If you are new to crate training you might be wondering just like most new dog owners about what to put in the puppy crate at night. You have probably read about dogs whining in the crate at night; and you are not very excited for some sleepless nights to come.
Well, cheer up; you actually don’t need to put anything in your puppy crate at night. Bedtime in the cate can sure be intimidating especially in the first few nights. However, it is only for sleep nothing else. So you want your dog to pick a habit of just sleeping at night and doing no activity.
Why you don’t need to put anything in your puppy crate at night
You absolutely don’t need to put anything in your dog crate at night. The reason why is simply because night time in the crate is for sleep and sleep only.
Dogs spend half their day asleep puppies even more than that; that’s because they don’t go to deep sleep as long as we do so they need to compensate with more sleeping hours.
So, if you put something in your dog crate like a toy you are encouraging him to stay awake. And he will sleep more during the day.
Having your dog active during the night will perhaps help you with the whining, but then whenever you fall asleep, he will be playing in his crate and won’t let you rest enough.
Your dog needs to have a schedule not just doing what he wants whenever he wants. And you need to have control over his program, not the other way around.
You want your dog to be active when you are at home and ready for some playtime sessions. The time in the crate should be the least energetic where he is just chilling.
Putting food in your dog crate and using toys is a great way to make the dog love his crate. However, these are the activities you do during the day.
Why putting food and water in your puppy crate at night is a bad idea
Feeding your dog in his crate early on during crate training is a great way to speed up the training. It is one of the easiest ways to make your dog like his crate by associating happy time(feeding) with his crate.
However, dogs need a regular feeding schedule that is organized and punctual. Puppies often have three feeding sessions a day while older dogs have two.
These two feeding sessions need to be at the same time every day and at the same time apart to keep your dog healthy. When you have a punctual feeding schedule your dog’s digestif system is more relaxed and he is expecting the food so he gets very excited for the feeding time. This is a great training opportunity that needs to be taken.
Your puppy needs to have his meal a few hours before his bedtime so he can have time to digest and to eliminate before going in for the night. This way you reduce the number of times your puppy needs to wake up during the night for a potty break.
So there is no reason for you to leave food in your dog’s crate during the night; because if it’s his last feeding session it’s too late and you can expect more potty breaks. And if it’s extra food you are risking dog obesity which leads to other serious health issues.
As for the water, there is absolutely no need for it in the crate at night, and probably your puppy will just make a mess with it anyway.
You should stop giving your dog water two hours before going to sleep. This way you can take him out to eliminate just before sleep and reduce the need for potty breaks during the night.
When you stop feeding and giving water to your dog before sleep and you control his potty breaks you can be sure that if starts whining in his crate at night that it’s not for a break.
Why you should not use toys in the crate at night
Toys are a great motivational tool for crate training your puppy, they can do a great job helping you make the time in the crate great.
Toys are also amazing when you want to phase out on the training treats, and they make a great reward to enhance behavior you like. read this article for useful information about how much training treats to use which ones are safe and how to phase out on them.
There are plenty of toys you can use while crate training some are used for playtime to reduce energy before going to the crate; while the others are actually used in the crate to prevent boredom in there.
However, none of those are to be put in your dog crate at night. Chew toys are the ones that are used in the crate while you are not around to keep your dog distracted.
Nonetheless, you should avoid giving them to your dog during the night. Dogs are really attracted to chewing and it calms them a lot. This will distract your dog from sleep and keep him awake during the night and that makes him really inactive during the day.
Use the toys to boost your training but don’t just throw them in there for your dog and grant full access at all times or else you will be missing on some great teaching opportunities.
I would suggest you read my article about the four types of toys and how to use each one to make the best of them as a training tool.
What can you use in your dog crate
There are only two items you could put in your puppy crate at night that will not affect his sleeping habits. Of the two one we recommend using as not only it does not affect your dog’s sleep it helps create a better sleeping environment and the other is not very recommended at least for younger puppies.
I am not a big fan of the crate bedding when the puppy is too young, he could actually pee on it. Which we don’t want to happen at the beginning of training. Any bad habits could make the crate training harder and longer.
It also gets very dirty if not maintained very regularly, and dogs will not feel comfortable in the crate if it’s not clean.
It is easy to forget about the sheets and before you know it could be making crate training harder for you.
If you are going to use one choose something easy to clean and you want to inspect it very often; I recommend this bedding it can be machine washed and can be used in and out of the crate. It does not get dirty very easily.
Dogs don’t necessarily need beddings in the crate but if you want to use one there is no problem in putting it in your puppy crate at night.
Dog crate cover
The crate cover is my favorite item very few people do use it which is very unfortunate. It is just great when crate training at night.
It provides a safe and closed environment that encourages the dog to fall asleep faster by limiting any outside distractions.
I found it to be a great help with dogs that have fear anxieties as it makes the crate even more safe and intimate.
I personally use the crate cover for all my dogs and it is why I choose to use the wire crate. Because I have the option to use it at night while during the day benefit from the open space the wire crate provides.
This combo makes the crate training way easier than it is with plastic crates.
The fewer distractions your dog has at night the more likely he is to sleep faster which means less whining and crying in the crate at night.
If your dog does whine a lot or cries during the night let me suggest this article about crate training a puppy whining at night.
If you are interested in the same crate and exact fit matching cover I use they are available on amazon.
The crate is the best for crate training since it has two doors which provide more open space and makes it easier to lure the puppy inside. It also comes with a divider so you can adjust it to the puppy size and you don’t have to change crates every two months and You can check the price here.
The crate comes with an exact fit matching cover that you can find here.