7 Mistakes Even Smart People Make When Crate Training a Dog

Crate Training a Dog

Newsflash. Crate training a dog is not cruel.

Ok, maybe that’s not news, but if you would have asked me that a few years ago, I would have told you that it was right up there with shock collars on the list of mean things people do to their dogs.

Granted, I had never researched the issue and I knew absolutely nothing about it, but I was passionately against it. I was against it based on the fact that I would not want to be put in a crate, therefore dogs would not like it either.

Crate Training Done Right

One of the most important things I have learned in my dog training journey is that, drumroll please, dogs are not the same as people. Dogs don’t think like people, and for the most part, don’t act like people.

Turns out that most dogs enjoy having a crate if they were properly crate trained. If you are looking for how to get started crate training, check out the infographic attached to the end of this post.

crate training a dog

For those of you that have already started and are running into problems like whining, barking or anything else, this article will help. Let’s get to the good stuff!

7 Crate Training Mistakes

Here are 7 Mistakes even good pet parents make when crate training a dog:

1. Using the Crate for Punishment.

This one should be obvious, but it happens to even the best dog owners. You may have no intention of using it as punishment, but something happens and your first instinct is to send your dog to the kennel.

Although it does put your dog in a controlled space, the long term effects are that your dog will associate the kennel with punishment.

2. Crating Your Dog for Too Long

Crating a dog is not a long term option. By long term I mean that you shouldn’t crate your dog for 8 hours straight while you are at work.

Your dog needs exercise and also needs to be out and about.

3. Not Making it Comfortable

You want your dog to have positive associations with the crate. Step 1 in that goal is to make sure that the crate is comfortable for your dog.

Make sure the crate is large enough so that your dog can stand up and turn around. Make it homey with a comfy bed and whatever else your pooch digs.

4. Giving In and Letting Out

This can be critical. You know the drill. Your dog starts that pathetic little whimper and gives you that look. You know, that look.

Anyway, you just can’t resist and you just give in and let your dog out of the crate. The problem is that your dog learns that whimpering and whining will eventually get her out. Stay strong!

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5. Not Feeding in the Crate

Dogs love food. The easiest way to create positive vibes around the crate is to feed your puppy in the crate. It also establishes a good routine.

By not feeding in the crate, you are missing out on the most powerful positive association.


6. Forcing Your Dog Into the Crate

Don’t force your dog into the crate. Use your brain to figure out a way to get your doggy in without force. Or just steal these ideas: use food or a toy.

7. Bopping the Crate

I don’t even know if this is a thing, but the first dog trainer we ever had told us to take a rolled up bath towel and “bop” the crate whenever our dog barked or cried.

I don’t know if this is a common practice, but I wanted to share to keep anyone else from doing it. It’s awful and it will scare your dog. Its also not constructive.


Crate training a dog is a great way to potty train your puppy and establish boundaries. These 7 tips will help you avoid common crate training mistakes.

Crate Training 101

A comprehensive guide to choosing the right crate and the steps you should take to start crate training your dog – An infographic by the team at That Fish Place – That Pet Place.

Want access to hundreds of dog training videos from a pro? Check out Doggy Dan’s website.

2 thoughts on “7 Mistakes Even Smart People Make When Crate Training a Dog”

  1. I am 78 and have a potty problem with my yorkie. During the day she let’s ne know she has to go out. Night time is a nightmare she doesn’t let me know and she Potts and pees on my carpet in my hall. Every night;unless, I wake up every 2 hours and put her out to potty. I need my sleep. She needs training. I have never put her in crate 22 yr. Old when I got her. She is a rescue dog.HELP!!

  2. crate your dog at night. take him out before you put him in and take him out first thing in the morning. They don’t like to potty where they sleep. If your dog is 22 yr old it might be to late to train him.

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