There is a common misconception in our society that dog crates are cruel, they are regarded as cages rather than what they truly represent for dogs, a den.
The most common argument you’ll get while conversing with a pet owner or read on some article is, imagine yourself locked at night in a cage.
And you can immediately spot where they got things mixed up, we are not dogs, we don’t see things the same way, we don’t feel the same way.
For a dog it’s perfectly normal to be in a closed crate at night, they are denning animals by nature and would look for a comfortable spot anyway.
There is nothing wrong with not crate training a puppy if that’s the pet parent’s choice, but experts agree that crate training is the best and most efficient way to housebreak and potty train a new puppy.
All airline companies will also require that dogs should be in a crate during flight, and that’s for good reasons.
Should you close a puppy crate at night?
To crate train a puppy properly you should close the puppy crate at night, it is safer for the puppy, and it helps condition the puppy into learning that at night there should be no activities, and it also helps with potty training.
Young puppies are curious by nature and like to explore their surroundings even at night, and when they start to teeth they love chewing on furniture, that’s why it is important to close the puppy crate at night.
There is no reason to use a crate or crate train a puppy if you are not going to close the crate at night, the puppy will simply just get out and roam free at night without any supervision.
Instead of using a crate and leaving it open, it is easier to just get a dog bed, but even then you need a confined area for safety.
No matter what you think about the crate all that changes is the confinement area, you will have to confine your puppy, either in a room a playpen, or a crate.
Once the puppy is mature enough and properly house trained, he can sleep whenever he feels comfortable without any supervision.
Is it cruel to close the puppy crate at night?
There is nothing cruel about closing the crate at night or crate training in general, the crates are not cages and dogs will look for a quiet and comfortable spot anyway.
It is our own thoughts that make us believe that crates are used to imprison dogs, while they are supposed to be a safe and intimate den for them.
The crate helps limit a puppy’s movements while still not mature enough to be left alone, the way we use a crib for babies when they start moving around.
Dogs can be conditioned into doing plenty of things, that’s why it’s called training, untrained dogs can be a danger to themselves in the first place.
A confinement solution is important, whether it’s a puppy-proof room, a playpen, or a crate.
Should dogs sleep in the crate at night?
If you decide to crate train a puppy then your dog should definitely sleep in his closed crate at night, if not then you can use other alternatives.
We believe that the crate is the best place for your dog to sleep at night, it helps with potty training and it’s the safest option.
You can use a playpen but at some point, your puppy will be large enough to jump over it and it’s way harder to potty train in a playpen.
Dogs are fairly clean animals, they don’t like to eliminate where they sleep, that’s why they don’t do it in their crate unless they have no choice, in the playpen on the other hand they have plenty of room to use a potty corner and sleep in the other.
How long can a dog sleep in a crate at night?
Usually, puppies should not spend more than two hours in the crate during the day, but at night they can go a full night, which is 8 to 9 hours, but you can expect a potty break or two for younger puppies.
Anything more than 9 hours is way too long for your puppy, even adult dogs should have a break after a long night in the crate.
Most puppies will spend the night in the crate, they just need to have enough exercise and activities before bedtime.
Yung puppies spend most of their day sleeping, but they should get enough interaction with humans or other pets to socialize properly.
Puppies that spend too much time in the crate can get bored easily and are susceptible to separation anxiety and aggression.
Can you leave toys or food in the crate at night?
Leaving toys and food in the puppy crate overnight is not a good idea, it sends the wrong message to the puppy.
At night there should be no activities at all, no playing, and no food, the crate should be the place where the puppy sleeps and naps, and that’s it.
Most puppies will just make a mess with food and water if left overnight in the crate anyway.
You should stop feeding and watering your puppy at least a couple of hours before it’s time to get into the crate.
Leaving food in the crate means more potty trips during the night, and the puppy will spend the night chewing and playing and be all tiered during the day.
Dogs spend 50% of their day sleeping and another 30% of their waking time just foaming, so if your dog stays awake at night he will not have enough energy for you during the day.
When should I stop crating my dog at night?
If your dog is properly crate trained then he’s already comfortable sleeping in his crate and there is no need to stop crating at night.
If you do want to stop crating at night then you should not keep the crate open at night but rather change it with a playpen or a regular bed if the puppy is mature enough.
We always recommend crate training all dogs and think that it’s the best option for a dog to sleep at night.
Should I cover my dog’s crate at night?
In most cases and for most dogs, there is no need to cover a dog crate at night, it depends entirely on where the crate is placed and its environment.
If there are stimulating things around the crate that keep waking your dog at night, or your puppy prefers the calm and darkness the crate cover provides then go for it.
If you do choose to cover the crate, go for a regular crate cover and avoid using a blanket or something that could make the crate too hot.
Can you put an open crate inside a playpen at night?
Using a crate and playpen combination is great for puppies, they have the choice to enjoy space in the playpen and to go back to the intimacy of the crate.
However, this playpen and crate setup is to be used during the day, not at night, the puppy can play inside the playpen and nap in the crate.
At night there is no point in using a crate that opens to a playpen if the crate is not going to close the crate at night then it’s not crate training and the crate has no use but to extend the playpen area.
Experts opinion round up
To back up our recommendation about whether the crate should be closed or opened at night we made a little experts round up.
However, most puppies and dogs (once they’re used to it) don’t see it that way at all. In fact, they typically come to see their crate as a “doggy bedroom” or a den.
It becomes a safe place…a place your puppy will learn to love.