Crate Training First Night: What to Do & What Not to Do?

Last Updated on July, 2024

You’ve recently welcomed a new four-legged member into your family, and you might be wondering how to successfully introduce crate training first night.

 While it might seem a bit overwhelming initially, don’t worry!

You may have several questions like;

“where do I place it?”, “should I keep the door closed?” among other things.

I’m here to guide you through crate training your dog for the first night in a gentle and effective way.

Your dog is going to have a great first night in the crate, and I’ll help you make it a positive experience!

Quick Summary

Establishing a bedtime routine and gradually increasing crate time is important for helping your puppy feel comfortable and safe in their crate.

It’s important to be patient, consistent, and avoid using the crate for punishment in order to create a positive association and make crate training a positive experience for your dog.

Choosing the right crate that provides enough space and creating a positive association is crucial for successful crate training.

Crate Training a Dog in its First Night At Home

Choose the Right Crate

Before we dive into the training process, Let’s discover the ideal crate for your beloved furry companion.

Select a crate that provides enough space for your pup to stand, turn around, and lie down easily and comfortably.

However, avoid getting one that’s too spacious, as dogs prefer cozy spaces that mimic a den.

But not too large that they can use one end as a bathroom.

You can use a divider to adjust the space as your puppy grows.

A Black Dogy lying in the crate

Familiarize Your Puppy With the Crate 

Since you now have the crate, allow your puppy to familiarize themselves with it before the first night.

Leave the crate’s door open and place some treats, toys, or a soft blanket inside to create a positive association.

Allow your pup to venture in and out of the crate at their own pace, and don’t rush or force them to stay inside.

Let them go in and out of the crate freely, associating it with positive experiences.

Establish a Bed-Time Routine

Dogs benefit from routines, so establish a calming bedtime ritual that gradually leads to crate time. 

This could include a calming walk, a potty break, and then some quiet bonding time with your pup.

Avoid stimulating activities right before bedtime to encourage relaxation.

Before bedtime, ensure your puppy has plenty of playtime and exercise to tire them out.

A white and brown puppy lying in the crate

Bedtime Approach

As bedtime approaches, guide your pup into the crate using treats or a favorite toy. (Read more about what to put in dog’s crate at night.)

Be patient and allow them to explore at their own pace. Remember, not making a big deal out of this process is essential. 

Stay calm and relaxed so that your pup feels the same. Speak calmly and positively to reassure them.

When it’s time to go to bed, lead your puppy to the crate using a treat, but avoid forcing them inside.

Be Patient and Consistent

Remember, crate training takes time and patience. Consistency is crucial to success.

Please stick to the crate training routine; with time, your pup will come to appreciate their cozy crate as a safe haven and a place of their own.

Night Time Potty Breaks

3 Puppies in one picture

Puppies have limited bladder control, so be prepared to take them outside for a bathroom break once or twice at night. 

Keep these trips quiet and uneventful.

Gradual Increase in Crate Time

You can expect your puppy to get used to the crate during the first few nights. 

Gradually increase the time they spend inside during the day with short sessions, making them more comfortable with the crate.

Handling Whining or Crying

It’s common for pups to whine or cry during their first night in the crate.

If this happens, resist the urge to rush to their side immediately. Instead, wait for a brief pause in the crying before approaching. 

Reassure them with a soft voice and a gentle pat, but avoid taking them out of the crate. This teaches them that whining won’t lead to getting out.

Checkout our guide on how to control a dog when crying in the crate.

Create Positive Associations

To make the crate a happy place, associate it with positive experiences.

Use treats, praises, and gentle encouragement to reward your pup when they voluntarily enter the crate.

Using positive reinforcement will create a positive association with the crate and help your furry friend feel at ease and comfortable when spending time inside it.

A white dog is sitting inside a wooden dog house

Things Not to Do on Crate Training First Night

Don’t Use the Crate for Punishment

Always ensure that the crate is associated with positive experiences.

Never use it as punishment or confinement when your dog misbehaves. This will create negative associations and make them fearful of the crate.

Don’t Ignore Their Needs

A White and Brown Dog inside the dog crate

If your pup is whining or barking in the crate, don’t ignore them completely. 

While you should avoid immediately letting them out, addressing their needs, such as a bathroom break or attention, is essential.

Don’t Leave Collars or Tags on in the Crate

For safety reasons, remove collars, harnesses, and tags from your dog before crating them. These items can get caught in the crate and pose a choking hazard.

Don’t Overuse the Crate

While crate training is helpful, don’t overuse it as a means of confinement. Your pup needs social interaction, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Balancing crate time with playtime and outdoor activities is essential for their well-being.

Don’t Close the Crate Door too Soon

When introducing the crate, avoid closing the door immediately. Let your pup get comfortable with the crate before slowly closing and latching the door.

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Crate training your dog for the first night might require effort, but the benefits are well worth it. 

With a bit of love, patience, and positive reinforcement, your pup will soon embrace its crate and view it as a cozy retreat. 

So, embrace the journey, enjoy the process, and watch your relationship with your furry friend grow stronger as they learn to love their crate! 

Happy crate training!


It’s best to start with short periods and gradually increase. Remember, crate training takes time and consistency.

Yes, it’s a good idea to leave the door open initially. This allows your dog to become familiar with the crate and voluntarily enter and exit. Closing the door immediately may cause anxiety and resistance.

Consider placing the crate in your bedroom or a quiet, familiar area of the house. This allows your dog to hear and smell you, reducing anxiety and fostering bonding.

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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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