Crate Training Puppies at Night

Crate training puppies at night can be a tricky business. Puppies don't want to be separated from you, so they may cry. How you handle your puppy's behavior will affect the success of your crate training.

Choosing to Crate Train

Puppies are used to sleeping with their mothers and littermates, so it should come as no surprise that your puppy wants to sleep with you as well. Deciding whether or not to allow this is a personal choice.

Dogs like to sleep near their packs, so crating your puppy in a different room can be especially traumatic. However, dogs can learn to adapt to any sleeping situation, and many come to prefer sleeping independently. Placing the crate in your room at night is often still the best choice.

Choosing to crate train your young puppy is a good idea because your puppy can get into trouble while you sleep. He may find a place to eliminate in the house or find an inappropriate object on which to chew. As your puppy gets older, you may decide to change the sleeping arrangements, such as allowing your puppy to sleep on his own bed in your room.

General Crate Training

Before you put your puppy in the crate for the night, you should make sure he has acclimated to the crate. To do this, feed him his meals in the crate.

Throughout the day, toss yummy treats into the crate and allow him to come out without closing the door. Finally, put a special bone in the crate and close the door with your puppy on the outside. Allow your dog to get a little frustrated as he tries to get in. Finally, let him in and close the door for as long as it takes him to eat the bone.

Continue to allow him to spend a little time in the crate, gradually building the amount of time he stays inside. Do this when you are home so he gets used to being in the crate, even if you are in another room.

Crate Training at Night

When you put your puppy in for the night, place a shirt or other soft object that smells like you in the crate with him to comfort him. Make sure you have taken him out to eliminate and given him appropriate exercise so he is ready to sleep. Place him in a crate only big enough for him to stand, turn around and lie down so he doesn't feel tempted to eliminate in his crate.

Once you close the door and turn out the lights, don't respond to your puppy any longer. The only way to get him to sleep through the night is to teach him that you won't come let him out when he cries. No matter what, don't let him out unless he's quiet.

If you are concerned that he may need to eliminate, take him outside on leash for no longer than five minutes and then return him immediately to his crate.

Many young puppies can't hold it through the night, so be sure to check on your puppy every few hours at first. You don't want to force him to eliminate in his crate. If you don't want to check on him during the night, consider starting with an X-pen or small baby gated room that has enough room for a potty pad.