How to Transition Dog Out of the Crate? Our Complete Guide

Last Updated on May, 2024

Introducing your beloved dog to a crate is a valuable training tool that provides them with a safe and secure space. However, as your furry friend grows and matures, there comes a time when transitioning them out of the crate becomes necessary. 

This crucial step in their development allows them to enjoy more freedom and become an integrated part of your family. 

But how do you navigate this process smoothly and successfully? 

In this article, we will explore effective techniques and considerations to help you transition your dog out of the crate with confidence, ensuring a harmonious and happy environment for both you and your four-legged companion.

Quick Summary

Start by observing your dog’s behavior to know when it is ready to transition out of its crate.

Puppy proof the area and start out with short periods of time out of the crate, increasing based on the dog’s reactions.

Crate training should not be used as punishment, but as a safe space for your dog to feel secure. Transitioning your dog out of the crate requires patience and consistency so they can become an integrated part of the family.

When to Start Transitioning the Dog Out of the Crate?

a dog outside the cage raoming in the winter

There’s no exact time frame for this. Best is to observe your dog’s behavior so you can know when’s the right time to start. Here are a bunch of things to look for:

#1: Does Your Dog Listen to You? 

If your dog has been around for a while now, it will likely understand you (to a certain extent, at least). But does it REALLY listen to you? Does he follow your commands? 

Dogs obey their leader by nature. So if you are a good leader (master), it is likely to respond to your verbal cue.

THIS is why you were successful in crate training. And THIS is how you will also train your pup out of the crate.

So have faith. You can do this!

#2: How Does Your Dog Behave Around Family/ Guests?

It’s natural for dogs to be excited at guests, no matter how old they are. However, this should not be the case every time your kid walks into your shared space or when your mom (who lives two blocks away) visits you every other day.

Free roaming may not be a good move if there is too much excitement around a familiar face or whenever the doorbell rings.

#3: Does Your Pup Still Have House Training Issues?

pictures of a dog inside a crate getting petted by its owner

If your dog is still prone to having little accidents, you may have to put off the out-of-crate transition for now. 

Some dog owners let their dogs/ puppies out every ½ hour. If you are one of them, your puppy may not be ready just yet. Teaching your dog how to hold its bladder is vital.

Make sure your dog is potty trained before you open that crate door; cos, let’s be honest, professional carpet/ sofa cleaning is not cheap.

#4: Does Your Dog Have a Good Idea of What to Chew? 

Chew bones and other chew toys are great, but shoes and newspapers – nuh-uh!

You can monitor what your dog prefers to chew. Be firm when telling your dog what items are a – no, no! 

When is a Puppy Ready to Sleep Out of the Crate? 

Most puppies can stay out of the crate overnight when they reach the age of 7 – 8 months. But bigger dog breeds usually seem to remain in their crate for up to 12 – 18 months or longer. 

However, this, again, depends on whether your puppy has the following:

  • Completed toilet training
  • Completed crate training
  • Healthy sleeping habits (sleeps overnight)
  • Chewing habits under control (past the teething phase)

And lastly, on your part, how confident are you to leave the crate door open overnight?

Read our complete guide on this sub-topic here.

Why Should You Train Your Dog to Be Out of the Crate?

A small puppy is peeking out of a yellow crate

As a dog owner, your ultimate goal is to make your pet a part of the family. The sooner, the better. This special bonding requires giving your pup total freedom around your house.

Don’t forget, the crate is their safe space, but deep down, we all know every being deserves to be free, right? And maybe it is time to give that freedom to your dog.

But by doing that, what if you give him too much space? 

Picture this: a dog, given sudden freedom, OUT of his CRATE, OUT of the BLUE?

Remember what happened the last time you accidentally LEFT THE CRATE DOOR OPEN?

DISASTER!!!

This is why we tell you that training your dog to be out of its crate is a total process.

We start small – gradually increase (take your time), then go all the way and, Voila! Your well-behaved dog will make others want them to have one of their own!

Let’s get started

How to Transition Your Dog Out of the Crate?

dogs comfortable in the kitchen

Do you remember the hours you spent giving your dog crate training? You’ll have to go through a similar process all over again. But, hey! We promise you; it will all be worth it in the end. 

Okay, first things first…

  • Puppy Proof

Make sure you’ve paid enough attention to puppy proofing. All unnecessary distractions such as; food items, shoes, kids’ toys, or household waste should be removed.

The purpose here is not to give any access to the wrong kind of chewable, so you and your dog can stay out of trouble. 

It won’t be a pleasant experience having to take away something they’re not supposed to be chewing on. Got experience? That’s why it’s at the top of the list!

  • Choose a Safe Spot to Start

Choose a part of your house where it’s easy to be puppy-proof and clean. 

We recommend – the kitchen!

Why? You ask…

Well, it’s a place where you are allowed to make a mess! You can always clean once done, and it’s much easier without the sofas and carpets!

  • Start slow
a dog resting inside a covered dog crate

Next, you can allow your dog out of the crate but remember not to do so for too long at the beginning. After spending long hours within the comfort zone of the crate, too much space might overwhelm the puppy. 

So we start with short periods of time and slowly increase from there onwards. Give it 10 – 15 minutes per session at the start and see how it goes. If time increases result in negative behavior, be prepared to backtrack your process. 

  • Remove Tempting Items and Provide Tools that Help

This point was probably covered in the puppy proofing; nevertheless, once the trigger items are stored elsewhere safely, give them other reasons to hang out and calm down. 

You can put the dog bed out of the crate or have a second bed in the kitchen with some familiar toys. This might calm the nerves and help settle down your dog/ puppy.

  • Use Barricades if Needed

Feel free to block the escape routes. Closing doors and installing baby gates will teach them limits.

As you may have puppy proofed only a selected area of the house, this is how you can keep them from exploring other parts of the house.

Complete independence is not recommended unless your dog is fully housebroken, even for an adult dog.

  • Leave quietly 

The next stage is to let your dog get used to being home alone. Here again, leave for brief intervals. Give it a short unsupervised time.

You can leave the space and go to the next room for a couple of minutes to start with. Then, briefly leave the house until you’re confident to leave your dog for a few hours.

Key point: DO NOT Make it a BIG Deal!

You can leave and return based on the reactions, but ACT NATURAL. Don’t make any pre-leaving cues or pre-entering gestures. And no sudden movements, and don’t rush it.

Supplies You’ll Need During the Transitioning Process

dog crate accessories

We know it can be difficult. So go easy on yourself and use these at your liberty:

  • Chew bones: these are your friends as much as they’re your puppy’s friends. Use them as you wish. Having more than one at different places in your safe room is a good suggestion.
  • Camera: great to monitor and good to have during the day and night. You can put it to good use, especially during the early stages of transition.
  • New toy: as you start giving them alone time out, provide them with a new distraction to work on. This is an excellent way to keep them from feeling your absence too much.
  • Crate: never leave it too far, even if getting them out of it is the whole purpose of the exercise. 
  • Baby gates: are a great way to mark boundaries. You can remove them over time when you give your dog access to other areas of your home. 

Factors to Consider When Leaving Your Dog Out of the Crate in the Day

  • Check on Dog’s Chewing Choices

Can your dog control the urge to chew anything and everything when you’re around? Does that food smell still get your dog to lose control even when you’re around?

Always double or triple-check before you leave your dog unsupervised, even for a few minutes.

  • Physical Exercise

Sufficient exercise before you leave your dog can make them want to rest while you’re away.

  • Separation Anxiety

This can result in aggressive behavior around the house. Another good reason why your pup should get some sleep while you’re away.

Related article:

FAQs

Yes, you can leave your potty trained puppy out of the crate during the day as long as they follow the rules. However, puppies under 6 months may need to be supervised and kept within eyesight, as they cannot hold their bladder for more than 3-4 hours. Make sure to puppy-proof your home to ensure their safety.

The best way to handle this situation is to give your puppy time to adjust to sleeping out of the crate and let it gradually decide its own favorite sleeping spot. Make sure to use one room at the beginning and place its dog bed in its favorite spot. Leave the crate door open so it can go back if it feels scared due to outside noises during its sleep.

The recommended time-frame to stop crating your dog at night is when it is ready. If the dog feels comfortable in its own bed in a familiar room, you can stop using the crate for night-time sleeping. Always leave the crate door open and be sure to monitor the pup until it is comfortable and settled in its new sleeping routine.

No, leaving a dog in a crate is not cruel, as it provides the dog with a safe place and is not meant to be used as a form of punishment. Crate training can provide dogs with their first home, which is beneficial.

Conclusion

Every dog wants to be loved, and every passionate dog owner wants their dog to be a part of their family. 

That shy pup-in-the-crate should be free roaming. Instead of being confined to a single room all day, it should sleep at the foot of your bed at night.

Why lock it up when you want your dog to feel special every second?

It would take a few tries to get there, but it’s mostly smooth sailing afterwards. 

As a dog owner, you must be ready to accept the fact that the transitioning process can be as complex as the crating. And you must be prepared to backtrack if things don’t go the way you plan.

Tiny steps and tips can help you transform your home into the most reliable dog home. And who knows, maybe it’ll be easier than you think. And who knows, it may be easier than you think.

Don’t worry; you will share your success story soon 

Happy Woof Training!

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Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

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