How To Crate Train A Puppy At Night

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When I first tried to crate train my dog, I felt so guilty because of his whining & begging that I couldn’t sleep! But, crate training doesn’t have to be a huge punishment for both the pet & the parent.

In fact, dogs love crates because it makes them feel cozy & protected. If you introduce the crate to them in the correct manner, it’s more than likely that it will become their new safe space!

Read on how to find out how to efficiently crate train your puppy at night!

What Is Crate Training?

dogs in crate

Crate training is when you train your pup to sleep in his crate throughout the night. This is an integral skill for young pups to learn because it will help them in their house training progression & will also teach them the foundations for obedience training.

The crate is a den substitute for your pup and is a place for your furry friend to relax by themselves. So, veterinarians agree that crate training isn’t harmful to your pup & it’s actually a good training tool to teach your pooch.

Of course, it’s important to give your pooch ample play time outside of the kennel & give them lots of potty breaks if they need to be in the crate during the day.

How Do I Crate Train My Puppy?

Here are a few super helpful tips that can make crate training a breeze. If you’re really struggling with getting your pup to fall asleep in their kennel, try out some of these techniques and see if you notice an improvement!

If you want to know when you should progress with the training and the exact steps you need to take, there’s a puppy crate training schedule you can refer to. 

A Proper Introduction

Dog with a ball in a crate

It’s crucial that you take the time to slowly introduce the kennel to your dog. If you just lock your dog in there with no warning, he will associate it with negative feelings like fear and anxiety and think of it as a prison.

You need your dog to consider his kennel as his safe space. The kennel is where he can take a break from all the overexcitement he deals with throughout the day.

This requires a great deal of patience because it’s likely that your dog won’t be comfortable with it at first. Keep the crate filled with toys and your dog’s favorite bed. Entice your pup to enter by throwing puppy treats in there.

It’s important to not close the door behind him when your dog enters the kennel for the first time because it could spook your pup. A spooked dog often indulges in bad crate behaviors like crying or whining. Instead, let him explore the space on his own terms & leave if he wants.

As he is nibbling on his favorite treat in the kennel, he will begin to associate it with positive thoughts. This will make further training much easier.

Once your dog begins to sleep in the kennel, leave the door open so that he can come and go as he pleases. Eventually, he will be comfortable with the kennel door closed & locked as well!

Placement

black and white dog in metal cage or crate

The placement of the kennel is crucial to ensure that your pup doesn’t become agitated. Keep the kennel fairly close to you, so that your dog is able to see you at all times.

The crate should be kept in a super relaxing space with limited noise & lights. This will put your pup in a sleepy mood.

Also, if your dog is jumpy, then putting him in a very active room with lots of noise just means that he will keep waking up.

You can also consider crate covers if you want your dog to be totally relaxed with no interruption from the outside world.

Tire Him Out!

The best way to make your dog sleep in the kennel is to tucker him out. Make sure that you are giving your dog tons of indoor exercise, as well as outdoor exercise.

Play lots of games like tug of war, fetch, and catch! These are really fun ways for your dog to expend some excess energy before bed so that he is ready to hit the hay when the sun sets!

Dogs need both physical and mental exercise to be fully content. So, engage in frequent training sessions. This could be house training or just regular behavioral training. Whatever it is, your dog will love to focus their efforts on simple tasks & get rewarded with yummy treats!

Plus, all that mental effort will tire them out a lot. This means that they won’t argue as much when you try to get them to sleep in the crate. This just speeds up the process of getting them kennel-trained & housebroken.

No Food or Water

Chocolate Labrador Puppy lying down in a wire crate 7 weeks old

It’s important that you set your dog’s routine with crate training in mind. For a pee-free nighttime routine, you should stop your dog from drinking water around 30 minutes before bed.

Ensure that your pup’s dinner is 3-4 hours before bedtime. Take your dog out for a potty break 10 minutes before bed so that they are able to sleep throughout the night.

Understand Your Puppy’s Communication

Crate training is a completely new process for your dog & it can be super overwhelming. It’s crucial that you listen to him & try to understand what he is telling you.

Is your dog feeling slightly uncomfortable with this new situation? Or, is he feeling overwhelmingly anxious and needs to be removed as soon as possible?

You can understand the difference as you listen to his barking. There are 2 main types of barking: distress & demand barking.

Distress barking is done when your dog’s needs are met & they don’t need to go to the bathroom, but they feel tons of anxiety and need to be comforted.

In this case, you can pet them through the crate bars, sit by them, move their crate so that they can clearly see you, and reward periods of time that he goes without whining.

Demand barking is done when your dog has some requirement that needs to be met. For example, he may need to go to the bathroom. If he is still barking loudly after going to the bathroom and being left alone for a few minutes, then your dog is trying to use bad behavior to be let out of the crate.

In this scenario, don’t give in by letting them out of the kennel as this can reinforce this behavior. Instead, ignore them while they are barking and reward them with a treat for a full minute of silence. Show your pup that barking isn’t a way for them to get out of their crate.

Be Patient!

Pug breed dog lying inside kennel crate

Dog training is a long & time-consuming process, and this is especially true for crate training. Not only does your dog have to learn how to modify his sleeping patterns, but they also have to learn where it’s acceptable to go potty.

Your dog is going to make tons of mistakes, but it’s important to stay consistent & have lots of patience.

You will know if the crate training is working when your dog naturally walks into the kennel and lays down in there by his own will. This means that your pup sees the kennel as his safe haven & you probably won’t have to entice him to enter it anymore.

Commonly Asked Questions

How Long Will It Take?

Crate training can be a really long process or a particularly short one. It’s all dependent on your dog’s ability to pick up a new behavior.

Typically, crate training should take about 6-8 months of dedicated training.

To speed up this process, you must figure out your dog’s motivation. Some dogs prefer food, whereas others just need words of positive affirmation. Use your dog’s favorite motivator to promote behaviors like going into the crate of their own volition, and laying down in it.

It’s important to maintain patience throughout this process. Never yell at your dog if they leave the crate because this can create a negative association.

This will only elongate the process of crate training because your dog will never want to enter the crate again.

How Do I Stop My Dog Crying At Night?

Pitbull barking in a crate

Crying in the crate at night is a totally normal response to crate training. A dog that is not used to sleeping in the kennel might feel slightly uncomfortable with having to stay in it overnight.

Your puppy may feel lonely without his owner or littermates.

To stop whining, you need to ignore the behavior. It’s okay to let your pup whine throughout the night. Don’t remove your dog from the crate when they whine because he will continue to cry whenever he wants to leave. He will see whining as a way to escape this uncomfortable situation.

Make sure that you are giving him enough potty breaks & toys so that he isn’t as uncomfortable & he is sufficiently entertained.

Also, to limit crying, make sure that your dog is all tuckered out before you send him to bed. If he’s tired, then he will automatically go to sleep when he enters the crate & won’t have any energy to cry.

Conclusion

Crate training can be a tricky process, but it’s made a lot easier if you introduce the kennel to him compassionately, place the kennel in the right place, make a good bedtime routine, understand your dog’s body language, & remain patient.

If you have any questions on this process or any tricks you’d like to add, please leave a comment down below! Share this article with other pet parents wanting to give crate training a try.

Thanks for reading!

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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