smooth and positive crate training experience for you and your furry friend by taking the necessary steps to boost their comfort. Remember to be patient and consistent, and reward their progress with love and treats.


Remember, though, that crate training is just one of many essential training steps for a well-behaved pup. At Unleash Fido, our Puppy Foundation training services ensure your puppy learns the right behaviors as early as possible. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our professional dog training classes.