How long should you crate train a puppy? is a question often asked by new dog owners who choose to crate train their puppies, but the answer to this question is not always the same in case of duration since obviously, every dog is different, but I would rather ask when to stop crate training your puppy?
The short answer is, crate training takes as long as it’s needed for your dog to love his crate and to consider it as his den.
How can you tell it’s time to stop crate training is what we are going to see in this article in detail. And we will provide you with some practical tips to make crate training more efficient, faster, and more enjoyable.
In a hurry?! get a wire crate that’s a few inches larger than your dog because it’s best for crate training, I recommend the MidWest double door wire crate(click here to check the current price on Amazon), some training treats and a KONG Toy and make the crate great, only quit when your dog loves his crate and goes in it on his own.
When to stop crate training
Crate training a puppy is making the dog love his crate and consider it as his den. that’s the short version definition of the process.
how long you should crate train your puppy will entirely depend on how long it’s going to take your puppy to love his crate and be willing to get in it on his own.
In reality crate training never really stops since after you’ve successfully trained your dog to love his crate you always make sure it stays the safest and best place for him to be.
Nonetheless, the crate training program itself usually takes around 2-6 weeks depending on the dog breed the age of the puppy, how good you do it, and if you are using treats or no and your level of expertise dealing with dogs.
If this is your first time training a puppy, focus more on how to do it the best possible way rather than how long it takes to crate train your puppy. The better you are at crate training and the fewer mistakes you make the faster it is to crate train.
There are a couple of other questions related to how long should you crate train a puppy that we are going to answer before we can focus on how to do it better and therefore faster.
How long should you crate train a puppy at night
This is another popular question and for good reasons, nobody wants to spend nights awake dealing with a puppy crying in the crate.
Let me reassure you it often takes less time to crate train a puppy at night than it takes during the day.
The main reason is that dogs also need to sleep and at the end of the day will be tiered anyway they just need a little push.
So mostly after the first couple of days where the puppy is objecting to the crate, things are easier, you may only have to wake up once a night for a potty break if the puppy is too young.
How long should you crate train an older puppy
Crate training an older dog often takes a little longer than a younger puppy which is why most dog owners are a little anxious about how long it is going to take to crate train their older puppy.
This is mainly because older dogs already have a daily routine in place and probably have a preferred spot in the house that they consider as a den. So you have to go through resistance to change before establishing a new den.
However, you should not forget that with older dogs it’s easier to communicate and motivate, so it is not as hard as most people think it is, and it doesn’t take that long to do it.
You simply have to offer the dog a better alternative to what he has and he will follow.
Mistakes that make crate training take longer
Like any training process some mistakes could set you back and make crate training take much longer.
So here are a few most common mistakes to avoid while crate training for faster results.
Skipping crate introduction
Introducing your puppy to his crate is by far the most important step in crate training.
It’s always about the first impression if the dog is properly introduced to his crate and has time to explore it play around and in it freely before he actually has to go in it, results are much better.
On the other hand if you just shove your puppy into the crate on first sight close it and leave he’ll feel trapped and that’s the feeling he is going to associate with the crate.
this little step that many dog owners overlook could take you weeks to gain his trust again.
Dogs evaluate places based on the kind of experience they had with it and feeling trapped in a crate will certainly not make it the best place for your puppy.
Rushing the dog into the crate
Another mistake many people fall into is rushing the dog after the first signs of progress.
Even if your puppy is showing no signs of rejection towards the crate, don’t get too excited and just close the door of the crate and leave for an hour.
You have to build up trust and increase the time your dog spends in the crate gradually.
Going too fast could result in opposite results and you’ll have to work again on regaining the puppy’s trust.
Using the crate to punish the dog
Now, this one is the worst thing ever you can do when crate training a puppy. It’s pure stupidity, to be honest, and shows that the dog guardian has no clue what crate training is.
The whole idea of crate training is to make the crate the best and safest place for your dog to be. This can be achieved by associating happy feelings with being in the crate.
Time out in the crate is not exactly a happy time for any dog. You can’t yell at your dog and shove him for in the crate for a time out then expect him to feel great about going back in the crate.
Besides, punishing your dog is useless and only confuses him unless you catch him in the act.
How to make crate training faster
To make crate training faster and more efficient you need the right tools to do it.
You want to start crate training on the right paw so you need to be ready with all of the training tools before you start.
Choose the best crate for crate training
I personally use and recommend the wire crate, it is the best crate for crate training on so many levels.
Apart from the fact that it provides a lot of open space which makes exploring the crate and introducing your dog to it easier, it also comes with great features that make the crate training easier.
The possibility to have two doors will give you a nice advantage especially at the beginning of the crate training which is a crucial time where any mistake will set you back for days.
The puppy does not feel trapped inside it and he has a nice view of the outside so he can be included when the family is around.
It also comes with a divider which is a huge advantage in making the crate the exact size needed for your dog. When crate training the crate needs to be only a few inches larger than the dog so he doesn’t turn a corner into a potty corner. That’s why a divider is a great solution so you don’t have to change crates every couple of months as the puppy outgrows the old one.
I strongly recommend the MidWest double door wire crate(click here to check the current price on Amazon), it never failed me and has all the features we stated earlier.
Using toys to crate train
Toys are great boosters for crate training and if used properly they can help you speed up the process especially in the latest steps of crate training.
Chew toys are the best in terms of keeping the dog busy and distracted from the fact that he is in a closed crate.
I personally use and recommend The KONG (click here to check the current price on Amazon) the dog can have access to it at all times and I sometimes secure it to the crate to make sure the dog stays in there.
Filling the Kong with treats or food can turn it into a food puzzle that will keep your puppy busy for a while.
I use it mostly after serving meals in the crate and close the door while my dog feeds so it helps increase the time he spends in the crate after his meals.
Using training treats as lures and rewards
Many dog parents prefer crate training without treats which is ok, however, training treats do a great job speeding up the process especially at the early steps of crate training.
Using the treats to lure the puppy into the crate while introducing him to it for the first time makes it easier.
It also helps reward and motivates the puppy to get in the crate which is really hard to do without treats.
You have to pay attention though to how many treats you use and how are they on calories so you don’t mess with your dog’s daily calorie intake.
You may want to check this article about using training treats and how much you can use the best and safest brands and how to phase out.
Start crate training at a young age
how early can you crate train a puppy? well, the younger the better, puppies 8 weeks old are much easier to crate train than older dogs.
In fact, the younger the puppy the faster the crate training process takes.
Of course, each dog is different, and not all of us crate train the same way that’s why many of yous ask how long should you crate train a puppy, but as a general rule the younger you start the better and faster it is.
This is mainly because younger puppies don’t have previous experiences or an established routine that you have to change, it’s a blank page that you have to fill with what you see fit.
How long do you crate train a puppy: conclusion
So to come up with a clear conclusion about when to stop crate training your puppy, let me put it this way:
- Crate training as a process takes about 2-6 weeks in general depending on the dog and your level of expertise.
- Crate training takes as long as it’s needed for your dog to love his crate and consider it his den that he goes to, to relax.
- Crate training needs maintenance if I may say, meaning you always have to make sure the crate is a nice place for your dog.
- When your dog is ready you’ll know that it’s time to stop crate training.
So our final answer to the question: how long should you crate train a puppy is still as much as it’s needed to make the crate great.