Crate Training Checklist: How To Crate Train Your Dog.

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Crate Training Checklist: How To Crate Train Your Dog.

      Is crate training important or even necessary? Yes, it is. Crate training is important when training puppies and older dogs. Although it takes time and attention, when done properly it comes with a lot of benefits for you and your pup. One of the greatest benefits is that it creates a space for your dog. Crate training is not a form of physical exercise and should never be used to replace it.

       Many dog owners feel guilty when crate training their dog but think that it is mainly for security and safety reasons. Apart from creating a safe haven for your dog, they can come in handy during emergencies. “Imagine trying to evacuate an uncooperative and untrained dog, it can be time-wasting”. So it’s not only going to do you good but also is all about safety for your beloved pup.

Here are five important benefits of crate training your dog.

For dogs that are not crate trained, crates can be a scary place to be. But if you can get your new pup used to his crate at an early stage, getting him to enter a crate or kennel during emergencies will not be so difficult. Crates are a great way to help your dog deal with anxiety or when they get suddenly depressed i.e thunderstorms, fireworks. You can’t always be available for your dog so you need to create a safe area for him.
It makes living with your dog easier.

Crates also provide an easy means of transporting your dog to the vet or anywhere. During long-distance travels and vacations, crates make life easy for you and your dog. Your dog can just lay down and sleep in his crate without distracting anyone. It is also important that your pup knows how to behave well in a crate during flight as dogs need to be contained.

It makes toilet training easier.

Dogs tend to consider their crate their own space, so they will not urinate or excrete in their crate. This will make potty training your dog easier as all you need to take your dog out often to do his/her business. You should take your pup out after waking up, eating, playing, before going to bed. Puppies need to be taken out many times as they can’t control their bladder.

It creates their own space.

It creates a form of privacy for your dog. When your dog gets stressed, sleepy, and fearful, he can seek refuge in his crate. While you are away, you can save him from a lot of anxiety and keep him from danger and restricted areas of the house.

It provides benefits for adult dogs.

It saves your dog from any additional stress later. Dogs suffering from arthritis, incontinence and other illnesses don’t need any additional stress of learning crate training. Crate training can also prove useful for senior dogs. Senior dogs dealing with health issues will need a personal space to take frequent naps, rest their joints, and take a break from the noise.

It benefits all types of dogs.

For rescue dogs, it may take a while to get them adapted to new surroundings and this may make them withdrawn. Getting them a crate will help manage their anxiety and help correct apprehensive behavior. Rescue dogs are used to fighting for their own space or area so getting them their own space will make it easy for them to adapt to the change.

It can also help insecure and territorial dogs, instead of the whole house as their territory, the crate is better. This can help curtail their problematic behavior.

 Irrespective of whether you choose to use it or not a crate is a must-have for every dog owner. You should have a crate that suits the preference of your dog. Things to note when getting a crate:

  • You should get a crate that is durable, and flexible with whatever training you are doing.
  • You should get a crate mat and soft bedding to make it cozier.
  • For dogs that like to sleep in the dark, you can get a more enclosed kennel. I feel wire crates work best for other dogs.
  • You should get an adult-size crate from the start, make use of a divider to give him more space as he grows.

Crate training checklist.

The main goal is to introduce your dog to a safe place, not a lock room, so the crate itself has to be introduced as something positive. You will need:

  • Your pup’s favorite treats.
  • Your pup toys.

Introduce your pup to his crate.

After getting the right crate or kennel, the next step is to introduce your dog to the crate. I suggest you place the crate in the living room where other members linger, so he will not feel alone. Try to do this when he is relaxed, like after playing and he needs to take a nap. If you try to do this when he is energetic, he will want to keep coming outside to play. Throw in some treats and let him go in to eat them. It’s okay if he doesn’t go in fully, you don’t have to force him to. Wait till he comes outside then you throw in a treat again. Repeat this three times then wait.

Note: You should kneel in beside the crate.

If he goes in himself, mark that behavior and give him a treat. This may take a few minutes, so you have to be patient.

Throw in his favorite toys and place some around the crate.

Remember the goal is to make him comfortable so place some of his favorite items in the crate. Just like I mentioned earlier it is okay if he doesn’t go in immediately, as long as you do it right, eventually he will go in.

Feed your pup in his crate.

Another great way to make your dog adapt quickly to his crate is to feed him in it. You can start by placing his food bowl, in front or beside the crate and eventually inside the crate. Once he goes fully in, close the crate door once he is eating and open it when he is almost done. At subsequent feeding, increase the length of time he spends in the crate to get him to adapt more quickly.

Encourage your pup to spend more time in his crate.

Create a word of action like “Home”, “Kennel”, “House”, “Crate” and encourage him to get in the crate by giving his treats, toys then you close the door. You can sit by the crate, stand beside it for a few minutes, go outside then come back to let him out. For each action, reward him for staying quietly in his crate. Repeat this several times daily and in no time your dog can go in his crate on command.

Be patient.

Crate training cannot happen overnight, it takes weeks and sometimes months. So be patient with your dog, stay calm, consistent and it will pay off.

Tips for crate training.


  • Your pup should not have his collar or tag on when in his crate, as it can get stuck and cause accidents.
  • Do not allow your dog to stay too long in a crate i.e don’t lock up your dog when going to work.
  • Limit crate time based on their age and level of home training. A puppy should not spend more than 1-2 hours while an adult dog should not spend more than 3-4 hours in a crate.
  • A crate should never be used as a means of punishment. This can cause anxiety and hinder any progress.

Training takes time and patience, and if you are ready to sacrifice both, your pup will come to love his crate in no time. Good luck!