How to Crate Train a Rescue Dog?

how to crate train a rescue dog

Have you recently adopted a rescue dog? Do you think he needs to get comfortable in his new home?

Adopting a rescue dog is more of a commitment and a greater challenge than getting a puppy from a breeder. In many cases, rescue dogs have been abused in the past, which can make their training difficult for new pet parents.

You may be curious to know if you should train your dog in a crate as you get him used to his new surroundings. Is crate training necessary for rescue pets? Does their age influence it? What can you do to make a rescued dog feel at home in his crate? Let’s get started with the reasons and solutions!

It is especially important for rescue dogs to have their own space. In addition, your dog will benefit from crate training because it will become a more confident and happy partner.

Depending on your dog’s past, crate training a rescue pup can present particular challenges, but all dogs can learn to enjoy their crate time. Crate time with your dog will be an enjoyable experience for both of you as your dog will get comfy.

Crate training a rescue dog can be challenging, but the following reasons and suggestions can simplify the process. So, just read on!

Why Is Crate Training Necessary?

training a rescue dog

Why would you ask your dog to live in a crate if you consider him a family member?

Even if you consider your dog a family member, that doesn’t make him a human being. Dogs may find it difficult to adjust to life among humans. You can help your dog learn the difference between him and your space by giving him a private space like a crate.

Even though crates may not look appealing, dogs are naturally attracted to “den-like” spaces, so most dogs enjoy their kennels without their owners’ motivation. Because of this, even the training of an anxious, rescued dog is not challenging. However, if you are looking for the reason why should you crate train your dog, here is the answer:


Dogs face many dangers in the human world. If a dog has never come into contact with a new type of fabric or fiber, it may misjudge it for food. A canine isn’t aware of the difference between a cord or wire and a stick until it’s taught to distinguish them.

When you’re not around to supervise and help your dog, kennels are a great alternative. However, other keeping your dog under control may fail or injure your dog, so it’s best to stick with a crate.

Different types of dog crates have been developed and refined to accommodate canines of all shapes and sizes. As a result, pet owners need not be concerned about their beloved canine companion’s safety if they select an appropriate crate.

Clean Environment

To be honest, dogs can be a bit of a mess. Even though you enjoy burying your face in that thick fur, it does not look so good when the fur is spread out across the sofa. Jowly older dogs may make you smile, but you’ll be disappointed when you see their drool all over your new carpet or couch cover after they’ve been chewing or sleeping there. 

When you put your dog in a crate, you can let him be his true messy self without cleaning up after. A dog crate will keep your dog’s messes contained and make cleaning up a breeze.

Crate Training of a Puppy

In general, a crate is better suited to puppies and rescue dogs who are particularly destructive than a more relaxed adult dog. As some people believe, crating your dog will not magically solve many behavioral issues, such as reactivity, or automatically train your dog.

But training in a crate can be useful during the potty training process if you adopt a rescue pup that is still a young puppy. This is because they are less likely to stand up in small places like their crate. Also, to prevent accidents throughout your home while you sleep, having your dog sleep in a crate is incredibly useful at night.

Crate Training of an Adult Dogs

crate training a rescue dog

Training an older dog in a crate can be tricky because of the dog’s previous crate training experiences. Whether your new pup was previously crate-trained or has never seen one, they will need to go through the process of learning how to use this one.

To put it lightly, your dog may have been subjected to traumatizing experiences of being locked up for long periods. As a result, such dogs may have difficulty changing their perception of a crate. Take a look at what the Humane Society says about the crate training of an older rescue dog?

Steps for Crate Training of Rescue Dogs

Here’s how to successfully crate train your new rescue dog!

Choose the Right Crate

It’s important to get the right size crate for your puppy, but it shouldn’t be so large that he can’t stand up, turn around, or lay down without touching his bedding.

With your dog in mind, choose a crate accordingly. A sturdy crate is required for a dog with the chewing abilities of a Pitbull. However, for a small dog, a lighter crate will be enough.

Provide Your Dog’s Favorite Chew Toys

To make crate time more enjoyable for your puppy, save the best treats and chew toys for when he’s in his crate. Once you’ve finished crate training your pup, he’ll look forward to crate time because he’ll associate it with special rewards.

If you want your dog to attach being in his crate with his chew’s pleasant smell and delicious taste, experiment with yak milk chews, bully sticks, frozen Kongs, and other treats. Dogs prefer to be in their cages and eat rather than “feel anxious” about being unable to get out of them.

Treats aren’t always a big draw for some dogs. In that case, you can use their favorite chew toy. The most important thing to remember is to be patient until your dog can go into the crate independently.

Increase the Crate Training Time

how to train a rescue dog

It is essential that you slowly increase the amount of time your pup spends in his crate so that he does not become scared about it. You want to gradually increase how long they spend in the crate for your new rescue dog. If you suddenly increase the time from 10 minutes to 5 or 6 hours, your dog will become frightened and anxious. The crate should always be seen as a place of relaxation for him.

While you’re at home, you can begin keeping your pet in the crate for short periods so that they get used to eating in the crate. To encourage your pup to enter the crate, give him a command (“crate” or “kennel”), point to it, and reward him with a treat when he does.

Check for the Stress or Anxiety

Whining, anxiety, and bar-chewing are just a few of the possible behavioral issues you may experience while trying crate training your dog.

Your dog’s nighttime howling maybe because he needs to relieve himself or because he wants to get out of his crate. To get a sense of his true intentions, ignore him at first. It’s possible he was trying to get your attention.

Use the command you normally use to see if he needs the bathroom. Getting them out of the crate can invoke a positive response in some dogs. The crate training should be restarted if the dog’s whining and crying become unbearable.

The best way to deal with a dog’s separation anxiety is not by putting him in a crate. Your dog can injure himself while attempting to flee. A therapy like counterconditioning by a trained pet behaviorist can be the only way to resolve this issue.

Never Punish Your Dog in the Crate

When you punish your dog by locking him in a crate, he will associate it with a place he doesn’t want to be and a place he doesn’t trust. So, never use the crate as a punishment method for your dog. You also cannot use the crate as a punishment if you want your little friend to associate it with positive feelings. It’s important to make it a place your dog enjoys spending time in.

Don’t Keep the Pup in the Crate for Too Long

Adult dogs should not be left alone for more than a night, and pups should not be left alone for more than a few hours. Putting your rescue canine or puppy in the crate should be a pleasant experience, and it should never cause them any distress.

When to Stop Crate Training?

first night with rescue dog

Crate training is a fantastic idea for your dog’s life, but as you and your dog grow to know one another better, you may decide that closing your rescue pup in the crate while you’re gone isn’t required.

A training crate should be used until the pup is at least one year old, and some pups require longer crates. Your pet may not be interested in chewing electrical cords one day, but puppies go through periods and phases like human children.

To be safe, wait until your rescue dog has grown up and developed a stable personality before letting him out of his crate. Then, for the first time, you can begin to leave your dog for short time spams without fear of him getting into trouble.

Before leaving your furry friend alone, make sure you know how he will act once you have left the house. Start by putting your dog in a fenced-in area where he can’t get to anything dangerous, like electrical lines until you know what he will do.


Whether you’re crate training an older rescue dog or a puppy, crate training is a vital first step toward a long and happy relationship with your dog. Crate time may be a positive experience for both you and your dog if it is done with compassion and care. The crate should never be used as a punishment, and it should never be left unattended.

As long as you have patience and effort, crate training your dog will make your life with them easier and more comfortable for everyone. In addition, your new rescue pup may benefit from crate training because it is especially important to use a crate if you have adopted a puppy or an energetic dog that may cause problems in your home.

It’s best to avoid crate training dogs suffering from dementia, for whom crate confinement may not always be the best option. For example, a mudroom or laundry room may work better than a crate if your dog is afraid and anxious when left alone in the house.

We hope you got all your answers and can start crate training your new rescue dog by following these suggestions. However, if you want to buy the best crate according to your dog’s needs, check our article for the best large dog crates.

Ramona Gray
Ramona Gray from New Orleans is a lifelong canine enthusiast and particularly in love with German Shepherds. In fact, She currently has three dogs – a German Shepherd, an American Eskimo, and a Huskie named Max, Bex & Toby! Dogs just make the world go round! And as a self-proclaimed "dog geek", Ramona likes trying out all the latest dog gadgets and technologies on the market and loves sharing her experiences with other pet owners. When she's not playing with her dogs or enjoying an iced coffee in her hammock, Hope likes to keep up with the advanced tech trends in pet-world.

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