How To Crate Train Your Dog (For Potty Training And Other Important Behaviors)

taught by Kristina Lotz, CPDT-KA

Course description

By now, you have probably heard people mention “crate training.” Maybe someone even told you that you need to “crate train your dog.” But what exactly does that mean and why is it deemed so important?

Crate training means teaching a dog to be comfortable in their crate so they relax while inside it, even for a couple hours.

Dogs that are properly crate trained:

  • Go into the crate willingly
  • Settle (usually lie down) quickly
  • Are quiet while in the crate and remain so until you let them out.

A dog that is not properly crate trained:

  • Refuses to go into the crate, they may even be scared of it
  • Does not settle, but paces or stays standing
  • Barks, whines, scratches as the door, bites at the bars
  • Destroys bedding and even the crate itself in some cases

So why a crate?

You may be wondering why your dog can’t just be left loose, or tied up if you need to secure them. Or how about puppy pen/x-pen? You certainly have a lot of choices when it comes to what to do with your canine friend!

First, dogs are naturally den animals, like most subspecies of Canis Lupus. This means that they naturally like a quiet, secure spot to sleep or rest in. So for an average dog that has not had any bad experiences, it should be easy to make a crate something a dog enjoys, which makes training simpler.

Second, they are the safest and most secure why to keep a dog contained when necessary. Tied dogs can be hung, strangled, get wrapped up in the rope – the list goes on. Puppy x-pens are really made for very small puppies or adult dogs and are easily jumped over or knocked down by larger ones. And almost all of them can move the x-pen, making them ineffective at completely containing your dog. X-pens are only for use when you are there to watch your puppy. Crates keep your dog from getting into things he should not, including your designer shoes and the toxic chemicals under the sink.

Third, they are practical. Crates fit easily into cars, the corner of your room, the vet’s office, even at the dog show. The Center for Pet Safety has proven that crating your dog is the safest way for them to travel in the car.

Fourth, den animals do not relieve themselves where they sleep and/or eat. So, crate training a puppy makes it much easier to house train them – and everyone wants that!

A side note about those against crating dogs

You may have read some articles about people who are against crating dogs. In most cases, what they mean is they are against dogs being crated all the time. This is abuse! Dogs should only be crated for a few hours at a time, as the most.

Now there are a small handful of people who do not think you should crate train at all. They believe your dog should be “free” all the time. The problem with this is, unless you are there 24/7 to watch your free-ranging pup, they could get themselves into trouble and cause harm, even death. Crating a dog is the responsible thing to do for the safety of your pup.

Materials You Will Need For This Course

  • Crate
  • Treats (best if they are small and soft, so your dog can eat them quickly)
  • Clicker
  • Optional But Recommended Materials
  • Treat pouch – will make your life easier when it comes to walking, holding the leash, clicker and treats. Available on Amazon here:
  • Clicker training tool. Available on Amazon here:
  • Crate mat or bed if your puppy doesn't chew.
  • Coil stretch wristband (makes keeping the clicker handy easier).
  • An electric treat dispensing system. See the next section for more information.
Kristina Lotz, CPDT-KA
Kristina Lotz, CPDT-KA

Course Curriculum

Section 1: Crates & Treat Dispensers
Choosing Type of Crate
Choosing Size of Crate
Electronic Treat Dispensers
Show Content
Section 2: Introduction to Positive Reinforcement
What is Positive Reinforcement?
Rules of Positive Training
Quiz: Introduction To Positive Reinforcement
Show Content
Section 3: The clicker
What is a Clicker?
Rules of the Clicker
Loading The Clicker
Quiz: The Clicker
Show Content
Section 4: Approaching the Crate
Setting up the Crate
Crate Targeting
Quiz: Crate Targeting
Show Content
Section 5: Learning To Settle
Entering the Crate
Lying Down in the Crate
Quiz: Learning To Settle
Show Content
Section 6: Learning To Stay Calm
Combining Distance and Duration
Final Tips
Quiz: Learning To Be Calm
Show Content
Section 7: Using the Crate For Potty Training
The Best Way To Potty Train
Rules To Potty Training With a Crate
Quiz: Using The Crate For Potty Training
Show Content
Course Review
Troubleshooting / FAQs
How To Make The Training Stick
Review of Core Concepts
Show Content