Crate Training In An Apartment – Your Ultimate Guide

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If you live in an apartment, chances are you’re familiar with the joys and challenges that come with having a furry friend. One of the most important things you can do for your pet (and your sanity) is to crate train them.

Crate training may seem daunting, but we’re here to tell you it’s totally doable—and we’ll even throw in a few tips on how to make crate training in an apartment easy.

Crate Training In An Apartment – Your Ultimate Guide

German Shepherd puppy inside crate

Crate training can be a great way to give your dog a sense of security and a place to call their own, but it’s not always easy to do in an apartment. There are a few things you need to take into consideration, like your dog’s size and energy level, as well as your own apartment’s layout.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Read on for our ultimate guide to crate training in an apartment and the benefits and difficulties of crate training.

Benefits Of Crate Training

There are many benefits to crate training, both for you and your dog. Crate training can help with potty training, as dogs are naturally clean animals and don’t enjoy soiling their sleeping area. Crate training can also help reduce separation anxiety, as your dog will learn that being in their crate does not mean they are being isolated from you.

Crate training can help prevent destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or shoes, as your dog will learn that those items are off-limits when they are in their crate. Finally, crate training can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency, such as a fire or natural disaster, as it will allow easy transport for your dog.

There are several benefits to crate training your dog, including:

  • It’s easier to house-train a dog who is crate trained. Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area, so if you crate them at night or during naps, they will learn to hold it until they are let out.
  • A crate can prevent destructive chewing or the worsening of separation anxiety. If you leave your dog unsupervised and they have access to things they shouldn’t chew on (like shoes, furniture, or trash), they may start chewing out of boredom or anxiety. Crating them when you can’t watch them will help prevent this destructive behavior.
  • A crate provides a safe space for your dog. Dogs are den animals by nature, so having a crate gives them a place to call their own, where they can relax and feel safe. This is especially important during thunderstorms or fireworks when loud noises can be scary for dogs.
  • It can make traveling with your dog easier. If your dog is used to being crated, it will be less stressful for them to travel in a crate in the car or on an airplane. This will make the experience more enjoyable for both of you!

Size Matters

Dog with a ball in a crate

One of the most important things to consider when crate training in an apartment is the size of your dog. If you have a small dog, like a Chihuahua or Toy Poodle, you may get away with a smaller crate. However, if you have a larger breed, like a German Shepherd or Golden Retriever, you’ll need to get a properly sized crate they can comfortably stand up and turn around in.

You also need to take into consideration the size of your apartment. If you live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, chances are you don’t have a lot of extra space for a big crate. If you do feel you need a bigger crate and your dog has an accident in there, you’ve given them too much space. Try a divider for crate training to give them less space to have an accident but enough to be comfortable until they grow into it.

Choose The Right Location

Another important thing to consider when in the process of crate training in an apartment is where you’re going to put the crate. You want to choose a location that’s comfortable for your dog but won’t be too disruptive for you. You also want to make sure the location is convenient for you.

If your dog is having trouble adjusting to the crate, here are some ideas for crate alternatives to help them be more comfortable.

So placing the crate near the door or close to where you’ll be spending most of your time is usually ideal if that’s the situation you’re in. Otherwise, a good place would be in the living room or bedroom, depending on how sensitive they are to activity.

Start Slow

dog eating from a bowl inside his crate

When first starting out, it’s important not to overdo it with the crate training. You don’t want to leave your pup in there for hours on end from day one, or they’ll associate the crate with being alone and could become anxious or stressed. Instead, start by putting them in there for short periods of time while you’re still home so they can get used to it gradually.

You can also try feeding them their meals in the crate or giving them special treats so they associate it with something positive. Once they seem comfortable being in there for short periods of time while you’re home, then you can start slowly increasing the time they spend in there until they’re able to stay in there calmly for up to several hours at a time.

How Do I Crate Train My Dog?

There are a variety of crates on the market, but for apartment living, we recommend a wire crate that is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Once you’ve got your crate, set it up in a quiet area of your apartment where your dog can have some peace and quiet.

Next, it’s time to start the acclimation process. This is where you slowly get your dog used to being in the crate. Begin by placing their food bowl just inside the door of the crate so they have to go inside to eat, or if they’re not hungry, play some crate games.

Each day, move the food bowl a little further into the crate until it is all the way back. You can begin closing the door while they eat. Start by closing it for just a few seconds and then gradually increase the time you leave them closed in.

Once your dog is comfortable eating in their crate with the door closed, you can begin leaving them in there for short periods of time while you step out of the room. Start with just a few minutes and then gradually increase the time you’re gone.

It’s important to make sure that every time you leave them in their crate, you return before they get too anxious or stressed out. The goal is for them to associate their crate with positive things (like food) instead of negative things (like being left alone) and become crate aversive.

If everything goes according to plan, after a few weeks of consistent training, your dog should be fully adjusted to their new crate and be able to stay calm while you’re gone. And that’s it!

Beagle inside the crate

Crate training takes time and patience, but following these simple steps, as discussed above, will help make the process go smoothly:

  1. Choose the right size crate. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in their crate—they shouldn’t be cramped. If you’re not sure what size to get, ask your veterinarian or bring your dog with you when you go shopping so you can find one that’s just right.
  2. Make crate time inviting. Put a soft bed or blanket inside and place some toys inside as well or even some nice treats. You want your dog to see their crate as a happy place, don’t use the crate for punishment.
  3. Start slow. Don’t just put your dog in their crate and expect them to be okay with it right away—that’s not fair! Instead, introduce them to the crate gradually by feeding them meals in there, training treats, their favorite treat, and letting them hang out near it with the door open before trying to close it.
  4. Be patient and consistent. Like anything else in life, learning takes time! Don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t take to crates immediately—just keep working at it, and eventually, they’ll get there.


How do I get my dog to stop crying in my apartment?

puppy barking inside crate

There are a few different reasons your dog might cry in its crate. The most common reason is that the dog is bored or anxious. If your dog is bored, they may cry because they want something to do.

Try putting some toys or a chew bone in the crate with them, so they have something to occupy their time. If your dog is anxious, they may cry because they’re nervous about being in the crate or because they miss you. Here, try putting a piece of your clothing in the crate with them, so they have your scent, or consider getting them a dog-specific anxiety medication from your veterinarian.

Should I leave water in a puppy crate at night?

When I was a first-time dog owner, I brought my puppy (Liam) home; I had a million questions. One of the most pressing questions on my mind was whether to leave water in his crate at night.

Puppies need to be hydrated, especially if they’re still working on potty training. Provide one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. So, for a 10-pound puppy, that would be 10 ounces of water or about two cups.

Most experts recommend removing your puppy’s water bowl before bedtime to avoid accidents overnight. If your puppy is crate trained, you may wonder if it’s okay to leave water in his crate at night. The answer is yes, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, make sure the water bowl is big enough that your puppy can’t tip it over and make a mess. Second, don’t put the water bowl too close to the door of the crate, or your puppy may knock it over when he stands up to greet you in the morning. Third, consider freezing a small block of ice and putting it in the bowl, so your puppy has access to fresh, cold water throughout the night.

What happens if you don’t crate-train your dog?

Jack Russell Terrier dog inside a special plastic gray crate animal

I never thought I’d be one of those people. You know, the person who has their dog sleep in a crate, especially when I had my first dog, a little firecracker of a dachshund. But then I got my Saluki puppy Liam, and I quickly realized that crate training is not only necessary, but it’s also incredibly important. If you’re on the fence about crate training your dog, let me share with you some of the reasons you should definitely do it.

  1. Dogs are den animals. This means that they feel safe and secure when they’re in small, enclosed spaces. A crate provides your dog with a space that they can call their own, and this can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.
  2. Crate training helps with potty training. Dogs are naturally clean animals, and they don’t want to soil their sleeping area. If you crate train your dog, they’ll quickly learn that they need to hold it until they’re let out of the crate.
  3. Crate training can help prevent destructive behavior. If you leave your dog alone in the house with no outlet for their energy, they may start chewing on furniture or shoes or have accidents indoors. However, if they’re crated when you’re not home, they won’t be able to get into mischief.
  4. Crate training can make travel less stressful for both you and your dog. If your dog is used to being in a crate, then they’ll be much more relaxed when traveling in the car or staying in a hotel room. And that means less stress for you!


Crate training in an apartment can be tough, but it’s definitely doable if you have a good understanding of crate behavior! Just remember to take into consideration your dog’s size, energy level, and your apartment’s layout when choosing which type of crate to get and where to put it.

And start slow! If you try to do too much too soon, it could backfire and make the entire process harder than it needs to be. But if you take things gradually, before long, you’ll have a well-trained pup who loves their new crate!

Did you enjoy this article? Show some love and share it! Let us know in the comments if you have any tips and tricks for crate and potty training while living in an apartment.

Meet our writer

Karen is a former pet business owner with 17+ years of experience in training and taking care of pets. She currently owns three dogs (a greyhound, saluki, and golden mix) and has gone through several types of programs to further her education in the pet world.

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