My short version answer would be to never stop crate training; Even adult dogs can benefit from crate training, besides there is no downside to crate training if it isn’t helping improve your dog’s house manners at least it won’t hurt him and it’s a happy place for him to have safety and intimacy he will eventually seek elsewhere.
I mean why would you stop something that is helping your dog feel safe and giving him privacy when he’s not feeling ok?
When to stop crate training is a question often asked by dog owners who are not confronted with daily challenges like having to leave the dog alone at home while at work.
I’m afraid some dog owners don’t even know the risks of leaving a dog home alone.
If you have someone at all times supervising the dog; and he has no behavior issues and great home manners, yeah maybe crate training isn’t something of importance to you.
However, I would strongly suggest that you read this article about crate training adult dogs, some facts may just change your mind.
Also, people who’ve just started crate training their dogs are more concerned with the answer to this question.
So if you are just working on crate training your dog, just keep this out of your mind at least for now.
Why you should not stop crate training
There are plenty of good reasons why you should absolutely not stop crate training, I’ve been over some of those in my article about crate training an adult dog where we mentioned some great benefits you may have overlooked.
Travel and outdoors
Traveling with your dog could be a great adventure for both of you, however, safety regulations often dictate that your dog be confined in a secured crate.
Having an already crate trained dog used to being in the crate is going to make it easier for everyone.
You can be assured he is safe while on the road for outdoor activity.
Dogs are nice intelligent pets, but too much freedom could turn fatal and that is the case for 1000 houses in the US alone where pets started fires.
There is also the safety of your belongings; if you leave a shoe or anything in there you are never 100% sure the dog won’t chew on it.
Also, sharp and heavy objects that you can forget while leaving the dog alone at home, could be fatal to him.
If your dog whenever he senses danger goes directly to his crate it would be amazingly easier for you to just grab the crate and leave.
Over 40000 pets die in house fires only not to mention other common disasters like floods and hurricanes where thousands of dogs are lost just because their owners didn’t have time to be searching for them or because they hid in a safe place they’re not aware of. All in all, there are very good reasons to keep a crate at home, you can give some freedom to your dog leaving it open but you just don’t want to eliminate the option.
Should I stop crate training when I am home
I am really sorry! For this part, I may sound like I am talking at you rather than informing you, but this will only prove to you how bad of an idea I consider stopping crate training to be.
If you are home at all times or at least there is a family member in the house with the dog, you can probably stop crate training.
Nonetheless, as I stated earlier, crate training your puppy is very helpful in various situations.
When you stop crate training a puppy, you can leave the crate in there for him to be in when he likes at least.
Don’t cut that relationship with the crate, so you can give your dog more freedom while at the same time still benefit from the crate.
I am very pro crate training that my house is full of them but for good reasons; I mean the crate was very helpful for boosting home training.
If I am to tell you if you should stop crate training when you are at home, I’ll probably won’t but like I said if you really plan to do it keep the crate around.
The more freedom you give your dog the more likely he is to get into trouble even at home.
And let’s not forget that dogs are going to find a den anyway, as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s better if I know about it and can control it.
How to stop crate training
Well if you are sure about your decision and want to go through with stopping the crate training of your dog there are a few tips for doing so.
New acquired freedom
Just like we start crate training gradually, we want to stop doing it the same way.
Just start by keeping the crate in there, and opening the door for longer periods.
Let the dog make some decisions and be there when you do it. Let the dog alone for some time then just get in and interrupt his freedom.
Don’t just open the crate from day one and just go to work and cross your fingers nothing happens.
You want to break that newly acquired freedom, so the dog knows that you can be there at any moment.
When you are leaving the dog for longer periods without incidents and you are sure that he is not abusing his freedom; you can move to the next phase.
I do recommend having a playpen for your dog for that transition phase, between crate training and total freedom.
The playpen enables the dog to move around more to have more space to walk around and make some decisions.
You can have toys in there and even place the crate inside the playpen.
Dog proof area
Even if you stop crate training your dog, you probably shouldn’t be giving the dog access to the whole house.
No matter how careful you are, you may be putting your dog in danger without knowing you are.
Install some door blockers to confine the dog to a specific room of the house and make sure you dog-proof it.
Take out any items the dog may chew on or destroy and keep giving him for longer periods of time alone.
This is typically your long term plan, just having a specific area for the dog which is by the way just a bigger crate.
How long should you crate train a puppy
When talking about a puppy I would say until adulthood, puppies are very unpredictable and you can never guess what they’ll do next.
Also, adult dogs tend to keep the routines, habits, and manners they’ve been taught, unlike puppies.
A sudden change in a puppy’s daily routine may just make your training useless.
Crate training is a great tool for adult dogs, but a necessity for puppies.
Some people never crate train they’re puppies, but I find crate trained puppies to be more organized and receptive to other aspects of training.
This is basically like a kid dropping out of middle school; you know it’s going to head in the wrong direction.
When to stop crate training puppy at night
You just don’t with puppies or you are to prepare for some long nights of the puppy playing around your bed and eventual potting incidents.
I am trying to make the difference between an adult dog and puppies so it can be clear for you guys.
An adult dog could eventually be let out of his crate at night, but mostly if you leave the crate open he will end up sleeping in it anyway.
If your dog is not well trained you can expect him joining you at bed or just hanging by the door.
Although stopping the crate training is for me a bad idea whether it’s an adult dog or a puppy but if you must; you should only do it for adult dogs.
Puppies are so unpredictable to be left alone with full access to the house.
Especially puppies that have been crate trained then all of a sudden freed from it.
Crate training may be stopped for adult dogs if they have been well trained and had good house manners.
Although I would rather have the dog safe in his crate than wandering around the house on his own. Anyway, this is my own experience with crate training perhaps others could reach better results when stopping the crate training.