Fixing Common Problems With Crate Training Dogs

Crate training a dog can last a few days or weeks depending up the dog's temperament, age and previous experience with a crate. The secret to successful training is making the experience pleasant and taking it in slow, deliberate steps.

Purpose of a Crate

The purpose of a crate is to provide security, protection from potentially dangerous household goods (poisons, electrical wires) and safety for the reasons of illness, travel by plane or car, hotel stays, housebreaking until he knows the house rules or to prevent indoor accidents and chewing on furniture. Since a dog usually does not soil his sleeping area, a crate can be an effective for housetraining. The dog should view the crate as a "room of his own", a security blanket, sanctuary, retreat and/or a "den". Therefore, a crate should never be used for punishment.

When selecting a crate, choose one that will accommodate his adult size and allow him to stand up and turn around. If he is a puppy, block off the extra space so he will not sleep at one end and eliminate at the other.

Common Problems

Sometimes a dog will not enter a crate for some reason: a bad past experience or he does not feel it to be safe. Sometimes the dog will whine, bark or pace to be allowed out. Crate training requires patience and practice.

Separation Anxiety

So that your dog does not have separation anxiety, stay nearby the crate as you are training him to stay inside. Place the crate in the living room, den, bedroom or some high traffic area so that he is not alone. Using a pleasant voice, assure him that this is a safe place. Use treats and/or food to coax him inside. Toss a blanket or towel and chew toys inside to show that the crate is a friendly place to be. Do not force him inside. Crate training must be a pleasant experience in order to be successful.


Care must be taken to determine whether your dog is whining to be let out or because he needs to go outdoors to eliminate. Do not respond immediately. See if he stops, which will indicate if he needs a trip outside. If he continues, approach the crate and reassure him with a pleasant voice. Remember training happens in small steps and may sometimes even regress at times.

Too Much Time in a Crate

Do not keep a dog in a crate for longer than 4 hours at a time. He cannot control his bladder or bowels for any longer period of time than that and it is actually unhealthy for him to do so. Crating a dog for most of the day and then most of the night will create the crate experience unpleasant causing more problems. He may feel "imprisoned". He also needs exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

Crate Accidents

To prevent any crate accidents, ensure that the dog has not eaten or drunk anything 1 hour before crating. Make sure the dog makes a visit outside to eliminate first.

Do's And Don'ts

Crate training requires time and patience. It is a slow process mixed with success and failure along the way. Never crate a dog with a collar since it can get caught in the crate. Never crate a dog in extreme temperatures. Leave water in a crate in an anti-tip bowl. Never crate a dog that is sick.