7 Tips for Crate Training Your Dog or Puppy

7 Tips for Crating your dog or puppy!
1. Make their crate a comfortable place and create positive memories in it!

If a dog only goes into their crate when they are in trouble or for long periods of time, of course they are going to dread going into it. Also, associate their crate with comfort and safety, after all this is their own little room. We keep our dogs blankets in there and also give them a toy that is safe to play with and a treat when they are first learning to go in. If you are having issues, you can even feed your dog his or her meals in it.

*At night, we cover Rio’s crate with a large blanket – this has completely stopped his whining in the early a.m. (likely caused by the sunrise).

2. Reward your dog or puppy for going into his crate.

You can do this with a treat or what we do is prepare a peanut butter-filled Kong for your dog whenever they are going in for a long period of time (3-5 hours). Just something to entertain them. Now, our dogs run to their crates when they see the peanut butter come out!

3. Play music while your dog is crated.

We actually have a dog DVD – filled with animal noises, outdoors, etc. This was free from a rescue that we volunteer at but you can also purchase them online or at book stores for a reasonable price. Otherwise, there is Dog TV now, but I believe it is $5 a month through your cable subscriber. But simply having the TV or music playing is comforting to your dog.

4. Don’t isolate your dog’s crate.

Keep the dog crate in an area where you spend a lot of time! I wouldn’t want to sleep in a dark dungeon that is only entered when it is for punishment or sleeping either. Both of our dog’s crates are in the living room.

5. Whining does not mean your dog gets out.

If you let your dog out of the crate every time he starts to whine, he will learn very quickly that when he whines, he gets rewarded. We were very lucky with both Lola and Rio as neither of them were major whiners, but if they would initially whine when put into their crate at night, they were ignored. We did not yell at them to “shut up”, we simply ignored them. Now if you think they truly have to go to bathroom, take them outside and immediately bring them back in. On that note, we always take our dogs out immediately prior to going to bed, or “nigh-night” as they know. 😉

6. Make sure your crate is big enough.

I can’t stand a crate that is borderline too small for a dog. I like our dogs to have enough room to stand up, turn around and be able to take a few steps around inside.

7. Leave the crate door open all the time.

This allows your dog to go in and out as they please. We find ours napping in there from time to time!


*If the dog is only in their crate for very long periods of time, try putting them in the crate and then returning after a very short period of time (10-15 minutes) then let them out and praise them for their good behavior.

-I am not a professional dog trainer, but these are just several tips that we follow and have worked fabulous for us. –

Do you crate your dog?! We have loved it and it made potty training a breeze. Lola only ever peed in her crate a couple times and Rio has NEVER. I guess I can’t blame him, I wouldn’t like to sleep in that either.

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Sarah Lukemire

Sarah Lukemire

Fur mom to Lola & Rio, free-spirited personality, coffee addict. Blogging to create positive awareness for pit bull type dogs. Committed to creating a world in which all dogs are treated fairly and equally. Read more >>


  1. May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm — Reply

    Good tips. I do all of those things as well.

    I had a foster dog who would bark in his crate. Most of the time I just ignored him but every now and then I really did have to let him out (for lack of time to wait or he really had to pee, or whatever). I asked a trainer for some tips on what to do if he was whining and I had to let him out, and she said to ask him to “sit” first and then let him out as a reward for sitting. That way, I would be “rewarding” the sit vs. rewarding the whining. Of course, that only works if the dog already knows the sit command pretty well. Luckily he did.

  2. June 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm — Reply

    When we adopted Theo last summer, he was not a fan of his crate. In fact he hated it. We did the same things as you suggest here and within a very short time he had adjusted nicely to it. I still give my dogs a small treat almost every time they are told to go into the crate. It is common to find either Theo or Sophie napping in Nelly’s crate during the day.

    • June 11, 2014 at 9:24 pm — Reply

      Awe – isn’t it great when they finally learn that their crate is a safe/positive place!? Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. August 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm — Reply

    When first beginning crate training, leave the door open and place a treat inside the crate, toward the back half. When your pup goes in, she will find it and immediately start associating good things with the crate. Do this randomly from time to time if you feel the urge just because it’s fun. 🙂

    • August 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm — Reply

      another great tip. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. November 22, 2014 at 7:50 am — Reply

    Hello dog lovers, I found this sight from Victoria Stilwell and have been reading everything. I own a Doxie and have purchased another crate that sits in my living room because Ace’s (my Doxie) nite nite crate is at the foot of my bed. Ace has been peeing in the house every time I leave so I bought another crate for him to be in when I’m gone. It has a comfy pad in it and I always give him his kong filled with peanut butter or a bone. Lately he’s been peeing in his crate because he’s made about it. He has terrible separation anxiety and has to be right next to me at all times. I had a terrier that went to the rainbow bridge last September and I used to crate them both for 8 hrs at a time They were fine no worries. I have spent sooo much money training Ace and now he is acting up again. Ace was my 20 year old sons dog and he was murdered the day after Xmas 2006. So I am really attached to this dog needless to say. I need help! I feel trapped because every time I leave him in the crate he pees either on his comfy mat to just the bare floor of the crate. I tried both, taking out the pad etc. I’m thinking of getting another Doxie to help with his anxiety but don’t know if that will work. PLEASE ADVISE. THANKYOU. SANDY

  5. May 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm — Reply

    I have a question about where to place the crate. I understand that you think the crate should be where there are people around but what about at night? Am I supposed to carry it upstairs at night so that he sleeps in our room?

    I also have two cats. I dont want him to get upset when he sees the cats roaming around and he is in the crate. Suggestions please!

    • May 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm — Reply

      Hi Denene, no need to move the crate, we kept ours in the living room at all times. And once in a while, once they got older, the dogs would make their way into our bed :). Otherwise, put a blanket over the crate, I’m sure he’ll sleep through the cats roaming. Good luck!

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