Crate Training Schedule for Puppies and Dogs

Your crate training schedule will vary depending on the age of your dog. Because you want your dog to be comfortable in the crate, you don't want to leave him in it too long at the beginning. Slowly build up, making the crate a comfortable place for your dog to be.

Puppy Crate Training Schedule

If you start your puppy early, he will have no reason to fear the crate, causing training to move more quickly. Start by feeding him his meals in the crate and putting him in there with a yummy bone. If you give him something to do, you can close the door after the first couple of times you let him explore and leave him in there for up to an hour.

For puppies, the crate should only be large enough for them to stand up and turn around, so partition the crate if it's too big. If it's too big, your puppy may start eliminating in the crate if you leave him in there for too long.

When putting your puppy on a crate training schedule, it's good to leave him in there whether you are home or not, so he gains a little independence. However, puppies can only hold it for about an hour for every month they are in age, so your young puppies should not be left in longer than an hour or two, especially if they have recently eaten.

Make sure to let him out at that time, give him a chance to relieve himself and play with him to tire him out. Since puppies take short naps, you may be removing him very often at first, building up to leaving him in there for a few hours as he gets older.

Dog Crate Training Schedule

By the time your dog is 6 or 8 months, he can stay in his crate throughout the night and also several hours during the day. However, no matter how old your dog is, you should not make him stay in his crate longer than 4 to 6 hours. Every dog needs a chance to run around and stretch his legs.

To train an older dog to enter the crate, toss some treats in and watch him chase them. Give a command, like "Go to your crate." This way, you can begin to teach him on command rather than chasing your dog around the house and shoving him in the crate. Don't close the door at first. Let your dog feel comfortable. If you see your dog enter on his own, reward him.

As with puppies, feed your dog his meals in the crate. At first, don't close it. Then, put a great bone, his favorite, into the crate and close the door with him on the outside. Once he is trying to get in the crate, open it and let him in. Leave him in there until he's finished and then let him out.

Gradually, build up to leaving your dog in for longer periods of time until he can calm down after the treat is done. Once he can do that, you can start building up the time more quickly.