Is It Possible To Crate Train Your Dog In A Weekend?

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As a dog owner, you may be wondering if it’s possible to crate train your dog in a weekend. The answer is yes! With a little patience and perseverance, you can successfully crate-train your dog in just a few days. Here are some tips to get you started.

Yes, It Is Possible To Crate Train Your Dog In A Weekend!

French Bulldog puppy resting inside a metal crate

The first step is to get your dog used to the crate. Put it in a room where your dog spends a lot of time, such as the kitchen or living room. Put a soft bed or blanket inside and let your dog explore it at his own pace.

Once he seems comfortable with the crate, you can start closing the door for short periods of time while your dog is inside. I would usually increase the time the door is closed until the dog is comfortable being in the crate.

Pick The Right Size Crate

The first step in successfully crate training your dog is to pick the right size crate. It should be big enough for them to stand up and turn around but not so big that they can use one end as a bathroom and the other as a bedroom. I usually get a crate for puppies that’s about the size of what they will be as an adult and use a divider until they’ve grown into it.

Just make sure it’s a comfy crate if they’re going to be spending a lot of time in there or if you crate for sleep. If you’re unsure which crate size to get, err on the side of too big rather than too small—you can always block off part of the crate with a divider if needed.

A note here is to say that if your dog doesn’t seem to acclimate well to the crate at all after attempting to train them, then try an exercise pen at first before gradually moving to the crate. Give it a couple of days before starting to train them.

Start Slow

Beagle relaxing on the crate

Once you’ve got the perfect crate for your pup, it’s time to start the training process. And the best way to do that is to take things slowly at first. Let them explore their new crate on their own terms—without shutting the door—for a few days before even beginning to train.

Make It A Positive Experience

The key to successful crate training is making it a positive experience for your dog. That means lots of treats and positive reinforcement whenever they go inside on their own or stay calm while the crate door is closed. Over time, they’ll associate their crate with good things—and eventually, they’ll be happy to spend time there whenever you need them to.

Be Consistent

One of the most important things about crate training is being consistent. That means putting your dog in the crate at regular intervals (e.g., every few hours) and letting them out on a regular schedule as well. If you’re inconsistent, it will only confuse your dog and make the process take longer.

Differing Opinions on Crate Training

As a proud dog owner, you want what’s best for your furry friend. But with crate training, there are differing opinions in the dog world about what’s best. Some people swear by crate training, while others say it’s cruel and unusual punishment.

So, what’s the verdict? Let’s explore the pros and cons of crate training to help you make the best decision for you and your pup.

When choosing between a wire crate, mesh crate, or any other kind, a soft mesh crate isn’t ideal for training if your dog has destructive and unwanted behaviors.

The Pros of Crate Training

black and white dog in metal cage or crate

There are several benefits of crate training. First, it can help with potty training. A dog is less likely to potty in his crate if he knows that’s where he sleeps. Second, it can give your dog a sense of security. A properly introduced and acclimated dog will see his crate as his own personal space—a place where he can go to relax and feel safe.

Third, it can prevent destructive behaviors. A crated dog can’t chew on your furniture or have accidents on your floor. And fourth, it can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency; your dog will be much easier (and safer) to transport if he’s already accustomed to being in a crate. It’s also a good idea to crate at night after you’ve finished your training to reinforce everything.

  1. A crate can give your dog a sense of security.
  2. It can be helpful when potty training your pup.
  3. A crate can keep your dog safe when you’re not home.
  4. It can be a convenient way to transport your dog.
  5. Some dogs actually enjoy spending time in their crates!

The Cons of Crate Training

Of course, there are also some downsides to crate training. First, it requires time and patience. You can’t just put your dog in a crate and expect him to be happy about it. He needs time to adjust and get used to it.

Second, some dogs just don’t do well in crates, no matter how hard you try. If your dog is one of those dogs, don’t force him into it—it’s not worth the stress for either of you. The next step is to contact a trainer or behaviorist.

Third, crates can be expensive. A good quality crate can cost upwards of a few hundred. And fourth, crates can be dangerous if not used properly. A dog who panics while in his crate could hurt himself trying to escape, especially a wire crate.

Sad dog in crate

For these reasons, it’s important to make sure you’re fully committed to crate training before you begin and that you’re following all the safety guidelines regarding crates and dogs.

  1. Dogs are social animals and need companionship, so crating them for long periods of time can be lonely and stressful.
  2. If not done properly, crate training can actually make your dog fear his crate instead of seeing it as a safe place.
  3. Dogs who are crated for too long can become anxious and destructive when they’re finally let out or while in the crate, making it a possibly harmful situation.
  4. Crate training requires time, patience, and consistency—three things that many people lack!
  5. Not all dogs take crate training easily; some just never get used to it no matter how hard you try.

But How Can I Train My Dog In One Weekend?

If you’re going to start crate training, it’s recommended you know first how long dogs can hold their bladder so you can be more informed about the crate training process. From puppies to adults, the transition can either be easy or hard, but with some patience and consistency, you’ll be able to get it down. Training your dog on a weekend is a tough task, so be prepared to put in some work and follow a crate training schedule.

Age And How Long They Can Hold It

Purebred puppy Golden Retriever in a cage for potty training

Puppies have different needs than adult dogs, so if you’re trying to crate train a puppy, you’ll need to know how long you can leave them in there. The general rule of thumb is dogs can usually hold their bladder and maintain bowel control for up to the amount of 30 minutes calculated per month old.

So, for example:

  • 8-10 weeks old – @30-60 minutes
  • 11-14 weeks old – @1-3 hours
  • 15-16 weeks old – @3-4 hours
  • Older than 16 weeks – @4-5 hours

So, for example:

  • 8-10 weeks old – @30-60 minutes
  • 11-14 weeks old – @1-3 hours
  • 15-16 weeks old – @3-4 hours
  • Older than 16 weeks – @4-5 hours

If you need to leave them there longer and work outside the home, get a dog walker or someone that can walk them for a midday break.

Crate Training Schedule

Day One

Pug dog leaving a plastic crate

You’ll want to leave the crate door open during these crate training sessions. Make sure you’re devoting an entire day, as this will need consistency. Just make sure to give them frequent bathroom breaks. Make it a chilling break with lots of fun in between.

Following these crate duration guidelines, you will have a crate-trained pup in no time! It’s also important to realize that exercise is a big deal when working with dogs to tire them out and make them more apt to go into their crate for crate naps.

It’s usually best to start out with crate training before nighttime and follow a crate training puppy schedule if you have a puppy. These steps are generally for daytime crate training. Make sure to take frequent breaks from training, as most dogs have an attention span of about 5-10 minutes.

  1. Make the crate seem like a fun place to be; place chew toys and treats in there for your dog to explore. Each crate training session should be fun.
  2. If you see your dog go around the crate, sniffing at it, going in it, or any action that suggests they’re interested, praise and treat them immediately. You can toss treats and toys into the crate for more positive association.
  3. Feed them their food in the crate to create a more positive association with it. If they don’t want to go all the way into the crate to eat, then place it at the door of the crate or just inside the opening. Gradually increase training time before giving their dinner in the crate.
  4. Make sure you are always praising and giving treats when they do something positive with the crate.
  5. Make sure there are plenty of bathroom potty breaks before bedtime.

Day Two

Puppy dog biting a toy inside cage

This will be a day of transition, so bring lots of praise, treats, toys, or whatever else your dog finds high value enough to do tricks for. As the day before when your day ends, make sure to only send them to bed with bathroom breaks beforehand.

  1. Have a cue word they will recognize, such as “Time for bed!” or “Crate up!” though, make sure you do this when they are about to go into or are in the crate so they will associate it with those words.
  2. This is a great time to sit next to the crate with your dog and toss treats to them, escalating the distance until they are interested in going into the crate, or actually going into the crate. Make sure to not only treat but use your cue words and praise.
  3. You’ll also need a release word. One that’s commonly used is “Okay! All done!”. Once your dog is in the crate, praise and treat, and then ‘release’ them by giving the cue word for them to come out.
  4. Consider the No Free Lunch method. Your dog gets no treats or praise without first performing or doing the trick or action, even if they don’t do it completely correctly. Always train, praise, and if you have to, mold them with your training.
  5. Leave them for a bit to check out their crate.
  6. Later, when you’re ready, you’ll want to give the cue and see how your dog reacts. If they’re still scared of the crate or don’t want to enter, you may need to go a few steps back to reinforce what you’ve taught already.
  7. If your dog goes into the crate when you ask, praise them like there’s no tomorrow. Give them lots of praise and tasty treats while they’re inside the crate.
  8. Repetition is key here. Repeat these steps as needed throughout the day until they get it down.
  9. Leave them for a little while if they’re feeling comfortable in the crate and start closing the door for a short amount of time. Start around 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the time they’re in there.
  10. Release your dog after each time with your cue word and repeat the previous step several times. Repetition helps progress!
  11. Be extremely generous with your special treats and praise during this time.
  12. After you’re done with these steps (yes, we know there’s a lot!), repeat them several times until your dog seems to have it down.
  13. Don’t go too quickly through the process or you’ll have to start all over again. Remember, the key here is consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement.

Day Three

Dog sitting in a wire dog crate in a living room looking at the camera

After all your hard work the past two days, you’ll want to make sure you’re consistently giving cues to treat and reward and taking lots of time for each step to make sure you’re getting it correct.

This isn’t about speed; it’s about doing it right. If your dog doesn’t seem comfortable yet after day two, then you may need to retrace your steps and start back on day two again. This time we’ll want to be calm, though, and not give negative attention so we don’t get your dog too excited each time.

  1. This is the day you’ll start leaving them in their crate a little longer. Now that they’re comfortable with it, they’ll be more likely to go in and be calm for a while as long as you give them ample ways to keep themselves occupied.
  2. Each time you leave them in their crate, try to give them something positive they can associate it with. A toy (Kongs filled with peanut butter and kibble), or anything that will keep them occupied for a little while as you’re leaving and entering.
  3. Stay out of the room for increasingly longer amounts of time, starting with about 10 minutes at first, taking half-hour breaks in between training sessions.
  4. Return once you’ve stayed out long enough; go back and release them with your cue word. Rinse, and repeat several times until it seems your dog can handle longer periods in the crate.
  5. During this time, you’ll also want to be mindful of your routine. Anything such as keys, coats, shoes, or something that may make them anxious as you leave, take them with you as you’re training and randomly jingle the keys lightly, put on a coat while you’re around the house, or even shoes. This way, they’ll get used to these things and not equate them with anxiety.
  6. Repeat this process as much as you need until they are calm, and remember to reward or praise them. If your dog cries for attention, don’t return to the room until they’re quiet for at least 10-15 seconds. Calmly release them and repeat until you’re also ready to crate before nighttime so they can learn to hold it most of the night.

Conclusion

Only you can decide whether these crate guidelines are right for you and your furry friend. There are pros and cons to using this method of training, so it’s important to do your research and make sure that you’re making the best decision for both you and your pup.

No matter what route you decide to go regarding crate training (or any other type of training), the most important thing is that you remain patient, consistent, and loving throughout the process. Good luck!

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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