5 Best Alternatives to Crate Training Who Hates the Cages

Last Updated on July, 2024

Are you tired of using a crate to train your dog? Maybe you feel guilty confining them to a small space for extended periods, or perhaps your dog simply doesn’t respond well to crate training methods.

Whatever the reason, you’re in luck because there are alternatives to crate training that can be just as effective, if not more so. 

In this article, we’ll explore different methods and techniques that you can use to train your dog without relying on a crate.

From positive reinforcement training to using baby gates and playpens, plenty of options are available to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being while promoting good behavior. 

So if you’re ready to explore alternative training methods and find a solution that works best for you and your furry friend, read on to discover the alternatives to crate training that can help create a happier, more well-adjusted dog.

Quick Summary

Alternatives to crate training require specific setup tips and particular methods for different solutions, such as providing a designated space, an exercise pen, or even a doggie day care. Positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience are also essential to successful training.

Crate training has both pros and cons and must be done with sensitivity and respect for individual dog needs and preferences.

When choosing a crate alternative, ensure safety and well-being for your dog by monitoring their actions and demeanor, providing mental and physical stimulation, and selecting a suitable facility or area for them.

Crate Training: Its Pros and Cons

labrador puppies seen in a wooden crate and a metal crate

It is important to approach crate training with sensitivity and respect for your dog’s individual needs and preferences.

Therefore knowing the possible Pros and Cons of crate training can help you to make a well-informed decision for your puppy, whether it is to be crate trained or if choosing any other alternative.


Enhanced Safety and Protection

Crate training provides a cozy and safe space for your dog to relax and have It’s ‘me’ time when your pup needs it.

Crates serve as a great tool for protecting your dog from potential hazards when traveling places or around the home. 

Easy to Get Carried Away

Crate training prevents your dog from poking into things they shouldn’t when you’re not around home or leaving the crate door open, such as scratching on doors, chewing on furniture, and getting into hazardous substances.

Helps Potty Training

Getting your puppies to crate train also helps them learn their potty behaviors.

Crate Training can help your dog from housebreaking and become house-trained by holding their bowels and bladders for a certain amount of time, as dogs generally don’t like to wet their sleeping area.


Frustration and Anxiety

a dog with separation anxiety standing bored

Crate training can be difficult because some dogs may get scared or worried while confined to a crate, especially if their previous experience with the crate was negative or if they have spent too much time inside.

As a result, while confined in a crate, your dog may whimper or bark incessantly, displaying signals of unhappiness.

Limited Freedom and Movement

Crate Training can be very annoying for your dog if it has spent more time being outside of the crate in the past. Crates restrict a dog’s freedom to roam and explore, which can be frustrating for highly active or restless dogs.

Keep in mind that crate training should always be done carefully and with respect for the requirements and temperament of your particular dog.

It’s crucial to give your pet a lot of positive reinforcement, increase crate time gradually, and make sure the crate is a cozy and welcoming place for him or her. Also, make your dog’s crate appealing and suitable to his requirements.

Are There Any Alternatives to Crate Training?

a golden colour healthy dog inside a crate

If you’re facing challenges with crate training your dog and they’re resistant to the idea, don’t worry; there are other options to explore.

The good news is several alternatives can help your dog lead a happy and healthy life without crate training while providing peace of mind for pet parents.

The alternatives include providing a designated space for your puppy at home, using a pet or a baby gate, using an exercise pen for your puppy, hiring a professional pet sitter or a doggie daycare for your pup, or making a fenced yard for your dog to explore a safe outdoor environment.

Check out the detailed dive into all of the alternatives below:

A Dedicated Room for Your Puppy

Many dog owners suggest that keeping their pets confined in a designated area of their home has been an excellent substitute for crate training.

The space you provide to your dog can be anywhere between your laundry room, a small part of your office space, or any small space available in your home.

It is advised that the puppy zone be uncarpeted since stains or scratches may be difficult to remove in the event of an accident. When the room is carpeted, using a pee pad can prevent doggy business from occurring.

Sometimes providing more room or ample space for your dog might result in your dog satisfying its excretory requirements in the same room. Make sure to provide sufficient space only for your dog to have a fun time and relax within it.

Keep your pet cognitively engaged and avoid boredom by giving toys, interactive activities, and different sorts of enrichment in their designated space.

Having a designated safe space for your puppy can help out in situations where it feels separated from its owners, providing them with a sense of security and comfort.


Allows puppy freedom, improved well-being, and mental stimulation.
Ensures puppy safety and supervision when not directly supervised.


Limited freedom and supervision.
Not the best bet if you are looking for a ‘‘no extra cost option.’’

Tips for Setting Up a New Room for Your Pup

Finding the appropriate doggy zone around your house for your pet is the primary step to be taken if your dog is not ready for a crate. 

Your doggy zone should not be far away and should be in an active space of your home to avoid isolation and to have a watchful eye on your dog. Also, take the size of your dog into account when choosing.

Next, give them a cozy place to relax in their space. Provide them with comfy bedding.

Installing a surveillance camera on the boundaries of the playpen is a great tool to monitor your pet while you’re away.

Make your dog’s place a visual treat for your dog. Decorate it with dog-themed pieces of art, and also add a personalized nameplate for the dog if you wish to.

Using an Exercise Pen for Your Puppy

Exercise pens or X-pens, commonly called puppy playpen, is the next best option to dive into as an alternative for crate training.

Many dog owners are comfortable with this option as the pen offers more space for your puppy while ensuring safety than simply using a crate for their puppies.

An exercise pen can be used indoors and outdoors, providing a safe boundary for your puppies to exercise, stretch and relax.

This is more or less similar to crate training and a far better option compared to training your dog in crates, as it requires some training for your dog to get used to the pen’s atmosphere. 

exercise pen or X-pen for a dog

It also prevents your dog from doing its potty business in different parts of the house. It is also lightweight, portable, easily stored, and usable indoors and outdoors.

It is available in different shapes and sizes, so you can select which suits your dog best.

However, it is essential to prevent your dog from being isolated in the pen for long periods, as this may make your dog bored and develop separation anxiety.


Exercise pen aids puppy housebreaking by providing a defined space for learning.
Exercise pens are lightweight, portable, and secure for your puppy indoors and outdoors.


Exercise pens provide more space but may limit puppies’ physical activity and social interaction, potentially affecting their social development. Extended periods may also hinder socialization with family members or pets.
Lack of stimulation in the exercise pen can cause boredom, restlessness, and destructive behavior.

Tips for Setting Up a Playpen Effectively.

  • Primarily, choose a long-lasting playpen that is made of metal or hard plastic. Ensure it is puppy-proof by avoiding weak or easily wearable materials with no sharp edges and broken pieces. (If you have a pup, it’s better to go for metal X-pens to prevent your pup from chewing and biting pen bars.)
  • Choose easy-to-clean flooring such as latex or any other hydrophobic pet-friendly surfaces. Avoid setting up playpens on carpeted floors.
  • Next, Add soft and comfortable bedding for your dogs to rest on using washable fabrics to provide a peaceful dog sleep.
  • Add a variety of chew toys and other items to keep your dogs cognitively engaged, and chew toys help teething for your new puppy.
  • Place dog food and water dishes in the pen, ensuring they are spill-proof. Make sure to change and not leave the dog food and water for prolonged hours in the dog playpen. 
  • For proper hygiene, add pee pads and a separate toilet area. To create a separate toilet area within a playpen for your puppy, follow these steps:
    • Place a designated puppy pad or artificial grass patch in one corner of the playpen.
    • Encourage your puppy to use the designated area for toileting by placing them on the pad or grass after meals or naps.
    • Reward and praise your puppy when they use the designated area correctly.
    • Clean the designated area regularly to maintain cleanliness and prevent odors.
    • Provide consistent training and reinforcement to help your puppy understand and use the separate toilet area within the playpen.

Doggie Daycare or a Pet Sitter for Your Furry Family Member

For Pet owners struggling with a hectic work schedule and those who can afford it, it seems like an easy option to hire a pet sitter or go into professional doggy daycare centers.

Through this, your dog gets professional care and enables active socialization through interacting with pet sitters and other dogs.

And as your dog is already tired due to a long day of play and dog training, your puppy will be at its best by avoiding unwanted behaviors.

Even though it may not seem like a cost-friendly option for many pet owners, the mental peace and satisfaction pet owners get leaving their pet companion under the hands of professionals for the whole day is all worth spending.

a doggie day care


Professional care for your dog when the owner is not around them whilst providing proper training for dogs.
Doggie daycare offers a structured environment for puppies to socialize, develop social skills, and reduce isolation.


Not cost-effective, and not able to spend time with your canine companion.
Daycare facilities face potential infectious diseases and parasite transmission risks; reputable facilities with strict health and safety measures mitigate this risk.

Selecting a Suitable Daycare for Your Dog.

Listed below are some of the key things that should be taken into consideration when selecting a suitable daycare for your puppy;

  • Primarily, check up on the licenses, credentials of pet daycare providers in town, reviews from other pet owners using the internet, and direct feedback.
  • Once you have checked up and are satisfied with the reviews, try visiting the daycare once to evaluate the environment, staff interactions, organization, and safety.
  • Evaluate the staff licensing and credentials. From this, you can know whether they possess enough abilities and experience to provide professional care for your pet puppy.
  • Assess the daycare’s preventative measures and check whether they have precautions in place to avoid injury or accidents.

A Dog Gate

A pet gate, or in other words, baby gates or dog gates, is another great option for pet owners to keep their canine companions in a confined area while ensuring their safety.

Baby gates are used to guard a particular space in your home to keep your dog confined within that area.

For example, it can be a fraction of the space in your laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom area. 

There are many options available if you plan on getting one.

There is a free-standing version and a mounted version; you can choose which suits you best. 

But, if your dog is trying to jump off it very often, try fixing it along with walls.

A dog standing on a gate in a room


Safety and Simple usage.
Dog gates promote interaction and inclusion and prevent isolation in puppies and households.


It may not be sufficient to coffin certain dog breeds as they’d jump off.
Over-reliance on a dog gate can cause separation anxiety and difficulty transitioning to different environments.

A Fenced Yard

With a fenced yard, providing your dogs with a safe outdoor environment might be possible even when you’re not in the house.

It offers many dogs a safe and secure space to play, explore, and enjoy their freedom.

This provides improved enjoyment, enough exercise, and peace of mind for dogs and pet owners.

Allowing dogs to roam in enclosed yards typically encourages more activity compared to confining them to limited spaces.

Therefore, it is a great opportunity for them to relieve their stress and alleviate isolation anxiety.

a fence yard

Ensuring the Safety of Your Pets Outdoors As Dog Owners

  • Searching for escape routes or hazards: remove toxic plants and chemicals from the fencing environment if available. Make the fences puppy-proof and Inspect the fence panels regularly for holes, gaps, weak panels, or any other escape routes. 
  • Provide them with food and water in their appropriate place outside to prevent them from feeding on toxic things around the fence. 
  • Improve the comfort of the outdoor setting: Provide comfortable bedding with shade, water, chew toys, and other engaging components for the enjoyment of your puppy. 
  • Monitor your dog’s actions and demeanor: Use playtime, training, and regular inspections to prevent boredom, tension, and discomfort. Provide mental and physical stimulation for overall health.

You can also get a best invisible or wireless fence that will save you money than investing on a physical fence.

Relevant contents:


Crate training may not be suitable for all dogs, but finding alternatives that promote comfort and safety is crucial.

Responsible dog ownership involves understanding your dog’s needs and resistance to a crate, ensuring safe surroundings, and providing a conducive physical and intellectual development environment.

By emphasizing safety and well-being and seeking out alternatives, you can foster a peaceful connection with your furry friend while seeking out the best crate alternative.


Alternative methods to crate training include using baby gates or playpens to restrict a pet to a specific area, designating a dog-proofed room, or utilizing a secure outdoor area like a fenced yard.

If your dog has separation anxiety without using a crate, you can help alleviate it by employing gradual desensitization techniques, behavior modification exercises, and counterconditioning, as well as seeking professional guidance for personalized strategies.

Yes, you can use positive reinforcement training techniques as an alternative to crate training. This involves giving treats, praise, and rewards when your dog displays desired behaviors. Be sure to be consistent and patient when using these methods.

Yes, you can train your dog to be alone at home without using a crate by establishing a routine, gradually increasing alone time, providing positive reinforcement, and using interactive toys and puzzles.

Yes, you can train a dog without crate training, but it may require alternative methods and more time and patience.

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

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