As a new dog owner, you may be wondering if you should lock your puppy in his crate at night.
In this article, we discuss the main benefits and drawbacks of locking your puppy in their crate at night, to help you make an informed crate training decision that’s right for you and your pup.
The Benefits of a Locked Crate At Night
Here are six reasons why a properly crate trained dog can benefit you…
1. It can help with poppy training
One of the main benefits of locking your puppy in their crate at night is that it can help with potty training. If your puppy is locked in their crate at night, they will not be able to have accidents inside the house (see also ‘Is It OK Not To Put A Puppy In A Crate At Night?‘). This can help teach them to hold their bladder until morning, when they are let out of their dog crate.
2. It provides your puppy with a sense of security
Another benefit of locking your puppy’s crate at night is that it can provide them with a sense of security. Many young puppies feel safer in small, enclosed spaces, and a crate can provide this for them. If your puppy feels secure at night, they may be less likely to bark or whine.
3. It can prevent destructive chewing
If you lock your puppy in their crate at night, they will not be able to chew on furniture or other household items. This can help prevent them from developing bad habits, such as chewing on shoes or clothing.
4. It can help your puppy get used to being alone
If you are gone for long periods of time during the day, locking your puppy in their crate at night can help them get used to being alone. This can be beneficial if you plan to leave your puppy home alone during the day, as it will help them become more comfortable with being by themselves.
5. It can keep your puppy out of trouble
Locking your puppy in their crate at night can also help to keep them out of trouble. If your puppy is left to roam the house at night, they may get into things that they are not supposed to, such as garbage or other dangerous items. By keeping them in their dog crate, you can help to prevent this from happening.
6. It can provide peace of mind for you
As a new dog owner, it is understandable that you may be worried about your puppy being out of your sight at night. Locking your puppy in their crate can help to ease your worries, as it will provide you with peace of mind knowing that they are safe and sound.
The Drawbacks of Locking Your Puppy Crate At Night
1. It can make your puppy feel isolated
If you lock your puppy in their crate at night, they may feel isolated from the rest of the family (see also ‘How Long To Let Your Puppy Cry In Their Crate?‘). This can be especially hard for puppies that are used to a restful night’s sleep with their owners.
2. It can make your puppy anxious
Another drawback of locking your puppy in their crate at night is that it can make them anxious. Many young puppies do not like being locked in small spaces, and this can cause them to feel stressed and anxious. If your puppy is anxious, they may bark or whine more than usual.
3. It can prevent your puppy from getting enough exercise
If you lock your puppy in their crate at night, they will not be able to get the exercise they need. Exercise is important for puppies, as it helps them to stay healthy and fit. Without enough exercise, your puppy may become overweight or obese.
4. It can make your puppy restless
If your puppy is locked in their crate at night, they may become restless and excited when they are finally let out in the morning. This can be hard to deal with, as it may mean that your puppy is up and ready to play before you are even out of bed.
5. It can be dangerous for puppies that suffer from separation anxiety
If your puppy suffers from separation anxiety, locking them in their dog crate at night can be dangerous. Separation anxiety is a serious condition that can cause puppies to become stressed and anxious when they are away from their owners. If your puppy suffers from separation anxiety, it is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.
6. It can actually complicate potty train your puppy
If you lock your puppy in their crate at night, they may have accidents inside of their crate. This can make potty training more difficult, as your puppy may start to associate their dog crate with going to the bathroom.
So, should you lock your puppy in their crate at night?
Many dog owners adopt a closed crate at night. But there are pros and cons to both sides of this debate. Ultimately, the decision is up to you as the owner. If you decide to lock your puppy in their crate at night, make sure that you do so safely and responsibly. Provide them with plenty of exercise during the day, and make sure to let them out for a potty break before bed. If you have any concerns about your puppy or dog sleep in general, be sure to speak with your veterinarian or animal behaviorist.
Crate Training FAQ
How long can my dog be shut in a crate at night?
If you ask a certified dog trainer, most agree that you should not leave your puppy in their dog’s crate for more than four hours at a time. It is ill-advised to love your puppy in their crate overnight. If you need to leave them in their crate for longer than this, make sure to provide them with a potty break and plenty of exercise before crating them again.
Can I put a blanket over the dog crate to make it darker?
Yes, you can put a blanket over the crate to make it darker. Just make sure that the blanket is not too heavy, as it could cause your puppy to overheat.
Can I leave my puppy’s food and water inside of the crate?
Yes, you can leave your puppy’s food and water inside of the crate. Just make sure to remove any uneaten food and water before bedtime, as you don’t want your puppy to have to go to the bathroom inside of their crate or accidentally on their dog bed.
What if my puppy cries in their crate at night?
If your puppy cries in their crate at night, it is important to remain calm (see also ‘What Do You Do When Your Puppy Cries In His Crate At Night?‘). Getting angry or frustrated will only make the situation worse. If your puppy is crying because they need to potty, take them outside right away. If they are crying because they are anxious or stressed, try placing a toy or treat inside of the crate with them. If the puppy crying continues, speak with your veterinarian or animal behaviorist for more advice.
When should I stop locking my dogs crate at night?
Ideally, you should stop locking your puppy in their crate at night once they are potty trained and no longer suffer from separation anxiety (see also ‘When Should I Stop Crating My Puppy?‘). However, some dog owners continue crate training their dogs at night even after these things have been resolved, but it’s not recommended to continue as they develop into adult dogs. If you decide to continue to crate train your dog at night, make sure to provide them with plenty of exercise and a potty break before bedtime.
How do you calm a puppy in a crate at night?
If your puppy is anxious or stressed in their crate at night, try placing a toy or treat inside of the crate with them. You can also try covering the crate with a blanket to make it darker and more cozy. If the anxiety persists, speak with your veterinarian or animal behaviorist for more puppy sleep advice.
Can I put an open dog crate in a playpen at night?
No, it’s not recommended to leave the crate door open at night, even if it’s within a playpen. Your puppy may be able to escape from the playpen and all the drawbacks listed above become applicable. Speaking of which, if your dog is a bit of an escape artist, you may wish to consider getting a heavy duty dog crate! They’re great for keeping mischievous pups at bay!