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How to Crate Train Your Dog in 8 Easy Steps

How to Crate Train Your Dog in 8 Easy Steps

Crate training promotes safety and security for both you and your dog. This helps when your dog needs temporary confinement during travel, veterinary visits, or guest visits.

However, crate training can be a challenge if your dog is not used to being in a crate.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to make crate training a breeze for a stress-free experience.

What Is Crate Training?

Labrador Puppy Howling In a Wire Dog Crate


Crate training is a method of training a dog to be comfortable and content in a crate. A crate is a small, enclosed space that provides a dog with a safe and secure place to rest and sleep.

What Is the Purpose of Crate Training?

Crate training provides your dog with a personal sanctuary. A crate, mimicking a den, fulfills their instinct to seek a cozy and secure environment. They can retreat to their crate when they need time alone or want to relax.

Is Crate Training Effective?

Crate training can be very effective in preventing destructive behavior and reducing separation anxiety in dogs. Crate training gives owners peace of mind knowing that their dog is safe and secure in their crate when left at home.

How to Crate Train a Dog or Puppy

Teaching your dog to enter their crate willingly is the key to successful crate training. Here are the steps to help you get started:

How to Crate Train a Dog 8-Step Chart

Step 1: Choose the right crate.

When it comes to crates, size matters. The crate should be large enough for your dog to comfortably stand, turn around, and lie down without any restrictions. For example, a small breed dog may require a crate with enough space to stretch out. Meanwhile, large dog breeds may need more room.

Step 2: Create positive associations.

Turn the crate into a cozy retreat that your dog will love. Make it inviting by adding comfortable bedding and some of their favorite toys inside. You can even place an item with your scent, like a t-shirt, to provide a sense of familiarity. Remember, the crate should be like a vacation destination your dog eagerly anticipates.

For instance, if your dog enjoys sleeping on a soft blanket, place it in the crate. This helps your dog associate the crate with positive experiences, making it a more comfortable place for them.

Step 3: Establish a routine.

Incorporate the crate into your dog’s daily activities, such as mealtime. Start by placing the food bowl just outside the crate and gradually moving it inside with each feeding. This helps your dog associate the crate with something positive, like enjoying a delicious meal.

Step 4: Use positive reinforcement.

When your dog voluntarily enters the crate, shower them with praise and offer a tasty treat. You can also use a clicker to associate the sound with entering the crate.

For example, as soon as your dog enters the crate, say, “Good dog!” and give them a treat. Over time, they will understand that entering the crate results in positive reinforcement and rewards.

Step 5: Avoid negative associations.

Never use the crate for punishment. It should always be a safe and comforting space for your dog. Think of it as their private sanctuary, not a time-out spot. Keeping a positive environment will make your dog eager to enter their crate without any reservations.

If your dog has had a negative crate experience, such as being forced inside, it may create fear or reluctance. It's important to rebuild trust by introducing the crate gradually and using positive reinforcement techniques.

Step 6: Overcome resistance or fear.

If your dog is hesitant or fearful about entering the crate, be patient and take it slow. Start by leaving the door open and let your dog explore at their own pace.

For instance, you can place treats near the crate entrance and let your dog approach and take them without entering. As they become more comfortable, you can put treats inside the crate until they willingly enter.

Step 7: Troubleshoot common challenges.

To address separation anxiety, gradually increase the duration of time they spend in the crate when you’re not around. Provide engaging toys or treats to keep your pets occupied. If your dog whines or barks, try not to give in or let them out immediately. Reward them with attention and treats when they are calm and quiet.

Establish a consistent potty routine to avoid accidents. Ensure your dog has had a chance to relieve themselves before entering the crate.

Step 8: Expand boundaries to increase freedom.

As your dog grows more at ease with the crate, gradually increase their freedom outside of it. Start by letting them explore a small, dog-proofed area while still having access to the crate. Eventually, you can increase their freedom until the crate is no longer needed as a confinement option.

How Do You Use an E-Collar for Crate Training?

E-collars can be an effective tool when it comes to crate training puppies or dogs. When using an e-collar for crate training, use the lowest effective level your dog responds to and utilize consistent cues. Remember, the purpose is not to cause pain or distress but to offer gentle reminders or redirection.

Here are some tips for using an e-collar for crate training:

How to Use an E-Collar for Crate Training Chart

1. Choose the right e-collar.

There are many different types of e-collars on the market. Choose an e-collar that is appropriate for your dog's size and temperament.

2. Start with a low level of stimulation.

When using the e-collar, start with a low level of stimulation. This will help your dog to associate the dog e-collar with a positive experience.

3. Use positive reinforcement.

When your dog goes into the crate on their own, praise them and give them a treat. This will help them learn that going into the crate is a good thing.

4. Be patient.

Your dog may need time to get used to the e-collar and learn that going into the crate is good. Be patient and consistent with your training. Over time, your dog will get the hang of it.

Best E-Collars for Crate Training Your Dog

When it comes to high-quality e-collars, PetsTEK has some recommendations in mind:

1. Mini Educator ET-300 Remote Training Collar by E-Collar Technologies

ET-300 Mini Educator Remote Training Collar Yellow by E-Collar Technologies

The Mini Educator ET-300 is a crowd-favorite among dog owners and trainers. This Educator collar has a sleek design with three color options: yellow, black, and Educator Zen 300. This dog e collar is equipped with the innovative “Pavlovian Tone” function, along with 100 levels of static stimulation and vibration. It also offers adjustable boost levels from 1 to 60 for highly-distracting situations, ensuring optimal control and response.

2. Micro Educator ME-300 Remote Dog Training Collar by E-Collar Technologies
Micro Educator ME-300 Remote Training Collar Purple by E-Collar Technologies

The Micro Educator ME-300 is a compact dog training collar packed with advanced features. Enjoy the convenience of 100 levels of static stimulation, vibration, and tone options to cater to your dog's unique needs. With a range of 1/3-mile, it's perfect for close-range training sessions. Designed 20% smaller and lighter than the Mini Educator, this e-collar is ideal for small dogs that require a gentler touch.

3. Dogtra 1900S Remote Training Collar

Dogtra 1900S Remote Training E-Collar

The Dogtra 1900S is the perfect remote collar for medium-sized dogs. It is reliable, versatile, and waterproof. This Dogtra dog collar is ideal for various activities, including pet obedience, hunting, competitions, and K9 work. It has a range of ¾ mile, 127 levels of stimulation, and a high-performance pager vibration. This allows you to train your dog effectively, no matter the situation.

4. SportDog SD-425X FieldTrainer Remote Training Collar

SportDog SD-425X FieldTrainer Remote Training Collar

The FieldTrainer 425X by SportDog is their smallest and lightest remote trainer yet. It offers 21 levels of static stimulation, vibration, and tone, allowing you to tailor the training to your dog's personality. With a 500-yard range, this dog shock collar ensures clear communication even in larger outdoor areas. Plus, you can expand the system to train up to 3 dogs by purchasing additional collars.

5. Dogtra 200NCPT PetsTEK Edition Remote Training Collar

Dogtra 200NCPT PetsTEK Edition Remote Training Collar

Enhance your training sessions with the Dogtra 200NCPT remote collar, specially crafted for small to medium-sized dogs. This remote trainer offers optimal versatility, featuring a ½-mile range and 100 stimulation levels. This is a perfect ecollar for teaching obedience, preventing bad behavior, and facilitating off-leash freedom.

If used properly, e-collars can enhance your crate training efforts while ensuring the well-being of your beloved companion.


Crate training can be a great way to help your dog feel safe and secure. It can also be a lifesaver if you ever need to leave your dog home alone.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll witness remarkable progress in no time. So, start crate training today and enjoy the many benefits it brings to both you and your furry friend!

FAQs About Crate Training a Puppy

What is a good age to start crate training?

  • The best age to start crate training is when your puppy is between 8 and 12 weeks old. This is when they are still young and impressionable. Between this age, they are more likely to accept the crate as their safe space.

How long do you crate train a puppy?

  • The amount of time you crate train a puppy will vary depending on their age and individual needs. You should start by crating your puppy for short periods (1-2 hours). Gradually increase the time they spend in the crate as they get older and more comfortable.

Is crate training cruel?

  • Crate training is not cruel if done right. It can be a safe and comfortable place for dogs, like a den. Introduce the crate slowly, use positive reinforcement, and never use it as punishment. Crate training can be helpful for training and routine if done with care and attention to your dog's needs.

How long can dogs stay in a crate?

  • The duration of time a dog can stay in a crate depends on their age, size, and individual needs. Puppies should be left in a crate for at most 4 hours. Meanwhile, adult dogs can usually be left in a crate for up to 8 hours. However, this should be avoided if possible. When crating your dog for extended periods, make sure to provide them with plenty of food, water, and toys.


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