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Puppy Crate Training: A Complete Guide w/Schedule & Videos | Pupford

September 18th, 2023

Filed under Training

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One of the most common topics discussed in our community is crate training a puppy (or even older dog). Is crate training good or bad? Will it make your dog aggressive? Is a crate a form of punishment? How do you do it?

There’s a lot of debate around the topic, so today we’re going to clear things up with a little Crate Training 101.

We strongly urge new pup parents to give this a read, but we think all dog families can find something helpful!

We broke down this guide into FAQs to help you more easily navigate. Here's what we will cover:

  • Is crate training good or bad?
  • Is crate training necessary?
  • Can crate training cause aggression?
  • How does crate training help a puppy?
  • How long does crate training take?
  • What's a good crate training schedule?
  • How do I crate train my puppy?

First, we want to know a little more about your experience with crate training.

Related Reading: Bell Training a Dog

Let’s start with one of the most highly debated questions we see about crate training:


Crate training is criticized by people who believe that it’s inhumane to put dogs in cages. While we completely agree with that sentiment when it comes to only allowing a dog access to a tiny cage and nothing else, there’s a big difference between inhumane treatment and crate training.

When done correctly, crate training is a great way to work with your dog’s natural psychology, reduce stress, and teach desired behaviors. According to the Humane Society, your dog equates their crate to a quiet, safe place -- so long as it’s comfortable and used appropriately.

To make sure crate training is done correctly, a crate training course will help to ensure training your pup is done correctly. Check out our Crate Training Class in Pupford Academy.

🐶 Don't miss out, sign up for the free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers crate training, potty training and more. Sign up here! 🐶


a dog being gradually introduced to the crate as part of the crate training process | Pupford

Many people truly wonder if crate training is necessary at all. Crate training is not a magical solution to all your dog’s behavior issues, but it is a great tool for housetraining and promoting certain behaviors.

Since your dog thinks of their crate as their cozy little den, they’d be less likely to soil it than an area of your house that they can walk away from without concern. This makes it an important tool for potty training, especially when you are getting your dog used to being home alone.

Related Reading: How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

Crates are also a good way to redirect unwanted behaviors like chewing furniture or destroying things in your house. When your dog has dedicated time to hang out in their own space with something they’re allowed to chew on, the temptation to be destructive is a lot less because they don't have access to things that can be destroyed.

Speaking of feeling stressed, crate training gives your dog a safe space to be in during stressful situations, like when there are strangers in the house or they need to go see the “V-E-T.”

So while crate training isn’t absolutely necessary for your dog, it’s beneficial enough to be considered a “must” in our eyes.

Related Reading: How Long Does it Take to Train a Puppy?


This myth gives crate training a bad rap, so let’s get it straight -- no, proper crate training does not cause aggression. The emphasis here is on proper.

When dogs who are crate trained act aggressively, it’s often because they are anxious or scared since the crate is being used incorrectly. When the crate is used as punishment, or the dog is left in the crate for long periods of time without access to food, water, or exercise, they can get lonely and anxious.

All that pent-up energy can come out as aggression.

Related Reading: Does playing tug cause a dog to become aggressive?


Puppy that needs to be crate trained for obedience | Pupford

Crate training at an early age is a great way to form lasting habits that you’ll want your puppy to have as they grow up. Crate training can help your young pup:

  • Have a cozy place to take naps, which puppies do a lot!
  • Designate a spot to munch on that tasty new dog chew you got them.
  • Know where to go for comfort when they feel stressed.
  • Not have too much freedom to explore too much of the house before they’re trained enough to do so.
  • Have a safe place to be unsupervised for short periods of time.

Overall, the benefits of crate training outweigh the drawbacks in the majority of cases.

🐶 Don't miss out, sign up for the free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers crate training, potty training and more. Sign up here! 🐶


Like most other types of training, how long crate training will take depends on a couple of factors. Your dog’s age, breed, and personality all play a part -- along with the consistency of training.

For the most part, you can expect to spend anywhere from several weeks to six months crate training your pup. Be patient, get the whole family involved, and stay consistent with your crate schedule -- it will be worth it.

And remember, if it takes your dog longer (or shorter) to be fully crate trained that's okay! Every dog is different and you shouldn't let yourself get overwhelmed with "timelines" for training behaviors.


Like most things in a dog's life, structure and a schedule are keys to success. A crate training schedule not only helps you stay on track but also helps your dog or puppy feel a sense of routine.

Dogs thrive under routines as it helps them feel more confident throughout the day.

Here’s a sample schedule you can use to build one that works for your family.

PS- This schedule also provides a framework for how many times a day a puppy should eat.

Puppy Feeding Schedule | Pupford

You can print the crate training and feeding schedule here.

And read all about feeding schedules by age here.


Pup parents who are about to tackle crate training a puppy probably find themselves asking, “Ok, how do I do this?!” You’re not alone, and we’re here to help. Here are the basic steps to follow when crate training:

  • Choose the right crate. This is THE most important step! Too small of a crate can give your dog anxiety, while too big can provide too much freedom. It’s best to get a larger crate with a divider so you can gradually increase the size of the crate as your dog grows. Here’s a guide for helping you choose the right size crate for your dog.
  • Relax. No, really! Your dog will pick up on your tone and mood when you deal with the crate, and they’ll adopt it. If you’re relaxed and positive when talking about the crate or handling it, your dog will learn that it’s a happy place. To promote this, start by bringing your dog into the crate when they’re in a calm state so they can associate the two.
  • Make it comfortable. You can cozy up your dog’s bed with towels, a dog bed, blankets, and mats.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Teach your dog that their crate is a good place and not a punishment by giving them something engaging or enjoyable when you put them in -- a Kong filled with peanut butter or a dog chew are good options.
  • Stick to a schedule. Your dog shouldn’t spend the majority of their day in the crate. They need time to eat, exercise, take bathroom breaks, and have supervised playing/training time outside the crate. When you first begin crate training start with smaller stays in the crate and gradually work up, but try to avoid stretches of more than just a few hours without a break.
  • Make it fun. You can incorporate the crate into games to reinforce that it’s not a negative place. Keep the door to the crate open during fetch and treat hide and seek for an easy crate game!
  • Be patient. Crate training doesn’t happen overnight. Your dog needs time to learn, and since dogs aren’t linear learners, there will be ups and downs. Be patient, stay consistent, and wait for the opportunity to reward your pup -- it will come!
🐶 Don't miss out, sign up for the free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers crate training, potty training and more. Sign up here! 🐶

Here's a quick video with some crate training tips from a professional dog trainer. 👇


There are a few things you definitely want to avoid when crate training your dog, as they can cause your dog distress and even put them in danger. Here are some things to avoid during crate training:

  • Don’t use the crate as punishment (I think we drove that point home, but it’s worth repeating!) as it will make your dog apprehensive to enter and even anxious about it.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the crate for more than three or four hours at a time; immediately bring your dog out for a potty break when they leave the crate.
  • Don’t rely on just the crate forever. You can graduate your dog to a larger enclosed area when they are fully housebroken and don’t show destructive behaviors.
  • Don’t put your dog in their crate wearing their collar or harness, as it can get caught in the crate and choke your dog.


The bottom line is this -- when done correctly and safely, crate training can be a great tool for helping your pup learn to be calm, safe, and happy when left alone.

Crate training is a process that should be done safely and gradually. Over time, your dog will learn to love their crate and many pups see their crate as a safe space.

Are you currently on the crate training journey with your pup? We’d love to hear how it’s going and offer help where we can! Let us know in the comments below.

And don't forget, you can sign up for the 100% free online training course 30 Day Perfect Pup, taught by Zak George. It has in-depth videos covering crate training, potty training, and many more behaviors. Sign up here!

🐶 Don't miss out, sign up for the free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers crate training, potty training and more. Sign up here! 🐶


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