Crate Training Puppies

Crate training puppies is an exercise in patience (with Stetson it certainly was).  If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a guide dog puppy raiser it’s how to crate train a puppy.  I’ve been raising puppies now for the past seven years and I’m currently raising my third guide dog puppy.  Stetson, my first guide dog puppy was very stubborn and hated his crate.  Needless to say, Stetson almost ended my guide dog puppy raising career just as it was beginning.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you already know that it took Stetson over four weeks to get used to his crate.  In fact, he did not let me sleep more than two hours in a row during those four weeks.

Crate Training Puppies

When it comes to crate training puppies each puppy is at least slightly different.  Stetson was an extreme case and after those four weeks of pure torture much to my joy he went totally silent and would sleep in the crate all morning without a peep.  Dublin was on the other end of the spectrum and only had a couple nights of whimpering before he began sleeping through the night.  Below is Dublin during one of his first puppy crate training sessions.

Over the years I’ve learned many tips and tricks on crate training puppies.  Today we’re going to share with you the basics of how to crate train a puppy and then give you some of those tips and tricks for those of you who have a stubborn puppy who doesn’t want to adjust to his crate.

How To Crate Train A Puppy

As a guide dog puppy raiser we are given exact steps on how to crate train our puppies.  Here’s what our Guide Dogs of America puppy manual says about crate training puppies:

 A crate is a wire or molded plastic kennel that simulates a nest or den environment.  A crate can become a puppy’s safe place, not to mention a house saver.  When properly used, the crate becomes a security blanket, a place where the puppy can retreat to escape the household confusion and to feel secure.  Never use the crate as a form of punishment!  The dog crate should offer a positive, secure environment, a calming zone.

The crate can be effective in house training.  Confined to a crate, an unattended puppy cannot destroy or soil anything.  Do not crate the puppy during the day for more than 3 hours.

Start crate training your puppy on its first night.  Place the crate in your bedroom where the puppy can still see and hear what is going on.  Put a blanket or towel in the crate for bedding.  A pup will rarely soil the crate, however, if he does, try removing the bedding.  A crate should not be too big, but large enough for the puppy to stand stretch and turn around.

When placing the puppy in the crate, use the word “kennel” or “kennel up”.  If he should happen to fall asleep somewhere else, pick him up and place him inside and quietly shut the door.

Do not hesitate to periodically use the crate, even while you are home.  You may feed the puppy in his crate and give him some favorite toys, to keep the experience positive.

How To Crate Train A Puppy

Crate Training Puppies

Our Favorite Crate Training Tips

Over the past seven years we’ve learned quite a bit about crate training puppies from crate training our first puppy, Linus who we rescued from the animal shelter, to working on crate training litters of puppies as foster parents, and finally crate training our very own guide dog puppies as guide dog puppy raisers.  As you might have guessed over those past seven years we’ve learned many puppy training tips and tricks including a handful of useful crate training tips.  Here’s a list that will hopefully help you out if you have a stubborn pup who whines, whimpers, barks, yelps, cries, and pretty much any other disturbing noise a pup can make in his crate:

  1. If you get to meet your pups litter mates then bring a plush toy or blanket to rub all over his litter mates.  When it comes time to put your pup in his crate leave the toy or blanket in the crate too with the scent of his litter mates.  this may help your pup sleep better at night.  This seemed to work with Dublin.
  2. If your pup wakes up crying in the middle of the night take him straight to his potty spot to relieve himself.  As soon as he finishes up his business take him straight back to his crate without any play time or other distractions
  3. Make sure you feed him at least an hour and a half before bedtime.  Also, it’s been suggested to cut off water an hour and a half before bedtime so he won’t have to pee in the middle of the night.
  4. Play with your puppy for an extended period of time just before bedtime to tire him out.
  5. If you have a wire crate try putting a sheet over it to make him feel more cozy and enclosed.  Be careful because I’ve had pups pull and chew on the bed sheet over the crate.
  6. Put your crate near the bed where your puppy can see you and if he starts crying hang your arm down so he can smell your scent. and if that doesn’t work then…
  7. You can try sleeping on the floor next to the crate.  This worked with my rescue puppy, Linus.
  8. Feed him his meals in his crate.  This will make him more comfortable entering his crate.
  9. Put plush snuggly toys in the crate to keep him company.  Be careful.  I’ve had pups chew, destroy and swallow plush toys when unsupervised.
  10. If he takes a nap during the day move him from the floor into the crate. Try doing this with the door open and closed.
  11. Try leaving the door open but lying down across the doorway of the crate as if to nap with him, to make him feel more comfortable in the crate, and at the same time make my body block the doorway.
  12. When he’s in the crate and being quiet make sure to give him lots of praise
  13. Try the heart beat toy. I’ve heard of a toy that simulates the mom’s heartbeat that helps the puppy sleep.  We haven’t tried this one yet, but if we have another stubborn pup it will be on our wish list.
  14. Try the heated toy. I’ve also heard of a toy that has a thing on the inside that you can warm on the inside and insert in the toy. Makes the puppy feel like he’s with one of his litter mates.  Another one we haven’t tried yet, but will be on the top of our wish list if we have a pup who doesn’t sleep.
  15. The one that worked for me and Stetson – I was a wreck and I thought Stetson would never get used to his crate. The only way I was able to get him to sleep was to talk to him for 5-10 minutes, telling him what a “good boy” he was when he wasn’t crying (if he did cry I would just keep silent tell he stopped). To try and quiet him down I’d either say “quiet” or “Shhh”.
In Episode 1 of Puppy In Training TV we talked about some of the first things we do when bringing home a puppy.  We also talked a little bit about crate training puppies and Dublin’s first night in his crate.  Lucky for us there weren’t too many nights of Dublin howling in his crate.  Take a look at some of the basics in our first episode of Puppy In Training TV:

Dog Crate Training

Comments

  1. angela says

    Hi I am crate training my 9 week boxer puppy. She is peeing and pooing in the crate overnight and then whines to be let out. what should I do if she doesnt cry when she has to go?

    • Paula says

      I am having the same problem with my puppy Peeing and pooping in the crate. Some days I wake up and there’s nothing but most days she’s stepping and playing in her own mess. We bring her out promptly when she awakes in the morning and all throughout the day, even before bed yet it still happens. I wish she’d wine when she has to go but she doesn’t? I’m not sure what to do next. I’m currently researching how to train her to tell me. It’s the only resolve I can think of. Any thoughts?

      • says

        Hi Paula,

        Something you might try with your puppy is setting your alarm to wake you up once or twice in the middle of the night to take her out to potty. Also, make sure you thoroughly clean out the crate with an enzymatic cleaner to ensure that she cannot smell any of her previous accidents. Something else we do is work on crate training during the day for shorter periods of time. When we’re at home while put our puppy in the crate for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to help them get used to being in the crate.

        Hopefully that helps.

        Good luck with your training!
        Colby

    • Paula says

      I was hoping for an answer on this too! I am having the same problem with my puppy Peeing and pooping in the crate. Some days I wake up and there’s nothing but most days she’s stepping and playing in her own mess. We bring her out promptly when she awakes in the morning and all throughout the day, even before bed yet it still happens. I wish she’d wine when she has to go but she doesn’t? I’m not sure what to do next. I’m currently researching how to train her to tell me. It’s the only resolve I can think of. Any thoughts?

  2. Michelle says

    Hi,

    Your blog is amazing. Thank you for taking the time. I just picked up my 8 week old black labrador. And we have begun crate training but she really dislikes it. The first night she cried and even threw up… my husband sat next to the crate so she wouldn’t feel alone but nothing helped. We have tried making it fun for her or at least comfortable but she just cries all night. And even during the day when she naps and we put her in the crate, the moment she feels the door close she wakes up and starts crying. Is this all normal. Should I stop? Please help. I feel terrible hearing her.

    • says

      Hi Michelle,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Stetson did the same thing as your puppy when I first brought him home. Unfortunately, the news is not good. It took Stetson about 4 weeks to get used to his crate. I got very little sleep during that time. In general most of my puppies took about a week or less before they got used to the crate. Stetson was definitely the exception. By the way, Stetson is also a black Labrador. I would do my best to try and make every experience with the crate a positive one. You can also try the 15 items I listed in the blog post.

      Hopefully your pup adjusts to the crate more quickly then Stetson.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

      • Michelle says

        Thank you and Thank you so much for your response Colby. It is a relief having some type of guide and knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Is it normal for her to look sad? I am sorry if the question sounds silly but it just seems she is so sad when she is in the crate. I will definitely look at the 15 items in listed in your blog to make it more enjoyable for her.

        Michelle

        • says

          Hi Michelle,

          I’m sure she’s giving you the puppy dog eyes and that does look pretty sad. Just make sure you stay strict and consistent with her. She’ll pick it up quicker if you stay consistent, persistent, and patient.

          Good luck with training!
          Colby

          • Michelle says

            Colby,

            That’s exactly what she is doing! Lol…
            I again can’t thank you enough!
            Michelle

  3. Deanna says

    Hi Colby,

    Thanks for the wonderful blog and you tube videos. I’ve picked up a lot of info already but I find I’m getting some conflicting info and wondered what your take would be.

    I pick up my 8 week old Yorkie-Poo in less than two weeks. I live in the midwest and it’s FREEZING outside right now. I’ve heard that housebreaking a Yorkie is very difficult. Here’s where the conflicting information comes in.

    The first breeder I visited (Yorkies only) warned me about taking the pup outside before it’s had all of its shots because of the chance of picking up Parvo that lives in the ground for up to 10 years. I have a fenced backyard, but the previous owners had two small dogs and I don’t know their history – and I’ve only lived here for 9 months. So that makes me a little nervous about taking the pup outside. Not to mention the freezing temps right now. I’m wondering if he would go at all!

    So this breeder told me that instead, I should put the pup and it’s crate, etc. inside a pen – in the house – and use hospital pads (all-fabric potty pads) in the pen for the pup to go potty on. But this seems conflicting to me because ultimately, I want the dog to be able to do its biz outside.

    The other thing that worries me is that I live alone and work so the dog will be alone for 9 hours, M-F. There is no one that can come by and help out. But I had some folks suggest that I put the pup in my bathroom, with a baby gate up – and just leave potty pads, the crate, toys, food/water, etc. in there for him and he would be fine. I know it’s not ideal, but realistically – shouldn’t he be fine?

    Anyway, there are my concerns and I’m wondering what you think.

    Thanks for reading!

    • says

      Hi Deanna,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! As you mentioned things aren’t ideal, but as far as the things you mentioned it sounds like you’ve thought things through very well. If you’re not sure about your yard being safe for your puppy then I would consider the second option you mentioned with the crate, inside pen, and pads. You may have to do some re-training to get your puppy to potty outside after his vaccinations.

      I would consider trying to do something to not leave your puppy at home all day. Maybe you can look into getting a pet sitter. If you do leave your puppy home alone then make sure there’s nothing in his area that he can swallow or choke on.

      Best of luck with training!
      Colby

  4. Millie says

    At the start of reading this article my chiuaua puppy Daisy was screaming her head off. It’s her first night in her brand new crate. My dh kept telling me just ignore her she’ll stop…well by the time I finished reading she finally did. I’ll be sure tomorrow to use your tips to get her used to it. I thought I was going to crack for a bit.just wanted to pull the poor thing out and hold her.shes used to sleeping alone, by our bed, we had her in a large tote, but by the end of the first week she was climbing out, so payday came and we bought a crate. My mistake was not waiting till tomorrow to introduce her to it :(

  5. Taylor Jamison says

    What a site! Love it and thanks for the help.

    Here is my issue. I live in an apartment with a room mate and we are trying to figure out how should we potty train our puppy.

    We have been told not to let him go outside until he has been potty trained. So we are wondering where should we potty train him? Should we get a double aided crate to use the restroom on one side and sleep on the other? I’m completely lost what to do.

    So questions
    1. Should we get double sided crate.
    2. Can he go outside to pee? He has been doing well since we take him out a lot and has a specific spot.
    3. If we only get a single sided crate should we just use puppy pads? Until he can officially go outside.

    Here is a little background.

    I’ve had the pup for 1 day now. I am currently at my parents house since I had to pick up the puppy from my home town and stayed the weekend. I’ll return home tomorrow . He is a red nose pit.

    Please help

    • says

      Hi Taylor,

      Congratulations on the new puppy! I’m not sure why your puppy shouldn’t be allowed outside until he is potty trained. It is a good idea for your puppy not to go outside in common areas until he is fully vaccinated. Do you have a private backyard? If so, it should be okay to take him out to this area to work on potty training. If you’re only option is to have him learn to potty in the house then I would choose a designated area and always take him to that spot to potty.

      Out of the options you mentioned I would go with option 2 as long as you have an area that other dog’s don’t frequent like a backyard. Otherwise I would do option 3 and use potty pads in a designated spot in your house.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  6. Misty says

    Hi Colby,
    Thank you for sharing wonderful information to new pet owners like me.I brought home a 35 days old lab .I wanted to know if I can leave her home for 2-3 hours as I have to take my kid out for her drawing class. It would be great if you can share the tips/precaution for that.
    Thanks in advance,
    Misty

    • says

      Hi Misty,

      Were you wondering if you can leave your puppy at home alone in her crate for 2-3 hours? We bring our puppies home at around 7-8 weeks of age and we usually try not too leave our pups in their crates for much more than 2 hours at that age.

      Good luck with your training.

      Colby

  7. Camila Santos says

    Hi Colby I recently came across your website while looking for tips to train my 7 week old male shar pei. Last night was our first night…mind you we traveled 5 hours to pick him up and we bought a kennel and after a 5 minute complaining session he passed out in the car for like 4 hours..with some accidents bc we didn’t stop in time hehe.. But once it was bedtime we did everything right we stopped food and water about an hour before bed and took him out for last minute poos and pees and he’s doing amazing. Well we got into bed put him in our room but in his kennel. He cried and whined and howled for like 20min and hubs and I couldn’t take it so we googled ways to soothe him. But we left him in kennel. So I laid next to him and you tubed ticking clock sound and looped it for a total of 5 min and the rest is history..he slept from12:15am-6:30am amazing. And he never pooped or peed in his kennel. He woke me up to pee and as soon as I got him outside he let it rip. he’s awesome :-) any other tips I can get on this monster..he’s starting to chew on my furniture so that’s a big no no. I keep firm and tell him no! Followed by body language. And when u saw he was too wired I took him on a walk and tired him out now he’s sitting on the foot of my recliner snoring :-) any feedback would be appreciated. Ps I know shar peis r stubborn! But he’s so dang cute!! :-) thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Camila!

      Awesome! I’m glad the ticking clock worked! All the tips I have are here in the blog. If you have something specific you can’t find through the navigation or search then please leave me a comment or send me a message through the contact form. Good luck with your training! By the way, I’ll probably add the ticking clock to the list…thanks for the tip! :)

      Take care,
      Colby

  8. Camila Santos says

    Oh might I add we aren’t going to put him in kennel only for travel or bed and we DON’T use it as punishment we don’t want him to hate the kennel. We r thinking a spray bottle for punishment

  9. Charmaine says

    Hi,
    We have an 8 week old lab. I have tried him on a slip lead twice and he absolutely hates it. What type of leash do you use? He wears his collar with no problem. Any tips please?
    Also I remove the collar when he goes into his crate for a sleep is this correct??
    Thank you,
    Charmaine

    • says

      We just attach our leash to the regular flat collar. We don’t usually make any changes until they are older around 5 or 6 months. My older dogs currently wear a no-pull harness, but I’ve also worked with martingales, training collars, slip leads, and gentle leaders. It all depends on the individual dog.

      I remove the collar when I put my pups in the crate that way you don’t run the risk of it getting caught up on the crate.http://puppyintraining.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

  10. Charmaine says

    Sorry I forgot to say that I need to get him leashed trained as he wees and pops where he chooses which is fine as its usually the same place in the garden but he then eats stones and its difficult to get him to move. Thanks

      • Charmaine says

        Thanks Colby. I just tried to walk Jimmy on a soft leash and he fought and yelped and wouldn’t walk. I obviously dudnt have the collar on tight enough as it slipped off and he went straight into his crate Should I be more forceful ? I don’t want to make him scared of me… Should I just put the leash on him so that he gets used to it being there before I pull him along with it?
        Thank you for helping me. Charmaine

        • says

          Hi Charmaine,

          I give my pups 24 hour supervision unless they are in their crate and keep them on leash throughout the day until they are house trained. If they are in crate I take off their leash and collar so it won’t get caught up and accidentally choke them.

          You might try using treats or something he really enjoys like his favorite toy to try and lure him forward without having to use force.

          Good luck with training!
          Colby

          • Charmaine says

            Hi Colby,

            Thank you so much. Since your advice on this site about using the leash for each “toilet” visit, I have felt so much more in control and this morning when he was hyper, I could use the leash to encourage him back into the house and he went into the crate by himself for a sleep. Yippee!!

            I have another question: I guess because the leash is still fairly new he is chewing it a lot. Should I distract him from chewing it every time with his chew toy?

            Thanks again,

            Charmaine

          • says

            Our pups are always trying to chew their leash too. We use Bitter Apple Spray to deter the leash chewing. We just spray a little on the leash and allow our puppy to chew/lick the leash. Most puppies find the taste very nasty. We continue doing this until our puppies stop grabbing the leash with their mouth.

            Good luck with your training!

  11. Lisa daniel says

    Hi I have a 15 week old jug puppy who is being crate trained he goes in crate for 3-4 hrs comes out goes toilet and has a play/drink then goes back in crate again for another 3-4 hrs but he still has the odd poop in crate over night or a wee in house during the day we take his water up At around 7.00 pm he last goes out to toilet at 10/11 depending on what time I came home from work he’s feed at 7.00 am and at 4.00 pm.any advice.many thanks

    • says

      If he’s having accidents in his crate in the middle of the night then a few things you might do are:

      1. Thoroughly clean up the crate with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle so he can’t smell any of his previous accidents.
      2. Make sure your crate is properly sized. It should only be big enough for him to stand up and turn around. If it’s too large he may potty on one side and sleep on the other.
      3. If he’s not waking you up when he has to potty you might try setting your alarm in the middle of the night so you can take him out until he can hold it through the night.

      You also may want to check with your vet to see if he has any kind of bladder infection.

  12. Charmaine says

    Hi Colby,
    Our 9 week old lab puppy is really snappy. In your experience how long will this last?

    Thanks,

    Charmaine

  13. natalie says

    Hi there

    this is the best site i have come across so thsnks for all the information, ive learnt loads reading all the posts, i have an 9 week old german pointer hes an amazing little dog, we took 4 days off with him to slowy introduce him to his crate, hes perfect in this at night now, and only has a tiny cry about a minute at night, its just i need to go back to work now for about 3 weeks and after that he can come with me ro he will need to go in his crate in the day for 2-3 hour periods i will come home inbetween and take him out after the 3 hours play and take him out then pop him back in his crate, i feel terrible about this as when i pop him in in the day if i need to get dresses or something he crys for long time, i had to leave him for a few hours today it was his first time aloan im not sure if he cried or how long for if he did, is this ok? i mean can a dog get so stressed it causes behaviour issues or anything?

    sorry for the massive post just really worried

    thanks

    nat

    • says

      Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for saying! I’m glad you stopped by.

      If you think your puppy is spending too much time in the crate you might look into getting a friend, family member, neighbor, or pet sitter to stop by and spend some extra time with your puppy. We try not to crate our puppies for more than 2-3 hours during day when they are around 9 weeks old.

      Most of my puppies have cried the first few times they spent time alone in the crate. Unfortunately, to answer your other question a dog/puppy can get behavior issues if he/she is spending too much time in the crate.

      Every puppy is a little different. Hopefully everything goes smoothly for you over the next few weeks until your puppy can go to work with you. Good luck with your training!

      Take care,
      Colby

  14. tgrosch says

    I want to be sure I understand the crate and potty training information. You said that you keep the dog in the crate and then take her out when you get home, but should have a leash on when you take her out. Is that correct? If that’s correct, do I need to make sure the leash is on every time I take her out to go potty? I want to just be sure I understand the best process for crate and potty training.
    Thanks so much for this information.

    • says

      When we take our puppies out to potty we bring them out to their potty spot on leash every time. One thing this does is it allows us to direct our puppies exactly where we want them to potty. Good luck with your training!

  15. shell says

    Thank you for all the tips that i have read on here. i just got my 8 week puppy last week and crate training is the best solution for a working mama. I leave him alone i know a little longer then i should 4 hrs but when i come home he does not have any accidents in the crate and is ready to pee or poop when i come home. I play with im for a little while probably 30mins and then i have to go back to work. My bf then comes home about 2 1/2 hrs later and feeds him and takes him out for a little ( about an hr spend with him) and then he goes to the gym and then i come home about 3 hrs later. I know this may seem choppy out in out in out in of the crate. My main issue is at night. He starts off ok in the crate when we put him to bed we stop food and all about 2hrs before bedtime. He usually goes to bed ok I leave classical music on for him and then once he wakes up at like 1am all bets are off. I take him out to use the bathroom then straight back to the crate. He just does not want to stop crying whining etc. MY thing is that I really need him to have a good association with the crate b/c i do work. Last week I had a crate that was too big for him and i made half a cozy spot and then other with a pee pad and i wanted to stop that b/c he was starting to poop in it. When i left the crate open last week he would just climb in there and feel safe and relax. now he just doesn’t like it with his smaller crate its and xsmall but still plenty of room ( i have a yorkie only 1.6lbs) but he just doesn’t like it. even when i put him in the crate for a little bit if i’m home on the weekend he freaks even when he sees me. I don’t want to commit to putting him in my room yet at night b/c i feel with patience he may get used to sleeping in the other room. DO you have any tips on what to do with crate training at night not having him in my room and him just whining and crying. I haven’t read any tips on this?? HELP!

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! We try not to crate our puppies for more than 2-3 hours during the day when they are 8 weeks old.

      A few things you might try that have worked for us:

      1. Try to use the crate less during the day. If you can’t be home more often you might see if family, friends, neighbors, or a pet sitter can come over during the day.
      2. Try one or more of the 15 different things I suggested in the article. http://puppyintraining.com/crate-training-puppies/
      3. Make sure experiences with the crate are always positive.

      Good luck with your training!

  16. Amanda says

    Great blog, we will be bringing our 8-9 week old lab around Christmas so I will be able to be at home with him for about a week. My husband and I both work and have two young kids. My question is, should we put him in the fenced backyard while we are at work complete with a large doghouse or put him in a bathroom with pee pads? We want him to be an inside/outside dog, in when we are home but didn’t know if leaving him in the fenced yard at 9 weeks was too early. My husband can come check and feed him at lunch and I would get home around 4 each day. I don’t want to do the pee pads for fear that that would encourage peeing in the house. What are your thoughts? Fence is wood slat and wire between so should be safe from being able to get out.

    • says

      Hi Amanda,

      Early congratulations on your new puppy! I prefer keeping my puppies in the house at such a young age. We house train all of our puppies and keep them inside when we are away. If you do decide to leave your puppy in the yard just be sure everything is puppy proof. I keep a constant eye on my pup’s when they are in the yard, but they still like to try and eat everything (leaves, plants, rocks, etc), dig holes, scratch, chew, bark, etc.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  17. genevieve says

    great website you got here! so informative. i bought a big crate with a divider in the middle for my 6 week old husky. i put blankets around it and i also made her area comfortable with toys. i stay with her during the day. when she falls asleep i place her in the crate and when she wakes up i leash her and take her outside so she can relieve herself. i do this maybe 5 times a day however at night she can’t seem to stop howling and crying after i take her out of her crate. she doesn’t relieve herself either when i take her out at night when she howls. she has a piercing howl and i don’t know what to do. no sleep for me!!!

    • says

      Every puppy is a little different. I’ve had some that only took a day or two to get used to their crate while others have taken up to about a month. It took Stetson about a month to get used to his crate and unfortunately all I can tell you is I got very little sleep for about 1 month. However, after he figured out the crate was okay I did not hear a peep from him for probably about 6 months. I’m not even sure I knew what his bark sounded like for a while. Good luck with your training!

  18. Deanna Cook says

    Hello,

    I have a 9 week old pup who was the alpha in her litter. She hates her crate. Bailey goes in to eat and to check out toys and stuff fine, just don’t close the door. She freaks. I went to dinner for 2 hours and I could hear her screaming outside the house. Bailey screams as soon as she goes in despite toys, heartbeat pillow. Ive even laid besdie her and she wails. HELP!!!!

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! The list on this page is pretty much everything I’ve tried with my puppies or heard about, but sometimes it just takes time. As I’ve mentioned in the past it took Stetson a month before he got used to staying in his crate. I had many sleepless nights and he honestly did not allow me to sleep for more than 2 hours in a row during that time. Hopefully your puppy adapts quicker. Try to associate as many positive interactions with the crate and over time your puppy will adjust and start behaving while crated.

  19. says

    Great web site. Excellent Information. I own a company that specializes in products made from a medical fabric that is Soft, 100% waterproof and Machine washable. We make several products that our customers find very helpful for puppy house training and also crate training their dogs, a waterproof crate pad with a removable washable cover, as well as a soft waterproof fleece blanket.

  20. says

    Man, does this post resonate with me. Our puppy would cry non-stop if she could not see us- let alone being in the crate!

    It really is an exercise in patience, and you sometimes think you’re about to lose your mind. And, quite often, you find yourself hating yourself for getting a new puppy!

    But, rest assured, it is worth it. :) Our puppy now sleeps through the night, and does not mind her crate at all, In fact, it’s a place where she feels very safe.

    • says

      I remember going through crate training for the first time with Linus nine years ago and it’s exactly as you said. You hate yourself for bringing home a new puppy, but after a short while Linus learned to love his crate.

  21. adrienne says

    hi!

    me and my fiancée picked up a 6 week old jack Russell and lab mix on Saturday, we bought her crate the same night but she cant stand it! all she does is cry I’ve tried everything and no matter she wont even relax in it a little bit, my fiancée works 12 hour shifts so I’m the one up with her day and night and im expecting my second child in 3 months and im worried she wont be potty trained in time, She’s also going to the bathroom in it too. All I want to do is cry and gve up but I bet some of that Is y hormones too I suppose. Any tips or advice you could give me I’ve read your tips and tried them but nothings working! She’s also having a hard time with potty training too I can bring her outside to go potty after she eats or sleeps and then she still ends up going in the house a few minutes after we get back in. She peed 5 times in 15 minutes today twice outside and three times inside is this normal? PLEASE HELP!

    • says

      Hi Adrienne,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Your puppy is very young. We usually get our puppies when they are closer to 8 weeks old. The extra time with litter mates and mom can make a big difference. That being said our pups have taken anywhere from a few days to a month to get used to their crate. Hopefully your puppy is improving. One thing I want to mention is never to take your puppy out of the crate when she is crying this will encourage her to cry more in the future. You want to do your best to wait until she stops, even for a few seconds then let her out. Remember to always give her praise or rewards when she does something right.

      Your puppy is very young and probably does not have full control of her bladder yet. At a young age it is common for puppies to potty several times in a short span. Most of my puppies have gone potty outside then immediately gone again when they got back in the house at least once. One thing you might try is waiting longer outside with your puppy. I usually wait around outside for 5-10 minutes even after they’ve gone once. Also, if you think she might have some kind of health issue you should have her checked by your vet. We had one puppy that had a bladder infection that was causing some potty issues.

      All of the things you mentioned are very common for puppies especially one as young as yours. Hopefully these tips help. Good luck with your training.

      Take care,
      Colby

  22. says

    I tend to think puppies are easier to crate train than older dogs that have never been crated. I’ve had more than one adult foster dog bust out of his/her crate, and boy was that stressful on all of us.

    I haven’t had a puppy in awhile, but growing up we had goldens and when they were puppies, we put them in their kennels to sleep in the way you outlined. They would whimper for a night or two and then they got used to the routine.

    I adopted my dog Ace when he was a year old, and thankfully he was already crate trained. He would still test his limits and whine for about 20 minutes every time I put him in there, but after about two weeks he stopped. Now I don’t use a crate except when we travel.

    • says

      I’ve fostered a few older dogs and luckily for me they were already crate trained. I’ve seen a few friend’s dogs chew their way through plastic crates. I would guess that crate training an older dog would be more difficult. I’m sure they can be louder and more destructive.

      Stetson and Linus don’t use a crate very often anymore either, but it’s nice to have that option especially when traveling.

  23. Rena says

    Hi we just got our puppy about a week ago she has been doing pretty well in her crate training but recently when we go to work and come on our lunch break to take her out she has messed up her bedding by throwing it everywhere, what do you think this means?

    • says

      She’s probably bored. When we are leaving our puppy in the crate for more than a few minutes we leave them an indestructible chew toy and remove the bedding. It gives our pup something to do while we’re gone.

  24. adrienne says

    Hi again,

    She’s doing better with going outside she has only has maybe two accidents a day and sometimes it’s BC I’m having pregnancy brain and forgot to take her out BC she had water…the crate thing though is still really hard she’ll cry for a few minutes and go to sleep at night and then wake up every two hours and I’ll bring her outside and out of the 4 times I brought her out the other night she only went once and I put her right back in it …now last night she went to bed around 11 and slept till 430 this morning and then went outside and did both and then went.back to sleep till.my fiancée went to.work around 715…I want to think Last.night was the start of her getting it but I don’t want to get my hopes up…she’s gonna be 8 weeks on this Sunday is there anything else I can do to make her more comfortable? She has a blanket and some toys in her crate and a ticking clock next to it but is there anything I can do I just feel so bad when she’s crying : (

    • says

      It sounds like you and your puppy are making progress. Hopefully her crate and potty training will all be a happy memory for you soon.

      I listed pretty much everything I’ve tried (and somethings that I haven’t) when working on crate training with my puppies. Hopefully at least one or two of the ideas is helping your puppy a little with her crate training. If you come across any other ideas that help your puppy please let me know. Take care and best of luck with training!

  25. Bre says

    Hi, I have a new 7 week old yorkie pup name Lola she did well the first night home in her small travel crate no whining at all, which was over the weekend, then Monday i had to work so i left her in my small bathroom with a blanket, toys, food and water and also her weewee pads she did great she uses the pads only when she is left in the bathroom, when she is in other parts of the house she tends to go potty where ever , she whimpers, whines, and cratches now when left in the bathroom so tonight i am trying the small travel crate again with just a weewee pad, blanket, chew bone and toy what do j do in thjs situation? please HELP

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! When we are potty training a puppy we restrict his freedom by keeping him on leash throughout the day. Our puppies usually aren’t fully potty trained until they are around 4-6 months of age.

      When we crate train our puppies we also use the crate as part of our pup’s potty training. I’m not sure if this is what you’re trying to do, but if it is then read through and follow the instructions in this article http://puppyintraining.com/crate-training-puppies/.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

  26. Marrian Nguyen says

    Hello! Thank you for the excellent article. Its currently 3am and I am crate training my parents new pup. Unfortunately they werent able to keep him on his first night so ive taken on the tough task of his first crate training. So far ive been lucky. He has adjusted to his crate and voluntarily walks in on his own so i close the crate once his asleep. However he has been waking up and whining. I think its because he needs to go potty so I take him out and he sniffs around for a few seconds then walks himself back into his crate.
    If anything this is somewhat a good result so im hoping he just needed to adjust to his new surroundings. Fingers crossed!

    • says

      Hi Marrian,

      That’s very awesome of you to take your parents puppy on the first night. The first night is often the most difficult, but it sounds like you have everything going smoothly. I hope the coming days and weeks are equally as smooth. Good luck with your training!

      Take care,
      Colby

  27. Lisa says

    Hi Colby,
    The first two nights after I brought my 8 week old puppy home he liked sleeping in his crate with the door closed.I was close by during the night and got up when I heard him trying to get out or whining. The 3rd night was completely different, he absolutely cried and barked and hated being locked in his crate but it was night time and we needed to sleep so we just let him cry until he finally stopped, hours later. We went to him two times during the night to let him out but he barked both times so now he is in the finished basement so we can all get some sleep. At this point it has been almost two weeks, he is now 10 weeks old and he fights me to get out every time I put him in. He will not willingly go in on his own and I try everything from treats to stuffed khongs, etc. he doesn’t care. I work FT and my friend comes over two times during the day to let him out and play for about an hour both times and then he is out free with the family from 3:30 until bedtime at 10 pm. then it is back into his crate. He use to go in and lie down with the door open but now he won’t even do that, he will sleep on the cold tile floor instead. Any suggestions, I am feeling like I made a bad decision in buying him but my kids are in love so I don’t want to give up. Lisa

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! I’m sorry things aren’t going to well with the crate training. Here are a few tips that might help:

      1. Letting your puppy cry in his crate until he stops is okay. Just make sure you never take him out while he’s crying. Always make sure he stops crying for at least a few seconds, give him praise for being quiet then let him out.
      2. Try working on his crate training when you don’t have to crate him (from 3:30-10pm and on the weekends). Puppies sleep quite often during the day. When your puppy is taking a nap transport him to the crate and let him nap in the crate. Most likely he’ll start barking since he’s already not liking his crate. Wait till he stops barking, when he stops barking give him praise and let him out. I do this throughout the day with my puppies for the first few weeks.
      3. Start feeding him all of his meals in the crate with the door open. He’s already not liking his crate, but from now forward I would try to only associate positive things with his crate.

      Remember to always be patient, persistent, and consistent with your puppy. Crate training doesn’t usually take too long (usually anywhere from a few days to a few weeks) it just seems like forever. If you’re still having problems I’d consider having a professional dog trainer stop by for an in-home training session to help you with your puppy’s training.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  28. Chase says

    We have a 11 week old Aussiedoodle and she had a very hard time with her crate the first 2 nights and cried the entire time. We moved the crate into the bedroom with us thinking it would help but it didn’t. We made the mistake of leaving and sleeping in the other room and that seemed to calm her down. She does great now at night and sleeps through the night. Unfortunately now we can not sleep in the bedroom because if we are in the bed and she is in the crate she will not stop crying and panting, she even foams at the mouth because of it. Do we just stay in the bed and let her have a fit? We realize now the mistake but we didn’t have any other ideas. Any tips?

    • says

      Hi Chase,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! We mention a lot of things in this article that you can try to help ease your puppy when she is in the crate. However, the answer to your question is yes, you should not let her out of the crate if she is crying. One of the things we do when crate training our puppies is work on crating all times of the day not just when it’s time to go to bed. You might try doing the same. When your puppy falls asleep during the day try moving her to the crate and do the things you would normally do when you go to bed. If/when she stops crying even if it’s for only 10 seconds give her praise and let her out of the crate.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

      Colby

  29. Lizzy g says

    I just got a black lab puppy on Friday, she is so smart and pees and poops outside because she was born and raised on a farm, but Friday she loved her crate but would not come out bc the carpet freaked her out and I have had her sleep with me on the couch since then…now she thinks it’s her place how do I train her back into the crate….she loves the couch and wants to sleep there. At first she was skiddish abut now she’s comfortable ….she is only 8 weeks old….best lab ever just need her to get use to her crate closed? She whines and cries I hate it

    • says

      Hi Lizzy,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! There are lots of tips on things you can do to help your puppy get used to her crate. Unfortunately, whining in the crate is par for the course for most puppies. Just make sure you do not let her out of the crate when she is crying. Make sure she stops at least for a few seconds, give her praise, then let her out. Try to associate only positive things with the crate like feeding her all of her meals, giver her her favorite treats and toys in the crate. Other than that you just need to be patient, consistent, and persistent with her training.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  30. says

    Patience is key when crate training your puppy. Different breeds will act differently when create training, but no puppy will like it at first.

  31. Julie says

    My husband and I have been sleeping on the floor next to our 9 week old puppy’s crate and she seems to be adjusting and sleeping pretty well. We have had her for 5 nights and we keep the crate in the living room. I really don’t mind sleeping on the floor all that much but we would like to return to our bed in the not to distant future. Do you have any tips on how we transition back to the bed? You mentioned you slept on the floor next to Linus. How long did you do that?

    • says

      Hi Julie,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! I transitioned fairly quickly back to the bed. I stayed on the floor for maybe 4-5 nights. However, my crate was setup next to my bed so I was still close by and let my arm hang down next to the crate for a couple nights after I started sleeping back in the bed. If you’re not interested in moving the crate into the bedroom you might transition by sleeping further away from the crate in the living room or perhaps move up to the couch. A gradual transition away from the crate would probably work best. Also, you could try some of the tips from the article to help your puppy get used to being on her own.

      Good luck with training!
      Colby

  32. Lori says

    We have had our 11 wk old Havenese for 1 wk now. She will sleep in her crate all night and does very well, goes out as soon as we get up. But she is now pooping in her crate when we leave, even if we just run down to take a shower, she messes in her crate. ( she was just out 5 min prior to being put in the crate). Any suggestions, is only happening when we leave. Tried leaving radio on, and lights on.

  33. Thea says

    Hi Colby!

    I have an 8 week old Golden retriever pup who has been with us for just 3 days. We are in the process of crate training her and she is doing great. However, last night she was up every 2 hours. I took her out every time I heard her cry in her crate, and she did relieve herself outside. It just didn’t seem like much pee at all though. Should she be able to hold her urine longer than 2 hours at a time during the night. Also, I pull her water a good 3 hours before bedtime at 10:30pm.
    Thanks!

    • says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Just like people every puppy is different. Some can hold it longer then others. At 8 weeks old waking up every couple hours is not unusual. However, we have had puppies with bladder infections that have caused them to potty more than usual. If this is a concern then you’ll want to take your puppy to the vet for a check up.

  34. Mara says

    Hi Colby! Thanks so much for this article and others! They are a huge help and I am pretty sure you are a dog wizard! We just got a male German Shepherd puppy, he is 11 weeks and we have had him for a week today. We also have a 3y.o. Female black lab. For the most part Mav is doing great, occasional messes in the house but potty training is going well. Crate training at night is our biggest issue.

    Our lab sleeps in the bed with us (she is fully crate trained, no problem)… I want to try and make sure Mav doesn’t feel abandoned basically when he has to be put in the crate and she doesn’t. If we have him in his crate in our bedroom he whines for hours (really) and IF he falls asleep he wakes up if we move a muscle and the crying continues. If we put his crate in another room he whines ands whines and makes noises I’ve never heard an animal make before (but not for potting..trust me) He does PERFECT in the crate during the day, up to 3.5 hours no messes at all, Calla’s crate is right next door.

    Is there any additional things I can do, or things I should change because this is our second dog? I want to make sure that he has that good crate training foundation now so that when he is older we only use it when we need to….etc.

    Any advice is welcome!!

    Thanks Mara

    • Mara says

      Oops! Forgot to add..our ultimate goal is to have him sleep in our bedroom but on his bed on the floor… Right now he is a little too curious and I don’t trust him to mosey around at night without finding something to snack on.

      • says

        We usually wait until our puppies are about 12 months old before we let them sleep outside of the crate at night. Even after we start allowing them to sleep outside the crate we will still crate them from time to time. We will also teach our puppies to sleep outside the crate on tie downs. Of course every puppy is different and these are not rules you need to follow more of guidelines. Hopefully that helps!

    • says

      Hi Mara,

      Thanks for the compliment and congratulations on your new puppy! I remember years ago when we started Linus’ crate training and Linus too made some very unnatural sounding noises. You’re in a similar situation to me. My two dogs sleep on the bed with me and the new puppy has to sleep in the crate. It sounds to me like you’re doing everything right. It takes time, patience, persistence, and consistency.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  35. nalan says

    Hi i have a 7week old pomeranian that i picked up 3days ago the first night she was really quite and calm and all she done was sleep alot but for the past 2days now she has been waking me up from my sleep crying i take her to the garage for her potty play with her for a few minutes to get her tiered put her back into her soft floor bed and wont stop crying all morning im verry fustrated as i cant get my sleep expecialy when i havs work the next morning again its 1.26am she woke up cryig i took her put to potty and wont go back into her bed i dont no what to do please help? Also i do t want her to get use to staying inside the house we have a nig garage were we set up for her but i feel asif its to cold for her to stay is it ok if we keep her in the garage in cold weathers?

    • says

      Hi Nalan,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! We keep our crate next to our bed. A good rule of thumb that we follow is to take our puppy straight to his potty spot then straight back to the crate.

      As I mentioned in the blog post most of our puppies have gotten used to their crate anywhere from a few days to a week, but it has taken us up to a month to get our puppies settled with their crate. Unfortunately, this is the process and we lose more sleep over some puppies versus others.

      Good luck with your training,
      Colby

  36. Sarah says

    Hi and thanks for this post… I’m in a dilemma with my puppy. He is a male cavapoo. He has just reached 4 months old and we’ve had him since he was 9 weeks.
    We originally started out crate training him for sleeping and when we leave. He was doing okay.. waking up every few hours but the intervals would get more and more frequent through the night.. to the point of every hour. Needless to say I wasn’t getting much sleep.
    Then I had friends over at my house one night and I went to bed really late, and I gave in and put my pup in the bed! That was almost a month ago and he’s still in the bed…. I tried one night to go back to the crate but he was quiet for about 20 min and then cried again… so I gave in again. I know that wasn’t the right thing to do…
    Now when we try to leave him in his kennel we come back to a puppy that’s soaked in tears from crying.. and the past two times he made number 2 accidents in the crate… I want to get back to crate training for night time and when we leave… am I too late? Needing any advice!! Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Sarah,

      I would consider starting over with your crate training. You also might consider bringing on a professional dog trainer to help you with training.

      It’s difficult to tell exactly what would work best without actually observing your situation. Unfortunately, re-training him may be a bit more difficult as he’s already learned that crying gets him a cozy spot on the bed. Basically you need to reverse that and teach him that being quiet gets him what he wants. Here are a few things I’d consider doing:

      1. Crate your puppy at night and do not allow him in your bed.
      2. Practice crate training during the day for shorter periods of time.
      3. Never let your puppy out of the crate when he’s crying. Make sure he is quiet for at least a few seconds, let him out, give him praise/reward.
      4. Only associate positive things with the crate.

      Hopefully that helps.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  37. Ashley says

    We rescued a 7 month old puppy who was mistreated, and spent about 20 hours a day in her crate. She hates it and is having constant accidents in her crate and whines at night. How can we break this? She’s such a sweetheart and I’m hesitant to reprimand her because I know her previous owners were terrible

    • says

      You should consider having a professional dog trainer come by and observer your puppy’s environment and behavior. A few things you might consider trying:

      1. Take several days to specifically work on crate training during the day and evening.
      2. Only associate positive things with the crate such as treats, toys, meals, etc.
      3. Never force your puppy into the crate.
      4. Thoroughly clean the crate with an enzymatic cleaner if your puppy has an accident.
      5. Never let your puppy out of the crate if she is crying.

      Hopefully that helps!

  38. Jessica says

    We just brought home an 8 week old german shepherd puppy on the 4th of July. I took off work Friday-Monday to help the pup adjust to his new home and get started on some basic training. He’s a very smart little boy. He goes out to go to relive himself, and comes back in and sits patiently waiting for his reward. He walks on a leash without pulling and sits when you stop. And he’s even very gentle with my one year old daughter. However, he seems distant. He doesn’t really play, he’ll chase his toy around a little bit but never gets very excited about play time. he also won’t cuddle up with you. He’ll squirm away and lay next to your feet. He’s always following me room to room as well. He cries if I step over the gate and tried to get over it.

    He also hates his crate. We tried to ease him into it, making it fun and feeding him in there. He goes in and out just fine and even took a nap on his own in there the other day. However, as soon as we close the door he goes crazy and digs and cries the entire time he’s in there until he falls asleep for a bit. I also work full time so I am wondering if I should leave him in the crate for a few hours at a time until I can stop home on my breaks and let him out or if I should set up an indoor X-pen for him off the carpeted area in the entryway. Help?

    • says

      Hi Jessica,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Every puppy is different and will have different personalities. As far as the crate training goes it takes some puppies longer than other to adjust to the crate. There are lots of suggestions in this blog post that you might try to help ease your puppy into his crate training.

      If you are having to leave your puppy in the crate the majority of the day if it were me I’d opt to use an X-pen. Crating your puppy to often can lead to other behavorial problems. Good luck with your training.

      Colby

  39. Shannon says

    Hi Colby,
    Your website is amazing. Super helpful! My husband and I have a 13 week Goldendoodle. She is pretty much potty trained and we have been working on crate training since we got her at 9.5 weeks. She used to sleep a full 8 hours in her crate in another room. Then I left for 3 nights to visit family. While I was gone and since my return, she wakes up and whines even after sleeping for only 2 hours even though she pees and poops before bed. She usually has pushed aside her blanket in her crate when we go check on her. For the last week, we’ve had to grab a pillow and blanket and sleep on our living room floor next to her. She still has a divider in her crate, should we make it smaller or bigger? How do we get her to go back to sleeping through the night?

    • says

      Hi Shannon,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! If she’s waking up in the middle of the night barking/whining and you know it’s not to potty then the best thing to do is ignore it (if you can) until she falls back asleep. Only let her out/give he attention when she’s being quiet that way she knows that being quiet gets her attention and barking/whining will not.

      The size of your crate should be just large enough for her to stand up and turn around.

      Hopefully that helps.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  40. Tab says

    Hi,
    I just recently got a Australian shepherd/lab mix puppy! I have had him for 3 weeks now. I have been crate training him for only a week now! (I had two weeks off when I got him)! At night, we haven’t crated him at all and he doesn’t have accidents! Just recently he has been waking me hourly to get up on the bed or off the bed!

    My question is, is it too late to start kennel training him at night?

    • says

      Hi Tab,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! You might have some difficulties at first with crate training him at night if he’s used to sleeping in the bed, but as long as you stick to your guns and crate him every night without allowing him out unless he needs to potty then he should eventually adapt.

      Good luck with your training!
      Colby

  41. Maia says

    Hi Colby!

    I just found out about this website and it is amazing! Very helpful especially for first time pet owners like me. Last week, I brought home an 8 week old Labrador x Golden Retriever. At that time I was only aware about the “newspaper training” used for going potty. My puppy picked it up right away and I have no problems with him soiling anywhere else except that area. But after a week, I am realizing how tedious it is cleaning and changing newspapers everyday and I want to start training him to do his business outside the house. I should also mention that during this whole week, I did not buy him a crate whatsoever. I blocked off a portion of my room for him to stay and walk freely. There are times at night too where he sleeps at the edge of my bed.

    Now I want to start crate training him. I was just wondering, would crate training still be effective on him even after a week of newspaper training and sleeping on my bed?

    Another thing, I noticed that my puppy doesn’t have a “pooping schedule” as noted in many websites wherein they say that puppies poop about 30 minutes to an hour after eating. After feeding him, it’d take him anytime between 2 to 5 hours to poop (consistency of his poop however, is normal– solid, not runny/ liquid). He doesn’t make any noise whatsoever and the only reason I know he is about to go poop is because he keeps walking in circles. But if let’s say, I am away from his area and he goes, I wouldn’t know until I check on him. Is this normal?

    Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Maia,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! It might be more difficult in the beginning since he’s already used to sleeping on the bed, but he should be able to adapt. Just make sure when you start crate training you remain consistent.

      You might try keeping a potty log where you write down every time you feed your puppy, every time he drinks water, and any time he goes potty(poop or pee). Most puppies will usually have some kind of schedule and as you’ve noticed it’s not necessarily always within 30 minutes to an hour of eating.

      As far as your puppy going potty without alerting you this is normal. You would have to train your puppy to alert you by teaching him to do some kind of action like standing by the door and waiting, scratching the door, or ringing a bell.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

      Take care,
      Colby

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