french bulldog dog having a good time with a tennis ball, in living room , looking at owner very carefully

How to Train Your Dog to Love His Crate

young girl playing with puppy dog outside

I guess you either just got a new puppy or your dog hates their crates. In the beginning, dogs find crates alien-like. That is why they take time getting used to it. Well confined places should seem bothersome, shouldn’t they?

If your dog doesn’t like their new crates, I have some fool-proof ideas to share with you that have worked wonders for my dog. I call him Pug-Man (you know, from Pac-Man and he is a pug).

Are the Crates Scary for the Dog? Let’s Debunk the Myth

Dogs love a place of their own. They like a place, where they can retreat when feel stressed or tired. When you are having a party, and you feel your dog would not feel safe among the crowd, crates are what you need. Crates provide safety in vehicles. When traveling with your dog, especially by air, crates are the most useful.

dog family traveling road trip

Find the Right One for the Job

For a puppy, get a soft dog crate with enough space for them to stretch and turn. Puppies love the soft dog crates. At this stage, any one will do. You’ll find many available in the market. Some are made of wires, some plastic.

The wire crates are cheap and have maximum air ventilation. You can get these in the early stage and buy plastic ones later. The benefit of the plastic crates is that they can be used when you travel. Plus, many dogs seemed to find the plastic ones comfier like Pug-Man does. If your dog has a habit of chewing or biting, you should get the wire-made one.

golden retriever puppy sleeping with toy on the bed

Introduce the New Home

You can’t just shove your dog into a crate and expect them to stay there quietly. So during the first few days, let your dog know that the crate is something of interest. While setting it up, call your dog, speak to them about it, take them close to it. In this way, they will know it is something they can approach safely.

little french bulldog puppy with it's tongue out in red basket in room with vintage wallpaper

Get Them to Look Inside

Put their favorite toys inside the crate and urge them to go and fetch it. Never think about closing the crate door during this time. They are not at home with it yet. When they would go inside, they will try to look around and check the crate out.

french bulldog dog having a good time with a tennis ball, in living room , looking at owner very carefully


Make it Comfortable

Except for the costly ones, most crates are not a comfortable place for resting. So place a blanket on its floor while still continuing to put treats and toys inside it. Your dog will start to like the place, find it comfortable. At this point, try serving their meals close to the crate.

newborn puppy sleeps on cookies sweet dream

Put the Crate Somewhere Familiar

In the beginning, put the crate somewhere accessible but not close to their beds. When your dog would start to sit inside the crate, even for a moment, change its place. This time, put it near their beds. Don’t replace their beds immediately. Let them know the crate is solely for their use.

Start Counting

In the beginning, the dog will not stay inside for long. It is still not time to close the door. If you close it, they will feel scared. At this point, you need to check how long they stay inside. Make sure all of their regular meals and fun time happens in and around the crate.

golden retriever puppy lying down near empty feeding bowl

Close the Door, but Not Fully

While your dog is resting inside, close the door but do not lock it. See how they react when they see the closed door. The dog needs to feel that a closed door does not mean any harm. During this stage, you will need to monitor your dog.

dogs and storms

Leave Them in the Crate

Now it is time to see if you can leave your canine friend in the crate while you are away. Move away from the crate but stay close enough to check if they are getting restless.

Slowly, try to increase your length of departure. However, never leave the pet inside the crate for a very long time. In the beginning, leave them for 30 minutes, then 1 hour, then 2. And every time you come back, surprise them with a treat.

Make it a Reward, not a Punishment

Serve all of their meals inside the crate. Keep all of their toys inside it. Always keep the interior space comfortable. Pat them and rub them when they are inside. At this point they are completely at home with the crate. Now train them to close the door by themselves every time they go inside. And don’t forget they are now staying inside the crate. It is also something for you to get habituated with.

young woman with her dog in a bed.

It Takes Time

Training your dog to love the crate is a lengthy process. It will not happen in a week. It took me over a month to get my Pug-Man (see what I did there?) to love his crate. Some dogs are hard to train. They will take longer to love their crates. And sometimes, they may not like the present crate so you can try using a different one. Be patient. If both you and your dog get restless, no crate will come to any use. Best of luck.


About the Author:

John Howes is the founder of PetCareUp. 29-year-old, entrepreneur, pet lover and passionate blogger. He loves to write about pets and helps pet owners to choose the best products for their animal companions.

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