If you are conflicted about crate training your puppy as a new pet owner, you are not alone, but is it okay to lock them in at night? If you have just opened your home up to a new canine companion, the last thing that you probably want to do is lock your beloved pup into a crate. However, you will find that crate training has many benefits for you and your puppy when properly implemented.
Should I lock my puppy in their crate overnight?
You should lock your puppy in his crate at night. Crating your puppy at night is a great way to house train them, ensuring that they are safe and well-behaved when outside your supervision. However, you should make sure not to lock them in their crate for more than 6-7 hours at night.
Bringing a puppy into your home is an incredibly fun and exciting time, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Owning a dog requires patience, compassion, and dedication, which is why training your pup is absolutely essential for its upbringing.
Your puppy needs to learn how to behave within your household and it’s going to need a place to unwind and rest when you are not there to supervise. Many owners are skeptical about the effectiveness of crate training because they feel that this is a cruel way to treat a dog – especially when it comes to locking them in overnight. With that being said, this is one of the most effective ways to train and discipline your puppy.
To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at whether or not you should lock your puppy in its crate at night.
After extensively researching crate training for puppies, I have been able to gather enough information to determine whether it is okay to lock them inside at night. My research has indicated that for crate training to be effective, it is vital that a pet owner not associate the crate as a form of punishment for their puppy.
What is Crate Training?
Before we get into the ethics of locking your puppy in a crate at night, we need to take a closer look at exactly what crate training is.
Crate training is a highly effective approach for making your dog feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed inside of their crate. Despite what some people may think, this is one of the best ways to house train your puppy, so long as you do it right.
If you implement crate training correctly, your puppy will learn to love their crate and it will become their natural dwelling. Dogs love to have a designated place to unwind and sleep – much like humans do.
But it is essential that you introduce this crate to your puppy as a dwelling and not a prison if you want this training method to be effective and ethical.
A crate is not a place for punishing your puppy. You need to use positive reinforcement when encouraging your puppy to go inside of its crate. This means that you should have an upbeat and playful attitude when you want them to go inside and you should incentivize this with a reward system by petting them and giving them treats each time they go into their crate.
Is it Okay to Lock a Puppy in a Crate at Night?
Yes, it is okay to lock a puppy in a crate at night. Your puppy needs a place to sleep and a crate is a perfect place for it. This ensures that your puppy is in a safe and comfortable place while you are asleep so that your new canine companion does not get into any trouble around the house.
Over time, your puppy will start to like the crate and will go there to sleep without you even needing to usher them in. The crate needs to be a place of comfort for your puppy, which is why you need to be gentle when introducing them to this environment – especially if you are locking them in at night.
The crate’s interior should be quite cushy with a mat, towel, or dog pillow so they can feel right at home.
The one thing that you want to avoid is using the crate as a form of punishment. Puppies are sensitive and delicate, so forcing them inside their crate and leaving them there without ensuring that the space is safe will create negative associations with the environment. This is not ethical or effective crate training and it should be avoided at all costs.
For How Long Should I Lock My Puppy in a Crate?
You can lock your puppy in its crate for as long as 6 to 7 hours at night and no more than 2 hours during the daytime.
If your puppy feels content inside of the crate when it’s time to go to bed, it will fall fast asleep and should not have any problems staying there for up to 7 hours. With that being said, a very young puppy may not cope well with staying in a crate for more than 3 to 5 hours at night.
If you are using the crate during the day, you should never lock your puppy inside for more than 2 hours. Your puppy has a small bladder and a lot of energy that it needs to use up throughout the day.
Keeping your pup locked up for longer than this is cruel and should be avoided.
How Often Should I Check on My Puppy at Night?
While your pup is still young, you want to be sure that they are safe and satisfied inside of their crate, which is why you should check up on them regularly. Generally speaking, you should check on your puppy every 2 hours at night.
If you wake up to check on your pup and see that they are sound asleep, then you can head right back to bed.
However, if they are awake and whimpering, you should give them the attention that they need. Most likely your puppy needs to be let out to go potty. If that is not the case, then some simple pats, pets, rubs, and a drink of water should do the trick.
Until What Age Can I Lock My Puppy in a Crate
Although there is some mixed information out there on this topic, you should generally stop locking your dog in a crate once they turn 2 years old. Crate training can easily last for months and in some cases, even years, but after 2 years of implementing the practice, your pup should have learned some discipline.
If you have properly introduced your crate and your dog feels comfortable in their space, they should start going inside voluntarily whenever they want to unwind and relax. Once you start seeing your dog inside of their crate without you needing to initiate the action, you will know that the crate training is effective.
With that being said, once your dog turns 2, it does not mean that you need to get rid of the crate altogether – it just means that you should stop locking them inside. If your dog enjoys their crate space, there is no reason that you need to get rid of the crate – just make sure that they have the freedom to come in and out as they please.