Last Updated on February, 2024
So, Should You Lock Your Puppy in the Crate at Night?
The answer: YES!
Let me tell you why.
You can’t watch over your dog at night, but are you comfortable letting it roam free in the house unsupervised?
Then again, will the pup be comfortable in a crate at night? Isn’t it cruel to keep it locked overnight?
Time to find out!
Locking a puppy in their crate at night can be beneficial for potty training, preventing accidents, ensuring better sleep, managing anxiety and emergencies.
Make sure the puppy is comfortable in the crate with their favorite items and don’t leave them anxious.
Establish a routine and cover the crate at night to create a den-like environment.
Table of Contents
- Should I Lock My Puppy in His Crate At Night?
- When Should I Lock My Puppy in the Crate At Night?
- Factors to Consider When Crate Training a Puppy Overnight
- Should My Puppy Complete Potty Training to Start Sleeping in a Locked Crate?
- What Can I Do to Make it Comfortable for My Dog in the Crate At Night?
- Do’s and Don’ts of Crate Training Young Puppies
- Can a Dog Sleep in an Open Crate?
- Should I Leave the Crate Door Open During the Day?
- When to Stop Locking the Crate Door At Night?
Should I Lock My Puppy in His Crate At Night?
Yes, you should because puppies are just like human babies. They lack control over basic behavior and take time to get used to a new environment.
Dogs naturally want to roam free. However, your dog should be properly house-trained if this is to happen. For puppies and even some adult dogs, locking the crate at night is the right thing to do because:
It Helps With Potty Training
Puppies learn to hold their bladder when the crate is locked, as they usually dislike relieving themselves where they sleep. So, you can speed up the crate training process by eliminating potty accidents, which is a significant part of crate training.
No Mess, No Trouble
Having your puppy is great, but not a messy home. Most puppies are curious and find nighttime great for exploring. If you know or are unsure whether your puppy has destructive behaviors, lock that crate.
A Good Night’s Sleep
A good sleep schedule applies not just to your dog but also to you. As the owner and guardian, you deserve a restful night’s sleep without worrying you might witness a nightmare when you wake up.
Just like humans, dogs also have different anxieties. As research shows, these might lead to various behavioral problems. So because you don’t know what to expect if they get anxious, you lock the crate.
Help With Vet Visits
Getting them used to sleeping inside a locked crate helps when you have to take them out, especially on vet visits. If there is an occasion where they need to stay apart from you (overnight), having them trained this way is a blessing.
Calm in an Emergency
Emergencies come unannounced, whether it’s a natural cause or not. A restless dog will double your worry. If the crate calms them, locking them can significantly relieve you.
Helps Routine and Structure
Every dog should have a good bedtime routine. It helps with disciplining your puppy and contributes to a healthy pet-master relationship.
How Long Should I Keep the Crate Locked At Night?
This largely depends on your puppy’s behavior.
The possibility of a potty accident is one of the main reasons you must keep the crate locked.
Young puppies cannot be locked for long, as they need to relieve themselves more frequently than adult dogs. Nevertheless, a closed crate helps potty train puppies as they try to hold it in.
Take a look at our complete guide on this topic here.
When Should I Lock My Puppy in the Crate At Night?
Locking should ideally happen from the very first day you start crate training. A new puppy is most vulnerable to getting into trouble and causing accidents, so you should start from day one until necessary.
You must ensure your puppy is settled and understand that it’s bedtime before locking up for the night. Ensure they’re comforted in the dog bed, ready to call it a night.
Factors to Consider When Crate Training a Puppy Overnight
Your puppy needs to have a sleeping schedule, and you should know their timings.
Make sure you don’t leave your puppy anxious. Switch the mood from play to rest. Don’t leave the room at once. Give some signals that you will be going eventually.
Remember, your puppy should be calm and settled when you leave, or else it will be a horror for you and your neighbors throughout the night.
Many dogs cry or bark in their crate for two reasons. You will have to listen closely and understand WHICH is WHAT:
- Distress barking/crying
- Need a toilet break
If it is Distress Crying, try and wait it out. Do not rush to the crate the moment you hear it crying. Only if the crying continues should you go and settle him down.
This would only go on for a while. A few days of crate train should do the trick.
Should My Puppy Complete Potty Training to Start Sleeping in a Locked Crate?
Your dog doesn’t need to be potty trained, but you should know how often it might need to relieve itself.
Usually, puppies younger than four months can’t go for many hours without a potty break and dislike making a mess in the crate. This might result in crying and whining.
So if you want to give your puppy a restful night’s sleep, consider letting him out on potty breaks depending on his request.
Related article: How to get a puppy to stop peeing in crate?
What Can I Do to Make it Comfortable for My Dog in the Crate At Night?
Dogs naturally don’t like to be locked up. However, the crate is the most popular choice for dog owners as it helps a puppy sleep well once they get used to it.
If the puppy is very young, the first night might be tough. (We have a specific guide to crate train your dog at his first night. Read it here.)
Let it explore the crate first. Allow it to move in and out of the crate, and encourage it with treats.
Most puppies have their favorite items: chew bones, toys, or blankets. You can lure them into the crate with treats and leave them with their favorite stuff to cling to until they doze off.
Other dogs may have their favorite spots in your home where they feel comfortable. You can place the crate in these places so you know they are happy to be there.
Do’s and Don’ts of Crate Training Young Puppies
Dog owners feel confident about locking their puppy’s crate at night until they hear their puppy crying. However, you can’t discipline puppies by giving in to all their demands.
Do’s: It’s all about prepping them up for the night:
- Start every process with short periods
- Stop giving water 2 hours from bedtime
- Tire your puppy with a lot of play time before bed
- Make sure they’re comfortable in the crate
Dont’s: This might be the reason they refuse to stay in the crate:
- Use the crate as punishment
- Take your puppy out every time it whines
- Talk or pet him when he’s inside the puppy crate, getting ready for bedtime
Can a Dog Sleep in an Open Crate?
Study shows that most dogs sleep longer during the daytime than at nighttime. Older dogs prefer a dog bed or be comfortable in an open crate.
Puppies, however, are unpredictable, so it’s better to keep them in their puppy crate at night until they’re properly house-trained. It is noted that dogs develop anxiety over noise sensitivity and fear. (1)
Relevant content: Should i let my puppy sleep outside his crate?
Should I Leave the Crate Door Open During the Day?
A dog’s crate is their sanctuary and their safe space. Some dogs prefer the crate during the day, and some at night. Whatever their preference, it is essential to discipline them and keep them from causing trouble.
If you decide to proceed, do it in a puppy-proof room. DO NOT give it complete freedom right away. Give it access to just one room at a time. And it’s always better to have some compulsory crate time during the day to maintain routine and order.
When to Stop Locking the Crate Door At Night?
This is entirely up to you.
If you cannot remember the last time your puppy had a potty accident or misbehaved, you can decide to keep the door open. You can stop locking their crate if you are confident of your dog’s behavior and know there won’t be any trouble or destructive behaviors.
You have to make sure it’s a puppy-proof room, and your puppy will not have access to any other area of your house should he wish to take a stroll in the middle of the night.
If your puppy finds the crate setup more comfortable, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let him continue sleeping in until he gets a little older. Let’s not rush things.
Many dog owners are torn over this decision. However, opting to lock your puppy in its crate overnight can be a beneficial choice. It aids in potty training, prevents accidents, ensures better sleep for both you and your pup, and helps manage anxiety and emergencies.
Gradually introducing the crate, providing comfort items, and establishing a routine contribute to a successful transition. You can decide when to leave the crate door open as your puppy adapts.
Prioritizing your puppy’s safety and well-being through proper crate training techniques is key.
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