Crate training in an apartment will not make you the lovely neighbor in the building; you sure will not be looking forward to the next neighbors meeting.
When introducing your dog to his crate especially for the night you may have to wake up during the night. Which is fine since it’s your dog, however, this will not be fine for the 80 years old neighbor or the kid that has school the next day.
When crate training especially in the first few days; the biggest issue you will have is the dog barking and whining in his crate. This is exactly why crate training in an apartment is not easy.
So how can you crate train your dog in an apartment without disturbing the neighbors?
Crate training in an apartment potential issues
Before we jump into some suggestions about how you can crate train your dog in an apartment; let us first identify the potential issues you may encounter while doing it.
- Of course, the screaming and whining in the crate at night is the obvious one. This could get you in a lot of trouble with the neighbors and you can’t get enough rest since you have to be there whenever he barks.
- Not being able to crate train properly since you can’t ignore the puppy’s whining.
- Crate training will be slower and progress will take longer.
- You have limited options when it comes to exercising the dog.
How to crate train a puppy in an apartment
When you start crate training your dog it does not matter if you live in an apartment or a mansion; the process is the same the steps are all the same.
The only thing you can’t do is to ignore your dog at night while he is crying. And we will go back to that and how to deal with it.
But the best thing you can start with is to introduce your dog to his crate. You want your dog to feel ok around the crate before he goes in it for the night.
Introducing the puppy to the neighbors
This actually may not be a bad idea; if you are close to your neighbors and have a good relationship it is better to just take your puppy and knock on their door.
Introduce your puppy and let them know they have a new neighbor and that you are going to crate train him and there might be some noise.
And they can let you know if it gets loud. this is always better than the landlord telling you about it.
Some people are just dog lovers and will understand and the others at least would appreciate letting them know.
This is probably going to help a lot with any potential complaints.
If you don’t really know the neighbors that much a nice postcard will do. Hey there it’s your neighbor from apartment N ° I just got home a new puppy and I am planning to crate train him; I apologize for any noise or disturbance; don’t hesitate to let me know if it gets too loud I’ll do my best to keep it down this won’t take long.
Choosing the right crate
I often recommend using the wire crate especially the one with two doors and a divider for crate training. But for crate training in an apartment, I would say you have to get it. It is the best crate for doing just that.
I recommend the Midwest iCrate wire crate(Click to check the price on Amazon).
This crate is perfect for crate training a new puppy. It has two doors and it’s wire made, this provides a lot of open space that helps you introduce your dog to the crate at first without any resistance.
It also comes with a divider so you can have the large crate at the start to make the dog comfortable exploring it. Then you can use the divider to make the crate size convenient to the dog’s size.
I want to point out that for crate training the crate needs to be perfect in size not too big and not too small.
I suggest you read this article about how to measure your dog for a crate and how to choose the best size.
The wire crate with the divider allows you to adjust the size so you don’t have to change crates when the dog outgrows the old one.
Preparing the dog for his crate
You should never introduce your dog to something when it’s time to do it. Meaning you don’t just take your dog at night and lock him in a crate he never saw and leave.
You should start early in the morning by just taking the puppy on a leash and lead him around the crate. Do that for a few minutes and let him sniff it around and explore it.
When the dog is comfortable around it and you see no bad reactions, you can unleash him and let him explore.
You want to open the crate and secure the door so it does not close by accident and scare the puppy.
Let the dog get inside the crate and around it but don’t force him to.
Do this for a few minutes then move on to something else and go back after a while. Keep repeating this throughout the morning.
Luring the dog to the crate
Now, that your dog has been exploring the crate and shows no panic signs; we can move to the next step which is getting in the crate.
Of course, you can’t just shove the puppy in the crate and lock it you need something to lure him in the crate.
This is where training treats come in handy; treats are your best friend for the next few days. So you want to prepare some before you start crate training your puppy.
Training treats can be a bit tricky to use since you don’t want to mess with your dog nutrition. Also after a while your dog may start getting used to treats and you will need to phase out.
Don’t worry I got your back again and have an article about how to use training treats; how much you can use and how to phase out on them.
You also have to use a safe low on calories brand of treats which could be hard since pet supplies stores have hundreds of products on their shelves.
I recommend strongly the Bil-Jac VetDogs Treats(click here to check the current price on Amazon). These are just great dogs love them they are low in calories and made and sourced in the USA so they are safe to use. I also like this brand because it supports a great cause by providing service dogs to disabled veterans.
Once you have the treats ready start tossing some in the crate and let the dog get it inside. When he is in the crate praise him heavily and reward with treats.
You want to keep rewarding with treats inside the crate until the dog figures out that being in the crate gets him nice treats. When he does he will start to offer to get in the crate to get some. And that’s the sign that you can move to the next step.
Choosing the best spot for the crate
The next thing you want to do is to choose the perfect spot for the crate. This is really important in making the dog feel comfortable in his crate.
In the first few days, your dog crate needs to be in your room for the nights. You can place it in the living area during the day but at night you need to be there.
During the day choose a nice spot where the dog can be close to you. But also avoid hot or windy spots or dark and noisy places like next to a refrigerator.
During the night you need to be close to stop the dog from whining or barking; and also comfort him that you are close.
Making the crate great
Your next move is to make the crate the best spot in the house for your puppy. This is the only way he will stay in it without embarrassing you with the neighbors.
You can use two things to make the crate a great place for your dog to be.
Food and toys; dogs like places where they have the best experiences. So you need to associate happy moments with the crate and what’s better than food and toys.
Once the dog is getting in the crate for the treats you can start feeding him his meals in there. At first, you want to keep the doors open while he eats until he is comfortable enough. then you can close the crate door and open it when he finishes his meal.
And slowly start to increase the time your dog spends in the crate with the door closed after his meals.
You also want to use toys to your advantage. There are two ways to use toys.
Putting the toys in the crate to distract the dog and avoid boredom and using interactive toys to exercise the dog before he goes in the crate.
Chewing toys are the ones your dog can have access to all the time even in the crate and they do a great job. I suggest using the kong chew toy(Click here to check the current price on Amazon).
The kong is just great it can be filled with treats and will keep the dog calm and distracted for hours. And chew toys actually calm the dogs but make sure to inspect the condition of the toy regularly and retire the one that starts to look too mangled. Having two at your disposal would be the smart move.
You can read this article about the different types of toys and how to use every type to train your dog and phase out on treats.
Exercising the dog
Now, this is really important and many dog owners overlook this part. If you exercise the dog enough before bedtime he is more likely to be too tired and just sleep through the night.
Make sure you have playtime sessions and outdoor walks to reduce the dog’s energy before going in the crate.
You have to be careful though young puppies can’t handle too much exercise a few minutes could be enough for some dogs.
Nonetheless, every dog needs a play session just before going to sleep. Also, make sure to stop food and water for about two hours before going to bed and to have a potty break too.
This way your puppy won’t need one at least not a few minutes after going to bed.
using interactive toys is the best way to exercise as it helps you bond with your dog.
Preparing for the night
Now, this is the best part; now is where you can check if all the steps you followed have shown results.
You want the crate to be placed very close to your bed in your bedroom.
Even if you exercise your dog and do a great job introducing him to the crate and playing around it and having the best time in it. You can have some whining or barking in the first few days.
Typically if your dog has already eaten had his potty break and exercised enough, I would suggest you just ignore the whining. However in this case you are crate training in an apartment and can’t let the dog bark in his crate for an hour during the night.
So how can you stop your dog from whining in the crate?
All you have to do is break his barking cycle every time he starts. And this is percisly why you need the crate by your bed.
If the dog is in his crate for the night and starts to bark or whining gently talk to him. He will stop to see the origin of the sound and when he stops praise him verbally and toss in a treat.
Continue doing the same thing whenever he starts whining and don’t reward him until he stops.
Young puppies sleep most of the day up until 18 hours a day so typically he can’t keep doing it for long.
If he is too concentrated on his barking and doesn’t respond to your voice gently tap on the side of the crate to stop him and then do the same thing when he stops reward and praise.
If you continue doing this of a day or two the dog will catch up and figure out you don’t like him whining in there.
This will make you tired if every time he barks you have to jump on it during the night; however, it will reduce the barking considerably during the night and speed up the process. This is why you want to choose the best time to start crate training the puppy.
When to start crate training in an apartment
Crate training in an apartment could be stressful if every time the dog wakes up you have to stop him from barking. So taking a few days off to crate train your dog might be your best option.
If however, you can’t get a couple of days off from work the weekend is the next best thing.
Choosing the weekend to start crate training gives you two good advantages.
The first is that most of your neighbors will probably go to sleep late than during the week. Kids have no school and no work for adults, so they can tolerate a little noise.
The second advantage is that you can use the whole day to work on training. You can start very early to make sure the dog has enough interaction with the crate.
Also, try to have the dog go to bed a bit early so by the time he is tired and sleeps most people would be just going to bed.
Soundproofing the dog crate
There is another option to reduce the noise of the dog while crate training in an apartment. soundproofing the dog crate.
I personally don’t use it and don’t recommend it but if you have no choice this could help.
So how can you soundproof a dog crate?
First, you need a crate cover which is another good reason to choose the crate I recommended earlier. Since it has a perfect fit cover you can get.
This is the cover I for the midwest dog crate, it helps a lot making the crate more intimate and help your dog sleep.
You can also use it to soundproof the crate by installing Foam Wall Panels in it.
I would recommend using the Foam Sound Absorption Wall Panels(Click here to check the current price on Amazon).
These are so good they are used for studios and do a great job absorbing the noise. You can use the cover to install them in there are very compact with one inch wide.
You can also soundproof the room but to be honest I would not go that far since it only going to take a week at most. Unless you have some ill neighbor you really don’t want to bother by the noise which in this case could be the humane thing to do.