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How to Introduce a Dog Crate

Published date: 22 February 2024

Introducing a dog to a crate should be done slowly and with patience. Remember the crate should always be seen as a positive place by your dog.

Introducing a Crate

Always introduce the crate gradually and allow your dog to get used to it in their own time. Forcing the issue may make being in their crate feel like a punishment, and crates should be viewed as a positive safe space.

  • Start with the door open, their favourite toys inside (and maybe a natural treat or two), allow them to investigate in their own time and give them lots of praise when they go inside.
  • Once your pup is happily moving in and out of the crate, try closing the door for very small increments of time. When introducing puppies to crate use, start by only leaving them in for a couple of seconds. Leave the room briefly and return with lots of praise!
  • From here, if the puppy is happy you can build up to 15 minutes and increase over the coming weeks to 3 hours maximum.

Some dogs will take quicker to a crate than others, always be positive and patient and your pup will soon love their new bedroom.

What should I put in my dog’s crate?

When setting up your crate you want to ensure it is inviting and comfortable, with somewhere to lie down and support their joints. A soft bed, blanket or specific crate mat will provide soft and cost.

Your pup will also need food and water, if they are spending time in their den with the door shut.

Every dog deserves a toy, the key to choosing toys for the crate is making sure they aren’t too stimulating. Squeaky, flashing and loud toys are likely to overexcite your pooch. Choose a more relaxing and soothing toy such as rope.

Where should I put my dog’s crate?

It is essential that your dog still feels a part of the family, even when enjoying time in their crate.

Placing their den in an isolated area of the home can be seen as negative, as dogs feel excluded. Instead, choose somewhere quiet, in the corner of a well-used family space.

The kitchen or living room are perfect places to allow dogs to still feel involved.

How long can I leave my dog in their crate?

Dogs shouldn’t be left in the crate for longer than 3 hours, without a good break for a run, play and wee.

Ideally, dogs should be given a break that is at least equal to the time they have spent in the crate.

Remember crates are management aids and not a way of life!

Top Safety Tips:

  1. Never leave your dog unattended with anything they can chew and eat. Dogs should always be supervised with chews and toys!
  2. Check the safety clips on your crate – does it have clips to hold the base in place? These are designed to help keep the tray in place and to ensure the crate remains strong and in shape. It will also stop the tray from sliding out with a wriggly puppy, meaning they won’t end up sitting on the crate wire! Check out our sturdy crates here.

For more help, read our Guide to Crate Sizes.

Written by Lucy Marcham

Lucy teaches all aspects of the Pets Corner curriculum and specialises in animal nutrition, ensuring that our staff have the right knowledge and understanding of pet diets to assist customers with confidence and care.