The Truth About Crating Dogs At Night

If you’re a new dog owner, or just new to crate training, then there is a good chance that there is a pit in your stomach right now. Your dog may be howling and barking up a storm all night.

Before you continue reading, I’m going to put your mind at ease. This is 100% normal, and it is 100% okay. You are not a bad person.

Crating Your Dog At Night

Crating your dog at night is a common practice in crate training. It helps a lot with housebreaking a puppy. It also gives dog owners a safe place to keep their dogs overnight, knowing they won’t chew on something or pee somewhere.

Dogs don’t like crate training and it’s a miserable experience for both of you. It is worth doing, and it gets better over time.

Crating Feels Cruel

When your dog is whining and crying, it can sound like a horror movie. Every time your dog whines in their crate, they are begging for attention. If you get out of bed to console them, you create setbacks in the training process.

Depending on how badly you gave in, the training process can be set back more and more. It is very important to let your dog soothe themselves to sleep. For every night that they need to get themselves to calm down, you get one step closer to having a dog that loves sleeping inside their crate.

For puppies, you can expect to have to let them do their business every couple of hours. The older they get, the longer they can hold it in. They will whine and bark up a storm before eventually going inside their crate.

If your dog pooped or peed inside their crate, they have been left there for too long(or their crate was too big).

How Long Can A Dog Stay In His Crate

If you are going to leave your dog in its crate, you should make sure that they’ve had a chance to go to the bathroom. It is also very important to know how long your dog can hold it in.

A crate is a fantastic tool for housebreaking a dog because they will instinctively wait until they’ve left the crate to go to the bathroom.

Where Should A Crate Be

There are lots of good places where a crate should be. You can choose to keep the crate in your room where you sleep. This will help the dog with separation anxiety. It also makes it easier for you to keep an eye on them.

You can put the crate in another room. Your dog won’t appreciate it as much but it will teach them how to get over separation anxiety quickly.

Cover The Crate At Night

Your dog will love you the most, but after that, it will love its den. Giving your dog the feeling of having a den can be as simple as covering the crate at night. You can also just keep the cover on the crate forever. This will give him the feeling of being enclosed.

Putting A Blanket Or Bed In Your Dog’s Crate

A blanket or a bed will make the crate super cozy for your dog. It also speeds up the process of getting them to enjoy the space. The fabric from the blanket will soak up your dog’s natural scents and will draw them in each time they’re put back in the crate.

Should Dogs Be Sleeping In Their Crate Overnight

Dogs are known to sleep in their crates all the time. At first, it may be hard to believe. They’re not used to being in a crate and they won’t like it as much. Once they’ve learned that the crate is their personal space for relaxing, they’ll ease into it.

Once they’ve come to enjoy being in their crate, falling asleep will be an afterthought. They want to sleep. It’s what dogs do. It might just take some getting used to.

Dog Can Break Out Of Their Crate

Sometimes your dog will break out of its crate. It might seem impossible, but they’re very capable of doing so. Dogs will usually break out of their crates if something is very wrong. Also, some breeds make for fantastic escape artists, and for them, it’s just a challenge.

Leaving The Crate Door Open

Once your dog has come to love its crate, it will use the crate on its own whether you close the door or not. Leaving the crate door open comes with trust, respect, and your dog’s own comfort level within the crate.

You can leave it open once you know he will stay in there happily. This might be a sign to stop crate training altogether. Until then, keeping the crate door closed and locked is the way to go.

How Long To Let Your Dog Cry In Its Crate

Don’t fret. This is a perfectly normal response to crate training. It doesn’t last forever, and your dog will come out happier in the end. There are actually a lot of different reasons why your dog is whining. Some of them will have to be dealt with by waiting it out, while others you may have to be proactive about.

How long does whining last

This varies from dog to dog. It can last anywhere from one week to one year. It is important to make sure that your dog has all the right conditions for proper crate training. If you follow the checklist of reasons in the above paragraphs, your crate training whining should stop much sooner than later.

If you believe that your dog has all of its necessary needs met, and there is nothing else you can do to make them comfortable, then you may need to look for alternative methods(although this would be very rare).

Hasn’t Had Enough Exercise

One of the biggest issues that dog owners face, not only in crate training, is a dog’s energy level. Most dogs are on their best behavior only when all of their needs are met. One of the biggest needs that a dog will have is to have an outlet for all of its excess energy.

Your Dogs Crate Is Too Small Or Too Big

Believe it or not, the crate you give your dog can actually be too big for them. I don’t think it needs to be said that your dog will be upset if you give them a crate that’s too small. It is important to make sure that your dog has enough room to lie down and stand up comfortably.

wrong sized crate can hinder your crate training

Beyond laying down and standing up, your dog shouldn’t have much more space than that. If your dog’s crate gives them more space than what is considered to be ideal, they will begin to compartmentalize within the crate. They can designate one end of the crate to be used for sleeping, and the other end for bathroom use.

Crates that are too big don’t necessarily need to be replaced. A simple solution for large crates is to use crate dividers. These are basically walls that you can add to your dog’s crate to reduce its size. For people who bought large crates because their puppy is expected to grow, you can save money by getting crate dividers instead of buying a new dog crate.

Check That He’s Not Going Hungry

Skipping a meal can be very upsetting. Not just for dogs, but for anybody. This is especially true for a puppy. Puppies need food more than older dogs because they are constantly burning a lot of energy and they are always growing. They need the food to make sure that everything is developing properly.

When your dog hasn’t had dinner, and he or she is put to bed in their crate for the night, they will raise hell. Your dog knows that crate time is generally a long-term situation, and they’ll know if they didn’t get to eat tonight, then they’re going to have to wait until morning.

Can You Leave A Dog Without Water Overnight

Dogs can be left without water, but first, make sure they’ve had a chance to go to pee and a chance to drink some water before going in the crate. Nothing bad will happen if your dog hasn’t had water overnight, but give him some right when he gets out.

Should You Leave Water In The Crate

Leaving water in the crate is an option, but it comes with risks. Leaving a bowl with water will almost always result in spilling. If you put blankets in the crate or a dog bed, then it will get soaked and your dog will be uncomfortable all night. Your best bet is to try a few times and see if your dog is careful enough to not knock it over.

Your Dog Needs Medical Attention

If you’ve done everything possible, and your dog is still whining, you may want to check in with your veterinarian. The whining may have nothing to do with crating at all. It is important to monitor your dog’s health to make sure that everything is working properly.

To check if it has something to do with the crate, you can see if they are still whining the same way when they are outside of their crate. Alternatively, you can try using a different crate(metal vs plastic crate) and see if they react the same way.

Dog Won’t Sleep In Crate

Getting a new dog means you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. Oftentimes, new dog owners appear to be attached to their dogs. This is obviously because of the wonderful new honeymoon period with your dog, but this comes with a side effect that is often overlooked.

Spending so much time with your dog, it develops an attachment to you. Being away from you will give it an enormous feeling of anxiety. This is something that most new dog owners have to get over, and crate training is one of the best tools to achieve this. Your dog may be whining inside of its crate because they are afraid that you won’t come back.

When crate training your dog first, it is important to do small crating sessions first to make sure your dog can trust you. Coming back after 5 minutes and letting them out will help them see that it’s not the end of the world. You can work your way up to 15 minutes, then an hour, and so on.

Don’t Use It To Discipline Your Dog

A crate is only to be used as a tool to help your dog to learn some fundamental behaviors. When dealing with a stubborn dog, it may be tempting to lock them up.

crate being used as a prison or time out
Locking your dog up as a way to punish them will only set your crate training back.

Once a dog becomes comfortable with its crate, it becomes a happy place for them. When you use the crate as a form of punishment, they will associate negative feelings with their crate. They will fight your tooth and nail when it comes to entering the crate. Then, they’ll whine the whole time they’re in there.

This is the lazy way of getting what you want, and will only make it that much harder to get your dog to listen to you in the future. A dog’s crate is its own personal space that it has to itself. Don’t take that away from them by making it a miserable experience.

Your dog should never be forced to enter its crate. You will need to have them enter the crate voluntarily. This is all part of the process of getting them to be familiar with their crate. It shouldn’t be used as a time-out.

The Pros of Crating Dogs at Night

There are a few key benefits to crating your dog at night:

  • It can help to reduce separation anxiety and other behavioral issues.
  • It provides a safe, secure space for your dog to rest and relax.
  • It can help your dog feel more comfortable and relaxed in their crate.

The Cons Of Crating Dogs At Night

There are a few potential downsides to crating your dog at night:

  • It can increase anxiety levels if not done correctly.
  • It can be stressful for both you and your dog if not done properly.
  • It can be uncomfortable for your dog if the crate is too small or not set up correctly.

Tips For Making The Transition To Crating Easy For Both You And Your Dog

Here are a few tips to make the transition to crating easy for both you and your dog:

  • Start slowly. Introduce your dog to the crate gradually and let them get used to it at their own pace.
  • Make it comfortable. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate and make sure it’s in a quiet, calm location.
  • Don’t force it. Never force your dog into the crate or punish them for not wanting to go in. This will only make them more anxious and less likely to want to use it.
Photo of author

Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the owner and editor for Puppy Leader. He has two dogs and loves to train them daily. Every day, Peter takes his dogs to the park and lets them run around and play together. He also trains them each day with different commands and tricks.