How to Get a Puppy to Sleep – An Easy to Follow Guide

Many first-time puppy owners find themselves at their wit’s end trying to get their new puppy to sleep at night. 

Never fear -- our One Step Ahead Method is based on evidence from some of the world’s top trainers, and it’s guaranteed to have you and your pup snoozing peacefully through the night in no time!

How to Get Your Puppy to Sleep 

Many of us don’t realise exactly how important our sleeping pattern is until it’s disrupted. We find ourselves snapping at co-workers, zoning out on our morning commute, and on the verge of tears or explosion at inconveniences we’d usually dismiss with a shrug of our shoulders.

Just ask any new parent -- and pet parents are no exception! So how can you get your puppy to sleep through the night so that you can get some rest?

How to Get a Puppy to Sleep

Not getting enough sleep is certainly bad for owners, and it’s not great for puppies, either. All the best training programmes require you to start your training early and face your dog with calm, assertive energy, and it’s difficult to find your chill when you’re so tired that you could cry.

Let’s set some reasonable expectations here -- when you first bring your puppy home, they’re entering a new, strange space that they can find quite scary, and their tiny baby bladder just can’t do the job for a full eight hours. You’re not going to have a good night’s sleep for a while!

However, a good sleep training routine can make the difference between weeks and months of lost shut-eye.

That’s why we’ve taken tips from experts Cesar Milan, Doggy Dan, Patricia McConnel and Rebecca Settler and used them to formulate our very own One Step Ahead technique.

This simple method should see you and your new best friend sleeping on the same schedule as soon as possible!

The One Step Ahead Method is easy to follow, designed to anticipate your pup’s needs, and based on the best evidence available.It covers everything from food to toilet breaks to how to burn off your puppy’s energy! We’ll give you all the details later on, as well as some true stories from the frontline of sleep training, but let’s get some basics out of the way first

Where should my puppy sleep?

While the experts are divided on the ideal permanent sleeping spot for your new best friend, almost all agree that your puppy should spend the first night (if not the first few nights) sleeping in the same room as you. Depending on where you got your dog from, this may be their first night sleeping away from their littermates!

Right now, what your pup needs is to feel safe, and having them as close to you as possible is the best way to calm them down. Having your puppy sleep in your room is also a great way for them to begin learning your sleeping pattern -- and they’ll have to sync with your schedule eventually.

Where should my puppy sleep

Some trainers, like online training guru Doggy Dan, believe that giving your dog a permanent basecamp in your bedroom decreases their likelihood of seeing you as the ‘pack leader’, and that this can make them anxious and more likely to challenge your authority.

But Rebecca Settler, author of ‘Puppy Sleep Training- The Exhausted Puppy Owner’s Nighttime Survival Guide’, makes the case that since dogs are pack animals, sleeping with members of the pack is likely to make them calmer, and that bedding down in your room is great training for a guard dog.

Wherever your pup ends up resting their head long-term, the first thing you’ll need to do is construct a comfortable, welcoming sleeping area.

Setting the scene: Essential Puppy Props

So how do you create the perfect puppy snooze zone?

Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer himself, advises leaving no hard surfaces uncovered.

Cesar Millan's Take

Everything in the area should be padded, or covered with towels, blankets or newspaper.

If you’ve got your dog from a breeder, ask them if you can have something soft (a blanket, towel or toy) that smells like their litter-mates. 

You may even be able to give your breeder something that you own in advance!

It might also be a good idea to add something with your scent on it to the area -- it should get your puppy used to seeing you as part of the family!

It’s also a good idea to add a toy, for comfort, entertainment, and night-time chewing!

 A particularly nervous pup might get benefit out of something warm, like a hot water bottle, and something that simulates a mother’s heartbeat. You can use an old-school alarm clock covered in blankets, or buy a toy specifically designed for that purpose.

Rebecca Setler believes that a crate or pen is absolutely essential, and that even if your puppy is sleeping in a bed, that they’ll need to be confined.

Puppy Sleep Training Book

Rebecca Setler's Take

Setting up an exercise pen around any beds is advisable.  New puppies usually feel more secure in small areas, and an enclosed space will stop your puppy wandering off and having an accident in other parts of the house.

On the topic of beds -- Setler advises against buying anything too destructible at this point. Your puppy will soon start exploring things with their teeth!

Both, Millan and Setler are big proponents of having wee-wee pads in your puppy’s sleeping space, as is Doggy Dan.

Doggy Dan also hammers home the importance of having a bowl of water in the dog’s sleeping area, and seconds the importance of soft materials and toys. 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Stocking the dog's sleeping area with a couple of options and waiting to see where they bed down -- if the dog wants to sleep in a cardboard box, then that's where the bed should be!

Here's a simple checklist to get you started. 

Puppy Sleep Training Checklist

If you have a puppy that is more on the nervous side then add these supplies to your checklist;

Puppy Sleep Training - Soothing a Nervous Puppy

After you’re all set up, you should make sure that your dog doesn’t associate the area with intense activity. Naps and casual hang-outs are fine, playtime and training are not!

Final Thought:  For more puppy preparation, click here to check out our New Puppy Checklist!

Be Prepared

Hearing your little bundle of fur cry can be heartbreaking, and on the first night, your puppy is most definitely going to cry. This is a new and scary experience for them!

Humans are evolutionarily programmed to rush to the assistance to crying babies, and while a dog’s cries aren’t quite the same, they’re close enough that we immediately want to respond with cuddles and soothing noises.

This is what Dr Patricia McConnell, author of ‘The Other End of The Leash - Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs’ calls ‘the dark side of empathy’ --

Dr Patricia McConnell Profile Picture

Dr Patricia McConnell's Take

Projecting our own desires onto those who do not share them. Cuddling your dog will do more harm than good, and verbal reassurance will make your dog feel like this behaviour is acceptable. If you tell your dog that ‘it’s okay’ when they cry, they’ll apply those words their behaviour (the crying) and not the situation (the scary space)!

You can’t soothe a puppy like you would a baby, but you can give them some reassurance.

Cesar Milan suggests knocking gently on the side of their crate to let them know you hear them. For the most part, though, you’ll have to tough it out.

You might want to bring your puppy home on a Friday evening or some other evening before your day off. The first night is going to be tough, and you don’t want to head into an important meeting having been kept up all night by puppy tears! If you can do it, taking some time off is a very good idea.

Final ThoughtSome dog owners have had some success calming their crying puppies by simply laying a hand on their pup and transferring some of their ‘calm energy’ -- similar to Doggy Dan’s Calm Freeze technique. To learn more about the Calm Freeze, check out our Puppy Training Guide.  

The One Step Ahead Technique 

So you’ve set up a lovely sleeping area, steeled yourself for the coming tears, and you’re ready to get down to the business of sleep training.

The goal? To have your puppy sleep on your schedule, of course!

You want them to sleep when you sleep, wake up when you wake up, and to avoid nasty accidents during the night.

With this in mind, it might seem a little odd to think that the best way to get your puppy to work around you is to anticipate their needs. But that’s exactly what the One Step Ahead technique does -- it encourages you to think like a dog, counter any problems before they arise, and set the foundations for a peaceful sleep routine.

The best part? After just a few days, you won’t have to deal with any heart-wrenching crying, pitiful whining, or attention grabbing barking from your furry family member at night!

The One Step Ahead Technique has five steps.

Note: When describing this technique, we’re assuming that you brought your pup home when they were about eight weeks old, but these steps should work just as well for older puppies with some minor adjustments.

1. Keep an Eye on Their Feeding Schedule

It should be clear by now that by far and away the biggest reason your puppy wakes you up at night is for a toilet break.  

At eight weeks, your puppy should be eating three to four meals a day, and the last one should be no less than four hours before their bedtime. What goes in, must come out! 

There’s more to this than just making sure you’re not greeted with a smelly present in the morning, though -- digestion keeps your pup’s body and mind active, and can make them restless.

If your own schedule requires you to dish up dinner just a couple of hours before you turn in, consider giving your pup a larger portion in the morning and a smaller one in the evening.

There are some puppies that seem to wake up in the middle of the night out of hunger. If your pup is one of these peckish few, consider leaving a dog biscuit or other snack in their sleeping area.

Cesar Milan suggests a bully stick, or dried bull’s penis -- the smell will also entice your pup into his sleeping area!

Rebecca Setler also recommends that you don’t give your pup any water less than three hours before they hit the hay.

But it’s important to remember that dogs can overheat and dehydrate very quickly -- while this might be good advice for those in colder climes, you shouldn’t take the risk if it’s hot out.

Bottom Line: Your pup's last meal should be less than four hours before bedtime and water intake should be less than three hours. 

2. Monitor Napping Times Carefully

How much sleep does an eight week old puppy need?

It might surprise you to know just how much shut-eye your little bundle of energy requires -- a whopping fourteen-to-twenty hours! Daytime naps are essential for your buddy. 

It almost goes without saying that too much sleep in the day equals not enough sleep at night. So here, too, you’ll need to be vigilant!

It might feel cruel to wake your sleeping pup (they look so adorable, after all) but nap-time should stop at least four hours before bed.

If you notice your pup dropping off, wake them up with pats and play. Which brings us neatly to the next step…

Bottom Line: Day time naps should be avoided at least four hours before bedtime. 

3. Stimulate the Senses! 

This is the most important part. You’ll need to tire your puppy out! But how do you burn off all that new puppy energy?

The answer lies in stimulating your puppy’s senses.

Everything is new to your puppy -- new smells, new people, new sights, new sounds everywhere! Finding out about the world can exciting - and pretty tiring too.

This can fit in nicely with your dog’s socialisation training - introduce them to their new pack members, and let them get to know them! 

Your puppy needs exercise, of course, but you’ll also need to wear out their brain. Fortunately, playing with your puppy accomplishes both!  

Patricia Mc Connell is a huge advocate for using games to teach manners. Your pup might be a little young to master ‘Fetch’, at this point, but a good game of ‘Take It and Drop It’ might just work. 

If you’re looking to do a bit more brain work, you might also consider practising some commands!

Of course, you’ll need to keep an eye on your puppy’s energy -- there’s a fine line between ‘engaging and having fun’ and ‘overstimulated and unable to respond’.

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Doggy Dan notes that your dog looks to you for cues, and they’ll be responding to your energy levels. So keep it chill!

Bottom Line: Taking the time to train your dog goes a long way. It not helps them to feel fulfilled but most of all it wears them out for a good night's sleep. 

4. Anticipate Toilet Breaks by Setting an Alarm

If you’ve followed the previous steps, come bedtime you should be looking at one sleepy puppy!

But of course, when nature calls, your pup must answer, and the good news is that they don’t want to let loose in their bed. The bad news is, of course, that you’ll have to let them out.

You could just tuck yourself in and wait with dread for your buddy to cry out. But there’s another option - get there before they wake up!

At eight weeks old, a puppy can hold their bladder for a max of four hours -- and that’s pushing it.

Before you go to bed, set an alarm for two-to-three hours time… and then another, and then another. Once your puppy gets to nine weeks, you can push it the alarm back to four.

Bottom Line: For a more accurate estimation you can use the Bladder Formula in the Crate Training guide.

5. Keep Pushing it Back

By fourteen to sixteen weeks, your puppy should be able to sleep the whole night through!

Final Thought: What is the beauty of this method? By staying one step ahead of your pup, you should be able to step in before he starts crying. Less distress for you, for your pup and for your neighbours!

The Importance of Toilet Training

Toilet training is the first thing you’ll have to get to grips with when you bring home your new pup, so you’ll want to have a solid routine in place during the day.

Learn to anticipate when your puppy needs to go, tempt them outside with a treat if you have to, and decide on a verbal command -- go toilet, go potty, or something in that ballpark. Reward them handsomely after each successful evacuation!

The main difference between toilet training at night and during the day is that toilet training at night shouldn’t hold any rewards at all.

You don’t want to praise your puppy for waking you up!

Of course, no matter how closely you follow the One Step Ahead Method, your puppy can still surprise you.

Apartment dwellers might also find it impractical to take their pup out at night. This is where pee pads can be a godsend.

Set them up in your bathroom, and follow the One Step Ahead technique.

Looking for a little more encouragement? 

Moxie Profile Picture

Jamie's Take

Dog Peer’s owner Jamie taught her dog, Moxie, to avoid accidents on the floor by spraying a mix of eucalyptus oil, apple cider vinegar and water on the carpets. It worked instantly! 

 For a more detailed look at accidents and how to avoid them, see our Toilet Training Guide.

Final Thought: While it may seem like you’re in thrall to your puppy’s baby bladder, this won’t last forever. By 16 weeks, your buddy should be able to hold it all through the night.

Puppy Sleep Training Tips 

Need some extra help? We’ve put together a few tips for you, just in case. 

Tip 1. Know where your dog is coming from

So you’ve put your dog to bed in a sleeping area that they love, you’re close by, you’ve played with them all day and they still won’t stop crying. What’s going on?

If your puppy is a rescue, they could be having nightmares. Joe the Whippet came into my life from an abusive owner, and seemed to be re-living his trauma as he slept. The best thing you can do here is contact the rescue organisation and ask how best to soothe them.

In Joe’s case, this meant having him sleep with a water bottle and wrapped up alarm clock for a full four months. Every dog is different, and some need a little more TLC than others!

If your puppy has no problem evacuating their bowels in their sleeping area, they may have been born in a puppy mill. If you suspect this, you might want to contact a professional trainer for assistance.

Tip 2. Embrace Technology

In the times we live in, there seems to be a hack for everything, and puppy sleep training is no exception!

Patricia McConnell is a fan of pheromone plug-ins -- devices that look like a plug-in air freshener, which are inserted into a wall socket and release calming scents.

You can also invest in a white noise machine, or simply put on a Youtube playlist -- Joe is a particular fan of smoothed brown noise! 

You’ll also find puppy sleep music available, so why not take a search and experiment! Here's one I found;

Final Thought I’ve never used puppy sleep music myself, but this seems less cloying than a lot of others out there. Joe is indifferent.

Tip 3. Get ahead of the Game

If you’ve purchased your dog from a breeder, you may be able to get one step ahead of the One Step Ahead technique and ask them to do some sleep training with your pup!


So there you have it -- a five part, easy to follow technique that takes a whole lot of stress out of sleep training!

If you’ve enjoyed learning about the One Step Technique, consider taking a look at the rest of our Puppy Training Articles.

So there you have it -- a five part, easy to follow technique that takes a whole lot of stress out of sleep training!

If you’ve enjoyed learning about the One Step Technique, consider taking a look at the rest of our Puppy Training Articles.

FAQ - Sleep Training Problems 

I have a medical condition that’s aggravated by lack of sleep, what can I do?

Unfortunately, broken sleep is unavoidable with a new puppy. The best thing you can do in that situation is get an older dog.

I can’t take it anymore, can I use earplugs or music to drown my puppy out?

You have my sympathies, but no. You don’t want to risk missing cries that have nothing to do with toilet training or anxiety -- like your pup escaping from his sleeping area to wreak havoc on your home!

My puppy was quiet as a mouse the first night and now they’re screaming like a banshee. What gives?

Some puppies are so knocked out by the over-stimulation of being in a new environment that they’ll conk right out on the first night, and they’ll become aware of the strangeness of their situation the next day. This is relatively normal, and one of the reasons that the fourth part of the One Step Ahead Method is so important!

When should I worry?

You should worry if your puppy is crying during the day as well as at night -- that’s a sure sign that they’re in pain. A puppy in pain may also flinch away from you in the morning. Contact your vet if you’re unsure, and especially if your pup is experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea.

This afternoon I burst into tears because someone cut me off in traffic, will I ever feel human again?

Give it time. And maybe have another cup of coffee.

Puppy Training Guide

When you first bring your fur-baby home, it can be difficult to decide when and how to begin training them, particularly if you’ve never owned a puppy before.

One online trainer, Doggy Dan, thinks he’s cracked the code and created the perfect Puppy Training Guide -- and the work begins as soon as your puppy crosses the threshold.

In this guide we will cover the following important topics when it comes to puppy training;

  1. How to Train Your Puppy
  2. Puppy Training Basics
  3. Puppy Training Tips
  4. Common Puppy Problems
  5. Puppy Commands
  6. Puppy Training Techniques

Let's get straight into it!

How to Train Your Puppy

When you think about training your puppy, you probably think about teaching commands and tricks, but Doggy Dan doesn’t think you should start there. The trainer’s proven-to-work online courses blend practical tips with an overall philosophy based on positive reinforcement, leadership, and an overview of what Doggy Dan sees as an essential ‘dog psychology’.

The secret to success is calm. Just as humans find it difficult to learn under stressful conditions (try studying for a test while a car alarm is blaring), puppies find it hard to take in new information when they’re worked up.

Doggy Dan talks a lot about ‘energy meters’ -- a measurement of your puppy’s level of agitation, whether that agitation is a symptom of excitement, aggression or fear.

Your puppy should be relaxed before receiving any new training or lessons, before feeding, and even before you give them any ‘pats, cuddles or affection’.

Your puppy looks to you for cues on how to behave. If you become aggressive or frustrated when they’re naughty, your dog’s ‘energy meter’ rockets ever higher, and once they reach a certain level, instruction becomes impossible.

It’s hard to be  Zen when your adorable bundle of joy becomes a holy horror hell-bent on destroying your couch cushions -- but in this method, keeping cool is key.

Puppy Training Basics

All of Doggy Dan’s training methods are an extension of what he calls ‘The Dog Calming Code’.

The foundation of this code is based on a sort of canine evolutionary psychology.

The idea is that dogs are descended from wolves, and that like their wild ancestors, they are pack animals, looking to an ‘alpha’ male or female for leadership.

If their owner does not display alpha-like qualities, the dog will take on the role themselves, and with it, the worry and responsibility of looking after a confusing pack of humans that behave in ways that they think are irrational.

Imagine trying to project manage a team of recently arrived space aliens. They don’t speak any human tongue, and not only do they not understand your body language, but they don’t even have the same type of body as you do. Not exactly a relaxing prospect!

While the theory that domestic dogs socialise in the same way as their wild ancestors is a topic of some debate among veterinary scientists (link to article), Doggy Dan claims that his methods have helped over 25,000 dogs to date.

In Doggy Dan’s view, becoming the alpha or pack leader is crucial. The pack leader is not a tyrant, but a protector.

By asserting your dominance, you are telling your dog that they will be taken care of and that there’s nothing for them to worry about.

A submissive dog is one that’s relatively free from stress, and thus open to learning.

Doggy Dan recommends establishing your newfound alpha-status by following his Five Golden Rules, as follows;

Doggy Dan's Five Golden Rules

Golden Rule Number One: Control the food.

Golden Rule Number Two: Danger.

Golden Rule Number Three: Ignore your dog after separation.

Golden Rule Number Four: Everything on your terms.

Golden Rule Number Five: The walk.

Let's now look at each rule in more detail...

Golden Rule Number One: Control the food.

Food is an important status symbol in wolf packs. Alphas eat first, then portion the food out to other pack members.

Doggy Dan recommends feeding your dog only after you’ve eaten. It’s also a good idea to get the whole family to feed the dog at least once or twice - it makes it clear that all human members of the household are above your dog in the social pecking order.

Of course, your puppy will challenge your alpha-status, and trying to assert control over their food is a common way for them to do so.

They may attempt this by leaving some of their food in the bowl to come back to later. If this happens, Doggy Dan advises that you take the bowl away and do not give them more until the next scheduled feeding time (of course, there are medical conditions that can cause a puppy to lose their appetite -- contact a vet if you’re concerned).

Don’t make a fuss. Keep your cool, and your puppy should follow your lead.

Bones, rawhide and other treats count as food, and any attempts by your dog to hide them may be an attempt to assert control.

You should only feed your dog once they are calm and relaxed, in order to encourage this sort of behaviour in the future.

When you’re starting out with a puppy, you can also practice ‘gesture eating.’ Hold your dog’s food bowl out with one hand, and get them to watch you eat a cracker or a piece of bread.

This should help cement the idea that you are in charge of the food.

Golden Rule Number Two: Danger.

Being the pack leader comes with a great responsibility -- your dog will trust you to protect them from danger.

They’ll still try and alert you to anything they think of as dangerous, of course, and a young puppy can see anything as scary, be it a bird, a bike or a changing breeze.

Doggy Dan recommends looking towards whatever the puppy is focusing on (even if they’re just staring into space -- they may be smelling or hearing something that you can’t), and then calmly turning away.

This will show your pup that whatever’s got them worked up is nothing to be afraid of. The most common way that your puppy will try to make you aware of danger is by barking. We’ll get to what to do when your dog barks later on, but first --

Golden Rule Number Three: Ignore your dog after separation.

One of the best parts of owning a puppy is seeing them greet you on arrival like they’ve just learned of an open day at the treat factory, and it’s tempting to pat and cuddle your bouncing buddy as soon as you get in the door.

But Doggy Dan cautions against immediately showering your dog with affection.

Wolf packs usually only separate when members go hunting. Sometimes an alpha may get injured and other pack members will immediately investigate to make sure that their leader is still up to the job.

Strong wolves will protect their personal space, so if you greet your buddy with open arms, they might think that you’re not such a great protector after all!

Ignore your dog entirely until they’re calm -- no talking, no touching, and no eye contact. Tell friends, family and anyone else who might visit to do the same thing.  Once they’ve calmed down, you can show them how much you’ve missed them!

This rule should be followed after every separation, long or short, no matter if you’ve just returned from the grocery store or just come back from a trip to the bathroom.

Golden Rule Number Four: Everything on your terms.

As we’ve just discussed, invading your space is a sign that your pup is questioning your dominance. 

Your puppy should not be rewarded for this behaviour, so if they’re seeking your attention by weaving around your legs, jumping up on you, or otherwise getting in your way, don’t pat or cuddle them.

As with the last rule, make sure everyone in your household is doing the same.

Golden Rule Number Five: The walk.

So you’ve decided to take your puppy out for a little exercise. You pick up your keys, grab their leash -- and your dog goes absolutely nuts.

It’s imperative that you do not take your dog outside the door until their energy levels are down.

Don’t attach the leash until they’re calm. If they start to get excited after that, walk them around the house. Once they’re relaxed, then you can leave.

You may need to postpone the walk for a bit, especially at the beginning, so make sure to set aside enough time (more than you think you’ll need). Some breeds are very high energy, so you might need to burn some off with a game of tug-of-war or fetch before you head out.

In this view, your puppy sees a walk in the same way as a wolf would see a hunt, and  any stress on your part as a signal that danger is near. Stay calm, even if your dog is trying to walk you!

If they pull at the leash, walk around them and block them with your body rather than pulling the leash back.

You also can desensitise your puppy to ‘walkies’ signifiers - put on their leash at random times, pick up your keys every now and then even if you’re not going anywhere.

All of these rules are designed to show your dog that you are in control, and that there’s nothing for them to worry about -- that you are a strong leader and capable of keeping them safe.

As with all training, it’s important to be consistent and to start as you mean to go on.

Puppy Training Tips

Before you begin training your puppy, make sure they feel secure.

Doggy Dan recommends leaving a blanket (preferably with your scent) in every room of the house, so your puppy has somewhere safe to go if it all gets too much. Remove distractions and make sure that the place is quiet.

Remember -- your puppy is just a baby! Don’t push things too far too fast.

At eight weeks old, your pup has the maturity level of a two-year-old child. Attention-seeking behaviour is often just your puppy trying to figure out what the boundaries are.

In Doggy Dan’s view, you can’t soothe a puppy the same way you’d soothe a baby. Your puppy may cry, or get nervous, but cuddling them and talking to them may do more harm than good.

You’ll need to keep a calm, constant and but disengaged presence.

This method is based on positive reinforcement, so be sure to have plenty of treats or toys on hand as rewards for good behaviour!

Now -- where to start?

Toilet Training Tips

Setting the scene:

The first thing you’ll need to tackle is toilet training. This will happen whether you’ve planned to tackle it or not, so it’s best to be prepared.

Remove any shag pile or sheepskin rugs -- the texture feels like grass to your puppy, and they’ll happily do their business there!

At this stage, your puppy shouldn’t have access to the whole house. Create an enclosed space, using baby gates if necessary, to keep your puppy from accessing bedrooms or dangerous areas.

You’ll also need to set up a pen, crate or sleeping area. Consider lining the floor of the area with plastic sheeting or cardboard. If you have a linoleum floor anywhere in your house, this is an ideal spot for your puppy’s sleeping space! For more on puppy preparation, check out our New Puppy Checklist.

If your puppy does let it all go on the carpet, clean it up with an enzyme remover. Otherwise, the smell will linger, and the puppy will return to that spot to do their business the next time.

Getting Down to Business:

Make sure you set a routine early - ideally, take your puppy out the first thing in the morning. 

That being said, your puppy’s baby bladder will almost certainly throw a spanner in the works -- some pups will need to go as often as every fifteen minutes!

You may have trouble getting your pup to go outside at first. After all, they’re new to your house, as well as to the world in general!

Tempt them out with a treat, and be sure to reward them with affection after they get the job done. You should use a verbal command when you take them out -- ‘go toilet’ or similar.

If your new best friend doesn’t do their duty in fifteen minutes or so, bring them back in, but be prepared to let them outside again very, very soon.

Your puppy may urinate inside the house the first time that you leave them alone -- they assume that you’ve gotten lost out in the big bad world, and they’re expecting you to navigate back by scent.

To get to grips with this, as well as some other toilet-training hiccups, consult our Toilet Training Guide.

Submissive Urination Tips

So you’ve followed the Five Golden Rules, and you’re now the alpha in your puppy’s eyes. Your pup is grateful to have a such a strong, nurturing leader, and decides to show their appreciation by… urinating all over the carpet.

Believe it or not, this is a sign of submission, and it generally happens when a puppy is over-excited or fearful.

The absolute worst thing you can do at this point is to get angry, because your puppy will assume that they haven’t done this correctly, and resolve to try better next time. 

Instead, you should stop and think. What’s happening to get your puppy so worked up? Try and reduce exposure to whatever’s caused the anxiety.

When you call your pup, use a calm and gentle tone -- try not to startle them. 

Like bed-wetting in children, this behaviour fades with age, and usually stops entirely by the time your puppy is a year old.

Barking Tips

There’s nothing like incessant barking to drive you (and your neighbours) up the wall. It’s enough to make you want to scream -- which is the worst thing you can do.  

So how do you respond when your tiny terror is blowing the eardrums of everyone in a five-mile radius?

First, take a deep breath, count to ten, and figure out what’s causing the uproar. Why is your puppy barking?

The Danger Bark

Your puppy may be barking to alert you to what it sees as danger. Doggy Dan recommends that you implement a Three Bark Rule:

  • For the first bark, turn your attention to where the dog is looking, use a verbal response such as ‘Okay, thank you’, and turn away.
  • If your puppy keeps barking, physically walk over to them, let them know you’ve seen what’s scared them, and calmly walk away.
  • Put them in time-out if they continue to bark. We’ll cover more on using isolation as a training tool later on.

Barking for Attention

If your puppy is barking to get your attention, follow Golden Rule Number Four (everything on your terms) and don’t give them any. 

Of course, you should still be aware of things like whether they’re desperate for the loo or out of water -- these needs have to be met.

But otherwise, remember that any attention, positive or negative, can reinforce this behaviour, and ignore your puppy. Use a time-out if you need to. 

The Calm Freeze Technique for Barking

Doggy Dan has created a technique called the Calm Freeze.

He demonstrates the power of this technique in his paid course. He shows a video of a bull mastiff who is relentlessly barking. Incredibly, after Doggy Dan applies the Calm Freeze, the dog settles down. Here is how it works:

The Calm Freeze Technique

This very simple trick is one of the best ways to re-introduce some chill into your dog’s life. This technique happens in two simple steps

Step 1,​​ take hold of your dog’s collar. It’s best that you hold them under the chin -- this is far more relaxing than holding them above the neck.

Step 2, do not look at, pat or talk to the dog, simply stay there until they relax. Upon receiving your calm energy, the dog calms down too. 

It is amazingly effective and can be used in any situation where your dog is showing high energy.

The Isolation Calming Technique for Barking 

Another favourite technique of Doggy Dan’s is isolation. When used correctly, this can be a very powerful tool. 

For a pack animal, being shut out from contact is a form of punishment. Isolation can be used when your dog ignores your calming rules and refuses to lower their energy.

This technique comes with a warning. For this technique to be effective and not harmful, the period of isolation must be carefully watched.

Your dog must be let out of isolation as soon as they settle down. This is paramount.

This is how it works...

The Isolation Calming Technique 

After applying the Three Bark Rule, and you have tried the Calm Freeze Technique, and your dog continues to bark, you can calming do the following:

Step 1, calmly take hold of your dog’s collar, and relocate your dog into a safe room away from you, like a laundry. Make sure you can still hear your dog.

Step 2, your dog must be let out of isolation as soon as they settle down. This is paramount. The time of isolation must not be any longer than 5 minutes. 

Step 3, as soon as the barking has stopped, open the door calmly and apply Golden Rule Number Three (ignore your dog after separation).

Crying When Left Tips

If your puppy is crying when they’re left alone, this is likely a sign of separation anxiety. Doggy Dan recommends not giving your pup too large an area to play in. 

They will see it as a place that they have to patrol and take responsibility for, and that can be scary when they’re so little!

Otherwise, don’t reward the behaviour by trying to soothe your dog.

Doggy Dan believes that when the Five Golden Rules are strictly in place, the behaviour of crying when left alone will naturally fade. This is because your dog will have absolute faith in you as a pack leader and will have no reason to be anxious.

If it doesn’t fade after around six months, then revisit the Golden Rules and make sure all steps are being followed properly.

After that, if you believe that you have tried everything, read up on our separation anxiety guide for in-depth solutions.

Common Puppy Problems

When you get a new puppy, it can be very hard to implement so many new rules to follow. Especially when they are so darn cute!

Until their cute behaviours turn into annoying problems like never ending mouthing and biting, jumping, stealing, chewing, not coming to their name and digging.

These are the most most common problems owners are faced with when getting a puppy. According to Doggy Dan, these problems can be easily fixed.

First of course, you must stick to the Golden Rules, always, and then slowly work on implementing strategies to make co-existing with an animal much easier.  

Common Problem #1 Mouthing and Biting 

When your new best friend sinks their needle-sharp teeth right in to the hand that feeds them, it can be difficult to keep your cool. But in order to combat this behaviour, it’s crucial to step back and try and understand where your puppy is coming from. 

Learning how to bite and use their teeth is an important step in their development!

Doggy Dan recommends that you keep a soft chew toy on hand when you pick up your pat your pup, so they can practise on something more suitable than you. This is called the redirection technique which is commonly recommended by dog trainers. 

We’ve gone further into how to stop biting here (link to guide). In this guide we show you many recommendations from other leading dog trainers in their field.  

Common Problem #2 Jumping

Think of a cute puppy literally jumping for joy. It’s an adorable sight, but like with biting, this behaviour needs to stop before they get too big.

According to Doggy Dan, pups jump in the wild in order to get attention from their mothers -- so don’t give them any attention!

Calmly turn away from your buddy, and don’t acknowledge them until your pup has calmed themselves down. Ask visitors to do the same.

If your puppy jumps in excitement outside or at the first sign that they’re going for a walk, use some of the calming methods described earlier - Calm Freeze or Isolation.

Common Problem #3 Stealing

When you’re dealing with a very young puppy, it’s best to prevent stealing by removing temptation.

Keep anything easily portable out of your pups reach. Make sure that your puppy isn’t just taking things out of boredom -- ensue that they’re getting enough exercise, and that they have plenty of toys to play with.

But stealing can also be a bid for attention, or a desire to play a game. As always, remember Golden Rule Number Four (everything on your terms), and don’t react. 

Calmly take the object from your puppy -- swap it for a toy if you need to. You might even chose to ignore the situation entirely if the item isn’t important -- your puppy may just drop it and wander off after a moment.

Your puppy might also be stealing because the toys they have are unsuitable for them to chew on. New puppies need very soft chew toys, as their teeth are quite sensitive. Again, this is in the biting guide. 

A tea-towel with a knot tied in it can make a great chew toy for young pups!

Common Problem #4 Chewing

Almost every dog owner has a piece of furniture changed forever by doggy dental exploration.

As we’ve mentioned before, learning to use their teeth is important for a pup, so the goal here shouldn’t be to stop chewing -- it should be to redirect the behaviour, as calmly and as gently as you possibly can.

Once your furry friend starts gnawing on the table leg, gently take them by the collar, and replace the item in question with a suitable chew toy.

Remember that a very young puppy needs softer toys to chew than an older dog.

Your pup may be devouring the throw cushions because their rubber bone is too hard, or they might be turning to the banisters because a wet tea-towel isn’t cutting it any more.

If you can’t reach your dog, consider throwing a toy in their direction as a distraction. And of course, if they just don’t stop, consider a quick time-out (isolation).

They’ll soon pick up on what is and isn’t suitable for chewing!

Be aware that puppy chewing can turn into destructive chewing if not managed in puppy-hood.

This is explained in our chewing guide, which also features some great homemade sprays and other techniques recommended by different trainers. 

Common Problem #5 Recall (teaching a puppy to come to their name)

How do you calm your puppy down when they won’t come when called? Recall is one of the first things you should be teaching your dog, after toilet training. So how do you make sure that your buddy comes running every time?

According to Doggy Dan, there are three methods that you can use:

Method One: Using Treats

Without giving your pooch a good grasp of recall, you won’t be able to put Golden Rule Number Four (everything on your terms) in place. 

To get this command down, you’ll need a whole lot of time and a whole lot of treats.

Use a verbal command - ‘come and your dog’s name', and entice your pup towards you with a delicious doggy biscuit or piece of food. If your puppy doesn’t come first time, walk away and try again later. 

Be careful not to over-do it; you don’t want your puppy to become desensitised to their own name!

Method Two: The Long Line Technique 

Doggy Dan also has another trick up his sleeve - The Long Line Technique.

It can be used in many training scenarios but it works particularly well for teaching a puppy to come to you.

Doggy Dan recommends attaching a ‘long line’ -- a piece of clothesline up to twenty meters in length -- to your dogs collar. 

This is how it works;

The Long Line Technique 

Step 1, tie a long line to your dogs collar, drop the line and allow your dog to play and explore. This is very different to teaching your dog how to leash train, so please don't confuse your dog. 

Step 2, call you dog, by using a consistent command like "come + dog name". If your dog is ignoring you then you can give a gentle tug and encourage them to come as you call their name. Once they do (with the help of the line) you can reward them.

Method Three: Call My Bluff Technique

This one is best done as a team effort.

The idea is that a dog will always follow its pack -- if your pup sees her pack-mates running off, she’s bound to follow!

For this, you’ll need a couple of friends or family members and a really good poker face.

If your puppy is off investigating and won’t respond when you call them, form a pack with your friends. Bunch in close together, turn your backs, and walk off.

You’ll need to keep calm -- of course you’d be worried if your pup took off into the wilderness -- but relax, stay together, and your pup is sure to follow.

When Not to Call your Puppy

Doggy Dan recommends not calling your dog when you know that there’s no chance that they’ll come.

You not is not likely to come to you when

  • When they’re totally absorbed
  • When their energy is too high for them to respond
  • When there are obstacles in their way

 Trying to call your puppy while distracted decreases the likelihood that your puppy will see you as dominant or as an alpha.

In the beginning, you shouldn’t call them when you don’t have any rewards to hand; you want to make recall a positive experience for your pup.

Common Problem #6 Digging

Dogs simply love to dig, and your puppy is no exception!

The trick to dealing with digging is to first understand the behaviour, and then to direct those impulses elsewhere.

There are times when digging behaviour can be of some concern. Your pup might be suffering from separation anxiety and looking to escape. Consult our separation anxiety guide for more information.

They may also be too hot and looking for shade, so make sure that they’re comfortable and have enough water, particularly in the summer. Or it could be that your pup is isn’t getting enough exercise!

Most likely though, your dog is simply following digging for fun. Building a digging pit in the garden is a good idea.

You can make a small hole yourself, drop a favourite toy in, and let them have at it!

Repeat the technique until your pup gets it. If you don’t have the space, you may need to distract your pup with a toy. 

Toys and distractions

Doggy Dan teaches his students that there is no limit to the number of distractions that you can use to keep your dog’s mind off digging. 

From food to toys here are just a couple of recommended and dog training approved methods you can use:

  • A paddling pool is a great way to waste time for many dogs, jumping in and out and cooling off! 
  • Simple foods such as ice-cubes with peas or dog biscuits in the middle can waste a lot of time.
  • Letting your dog have frozen chicken necks to cool down and waste time.  

There can be a fine line between playful digging and the forming of a destructive behavioural habit. To learn more about this click here. 

Puppy Commands

Teaching your pup to respond to commands is the easy part!

Keep in mind that while training a puppy to do things in the house might be simple enough, getting them to follow them outside can be tricky.

You’ll need to repeat the training in all sorts of environments.

Training & Commands for 'Sit'

Hold a piece of food above your puppy’s nose and say the word ‘sit’. At the same time, move the food back over their head until their bottom hits the floor.

Then give them the treat! Repeat this several times, until you feel confident enough to remove the treat.

Once they are able to do this when you are at close range, increase the distance, using a leash or long line if necessary (more on this later).

Training & Commands for 'Down'

Ask your puppy to 'sit'. Holding a piece of food in front of your puppy’s nose, move it slowly down the front of your puppies chest.

At the same time, say the word ‘down’.

Move the food down to the ground and then hold it so that your puppy has to almost move backwards to sniff it.

When your puppy is almost down, stay still and let your puppy work it out.

Do not release the food until your puppy’s tummy hits the ground.

The 'Down' Command 

Step 1 Ask you puppy to 'sit'.

Step 2 Move the food down in front of the chest.

Step 3 Say 'down' as your puppy starts to move down.

Step 4 Lower the food down to the ground.

Step 5 Hold it there, wait until she moves back and lowers down.

Step 4 Release the food ONLY when your puppy's tummy hits the ground.

Training & Commands for 'Stay'

‘Stay’ is one of the most important weapons in any puppy trainer’s arsenal. Your puppy needs to know how to stop and think! 

It’s even more important here that you’re in an area with no distractions, as your puppy’s attention will wander when they’re standing still.

You’ll want to start off in a sit position. Use a hand gesture and the word ‘stay’, and move slowly away from your dog.

If they break the stay, ignore them!

If they stay still, move back and reward them with a treat.

You can increase the distance and time as the puppy gets older and more confident. As with ‘Sit’, you’ll have to try this in several different environments.

It’s very important that you break the ‘stay’ with an ‘OK’ or similar command, otherwise the puppy gets the message that they can wander off whenever they’re bored!

Training & Commands for 'OK' and 'Good boy/girl'

OK as a command should mean ‘as you were’, while ‘good boy/girl’ should be about rewarding good behaviour.

Training & Commands for 'Wait'

The ‘wait’ command is slightly different than ‘stay’. ‘Stay’ should be used when you plan to physically return to your dog, while ‘wait’ can be used at any time, anywhere.

Get your puppy to sit, use the ‘wait’ command (and possibly a visual cue, like raising one finger) and once you’re ready, call your dog to you.

Like with ‘Stay’, you can expand the distance over time. Don’t forget to reward good behaviour!

Training & Commands for 'Walk'

Puppies are boundless bundles of energy, and exhausted pup parents often find getting their dog to walk calmly at their side an impossible task.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, Doggy Dan advocates training your dog to walk off-leash first, by showing them a treat, holding it at your side, and getting them to follow.

Start off slow -- ten or fifteen paces -- and gradually build up the distance before you even attach the leash!

If your dog panics when they realise they’re on the leash, calm them down by changing direction.  

Doggy Dan has created yet another very simple yet powerful calming technique called Stop, Start, Change Direction (SSCD).

This is an excellent way to show your dog that you’re in control. This is how it works;

The Stop, Start, Change Direction (SSCD) Technique

Step 1 Attach the leash.

Step 2 Stand still, then walk until your dog starts to pull.

Step 3 Calmly, stop and change direction by turning around. 

Step 4 Repeat Step 2. 

Not only will this make clear that you’re in charge, it works wonders as a distraction.

Then resume what you were doing and then repeat the SSCD technique if your dog starts pulling, darting, or panicking.

For more off leash training techniques, check out our lead training guide.

The Five Golden Rules, Does it Actually Work?

As you can see, Doggy Dan's puppy training teachings are very simple.

But is it too simple? Is it a little too good to be true?

Well, that's what we were thinking so we put it to the test with DogPeer's Cavoodle, Moxie.

Moxie started the training program at 3 months, now she is 6 months old. Jamie and Zack documented their experience with Doggy Dan's 'Five Golden Rules' technique.

When we first got Moxie, our hearts melted. She is now almost six months old and our hearts continues to melt in every moment we look at her, even when she is destroying my clothes!

So as you can imagine, adopting Doggy Dan's rules at the start was impossible.

She was just too cute to calmly push away when jumping up, she was too cute to apply the Three Bark Rule when she was learning how to bark at a piece of carrot, and she was just too cute to ignore when returning home. So in all honestly we gave up. Well, we loosely continues to used the rules, sparingly. 

At about five months old, we noticed her separation anxiety was getting bad, her chewing was out of control and she was starting to bark more. It felt like Moxie was running the house. A lot of these behaviours were no longer cute, they were worrying. 

So we went back and adopted the Five Golden Rules again, this time it was much easier because we had the motivation. It was too stressful for Moxie to be ruling the house. 

After stickily using the rules for a month, we saw huge improvements. However, we have noticed that she is always trying to test us to get back up on top!

I believe, the Five Golden Rules is all you really need to follow to get a basic understanding of how to form a healthy relationship between you and your dog and to set boundaries.

I do prefer other trainers for certain things. Like Ian Dunbar for lead training, Cesar Millan for puppy anxiety, Patricia McConnell for learning how to have an energetic relationship with your dog. 

All in all we believe the Five Golden Rules to be very effective!

What Happens Next? 

So there you have it -- a comprehensive guide on how to train your dog with the power of calm!

If you’re looking for a handy way to remember these and other tips, enter your email address and we’ll send you a FREE puppy command cheat sheet and a list of all the Calming Techniques described today.

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing Everything!

A common obstacle for new dog parents is figuring out how to stop their puppy from chewing EVERYTHING. From cushions and blankets to shoes--the mop isn’t even safe from those needle-sharp chompers!

This dark cloud can dampen even the spirits of even the most enthusiastic dog-owners, but there is a silver lining! This bad habit can be nipped in the bud with the right tools, techniques, and some patience.

We have studied the teachings of Dr. Ian Dunbar, a trusted veterinarian, animal behaviourist, and pioneer in the dog training field, to find a foolproof solution to stop your puppy’s destructive habit.

But before we get into HOW to stop your puppy from chewing everything, we must first find out WHY your puppy is chewing.

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing EVERYTHING. Could it Be Teething?

It is easy to write off a puppy’s constant gnawing as a behaviour problem, but the teething pain is much more likely to be the culprit. To establish which type of chewer you have, first consider the age of your puppy:

Insert timeline 

2-4 weeks: Baby teeth start to emerge. Puppies of this age should still be with their mother.

5-6 weeks: Puppies should have all 28 baby teeth and are likely eating moist or soft puppy food. Just a couple of weeks to go and puppies will be ready for their new homes.

12-16 weeks: Owners will begin to find tiny baby teeth laying around. These deciduous teeth fall out to make room for their adult teeth.

6 months: By or around six months, all baby teeth should have fallen out, and a full set of 48 adult teeth should have replaced them.

This timeline is important to determine if your puppy is undergoing the painful teething process. This happens twice within the first six months of life, OR if he has begun chewing out of stress or pure boredom.

Insert teething remedies infogrpahic:

 Remedies for your teething puppy:

  • Cold carrots make cheap and nutritious chew toys that are jam-packed with vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.

  • A bit of cool raw steak is a delicious source of protein, that is gentle on gums and reduces the inflammation that comes along with teething. The protein will increase energy and make the coat shinier, but limit this treat to once or twice a week.

  • A raw bone stored in the fridge will help to soothe inflamed gums, while the calcium helps him to develop strong teeth.

  • A frozen treat-filled Kong toy is quick to grab and will keep your pup busy (and happy)!

Even if teething is the cause of chewing, this behaviour must be addressed before it becomes routine, otherwise, your canine may transition into a destructive chewer simply out of habit!

Bottom Line
If your dog is under six months old then teething is probably the cause of chewing. Remedy this by getting your puppy hooked on more appropriate chew toys such as a frozen stuffed Kong toy or a cool carrot!

Could it Be Destructive Chewing ?

Destructive chewing is a pain in everyone's tail--pups included! This bad habit can stem from many issues, from anxiety and stress to loneliness and lack of stimulation.

Figuring out what is triggering your dog’s chewing will take some close observation. A puppy cam could prove resourceful in pinpointing what is eliciting this response from your pet.

Time of chewing.

If chewing occurs ONLY when your puppy is left alone, then separation anxiety could be the cause.

Make sure you leave your puppy in a comfortable space like a crate or small puppy-proof room with a comfy bed with lots of stimulating toys. You will need to seek advice from a veterinarian if separation anxiety persists. 

Dogs who mainly chew while your attention is focused on something else may be seeking attention. Combat this with lots of quality go for walks daily and spend plenty of time playing together daily.

Is there an environmental factor tied to chewing (such as a noisy vacuum running or thunderstorm)?

If so, chewing could very well be your pup’s attempt at stress-management. Redirect chewing and place their crate in a quieter area.

Author's Note
Taking your pooch out first thing in the morning and then giving her a good healthy bone to chew on will satisfy her. When she is done with her bone, put it away for the next morning or the afternoon when the chewing starts up again. In my experience, chewing is a sign of the puppy needing play time. Pay close attention to what your puppy needs so you can help meet those needs.

Homeopathic Sprays to Combat Chewing

Homeopathic deterrent sprays are an excellent way to discourage your dog from gnawing their favorite off-limits surface (like chair legs and power cables).

These typically taste bad to a dog and will make destructive chewing a less enjoyable experience. 

You may have to try several types to find one that works for your pooch.

Dog repellent sprays are readily available commercially and can also be easily replicated at home.

  • Ammonia is a common dog repellent that can be used to clean any wooden furniture your pup fancies chewing.
  • A solution of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water is great for spraying on commonly chewed items
  • Bitter apple sprays are sold in most pet stores and are a convenient solution for chew-happy pups.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Spraying a VERY diluted solution of cayenne pepper and water will keep your dog from chewing certain items. It can irritate their eyes and noses; so it is suggested that this used sparsely and only in extreme circumstances. 

DO NOT USE LEMON OR LEMON OIL ON SURFACES YOUR DOG MAY CHEW.  Lemons are toxic for canines, even if they have never bothered your dog before, exposure to them can become toxic over time.

Insert info-graphic: Essential Oils that are Toxic to Dogs 

Once you have established the cause of destructive chewing, you can more easily remedy the situation; a chew toy coupled with plenty of stimulation and exercise will usually curb chewing altogether.

Using an all-natural dog repellent spray can make chewing household items less appealing.

Dr. Ian Dunbar's Strategy for Dealing with a Chew-Happy Dog

If you follow our dog training articles you will be very familiar with the Godfather of dog training, Dr. Ian Dunbar and his amazing methods. 

Here is a strategy he teachers is his Top Dog Academy:

Step 1 Take preventative measures—cover or tact up electrical cords and put away any valuables that Fido might get into. 

Step 2 If you cannot supervise your puppy, keep him confined in a crate filled will several enticing chew toys. 

Step 3 Dr. Dunbar urges owners to “make sure the only objects within reach are chew toys. Thus your puppy develops a serious chew toy habit right from the outset, if only because there is precious little else to chew”. 

Step 4 Prepare several of these toys in advance, so they are readily available. Dr. Dunbar suggests Kong products and sterilised long bones because they are hollow and you can stuff them with delicious goodies.

Step 5 Stuff the toys with three types of treats--a kind that can is easily removed, a type that is more difficult to remove, and finally a treat that can only be removed by the owner. A mixture of kibble, peanut butter, and large hard-to-remove pieces of freeze-dried liver are excellent choices for this purpose.

Step 6 Several stuffed toys will keep Fido preoccupied with something positive rather than finding something negative to chew while you are away.

Step 7 Dr. Dunbar suggests to “Delay greeting your puppy until it fetches a chew toy. Then pull out the treats remaining in the Kong and give them to your pup.” Eventually, your dog will connect your arrival with receiving the remaining treats from the toy.”

Step 8 If your puppy messes up, stay calm and don’t make a fuss.

Step 9 Calmly use the command “out” or “crate” and escort your puppy away (eventually they will learn to go without you accompanying them). Banishment will teach your dog that chewing is not the way to get attention.

Step 10 If your puppy messes up, stay calm and don’t make a fuss.

Step 11 Above all, PRAISE your dog when it chews appropriate toys; this will make the connection between chewing his bone and receiving positive feedback.

Store pre-filled Kong toys or long bones in the freezer for easy access to redirect chewing, and always praise your dog for playing with them.  

When caught in the act, use the command “out” or “crate” and escort your puppy away from you. Banishment will be much more effective than hitting or yelling.

The Bone Debate

Almost every dog owner has heard the saying “Don’t feed your dog chicken bones; they can splinter in their stomach!” at one time.

The great bone debate has had veterinarian community for years now, with some saying they are essential for dental health, and others claiming they are downright dangerous.

The answer is somewhere in between. Some types of bones are incredibly beneficial for a dogs health, while others are detrimental.

Choosing the right bone.

  • Never feed your dog a cooked bone, these (no matter the type!) CAN splinter in their intestines and cause serious health problems and even death.
  • Sanitation is key! Handle raw bones the same way you would handle meats for human consumption. Keep them refrigerated until it is time to eat. Putting the bone in the freezer for a few hours is a great way to kill any bacteria the bone may harbor.
  • Choose human-grade meat/bones. 
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Dr. Dunbar recommends sterilised long bones which you can fill with yummy treats.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Do not give your dog “bully sticks” or large strips/knots of rawhide, these are easily swallowed and can cause obstructions in the digestive tract.

Insert the “Food Storage Guidelines for Fido” chart I made here...feel free to take the info from it to make it look more aesthetically pleasing 

Choose a sterilised long bone or a human-grade raw bone for your dog. Make sure you keep raw bones refrigerated until right before consumption, this will prevent the growth of bacteria.  

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing  a Mop

Mop-chewing is a favorite past time for many pooches, but this destructive hobby can have deadly consequences. Mop strings can pose a choking risk to a small puppy, and even if they don’t get lodged in the throat, they can still cause an intestinal obstruction.

Moreover, mops are typically soaked in all sorts of toxic chemicals including bleach and other common cleaning solutions. The easiest way to resolve this would be to keep any mops and cleaning chemicals stored in a closet out of reach of your puppy.

If you don’t have an off-limits closet, try using an unpleasant-tasting dog repellent spray, and redirecting chewing by “trading” the mop for a more appropriate chew toy.

There are even plush dog toys on the market that have a fringe-like appearance with a similar texture to a mop. Just make sure you supervise Fido with soft toys, these could be easily destroyed and swallowed by a heavy chewer in a matter of minutes.

How to stop a Puppy from Chewing Shoes 

Dogs have roughly 294 MILLION more olfactory (scent) receptors in their noses than humans. With this keen sense of smell, your dogs are going to find a way to get to your sneakers, no matter how well you try to hide them--especially since the scent of their beloved owner is likely one of their favourites.

A hanging shoe organiser will keep footwear out of the reach of shorter dogs, but you may have to get a little more creative with taller breeds. Playing the “exchange game” may be a better approach for these dogs.

Offer your dog a stuffed Kong or bone in exchange for your favourite ballet flats, and praise them enthusiastically. Over time your pup will learn that bringing you a chew toy of their own will get them rewarded with affection.

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing a Blanket

A puppy who is exclusively chewing soft surfaces like blankets may be in need of a soft plush toy to gnaw on. A frozen wet washcloth can be a beneficial item for a teething puppy as it is gentle on their inflamed gums. Many times a what looks like chewing is actually a puppy suckling, typically caused by being weaned too early.

How to Punish a Dog for Chewing

How to punish a dog for ANYTHING can be a tricky question to answer, even more since punishment techniques are easily misinterpreted and misused.

Let’s begin by discussing what NOT to do.

What NOT to do.

Never hit, loom over, scream at, forcefully grab, throw, purposefully scare, muzzle, or leave a dog in a crate for hours and hours to punish it for chewing. 

Some outdated training manuals suggest trying the “alpha dog” maneuver (forcefully flipping a dog on it’s back and growling) on particularly difficult dogs, but most qualified trainers, Dr. Dunbar, and Patricia McConnell included, seriously discourage this technique.

The often misused practice can create a fear of humans which makes training more difficult and can even cause a dog to become aggressive.  


Dr. Dunbar praises the banishment technique (also called “time out”), as the most effective form of punishment. It is simply stopping all playtime immediately when the undesired chewing is exhibited, and (softly but sternly) telling your dog to “exit” or “go to the crate.” 

The first few times you will likely need to escort your dog away, but over time he will (reluctantly) leave on his own. Over time your dog will learn that the behaviour is not tolerated and will result in them being sent away from their owner.

Breed Specific.

Certain breeds may be more receptive to one particular method of discipline than others. Beagles are very nose-driven dogs, and can frequently be found scavenging through trash cans looking for discarded food morsels. 

Though stubborn, Beagles are very food-oriented. Dr. Dunbar’s suggests shaking a treat bag while the dog is in timeout to show them just what they are missing out on.

“People-pleaser” breeds like Golden Retrievers may catch on to the house rules with banishment alone; whereas, high energy breeds like Jack Russell terriers will likely need to expend their energy before training can even begin!

When do puppies stop chewing everything? 

Teething- induced chewing typically ends around the time a dog turns six months old, but that doesn’t mean the behaviour will stop entirely.

Gnawing on sticks and bones is instinctive for both wild and domesticated canines. It is ingrained in their brains, and for good reason, it is their way of strengthening their jaws and cleaning their teeth.

It will take an owners patience and consistent efforts to stop destructive chewing entirely, but it is possible.

If you cannot get your pet’s chewing under control, then seek veterinary advice and the counsel of a professional dog trainer. 

It will take some trial and error to learn what works best for your dog. Never physically punish or yell at your dog to get them to behave. The banishment technique will usually work, but may require some minor “tweaks.” If all else fails, seek professional help.

The Takeaway

Countless dogs are surrendered to over-crowded pounds every day for chewing, making this natural behaviour death sentence for many--but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With effort, understanding, and a whole lot of love, your chew-happy puppy can grow into a trustworthy companion.

That's All for Puppy's Chewing

I hope you have been able to take away some new chewing solutions. If you have, please drop us a comment below, we would love to reply to you!

Crate Training: 3 Easy Steps for Fast Results!

When it comes to crate training you will be happy to know that there is a simple formula that sets you up for guaranteed success. Today we are going to teach you how to use it!

After hours and hours of reading books from the greats in dog training and five months of patiently puppy training my own dog, using their methods,  we have concluded that crate training can be organised into one simple formula. 

We call it the "Crate Training Success Formula". 

In this guide, we will explain how to easily implement this formula in three easy steps without needing a degree in dog psychology or even dog training. 

Dog trainers believe that crate training should only be used while your canine undergoes other types of training such as puppy toilet training, puppy sleep training, house training etc. 

So we have broken the guide down into sections to help you understand why you are crate training and how to crate train for that specific reason.  

Are you ready? Here we go;

Crate Training Strategies from THE Experts

The create training guide has been masterfully created by leaning on three major dog trainers of our time. Doggy Dan, Cesar Millan and Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz.

Crate Training Advice From Doggy Dan

You may have heard of him, New Zealand’s own, Doggy Dan who is gaining international traction for his holistic dog training ways.

He has helped over 37,000 people successfully train their dogs through his paid online training course, the Calming Code and The Perfect Puppy Program in which we had the privilege to undertake.

Doggy Dan with Moses

Today, we give you some insights into how Doggy Dan crate trains his own pup Moses through his paid online courses.

Crate Training Advice from Cesar Millan

We have added the cherished wisdom of our favourite Mexican-American dog behaviourist and TV celebrity,  Cesar Milan with over 25 years of canine experience to this guide.

Cesar Millan Dog Trainer and TV Celebrity

We have extracted everything you need to know from his best selling dog training books (How to Raise the Perfect Dog; Through Puppyhood and Beyond and Cesar's Way; The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems) into easy to follow crate training schedules for your convenience. 

Crate Training Advice from Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz & Larry Kay

And finally, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Larry Kay the author an international best selling dog training book - Training the Best Dog Ever,  A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement, is a book based on love and kindness.  Barack Obama's dog trainer when he was President, .

You may recognise these trainers and their valuable techniques from our other posts on dog training, that’s because these guys truly know what they are doing.  

This crate training guide is full of invaluable advice from these trainers who are experts in crate training. 

Good Crate Training vs Cruel Crate Training

Before we go any further its important you understand the difference between good crate training and cruel crate training. Its a very touchy subject but does deserve to be mentioned.

Crate training is the process of using a crate as an appropriate enclosure to eliminate unwanted behaviour (peeing on the carpet) WHILE training your dog desired behaviours (peeing outside). 

If you use a crate instead of teaching your dog the house rules then most people would agree that crate training is cruel and in fact some countries have even banned crate training for these reasons. 

The Approved Reasons for Crate Training

So good crate training is when you use a crate WHILE you teach your dog the rules of the house.

All three dog trainers agree that, when done correctly, the successful use of crates will curb destructive tendencies, while giving your pup a safe space to adjust to the rules of the house. 

3 good reasons for crate training

Generally speaking, the house rules can be broken up into three categories of training, potty training, sleep training and house training (what is and isn't acceptable to chew for instance).

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Doggy Dan, promotes the practice of crate training as an effective way to establish leadership and correct behaviour when done correctly and with a lot of love and patience.

He goes on to teach that crate training is a great means to an end, the end being a well-trained house pet who spends more time outside the crate

Bottom Line: While it is not a cure-all for puppy problems, crating can be a beneficial tool for setting boundaries and expectations for your dog.

Choosing the right crate

Choosing the right crate is fundamental in successfully crate training your pooch.

There are many things to consider when shopping around (or building one yourself)-- selecting the wrong enclosure could cause a whole array of new problems! 

Housing your dog in a too small crate can be detrimental for their physical and emotional well-being, causing serious health concerns from stunted growth and arthritis to anxiety!

Basic Sizing Guidelines

An appropriate crate is just large enough for them to stand and turn around comfortably, without giving them extra space to get into mischief!

Newer wire cages often come with a removable separator to block off extra room for growing dogs-- this is especially helpful with larger breeds!

The most basic way to measure your dog for a crate is to add 5-10 cm to the length and width. However, there any many other important variables to take into account, like breed, temperament etc.  We will go into this now. 

Bottom Line: Go through the Australian dog crates sizes guide to ensure you choose the right size crate. 

Study your dog.

Take into account the size, breed, and temperament of your puppy. For example, a high-energy bully breed can easily disassemble a plastic carrier style-- this breed would benefit more from a sturdy wire cage with a lot of visibility.

On the other hand, keeping a teacup Yorkie in the same size wire enclosure could be counterproductive for house training.

Typically a dog will not eliminate where they sleep or eat, but an oversized crate can allow for dogs to snooze on one side and potty on the opposite end!

Bottom Line: Dog crate sizes by temperament is an important factor when deciding on your crate. 

Consider your dog’s breed and size.

Timid toy breeds will likely be more comfortable in a soft-sided cage or a carrier style with plastic sides--the limited visibility will help them feel protected from “predators.”

Small dogs such as Jack Russells or Pugs are well-suited for playpen, soft-sided, and plastic enclosures. If your dog falls into this category, consider it’s temperament and energy level.

Energetic dogs on the smaller end of this spectrum do well with a playpen style set up, but heftier canines might just topple the pen over!

Different Crates for Different Dogs

Medium sized dogs have a wide assortment of crates to choose from, like the Whippet or American Bull Dog, could suit soft-sided, plastic, playpen, and wire crates.

If your mid-range dog is prone to escaping, go for a wire crate--but you may need to pad the bars if you have a chewer!

Extra large dogs like the Great Dane, should give wooden crates a try.

Powerful big stature dogs which easily break out of flimsy wire cages will have a much tougher time making escaping from a sturdy wooden setup. 

Here is a general guide for selecting the most appropriate crate size and style per dog breed.

Please note that your dog’s personal temperament must be taken into consideration before relying on the below recommendations.

Crate Training - Dog Crate Sizes Chart

The Crate Training Success Formula 

Now that you have chosen the right size crate for your dogs breed, size and temperament, you are ready for the next step. 

We can now finally reveal the special formula that will solve all your crate training problems!

As promised, here it is. The Crate Training Success Formula;

Crate Training Success Formula

I know it doesn't look like much but it yields incredible results and that's why professional dog trainers use it and recommend it.

It looks simple and that's because it is. It just takes some understanding of your dog and some planning, oh and patients!

In this section, we break this down into three easy, manageable steps for you. 

The 3 Easy Steps to Crate Training

Step 1 -  Know your intentions for crate training.

Step 2 - Prioritise your puppy training program.

Step 3 - Commit to a schedule that works with your intentions.

Sounds easy and is it. Let's get into it. 

Step One: Know your intentions for crate training.

So why are you crate training? By now you should have given some thought as to why you have chosen to crate train. In this guide we have catered to the three most common reasons for crate training.

Choose a reason that closely relates to your reason for crate training;

a)  I am trying to potty train my puppy.
b)  I am trying to teach my puppy to sleep at night.
c)  I am trying to teach my puppy to be well-behaved when left alone.

Bottom Line: Choose your intention and then move on to Step Two.

Step Two: Prioritise your puppy training program.

The latest research from numerous case studies conducted by the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, reveals that a well-trained puppy is highly unlikely to suffer from behavioural problems as a grown dog.

This tells us that behavioural issues such as destructive chewing, self-harming, and anxiety can all be solved through…you guessed it... puppy training!! And the sooner, the better!

To save you a lot of time we have summarised and condensed Doggy Dan's paid online puppy training course into an easy to follow guide. 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

The Online Dog Trainer uses the 'Calming Code' as a basis of his 'Perfect Puppy Program' for training your puppy to be well behaved and happy. 

Doggy Dan believes that once this is in place, crate training becomes a dream.

We have summarised these paid programs for you here. 

The program is self-paced, making it very effective for puppies and dogs of any temperament.

Our advice is to stick with it and get everyone in the pack involved. This is just one method you can try out, there are many other dog training methods out there for you to explore.

If you don't have time then you can enrol your dog into a local puppy training school. This can be very rewarding for you and your pooch.

We still use Doggy Dan's techniques and we can vouch that they do work, they are very simple. Although, you do have to be vigilant and very patient for the techniques to work properly. 

Bottom Line: Committing to puppy training course is really important while you undergo crate training. It will put a stop of bad behaviours sooner so the crate can be stored away. 

Step Three: Try a schedule that works with your intentions. 

For some of us sticking to a schedule makes us cringe. I get it. But it can really set you up for success and it doesn't have to be forever. 

For each intention we have provided you with a schedule. All you have to do is adjust it to suit your lifestyle. 

The schedule is there to help you understand your puppy’s unique behaviour and for the puppy to understand what is expected.

Honestly, the magic happens when you use a schedule. 

Sticking to the schedule allows for consistency, consistency leads to results.  

Choose a schedule that aligns with your intentions:

  • Crate Training Schedule - Potty Training
  • Crate Training Schedule - Sleep Training
  • Crate Training Schedule - Being Left Alone

Remember, it's not forever. It's just here to fast track the crate training process. 

Bottom LineStick to a schedule. Tailor it to your lifestyle and be consistent until you see results. Remember, this is a proven to work technique. Try it out and see for yourself. 

Now that you have your crate, intention and your schedule, you are ready to learn how to put it into action. Choose the action plan for your intention. 

How to crate train a puppy for potty training 

If your intention is to use a crate while little Fido is learning how to hold his bladder and learning where to potty, then crates can be a great tool.

Depending on your work/life schedule, ideally, you would only have your puppy in the crate at night.

All you need for this method is the bladder formula, a potty training schedule, treats and lots of love and patience. 

Crate Training Potty Training - What you will need

How long does it take to potty train  a puppy? It depends on which dog training method you follow (positive reinforcement, clicker training, electronic training, mirror training, relationship-based training, alpha dog training, dominance training).

For simplicity and effectiveness, we have based our recommendations on mainly alpha dog training and positive reinforcement (Doggy Dan's Methods). 

Note:  If you live in a house with a yard, the process will be much faster. If you are in an apartment, it’s slightly different and requires a little more patience, more about that here.

Lets get into how it works...... 

Crate Training for Potty Training - How it works

1. The Bladder Formula.

A puppy under 10 weeks old is physically unable to hold their bladder throughout the night. An easy rule of thumb to follow is a formula called the bladder formula.

The Bladder Formula
Add the number 1 to your puppy’s age and then convert this into hours.

For example, Fido is 3 months old + 1 = 4 hours. Fido can only hold his bladder for approximately 4 hours at a time.

This means he shouldn’t be left in his crate for longer than 4 hours at a time (at night or during the day).

The potty training schedule provided will allow you to use the bladder formula to plan out your day and night.

The biggest benefit to sticking to this formula and a schedule is that it quickly teaches your puppy that there is a particular place for going to the toilet.

He won’t have time to pee in his crate because you will be knocking at his door every four hours!

Bottom Line: Get committed by setting an alarm clock and be ready for a toilet trip. This is what the schedule is for. The more consistent you are, the faster he will learn! I promise!  

2. Plan ahead! The Potty Schedule for Crate Training.

You know by now that sticking to a schedule is absolutely paramount for successful crating. This not only avoids smelly and uncomfortable accidents but it trains your pup to NOT cry out. Crying spells will be totally avoided.

So plan ahead and get your schedule ready. Let’s get into it.

Your schedule will be broken up into weeks;

Week One -  Observation.

Week Two - Adjust the schedule so it works for both of you.

Week Three - Commit to a schedule until the training is complete.

For some, after week three the training is complete and the crate can be put away.

For others, the puppy might grow attached to the crate and prefer to use it while taking himself to the toilet during the night, with the exceptions of a few mistakes here and there. 

If after week three, there is no progress, then go back to the Perfect Puppy Program and step through the fundamental training rules.

Sometimes the way we say our cues, or the way we feed or discipline our puppy, can create trust or respect issues which in turn makes potty training and crate training much more difficult. 

Tip: Set your pup up for success by not feeding or giving water before lights out.  

Try to make their last meal and drink about three hours prior to bedtime, this will prevent any restlessness and the unnecessary need for going to the toilet.

If you haven't got it already, here is your Potty Training - Crate Training Schedule.  

If you want to follow the Perfect Puppy Program, here is a schedule that reflects Doggy Dan’s leadership training for Potty Training.  

3. Reward and praise.

Everyone loves to hear that they are doing a good job and your pup is no exception!

The greatest dog trainers of our time, rely heavily on “positive reinforcement’ as the best training method, for standard house pets, especially for potty training.

Take Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, the dog trainer to President Obama’s family dog, as a great example. 

Training the best dog ever

Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz's Take

Dawn suggests naming the cue to go potty and using this same cue to praise your canine when they do their business.

You may be surprised at how fast your puppy learns the connection between the two. Especially if you take Doggy Dan’s advice and give a little treat when doing so. This is guaranteed to speed up the success. It did for my dog and it worked!

Say something like, “go toilet” when they go outside and “good toilet” to praise them for eliminating in the appropriate place.

Keep Cues Short 
One to two syllable words more easily than elaborate cues.  Add treats IF this is part of your puppy training program.

Crating at Night
If you are using the crate at night to stop your puppy from doing his business all over the house, then be sure to calmly wake him up, take him out to potty, praise calmly and then settle him back into his crate. In and out. Don’t make a big deal out of it. 

TIP: The Perfect Puppy Program suggests saving special cuddles or treats for potty training. Keep a bag of special treats near the potty (in a tree or on the bench) and use only for potty training.

Remember that accidents happen!

Just like human children, puppies have accidents from time to time--especially before they learn the ins and outs of the house rules. 

Understand that mistakes are part of the process, impulsively yelling or rubbing your dog’s nose in their puddle will only worsen the problem, causing your dog to become more secretive about their accidents.

It is important we apply Doggy Dan’s calming code for these accidents. 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Stay calm while dealing with your dog, put them in the crate away from the mess while you discreetly clean it up away from their sight.

Even though we have a formula that tells us how often Fido needs to go to the toilet, we have found that sometimes pups have the tendency of changing their own pee schedule, even if one drop comes out.

For now, logging your pup’s elimination patterns may help to predict when accidents are most likely to happen, and prevent them before they occur.

Positive reinforcement training will teach little Fido to hold until he actually needs to go. This is very powerful. 

Bottom Line: Try and stay calm while training, just like little humans they too are sensitive to energy.  

Crate training at night - Teaching your pup to sleep through the night

Crate training at night is nothing to lose sleep over, as long as you have a little patience and make some preparations beforehand! 

If your intention is to train your puppy where to sleep at night while using a crate then this is one of the easiest methods.  

Before you Begin Make the Crate Comfortable & Inviting 

Make sure your pooch is accustomed to the crate before you put them in for the night.

Spend some time during the day acclimating them to the enclosure, scatter treats around it, and encourage them to investigate.

Put some cozy blankets and some soft toys in to make it as inviting and relaxing of an atmosphere as possible--with some time your dog will be retreating to this space by their self to take a cat nap or to get away from the household hustle and bustle.

Bottom Line: Spend some time turning the crate into a safe haven for your puppy.

Crate Training: Whining, barking, and crying.

It’s hard not to make a fuss when your pup is crying and barking all night in their crate. Although saddening and often aggravating, it is an issue that nearly every crate-training fur-parent has encountered.

Tips for Soothing an Upset Puppy

If your puppy to crying out at night try some of these soothing recommendations from Rebecca Setler, the author of Puppy Sleep Training.

Rebecca suggests trying a sound machine or fan pointed away from your pooch to soothe them and block outside noises.

The book goes on to recommend using some plush toys come with a built-in “heartbeat” this could help ease your puppy’s mind--just make sure there are no plastic pieces that your teething puppy could hurt himself on.

Covering the crate with a light blanket or towel help some dogs feel hidden from predators--other dogs will pitch a fit if you cover their crate.

Just like some humans sleep with the door open and others sleep with it closed, it is just a matter of personal preference!

Some dogs even find comfort in sleeping with a worn shirt that belongs to their owner.

Take some time to troubleshoot and try different ideas to figure out what works best for your dog.

Tips for Not Giving In

Doggy Dan’s number one rule for nightly crate training is to not to give in.

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Often puppies bark the loudest right before they drift off to sleep, like a last stitch effort to get you to let them out. As hard as it is, try your best to not give in. 

If your pup is absolutely frantic for a long while, calmly let them out to potty and take them straight back to the cage.

Do not play with, pet, talk to, or cuddle them during this time.

It is important to make this step straight to the point-- this teaches the dog that barking and fussing will not get them out to play or petted.

Stay calm during this period, don’t throw them back in the pen and slam the door--remember, a crate is supposed to be their safe place, never a place of punishment!

Cesar Millan's Take

The Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan believes this act of staying calm when showing leadership, is the absolute key to building trust in the eyes of your puppy.

Bottom Line: The calmer you are when the puppy is distressed, the more he will look to you for guidance.

Busy Dogs are Happy Dogs 

Rebecca Setler insists that keeping your dog active during the day is paramount for a puppy to adjust to sleep through the night.

Going for walks, practising fetch, and having play-dates with other four-legged people are all fantastic ways to expend some of that bubbling puppy energy!

Learning how to stimulate your pup is very important. Both Cesar Millan and Doggy Dan agree that the key to success is all within your ability to meet your dog’s needs.

If your dog is fulfilled (mentally and physically stimulated), then they will want to please you in return.

Establishing a Routine

It is important that fulfilling your dogs needs becomes part of your daily routine. Learn how to stimulate your puppy and recognise which types of stimulation are best received by your pup.

Some examples are; learning new tricks, off leash exploring (hiking/beach), problem solving obstacle courses and obedience training.  

Keep trying until you find what works for you and your puppy.  You will be able to instantly tell when your pup is enjoying himself.

Implementing an exercise routine becomes easy when you stick to a schedule, the schedule will teach the puppy when it is exercise time and when it is SLEEP time. This can be very effective.

You can find more solutions on how to get a puppy to sleep here

Bottom Line: The more you make an effort with your puppy, the easier it is to train them when and where to sleep.

Tips for Where to Place the Crate 

Consider putting the crate in your bedroom for the first few nights, just until your pup gets used to the routine. Being able to see and hear their owners breathing helps a new puppy feel secure in the crate and lets them know they are not alone!

Elevating the Crate

Rebecca Setler recommends elevating the crate so they can see you while you sleep--be sure to secure it well, you don't want it tumbling to the floor with your beloved pooch inside!

Playpen Enclosure

Doggy Dan recommends setting up a playpen where the puppy can roam around his enclosure in between naps.

The playpen has the crate, with the door open, toys and a pee pad. This allows the puppy to get distracted and likely to settle himself down.

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Doggy Dan also gives the option of setting up the enclosure near your bedroom and then gradually moving it out further away toward the area where you want the puppy to sleep indefinitely.

Rooming-in depends on the household. If you are a working family then maybe it’s better to set the enclosure up in the area you want from the beginning.

Playing soft music as mentioned earlier, dimming lights and the like will soften the stress and make the transition easier.

Bottom Line: Moving the crate to your bedroom at the beginning is a personal preference.

Crate Training While at Work

Being a working dog parent is a challenge in itself, but when you add crating into the mix, it can become even more stressful. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

In the words of Doggy Dan, “Set your dog up for success”!

Always feed and toilet your beloved pooch right before crating and never leave them confined for longer than they can hold their bladder.

Young puppies and small breeds may only be able to contain their water for an hour or two. Puppies six months or older should be fine for four to seven hours. Go back to the Bladder Formula for more information. 

Practice makes perfect!

Cesar Millan suggests finding creative ways of rehearsing for the big day beforehand. Leave your pup in the crate for literally one second and work up in increments a little at a time.

Try this without closing the door first and work up to closing the door. A few treats and some encouragement go a long way during this step!

Give Fido something to do!

Put a few interesting toys in the crate to occupy their time (maybe a rubber chew toy filled with peanut butter and their favourite plush to cuddle up to).

Having several options to play with will keep them entertained so (hopefully) they will barely notice you left!

Keep your cool! 

Doggy Dan’s Calming Code is a very effective strategy for keeping your canine cool and collected upon your departure and arrival. He teaches us always to be relaxed when interacting with our dogs.

A consistently calm demeanour gently asserts dominance which helps your dog to feel safe (since you are in control, they don’t have to worry!).

Cesar Millan's Take

Cesar Millan also affirms this principle in his book “Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog,” telling readers to “Make sure your own demeanour is calm and steady. The more times you’ve shown leadership in different environments, the more your dog will trust you even when she’s unsure.”

Take your time!

When you come home, don’t rush to the cage in a frenzy! Take about five minutes to get settled in before you approach the pen.

Do not speak or make eye contact with your pup during this period--overtime this can cause or exacerbate hyperactivity and whining.

Do not let your dog out while they are whining--this teaches them that barking gets them what they want. Giving in will only condone negative behavior, they will learn that you will let them out but on your terms, not theirs.

If they are calm and five minutes have passed, approach the crate CALMLY,  and take them straight outside to potty. When they finish their business, praise them and give them the pets that you both have been longing!

Following these steps is vital for creating a calm and obedient dog, mistakes are bound to happen, but patience and consistency are key!

Read more about crate training for working dog parents here which includes an elaborate schedule for working dog parents.

Author's Note: I used a modified version of this method with my (now 8-year-old) beagle, Trixie. Beagles have some of the best noses in the dog world and are commonly used as cadaver and drug-sniffing dogs.

Trixie used this keen sense of smell to discover all the yummy contents of the trash can and dig dirty clothes out of the hamper! Through the use of crate training, positive reinforcement, and some interesting toys, she quickly grew out of this bad habit. 

Trixie was also an avid poo hider in her puppyhood. By implementing a strict schedule and limiting food and water intake before bed, we were able to stop the in-house pottying completely.

At four months Trixie’s progress was set back substantially. She snuck out of the house while visiting with my mother and was hit by a car--- USD 8,000, one cast, and major hip surgery later, we began again.

This time tackling learning to walk again and how to potty outside. Using a towel as a sling I helped her to regain her mobility, and she did excellently!

The set back required us to have an even more rigid schedule, because she couldn’t get up to potty by herself, she was essentially crate bound.

Her determination was remarkable. By the time she had healed, she was settled back into her routine and completely housebroken once again!

When to stop crate training 

Ultimately, when to end crate training is entirely up to the owner. Some dogs may be fine left out once they are totally house trained--others may still like to get into mischief while their owners are away. 

Remember that your puppy is an individual, what works for other dogs may not work for yours!

You may want to install a puppy cam, to check on your dog throughout the day and make sure they are ready to stop crating before you toss it out completely.

Limit or omit crate time entirely if you see signs of your puppy becoming depressed or emotionally withdrawn.

Alternatives to crate training

Crates just not an option for your fur-family?

Try keeping your pup in a small secluded room like the laundry area or a bathroom while you are away. Playpens are another great alternative that allows dogs to have more range of motion, while still being contained.

Bringing in a professional trainer can address a number of issues and lead your fur-child to the point where they no longer need a crate at all.

Hiring a dog sitter can also be helpful for long days at work and will also keep your pup from getting lonely during your absence.

Is crate training cruel? 

Looking into sad puppy dog eyes behind the bars of a crate can make any dog owner wonder if they are doing the right thing by crating. Dog trainers can’t seem to agree on this either, and some countries have even banned the practice (with the exception of using them for transportation).

If implemented correctly, crate training can promote independence and self-confidence. When misused crates can exacerbate pre-existing issues, create new problems, and cause injury or even death.

A dog left in a crate for that majority of the day will lack social skills, obedience, and self-esteem. Crating for long periods can cause health problems like muscular dystrophy, arthritis, anxiety, and depression.

Tips for humane crating

  • Leave your dog in the crate for no longer than four hours at a time.
  • If you work long hours, call a neighbour or a friend to let Fido out.
  • Make sure you are using a safe enclosure that they are well-acquainted with.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Give Fido opportunities to entertain themselves in the crate.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Allow your pup plenty of exercise and face time away from the crate.

Read more about ethical crating here

FAQ - Crate training problems 

Why is my dog using the bathroom in their crate?

You could be leaving them for longer than they can hold their bladder. Generally speaking pups can hold their bladder for one hour per month of age--for example, a two-month-old puppy should be let out to potty every two hours.

You may also be using too large of a crate. Many wire style crates come with a piece to close off a portion of the crate; these are especially beneficial for large breed puppies that are growing into their kennel.

Help! My dog won’t stop shredding the bedding in its crate!

You may need to remove the bed entirely.

Try putting just an old towel in for them to lay on and some heavy duty chew toys in there to keep them occupied. Usually, the destructive puppy phase will pass once teething is over.

Also, try taking your dog for a massive run before putting him into the crate and see if this is the cure! Both Doggy Dan and Cesar preach the importance of always meeting your dog’s needs first and then ask them to do something for you.  

The Takeaway

Crate training can be an excellent tool to help a puppy learn boundaries and expectations, that is if you implement it correctly. 

Today we have shown your the Crate Training Success Formula. The formula consists of three simple steps;

Step One -  Know your intentions for crate training.

Step Two - Prioritise your puppy training program.

Step Three - Commit to a schedule that works with your intentions.

Stick to these rules and you are guaranteed to succeed. 

Bottom Line: The amount of effort you put into crate training should be doubled with house training!


What Happens Next? 

  • If you have found this guide to be of great value please share or leave a comment. We would love to hear your experiences with using these methods or successful methods of your own. 
  • Checkout the Puppy Training Guide inspired by New Zealand's famous dog trainer Doggy Dan. We have condensed his paid course into an easy to follow guide for new puppy owners.  

What Cesar Millan Can Teach Us about Why Your Dog Peed on Your Bed

Imagine that it’s Sunday night, and you fall asleep in bed next to your pup after watching your favourite TV show. When your alarm goes off for work in the early hours of the morning, you roll over to find not your cuddly pooch, but a warm, wet spot and a sprawling yellow stain on your sheets.

Yuck! What a way to start your Monday, huh?

Been there, done that? Most dog owners have, including yourself, most likely -- after all, that’s why you’re reading this article, right? You’re trying to figure out why your dog peed in your bed and what it means.

Before you punish your dog or pull out the treats to try and train them, take a page out of Cesar Millan’s book. (Literally -- Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog is a godsend for dog owners.)

You might recognise Cesar Millan from his hit TV series, The Dog Whisperer. Here’s what the king of canine behaviour can teach us about why our dogs pee on our beds and what it might mean.

My dog peed on my bed -- what does this mean?

That question isn’t as easy to answer as you may think. There are many reasons why a dog may pee on your bed.

Dogs’ elimination behaviours are much more nuanced than they appear. After all, dogs aren’t performance animals; they’re incredibly intelligent beings with complex personalities and behaviours.

And when they do something we don’t like, or when they disobey us, we often forget just how intelligent and individual they are.

It’s impossible for us to know what’s going on in our dogs’ brains, but with a little time and patience -- and with the guidance of Cesar Millan -- we can solve the problem and learn how to understand our dogs’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

Understanding canine behaviour and urination habits

While trying to figure out why your dog peed on your bed and what it might mean, you might automatically assume your dog is intentionally misbehaving.

After all, we humans tend to be a bit impatient when it comes to housebreaking our dogs.

We don’t want our dogs to make messes in our homes, so we try to train them out of it as quickly as we can. Not only can we be impatient when it comes to training our dogs to avoid certain behaviours, but we can also be impatient when it comes to their overall temperament.

Here’s an example -- let’s say you’re planning to add a new furry family member to your pack.

You go to the adoption agency or animal shelter and you see two dogs. One is jumping up and down, running circles around their enclosure, knocking over their water bowl and getting tangled in their leash. The other dog is lying down, calm and patient, just waiting for you to pet them.

Which one are most people more likely to pick? That’s right -- the submissive one.

Why? Because dogs who are naturally submissive require less time and effort when it comes to training, especially house-training. And let’s be honest -- most of us need all the extra time and effort we can get.

Our impatience may only worsen the problem, according to Cesar Millan, who claims house-training our dogs is a “human” need. 

Your dog's need is to go and relieve herself! So if you want to break your dog of this habit, you need to be sure you are being honest and taking responsibility by providing exercise and discipline according to your dog's needs. (Cesar Millan)

Why does my house-trained dog pee in the bed?

Did you know that house-training often has nothing to do with why your dog peed on your bed?

Sure, it can play a role in some cases, particularly if you have a puppy or a rescue dog that’s never been trained. But there are many reasons why dogs pee on their owners’ beds -- sometimes, even fully housebroken dogs have accidents!

Submissive urination is one of the key reasons why house-trained dogs might soil the bed.

To fully understand submissive urination, it’s important to remember that different dogs have different personalities and temperaments.

Some furry friends are feisty and assertive, while others are fearful and shy. That behaviour plays a much larger role in your dog’s bathroom habits than you might think!

What is submissive urination?

Dogs who are submissive by nature are actually more likely to suffer from submissive urination.

This means that they eliminate waste when overstimulated.

This is an instinctive reaction to an intense behavioural conflict happening inside the dog’s brain -- and it’s one that the dog shouldn’t be punished for.

Many articles on this subject claim that dogs exhibit submissive urination when overly excited or scared, but this is not always the case.

“Overstimulated” is a much better, and more accurate, term than “overexcited.”

Remember, like us, dogs can experience a wide range of emotions -- tying their behaviour to one single emotion won’t help solve the problem.

In fact, this may only make the issue worse.

When a dog is overstimulated and urinates, it may be the result of conflicting emotions, rather than one single, overwhelming emotion.

Dogs who are submissive may get excited at external stimuli, like meeting a new person or hearing a loud, startling sound.

Their submissive nature makes them want to stay calm, but their temporary excitement or fear clashes with their usual temperament.

These conflicting behavioural motivations may result in spontaneous urination.

And, unsurprisingly, submissive dogs are more likely to urinate when their bladders are full -- so it’s important that your dog have a regular bathroom break schedule.

But submissive urination isn’t just associated with behaviour -- it often manifests in older dogs as well.

It’s important to note that age-related submissive urination shouldn’t be confused with incontinence.

If your well-trained dog is getting older and has started peeing on your bed or in your house, you should seek veterinary advice immediately to ensure it’s not a medical issue first.

Other reasons your dog might pee on your bed

If your dog isn’t exactly the submissive type, they might also pee on the bed because...

  • They’re marking their territory -- this is more common in younger dogs.
  • They have a medical condition, such as UTI, kidney disease, or arthritis.
  • There’s a problem with the urethral sphincter, the muscle which controls urination.

If you suspect your dog’s spontaneous urination problem is related to their health rather than their behaviour, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

Solving the urination problem: tips from The Dog Whisperer

If you want to break your dog out of the submissive urination habit, you need to first identify the source of the problem before you can tackle it -- and that includes examining your own approach to training.

Millan says in his book Cesar’s Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog;

Dog training is something that was invented by humans, but dog psychology was invented by Mother Nature. Before we even think about rules to train our dogs, we need to think about rules to train ourselves.

(Cesar Millan - The Dog Whisper)

Throughout his book, Millan talks about two important human and canine behaviours:

  • Calm-assertive
  • Calm-submissive 

Humans must be calm-assertive toward their dogs if they want their dogs to exhibit what he calls the calm-submissive state.

Dogs are masters at sensing even the slightest change in mood and behaviour. They can sense -- and even smell -- when you’re fearful or frustrated.

That’s why it’s imperative, says Millan, to be mindful of how you’re feeling and how your own actions and emotions might influence your dog’s emotional state.

Being calm-assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive, mean, or dominating. Rather, dog owners must be confident, but also calm and relaxed.

They must know what they want to achieve, and they must be clear and direct in the messages they send to their dogs.

Good dog owners (and effective dog trainers) never try to intimidate or control their dogs entirely.

Bearing that in mind, here are some tips for training your dog to stop peeing in your bed (or in the house, or in their crate).

Tip #1: Pay attention to stimuli that may cause the urination.

What makes your dog urinate?

Do they do so in fear, or when meeting new people?

Then, once you’ve made a note of those stimuli, try to avoid them, or introduce your dog to them gradually.

For example, if your dog gets excited when meeting new people, let your friends know in advance not to touch, talk, or look at your dog at first.

Part of this involves paying attention to yourself. We hate to break it to you, but in some cases, your own behaviour might cause submissive urination.

Pay attention to your dog’s emotional state and be sure to react accordingly, and also avoid situations that may overstimulate your dog where possible.

Tip #2: Clean up your dog’s messes behind their back.

If your dog pees in your bed, put them outside or in another room before changing the sheets.

If you immediately clean up the mess, you’re signalling to your dog that it doesn’t matter if they continue the behaviour -- you’ll always be there to clean it up.

This is where the “assertive” part of the calm-assertive attitude comes in. 

 You want that mess cleaned up as soon as possible, but doing so sends the wrong message to your dog, so just be patient and clean up out of your dog’s sight.

Tip #3: Stay calm...

“The fact is that no animal ever responds positively to angry, frustrated, or fearful energy,” says Millan.

If your dog does pee in your bed to intentionally misbehave, staying calm shows them this behaviour doesn’t affect you, which can go a long way in breaking the habit.

Tip #4: ...but also stay assertive.

But if those emotions cause them to act in a way that we don’t want, we can’t give in every time and expect the dog to change. Be firm!

Tip #5: Try using a crate.

Make sure your dog is in the calm-submissive state before approaching the crate, and also ensure you’re in the calm-assertive state.

Wrapping Up 

You don’t have to be a celebrity dog trainer or veterinary neurosurgeon to rewire your dog’s brain and correct undesirable behaviours.

The key components of successful dog training, according to Millan, are respect and trust. In order to build respect and trust and strengthen your bond with your dog, you must pay attention -- both to your dog’s behaviours and emotional states as well as your own.

Why does your dog pee on your bed? What do you think it means? Tell us your story in the comments. We reply to every comment!

Is Crate Training Cruel? Finland and Sweden Seem to Think So…

Is crate training cruel? It’s a question every dog owner has probably pondered at some point. This comes as no surprise -- if you’ve ever watched your tiny, precious puppy howl from their crate, chances are it struck a nerve.

Crate training puppies is so commonplace in the West that many dog owners believe it’s not just helpful, but it’s also necessary to train a well-behaved dog.

Indeed, if you’ve read our other articles on crate training, you’ll know that many veterinarians and dog trainers are advocates of crate training.

Other parts of the world don’t exactly agree, though. Take Finland and Sweden, for example, where crate training is not just considered cruel -- it’s also illegal!

International laws on crate training and cruelty

Dog owners who violate these animal welfare laws can face serious penalties, including fines and court battles.

Swedish Animal Welfare Regulations

Section 13 of Sweden’s regulations on keeping dogs and cats states that, “dogs and cats may not be kept in cages” unless they’re used for transport, hunting, or a competition or show.

Even then, pet owners are required to let their dogs out of their crates at least every two to three hours.

Sweden’s legislation also establishes acceptable dog crate sizes for those occasions which do require crates -- and they’re larger than the Australian and American standard dog crate sizes. The smallest acceptable crate size for a dog measuring 25 cm high is 2 square meters!

To give you an idea, the smallest Australian and American travel crates, which is approved by the The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is only 0.57 x 0.37 meters. 

The Swedish Board of Agriculture also provides guidelines on raising dogs, and their opinion on crate training is a little more blunt: 

You may not bind your dog indoors. If you need to limit the dog's mobility for a little longer, you can set up a grid or otherwise occupy an area. (Translated from Swedish)

Finnish Animal Welfare Regulations

Finland has similar legislation on crating dogs. According to the Finnish Kennel Club; 

A cat or dog or other animal may be kept in a box or cage intended for its transport, or in any other comparable small storage space, only if it is required for transporting the animal, disease or other ad hoc and acceptable cause." (Finnish Kennel Club)

In an article titled, “The cage is not a dog seat,” (translated from Finnish), Tuija Saari, former Animal Protection Veterinarian for the City of Helsinki, says that crating dogs to prevent them from misbehaving or destroying the home is not an acceptable, long-term solution.

If dogs must be left alone for long periods of time, Saari recommends dedicating a room of the home to the dog. The room should be spacious -- i.e., not a bathroom or closet -- and should be furnished so the dog cannot harm themselves or damage any belongings.

“Usually the dog stays quieter when alone when it has a limited, safe area instead of wandering alone in the big apartment,” says Saari. (Translated from Finnish)

Like Sweden, Finland also requires dog crates to be much larger than the Australian and American standard sizes. 

Crates in Finland are more akin to playpens -- a large breed dog must be kept in a crate measuring a minimum of 37 square feet, approximately 3 square meters.

Is crate training cruel? What the experts say

Some of the world’s most famous dog trainers advocate crate training. In their book, Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program using the Power of Positive Reinforcement, Barack Obama’s dog trainers, Larry Kay and Dawn Sylvia-Staciewicz, dedicate an entire section of their “Fundamentals Program” to crate training.

The crate is your dog’s sanctuary, the place where he can get away from it all. The crate needs to be respected as your dog’s safe haven, not his jail, and should be associated with reward, not punishment.” 

(Larry Kay and Dawn Sylvia-Staciewicz)

Even Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer himself, has made videos showing dog owners how to crate their dogs for travel, and his blog features several articles with tips on crate training puppies and adult dogs.

Not all experts agree, though.

In an interview with The Guardian, Emma Lincoln, co-author of Dogs Hate Crates, claims the crate training debate is a cultural divide;

Americans have never been so in love with the concept of owning dogs while being so ill-equipped to give dogs the face-time, exercise, socialisation and purpose in life they need. (Emma Lincoln)

The book’s authors claim to have a background in canine psychology, and while it is unclear which specific qualifications they hold, they do have a good point: 

In a country where some estimates count 77.5 million dogs, a huge number of these -- perhaps the majority -- now spend significant time crated in their families' homes. (Emma Lincoln)

Is crate training cruel? Searching for an answer

It’s hard to say for sure whether crate training is cruel -- especially when you consider that two regions of the world have vastly different laws and opinions on the subject.

Countries like Sweden and Finland impose strict regulations on the sizes of crates, and these minimum measurements are certainly much roomier than their American and Australian counterparts.

In Australia and America, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down in their crate -- this gives them very little room and may make them feel cramped.

Keeping these size regulations in mind, is crate training cruel? The answer is yes and no. Crate training can be cruel if it’s done inappropriately.

Like most things, crates can be misused and abused. Locking a dog in a crate for longer than they can hold their bladder -- two hours for puppies, four hours for adult dogs -- is inhumane and abusive. (Yes, that means that leaving your puppy alone in a crate for eight hours while you’re at work is considered animal cruelty!)

Perhaps it is also time for Australia and America to rethink their attitude toward crating.

In Sweden and Finland, crates are more like playpens and give dogs plenty of space. 

If Australian and American dog owners really want their dogs to see their crates as sanctuaries, they should be large enough so the dog has enough room to feel truly at home.

Final thoughts on crates and cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States makes an excellent point in their Crate Training 101 guide:

A crate may be your dog’s den, but just as you would not spend your entire life in one room of your home, your dog should not spend most of their time in their crate.”  (Humane Society of the United States)

What Happens Next? 

  • Prefer to ditch the crate and use alternative methods for training your dog? Check out our Puppy Training Guide for holistic training techniques from New Zealand’s loveable dog trainer, Doggy Dan.  
  • If you are interested in learning the safe methods to crate training, taught by the authors of Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program using the Power of Positive Reinforcement then head over to the Crate Training Guide.
  • Leave a comment if you have found this guide useful or if you have any questions. We love replying to every comment! 

Dog Crate Sizes Based on Breed and Health History

Dog owners must consider several factors when choosing the right dog crate size for their precious pooch. Breed and size are, of course, important when choosing the most appropriate crate size and type, but the dog’s health and temperament and the area you live in also play a part!

Read on to find out how to find the right dog crate size for your pup based on their breed, size, health history, and Australia’s standard dog crate sizes.

How to Measure Your Dog to Fit Their Crate

Measuring your dog to choose the right dog crate size is fairly straightforward. Position your dog so they’re standing up tall and straight. Using a measuring tape, measure the length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail -- do not include the tail itself -- to get your dog’s length.

When measuring height, measure from the highest point on the head both when the dog is sitting down and standing up.

Take the longer of the two measurements and add 2 inches -- this will give you the shortest height the crate should be.

IATA Approved Travel Dog Crate Sizes, Measurements, and Requirements.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have set pet carrier standards which all airlines must meet for pet travel. These travel crates have slightly different regulations than your average home crates. 

Australian airlines have to impose weight requirements in addition to regulating dog crate sizes. Your dog should be able to sit, lie down, and turn around in their travel crate comfortably.

In addition to height and length, you’ll also need to measure leg height and width.

To measure leg height, measure from the floor to the dog’s elbow joint. Don’t include the shoulder in this measurement.

To find your dog’s width, simply measure across the widest point (usually the belly or the head).

Measuring height for travel crates also works slightly differently. You’ll need to measure from the floor to the tips of the ears (or to the top of the head -- whichever is higher) rather than the shoulders.

Know your dogs weight as travel crates have a maximum weight capacity.

Insert Video of how to measure dog for travel.

Dog Crate Sizes by Breed.

Remember, the best type of crate -- wire, plastic, etc. -- for your dog is based more on their temperament rather than their size.

Extra-small breeds.


Welsh Corgis, Miniature Schnauzers, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Dachshunds, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer, Papillon, Pekingese, Brussels Griffon, Bolognese, Chihuahua, Pug, Maltese, Toy  Manchester Terrier, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and similarly sized breeds.

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Dog measurements for extra small dog crate sizes: 
Less than 55 cm long x 43 cm tall

Travel crate weight requirements: Up to 1.5 kg

Best dog crate type for extra small breeds: Soft-sided, plastic

Small breeds.


Welsh Corgis, Miniature Schnauzers, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, dachshunds, Australian Terrier, Basenji, Pug, Bichon Frise, Border Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Cairn Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dachshund, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Jack Russell, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Maltese Shih Tzu, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Miniature Poodle, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, Welsh Corgi, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and similarly sized breeds.

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Dog measurements for small dog crate sizes: 
Up to 55 cm long x 43 cm tall

Travel crate weight requirements: Up to 1.5 kg

Best dog crate type for small breeds: 
Soft-sided, plastic, playpen

Medium-sized breeds.


Border Collies, Cocker Spaniels, Fox Terriers, Beagles, American Bulldog, American Staffy, Australian Kelpie, Blue Heeler / Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Cavoodle, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, English /British Bulldog, Irish Terrier, Old English Sheepdog, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Shar Pei, Shetland Sheepdog, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Springer Spaniel, Whippet and similarly sized breeds.

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Dog measurements for medium-sized dog crate sizes: 
Up to 71 cm long x 48 cm tall

Travel crate weight requirements: Up to 4 kg

Best dog crate type for medium-sized breeds: 
Soft-sided, plastic, wire, playpen

Large breeds.


Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Chow Chows, Dalmatians, Cattle Dogs, Airedale Terrier, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Australian Shepherd, Basset hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Boerboel, Boxer, Bull Terrier, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Chow Chow, Rough Collie, Doberman Pinscher, Dogue De Bordeaux, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Goldendoodle, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Setter, Labradoodle, Labrador, Newfoundland, Pitbull Terrier, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner, and similarly sized breeds

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Dog measurements for large dog crate sizes: 
Up to 101 cm long x 71 cm tall 

Travel crate weight requirements: Up to 6 kg

Best dog crate type for large breeds: 
Heavy duty wire crates, plastic, travel crates

Extra large breeds.


Saint Bernards, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Dogue De Bordeaux, English Pointer, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Goldendoodle, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Setter, Newfoundland, Pitbull Terrier, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner and similarly sized dogs

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Dog measurements for XL dog crate sizes: 
Up to 116 cm long x 76 cm tall 

Travel crate weight requirements: Up to 8 kg

Best dog crate type for large breeds: 
Heavy duty wire crates, plastic, travel crates

Dog Crate Sizes by Temperament

Temperament plays a much more important role in choosing the right dog crate size than you might think!

Typically we can categorise our dogs into the following temperament classes:

  • Destructive
  • Calm

  • High energy
  • Anxious


The materials used in wire and plastic crates are durable, making it harder for your dog to destroy. If your dog is a chewer, we recommend wire.

Best dog crate types: Wire, plastic

Avoid: soft-sided, playpen, designer crates


Calm, small-breed dogs who don’t tend to chew on things may feel more at home in a soft-sided crate than a wire or plastic crate.

Stylish designer crates are also available and can double as furniture, and are ideal for very well-trained dogs.

Best dog crate types: Soft-sided, playpen, designer crates

Avoid: None

High energy.

Wire and plastic crates are durable, but if you have a large and highly energetic dog, or a “Houndini” who likes to escape, you may want to look into a reinforced steel or plastic crate.

If your dog is hyperactive in their crate, try setting down blankets or padding the bars and metal flooring to reduce noise.

Best dog crate types: Heavy-duty wire and plastic

Avoid: soft-sided, playpen, designer crates


Although they can be noisier than some other crate types, wire crates are well-ventilated and provide optimum visual range.

Plastic crates may make anxious dogs feel cramped. Dogs with anxiety may chew soft-sided crates, which are also harder to clean.

Best dog crate types: Wire

Avoid: Soft-sided, playpen, plastic

Australian Standard Dog Crate Sizes

Not all crates are created equal!  Different types of crates come in different standard sizes. 

Here are the standard dimensions you should expect to find when shopping for a specific type of crate in Australia.

Soft-sided crates

Extra small: 61 cm long  x 43 cm wide x 48 cm high

Medium: 76 cm long  x 48 cm wide x 53 cm high

Large: 92 cm long x 59 cm wide x 64 cm high

Extra large: 107 cm long x 71 cm wide x 76 cm high

XXL: 122 cm long x 76 cm wide x 81 cm high

Wire crates

Medium: 61 cm long x 45.7 cm wide x 50.8 cm high

Large: 122 cm long x 79 cm wide x 84 cm high

Portable crates

Small: 48 cm long x 41 cm wide x 41 cm high

Medium: 76 cm wide x 51 cm long x 48 cm high

Large: 91 cm wide x 61 cm long x 58 cm high

Travel crates (IATA approved carriers)*

Small: 53 cm long x 37 cm wide x 37 cm high -- for dogs weighing up to 1.5 kg

Medium: 62 cm long x 43 cm wide x 44 cm high -- for dogs weighing up to 4 kg

Large: 73 cm long x 44 cm wide x 53 cm high -- for dogs weighing up to 5.8 kg

Extra large: 82 cm long x 56 cm wide x 60 cm high -- for dogs weighing up to 6 kg

XXL: 94 cm long x 62 cm wide x 74 cm high -- for dogs weighing up to 8 kg

*Note that IATA approved carriers also have weight restrictions for dogs and their respective crate sizes.

Playpen crates

Medium: 92 cm long x 49 cm wide

Extra Large: 120 cm long x 82 cm wide

If you work full time and you haven't started crate training, then check out this crate training schedule from Barack Obama's dog trainers. 

Dog Crate Sizes for Dogs with Health Issues

Certain breed-related health issues play a really important role in choosing the right dog crate size and the type of crate most appropriate for your dog.

Dogs suffering from hip dysplasia should have a large crate, even if they’re a small breed. Small crates can be too cramped, which may exacerbate the dog’s hip problems.

However, according to the Textbook of Small Animal Orthopedics, young dogs who are genetically predisposed for hip dysplasia -- meaning they’re descended from dogs diagnosed with hip dysplasia -- should be confined to a small crate (roughly 1 meter cubed) to prevent the condition from developing.

It’s important to consider both existing and possible health problems when choosing the right dog crate size, so consult your veterinarian if your dog has any health problems.

That's it for dog crate sizes!

I hope this guide has helped you learn a thing or two about dog crate sizes! 

If you got a lot of value out of this post please share it and drop a comment below because we love to respond to every single one. 

6 Steps to Crate Training While at Work

First of all crate training a puppy while at work begins with training your puppy when you are NOT at work! Hang on, wait, what?

That's right. If you want to know the secrets to successfully training your pooch to stay at home while you work all day, then you must train your dog to be well behaved.

I know, it sucks right. The truth is, you can't leave your dog in a crate for 8 hours a day while you work. It's illegal in some European countries and its not the real reason why you wanted a puppy. 

The question should be "How to train my puppy to live in harmony with my possessions while I am at work". This would give pet-owners much healthier answers. 

Ok so now you are thinking "puppy training is important, ok got it. Learn how to train a puppy, then my puppy will be peacefully laying around the house waiting for me to return. But what happens in the meantime? I have to read the books, take the puppy training courses, WORK, live my life?"

I feel you!!  This is why we have taken the courses and read the books, so that you don't have to.

This 6 step guide to crate training while at work is based on Amazon's best selling book for the last three years, Training the Best Dog Ever: a 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement.

The book is written by Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Larry Kay, who trained Barack Obama’s dog, Bo Obama.

At end of the article you will find their crate training schedule for working dog parents. 

We have also taken the paid course from Doggy Dan, New Zealand's hottest dog trainer right now and condensed it into an easy to follow Puppy Training Guide. This will teach you how to train your puppy to be well behaved. 

So this guide includes easy to follow resources to teach you how to leave a puppy in crate while at work and how to train your puppy so you can eventually put the crate in storage!! 

Let's get started. 

Why should I crate train my puppy?

If you’ve ever raised a dog from puppy-hood before, you know that leaving a puppy alone while at work is not ideal if you value your belongings (and your sanity).

Crate training, both for puppies and adult dogs, is a controversial topic among dog owners and handlers. Many of us see our dogs as children, and we want to treat them as such. Some dog owners view crates as doggie prisons complete with intimidating metal bars and a lock.

If this is a sensitive topic for you too then you can read about what animal rights activists are saying and which laws are starting to change, in favour of not creating. 

We have dedicated a lot of time to the understanding the legitimate pro's and con's of crate training and understanding IF in fact crate training is cruel. 

Despite this, both veterinarians and dog trainers recommend crate training your puppies. There are certain situations which require dogs to be crated, namely transport. Crate training puppies can also help with solving behavioural problems and housebreaking.

In saying that, dog training experts only rely on the crate for a very short period of time, while they train the dog to live within the rules of the house. 

Crate training misconceptions.

Some dog owners might think that leaving their puppy alone in a crate while they’re at work is cure-all for behaviour problems. Spoiler alert -- it’s not.

Crating your dog should only be a temporary solution to a temporary problem. Why? Well-behaved dogs don’t need crates -- not even when they’re left alone for 8 hours or more!

If you’re crate training your puppy while at work because you want them to behave while you’re out of the house, your training doesn’t end when you can finally close the crate door.

The goal is to make sure your pup can behave without the crate at all!

If the only thing stopping your dog from destroying your home is the bars of the crate, you have failed in your dog training attempts.

You can’t just train your pup to stay locked up in a crate all day -- you must train them to behave well in general.

While crate training can be a part of that, you should also work on building your relationship with your dog, fostering trust and respect, and being mindful of your own body language when interacting with your dog.

With all that in mind, how do you crate train a puppy when you work full-time? 

We’ve rounded up some tips from some of the best dog trainers on the planet to help you get started!

Crate training a puppy while at work: tips from the experts who trained Barack Obama’s dog.

Successful crate training will not happen overnight, no matter how busy you are at work.

Patience is the key to crate training a puppy, according to world-class dog trainers Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Larry Kay, who trained Barack Obama’s dog, Bo Obama.

They’re also the authors of Training the Best Dog Ever: a 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement, an invaluable resource for dog owners.

The following crate training steps come straight from the same experts who train presidential pups, so we’re willing to bet they work better than the generic advice you’ll find in other articles!

Try these exercises in the mornings and evenings before and after work, and remember to leave the crate door open for the first few steps.

Dawn and Larry have broken this into SIX steps for successfully training your pup while at work.

Step #1: Make your pup fall in love with their crate.

I know, I know... You have heard this one before but doing this right at the start sets you up for success.

If your pooch sees their crate as a prison, your crate training endeavours will go nowhere.

The crate should be like a comfy bed, not a holding cell. There are many things to consider when choosing a crate, including crate size and time limits in the crate, among other things.

The best way to convince your pooch to fall in love with their crate is to use treats and positive reinforcement -- two of your pup’s favourite things! (Besides you, of course.)

First, scatter some treats around the crate, but not inside, and step back.

Wait for your pup to explore and gobble down the treats. When your puppy starts to sniff around the crate, praise them, but don’t say or do anything else! 

Continue to scatter treats around the entrance to the crate, and eventually inside the crate, using positive reinforcement and praise whenever your puppy investigates the crate.

Remember to give your puppy plenty of space -- standing over them may intimidate them.

Repeat this step several times a day -- we recommend at least five to six.

Start crate training just before mealtime so your pup will eat the treats!

Don't use any verbal cues at all, apart from positive reinforcement and praise. 

Step #2: Feed your puppy a meal in the crate.

What could make a crate more appealing to a pup than food?

Once your puppy is comfortable entering the crate, place a small portion of their meal (in a bowl, of course) into the crate. If your pup wolfs down that portion and looks to you for more, praise them and give them another small portion.

Dogs who have multiple food bowls placed throughout the home are more likely to feel comfortable eating in their crate, according to Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Kay.

Pay attention to your dog’s mood and body language. If they’re reluctant to eat their usual food in a crate, they may not be ready for this step yet. Repeat step one and be attention to your dog’s mood and body language. If they’re reluctant to eat their usual food in a crate, they may not be ready for this step yet. Repeat step one and be patient.

Don't say anything until your dog has finished eating. You don’t want to confuse or alarm them.

Step #3: Name the crate.

This might seem a little over-the-top to some dog owners, but naming the crate isn’t beneficial for you -- it’s beneficial for your dog.

Naming the crate will help your dog with verbal commands in future stages of crate training.

Keep it simple: short names like “crate”, “bed”, or “den” will work just fine.

Don't choose an overly complicated name. Remember, dogs only know 165 words (according to Animal Planet) -- the simpler, the better.

Step #4: Use treats and positive reinforcement to teach your dog cues.

Step 1 Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Kay recommend combining praise with the crate name.

For example, after you place a few treats inside the crate, say, “Crate.” If your dog goes straight inside, say, “Good crate.”

“Notice that you’re not teaching her to do something that she hasn’t already done, but simply giving a name to something she has been doing.”

The trainers recommend repeating this about 10 times a day for a few days. Busy dog owners can split this up into 5 repetitions in the morning and 5 in the evening.

Make sure you continue using treats and positive reinforcement during this stage.

Step 2 - Now you’re ready for the next step: closing the door (for short periods of time).

When your puppy enters the crate, close the door, praise the puppy, and offer their treats through the bars or openings before opening the door again.

You should only leave the door closed for a few seconds at first, but as you repeat this step, leave the door shut a little longer each time.

Repeat this step several times per day. Six is recommended, but if you’re busy working, three times in the morning and three times in the evening will suffice.

Notice that you’re not teaching her to do something that she hasn’t already done, but simply giving a name to something she has been doing - Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Kay, The White House dog trainers. 

Make this step as fun as possible!

Don't leave your dog shut in the crate for long periods of time.

Step #5: Prepare your pup for your absence.

Here comes the hard part: leaving the room with your pup in the crate.

Step 1 You’ll start by taking just one step back as you give them a treat through the crate bars or openings. If your puppy behaves, step forward again and praise them verbally.

Step 2 Take a step back and turn your back to the puppy for a few moments before returning and praising them with a special treat -- the former White House dog trainers recommend a piece of hard cheese or something similar.

Step 3 Repeat the process for the third time, give your dog a special toy, like a Kong with treats inside, to play with.

Step 4 For the third and subsequent repetitions, increase the steps you take from the crate, and increase the time you’re away before returning.

Let your pup see you doing something else, whether it’s tidying up the house or just filling out paperwork.

The goal is to teach your dog that she gets something really great in the crate when you leave (not when you return) - Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Kay, The White House dog Trainers

Mind your body language when letting your dog out of their crate. Don’t act even slightly excited or proud if your pup is doing well.

Don't underestimate this step. Repeat this as many times as necessary in the mornings and evenings.

Step #6: Leave the room.

Now you’re finally ready for the big hurdle: leaving your dog alone in the crate.

Start slow, leaving your puppy alone in the crate for literally one second. As with the other steps, increase the time you’re away with each repetition.

Make sure your pup has a special treat or toy to keep them preoccupied. By now they should feel comfortable playing in the crate alone. 

The hope is that your dog will become so engrossed in the [toy] that she will barely register that you’re leaving - Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Kay, The White House dog Trainers

Walk into other rooms of your homes and occupy yourself with something the dog can hear, like cleaning.

Don't rush this step. Some dogs will adjust immediately, while others may need several weeks. Be patient; you don’t want to exacerbate your pup’s anxiety.

How do I crate train a crying puppy?

The answer to this question is simple: be assertive. 

If your pup cries in their crate as soon as you leave the room, wait until they settle down again before you reappear.

Re-entering the room the moment your puppy starts whining teaches them they can cry to get a reward -- in this case, your presence. This is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve!

We’ve talked about Cesar Millan -- AKA “The Dog Whisperer” -- and his approach to training in another post. If you want to train a well-behaved dog, says Millan, you need to learn how to exhibit what he calls the “calm-assertive” state.

This involves being aware of your own body language and emotions.

Always stay relaxed, confident, and firm when training. Never raise your voice or show signs of frustration -- dogs (and most humans) don’t respond well to negative energy or emotions. 

Don’t use the crate for punishment, either -- that goes without saying.

What should I do until my puppy is crate trained?

Training a puppy takes a lot of time and patience, and it’s not something to be undertaken lightly.

If you work full-time and you hope to crate train your puppy, you should arrange some alternatives for your dog while you’re working.

Remember -- and we cannot stress this enough! -- you should never leave your puppy locked alone in a crate for more than 4 hours at a time.

Crating your dog while at work should be a temporary measure to protect your belongings until your pup is well-trained enough not to destroy your things.

In the meantime, here are some healthy options:

  • Spend a lot of your home time training your puppy. If you want something easy to start with try the Perfect Puppy Program or other more advanced methods like clicker training for correcting unwanted behaviour. This will help remove the need for a crate sooner. 
  • Keep them in a puppy-proofed room in your home (spare room).
  • Arrange for a friend or pay a dog sitter to walk and play with your pup at lunch time to break up the day.
  • Invest in a qualified dog trainer to take your puppy for the first couple of weeks or month to teach the puppy how to be well behaved.
  • Find a friend who also has a puppy, let them entertain themselves while you both work. 

If you prefer to take a much more active role in your dog’s crate training, check out our crate training schedule for busy dog owners.

It is inspired by book Training the Best Dog Ever: a 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement

Crate Training a Puppy While at Work FAQs:

How long can a puppy be left alone in a crate? According to the Humane Society, puppies under 6 months old should be left in a crate for a maximum of 3 to 4 hours at a time. Other dog trainers recommend just 2 hours; this will vary depending on the dog’s temperament.

How long can a puppy be left alone during the day? Again, this will vary depending on age and temperament. Experts can’t agree on an answer, but four hours is the accepted maximum even for adult dogs. Never leave your dog alone for longer than they can hold their bladder (use the bladder formula to know when your dog needs to go to go).

When can I start crate training my puppy? You can start crate training as early as 8 weeks old. The earlier you start crate training your puppy, the easier it will be to leave your puppy home alone.

What Happens Next? 

  • Download the crate training schedule for busy dog owners and commit to it for at least two weeks. 
  • Checkout the Puppy Training Guide inspired by New Zealand's famous dog trainer Doggy Dan. We have condensed his paid course into an easy to follow guide. 
  • Leave a comment if you have found this guide useful or if you have any questions. We love replying to every comment! 

Top 6 Crate Training Pros and Cons

Crate training and its pros and cons has long been a subject of debate among dog enthusiasts. This is unsurprising -- many pet owners see their dogs as their children and consider crate training inhumane.

In fact, some dog owners and even some animal rights organizations think crate training dogs is so cruel that they’re working to ban it.

Even the experts seems to disagree on whether crate training dogs is considered abuse. For example, the SPCA of New Zealand claims that crating dogs can be useful for behaviour training.

Meanwhile, in Finland, leaving a dog in a crate with the door shut is illegal. There are only a few exceptions to this: dogs can be crated for a short amount of time while in transport.

With so much conflicting information available, it’s hard for dog owners to make a decision on crate training. We’re certainly not claiming to have all the answers, which is why we want to discuss all the crate training pros and cons in depth.

Whether your dog can be successfully crate trained or not will depend on multiple factors, including your dog’s age, temperament, and history. You and your veterinarian know your dog best, so you should work together to decide whether crate training your dog is the right option.

Crate Training Pros & Cons - The Pros

Crate training is a highly controversial topic. Yet successful crate training can be a blessing for dog owners, especially those with hyper hounds who like to chew and scratch everything they can get their paws on. (Sound familiar?)

Let’s start off with some the crate training pros, which come from a mindful approach to crate training. (We’ll talk about how NOT to approach crate training for dogs later.)

Crate Training Pro #1: It provides dogs with their own safe, comfy space.

We humans love our beds so much that we find it hard to drag ourselves out into the real world every morning. You want your dog to feel the same way about their crate, so make it comfortable.

Pad the crate with a blanket, preferably one the dog has scented, and add some of your dog’s favourite toys.  Never leave choking hazards, such as tennis balls or other toys that could get lodged in the dog’s airway, in the crate.

Crate Training Pro #2: Temporary training tool.

Imagine that you just got a new puppy. Your tiny tot is just so cute that you can’t bear the thought of them sleeping anywhere but right in bed next to you. (We don’t blame you -- who doesn’t love puppy snuggles?)

But you know that your precious pup can’t be trusted. While you snooze, they might just rip apart your pillow or pee all over your brand new carpet.

So you might consider crate training your puppy on the first night to provide them with a safe space to rest while they acclimatize to their strange new environment. 

Not only will crate training your puppy help keep him (and your furniture) safe while you sleep, but it can also help with the potty training process.

Many expert trainers temporarily use the crate to start their behavioural training journey until the puppy understands the rules of the house. A crate training schedules can be a very effective way of using crates as a temporary tool to eventually have a well trained dog who is always relaxed and obedient inside the house. 

Crate Training Pro #3: It can help make transport easier.

There are times when crating your dog will be virtually unavoidable. You may consider crate training your puppy who is not yet leash trained in order to safely transport them to the vet, groomers, or daycare.

If your dog is a show dog, they will need to be crated while they travel to and from the show. If you travel regularly with your dog, crate training can provide them with a place where they feel comfortable.

Let your dog get comfortable with the crate before travelling to ensure they feel comfortable and safe.

Crate Training Pros & Cons - The Cons

We’ve already seen that crate training has some disadvantages. Let’s break down the cons of crate training.

Crate Training Con #1: It may trigger or exacerbate separation anxiety.

Many dogs suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, just like humans do. Separation anxiety is different from general anxiety, though. As its name suggests, separation anxiety stems from the absence of a loved one -- in this case, the dog owner.

According to Merck Veterinary Manual, about 14% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to all sorts of destructive behaviours.

Dogs with separation anxiety tend to panic when confined to a small space, particularly when that small space is made of metal bars, which leads to our next con in our roundup of crate training pros and cons.

Crate Training Con #2: Crates can be dangerous, even lethal.

Let’s go back to the new puppy analogy. You’ve started crate training your puppy and they seem to adjust well. You feel confident enough to leave them in the crate while you go to work.

Now imagine that, instead of returning to find your dog sleeping soundly in their crate, you discover doggie paw prints in a pool of blood.

It’s a horrific thing to think about, but this was reality for one dog owner. Riley, the star of the show over at the Riley’s Place blog, injured himself on his crate while his owner was at work.

About a month ago I came home from work one morning, opened the door and found my entire 18×24 foot kitchen literally soaked in blood. There were puddles of blood, doggie footprints in blood and spots of blood from one end of the room to the other.

Dangers of crate training


Riley's Place

All this -- from a broken toenail.

While Riley’s mum doesn’t know exactly what happened, she speculates that his claw got caught between the thin metal bars at the bottom of the entrance to his crate. (She notes that she leaves the crate door open so her dogs can roam.)

Crate Training Con #3: Crate can be misused.

Let’s face it -- in a perfect world, no one would ever dream of abusing animals. Sadly, though, people do. Some dog owners lock their dogs in crates for the majority of the day, leaving their dogs to spend their lives in misery.

Celebrated “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan has dealt with this first-hand. In his book Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved DogMillan describes an encounter with a talented police dog named Viper, whose speciality was sniffing out contraband, namely cell phones.

While Viper was one of the best sniffer dogs on his handler’s team, he was extremely skittish and distrusting of humans -- because he spent the majority of his puppyhood locked in a crate.

We won’t spoil the book for you, but rest assured that Viper’s story has a happy ending. It also serves to show that misusing a crate can deeply traumatise even the most well-trained dogs.

Myths about Crate Training for Dogs

If you’ve researched crate training in depth, you’ve undoubtedly seen claims that dogs are “den” animals, and will therefore naturally adjust to crate training.

This claim is only somewhat true. Wild dogs are den animals, but domestic dogs are not.

Dogs who exhibit denning behaviour, like wolves and coyotes, make comfy dens for themselves when it comes time to give birth. Pregnant female dogs are, obviously, particular about their dens, because they need somewhere safe to deliver their young.

Crate Training Myth

The mother examines several possible denning sites before choosing the final one, which is often remote from her usual territory. Here, she will give birth and raise her pups until they are old enough to look after themselves.

A study on wild dog dens in India found that most of the dens were situated near areas bustling with human activity. Even the dogs’ eating habits were somewhat surprising -- the dogs preferred to beg for scraps from humans rather than venture out to hunt.

Wild dogs pulling puppy dog eyes for table scraps is adorable to us, but it’s also a clever tactic. Not only do the dogs get fed, but they’re almost guaranteed safety. In urban settings, dogs are less likely to encounter predators, and they enjoy much better access to the necessities, namely food, shelter, and water.

So what does this have to do with crate training your dog? Well, it’s important to understand that our beloved domestic dogs don’t exhibit this behavior.

Your precious pup’s brain is wired differently to their lupine cousins’. Domestic dogs now rely entirely on us to fulfill their survival needs -- they have no need for a denning instinct.

It is true that pregnant domestic dogs will search for comfortable, secluded places to give birth, but those dens are temporary and exclusive to female dogs. They’re also usually located within an urban setting -- our own homes. And, even for wild dogs, dens aren’t permanent; wild female dogs abandon their dens after raising their pups.

All that just to say that our pet dogs aren’t den animals, and crate training your dog isn’t going to trigger some denning instinct in them left over from evolution.

Alternatives to Crate Training for Dogs

Not all dogs can be crate trained, and not all dog owners are comfortable with crate training their dogs. What else can dog owners do to keep their darling dogs on their best behaviour?

Crate Training Alternative #1: Try clicker training.

One of the main reasons you might want to crate train your dog is because they’re a mischievous mutt. If you leave them at home by themselves even for ten minutes, they might just chew the paint right off the wall. (We’re not speaking from personal experience or anything…)

If you’re thinking about crate training your puppy because they destroy everything they can sink their sharp little teeth into, consider clicker training. Instead of punishing your dog for destructive behaviours by locking them in a crate, work to correct them and prevent them from happening again.

Crate Training Alternative #2: Rethink the crate.

Many dog owners who are vehemently against crate training dogs compare crates to a prison. (And, considering the cold, metal bars on most dog crates, it’s not hard to see why.)

As we’ve already discussed, traditional metal crates can be dangerous, and besides, they’re not all that inviting. If you want to create an alluring space for your dog without intimidating metal bars, then get creative!

You can easily convert an old nightstand into a cozy (and doorless) hideaway for your pup.

Dog Crate Furniture

If you’re not exactly a DIY wizard, you can find some really cool alternative dog crates on the market, like stylish glass dog houses with plush pillows. Treat your pup to a cool crate and they’ll never wake you up at 6 AM again!

If you absolutely must purchase a wire or metal crate, try padding the bars and any sharp or protruding edges with memory foam or another soft material.

Crate Training Pros and Cons: Wrapping Up

Like most everything in life, crate training has its fair share of pros and cons. Part of being a responsible dog owner is working together with your veterinarian to make the best choices for your dog.

But just remember, dogs are more than just man’s best friend -- they’re family, and they deserve to be treated like family.

What’s your stance on crate training for dogs? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this debate! Have any personal stories on crate training your puppy? Share them in the comments below!

What Happens Next? 

  • Subscribe to the Lexington Dog Bed Database for training tips from Certified Dog Behaviourist and International Dog Trainers.
  • If you work full time and you are thinking about crate training, then checkout a proven crate training schedule from Barack Obama's dog trainers - Crate training a puppy while at work.  
  • Do you like a friendly debate? Share your thoughts below on the controversial topic of crate training and I promise you we will reply to every comment to keep the debate alive!