by Te’re Melrose

We put a call out for crate pictures before publishing this article. THANK YOU SO MUCH! We got so many that we couldn’t publish them all. THey are amazing and show just how much our members love crates.

Panda looks sad but she loves her crate.
Maple is just gorgeous

*Please note I am not a trainer. I am a dog walker/pet minder/owner and founder of Doggie Dates NSW, dog lover and dog owner. No more, no less. I have been crate training my dogs for several years, have crate trained client’s dogs, foster dogs and have provided many tips for other people’s dogs. I honestly believe, in most cases people do not need dog trainers to crate train their own dogs but can do this on their own and very easily. There is a wealth of information online to assist you with crate training your dogs.

I remember being introduced to crates just before I got my first dog, when I was fostering. Immediately they seemed to make sense, perhaps because they were presented to me by people far more knowledgeable than myself and because I immediately took the time to read up on them and ask questions. I knew that dogs loved cosy, small spaces and I knew that they liked to see people and be in the middle of things.

Storm as a puppy
Presley the puppy

I was never keen on the idea of putting animals in the laundry or outside where they couldn’t see what was going on so it immediately gave me a solution for those first few days/nights when we weren’t exactly sure what our foster was up to when we weren’t able to supervise. So, with very little idea of how to crate train, I brought a crate and just worked it out. I never ever called them cages, (if you call a crate a cage around me, you might as well be swearing as a CAGE and a CRATE are two entirely different things.) A cage is something that an animal may fear, is forcibly locked in, with little choice. A crate is something your animal will love, will go into willingly, you may still lock the door for safety, security etc but your pet will be settled and happy.

I have experienced negativity around crates. I once had a vet nurse on the page accuse me of being cruel for using crates. I found this quite funny given she worked at a vets and animals are crated all the time in vets. I find that these comments come from a lack of understanding or sometimes from older people who have simply not been educated on the benefits or people who have not had the opportunity to see how much dogs respond to and love them.

How cosy is this cutie??


Ruby after desexing. A crate is a great place to rest and stay safe!
Sunday had to have surgery on his leg and spend some weeks resting up in his crate (you can see his sore and red leg. Thank goodness he was calm and happy in his crate surrounded by his toys.
Chester is a bit cute


Firstly, there is no wrong time. As soon as you bring your puppy home, as soon as you get your new dog. No dog is too young or too old. I have heard people say, “but my dog is 10, they are too old. No matter how much I try to convince them, they will not listen. I have crate trained old dogs and young dogs and all in less than a week. It is so easy. The only thing stopping you is YOU. 

Brock was crate trained as a puppy

Firstly, choose a crate where your dog can sit, lie down, stand and turn around. My dogs are retrievers and I use the XL or XXL and they have plenty or room. My cat is also crate trained (YES) and has a SML.

I’m not the only one who has a cat that enjoys crates! A members cat enjoying a crate too! Cats actually tend ot love crates and our cat not only uses our crate but sleeps in the dog crates too which luckily they do not mind.
  1. Choose a place for your crate which is not in a draught and is not in bright sunlight. Ideally in a place where they can view their people.
  2. Pop in some nice bedding (I use a basic dog bed from Kmart or similar) wrapped in a sheet or blanket. You can pop in a favourite toy as long as they don’t eat the toy.
  3. Start by saying, “in your crate” then, “sit” and pop a treat inside. Do not make them stay in there and do not give them a treat for coming out. Repeat this several times. If they are not treat orientated, it is a lot harder but use lots of praise instead. Treats to use include high quality treats like bbq chicken, dried liver, cocktail frankfurter, all tiny pieces of course. Do this over a couple of days. Additionally, feed them their meals in the crate. All my dogs are fed in their crates.
  4. After a couple of days (or less depending on how they are going) start shutting the door when you feed them and when you give them their treat or upgrade the treat to do this i.e. a Kong with peanut butter or a pigs ear, something that takes them longer to chew but also something you usually give them and are comfortable with leaving them with. Leave the door shut for a few minutes or until they are finished. Open it BEFORE they become upset. Stay within their eye view but just potter around the house. Do not hover.
  5. Extend the length of time. I found within a few days I could leave them in there all night. I found this very useful with my foster dogs and additionally as Dolly was already crate trained after that I was able to crate train other fosters much quicker as she was next to them in her crate. You should never leave a dog in a crate and go out until you are very sure that they are safe and not going to try to escape and hurt themselves. You must know that your dog is very safe, secure and comfortable.
Spot the dog hehe
Ziggy refused to go Easter Egg Hunting on Easter Sunday! He was too comfy!


Holly loves having her own crate
Sunday and Rosey who share their crate very well
Charlie looks so comfy in his crate with nice soft bed and rug drapped over. He can still see out the front however.


Be wary of your dog’s collars in crates. They can get caught. If you are home and around it is probably okay but if you leave your dog in a crate while going out it is best to remove their collar.

Always be careful about temperature and positioning of crate.

A nice spot for Roger

Don’t overuse your crate. Your dog should not be locked in it constantly. The exception to this is if they have had a serious injury and are under vet care of course and that will only be temporary. You want your dog to love their crate not hate it. A dog that loves their crate will be found in it when they don’t have to be in it which is just wonderful!

Have water available if you are out for more than an hour or two especially in summer! You can purchase attachments for crates for water bowls.

Serena has water if she needs it

No child or person should go into a dog crate. It is their cave. Their place to go if they are unwell, afraid, tired, want time out or for eating and at night.  When we set up our very first crate we let our son climb in it then and have a look and explore it and explained it to him so he knew what it was all about and how important it was. Then he knew he could never do that again and this worked well. It is NOT a plaything for your children. Are there exceptions? With children…never. Do not let them go into the crates. We all hear about dogs biting kids. Don’t take the risk. I do have a friend who sits in her crate with her whippets occasionally for fun. She has always done it and they are very chilled out dogs. It’s a form of play and they are not bothered. I guess it is a case of knowing your dogs well.

Lola and Milo are happy to share
Milo and Marley enjoy their own crates
Storm and Bella enjoy their own crates


There are many sites. You can start with marketplace. Often secondhand crates come up at great prices but also just search crates on ebay and google. I have brought some of mine from vebopets and find while their crates are a little more expensive their quality is outstanding. Petbarn also priced matched once and that crate is so strong. But really, it is worth comparing prices online and you can get some pretty good deals. If you are unsure you can usually ask on facebook groups if you can borrow one for awhile and see how it goes.

Feel free to ask questions and ask others what they think on our groups, I know there are lots of members using crates and I am sure there are lots of tips and ideas I haven’t thought of.

Finally we have added a video from our friend and trainer, Louise Harding, Animal Talent, on how she crate trains dogs. We hope this helps to.

Thanks for reading!

Milo definitely loves his crate! Typical lab!
Lexi the foster from Sydney Animal Rescue looks very cosy. It is very useful to crate train foster dogs.
Peppa, previous foster from Sydney Animal Rescue
Brock fast asleep *you can see his water attachment on the right too

8 Responses

  1. This is a great article and I totally agree with how useful and wonderful using a crate is for a dog. I’ve crate trained two dogs when they were pups and found it super helpful for house training and knowing the pup was safe overnight. We kept ours in our room with our second dog and were lucky to not experience any puppy crying whilst she adjusted to her new home. I also think it’s important for a dog to be able to have time to themselves when they choose, where they can just be without being petted or disturbed.

    1. Absolutely! We also have a crate in our bedroom which is for any of our dogs to use (shared crate) and generally our old girl uses. Then there is a ‘shared crate’ in the kitchen area for any dog that is being a bit full on in the kitchen. THey calm as soon as sent to their crate. Then they all have their own crates in another area. We are lucky to have always had room for plenty of crates. It sounds like we over use them but we don’t and they are often found in their own crates or a shared crate!

  2. This is a great article. Well
    Done. I would love it to be shared and saved to files in the SYdney Whippet Owners Facebook group if that’s okay.
    I always get questions and recommendations regarding crates and this article is very clear with reasons for and easy to follow how to steps. Superb. Thank you.

    1. You are very welcome to share it. Thank you for your support and the comment. We appreciate it. We know crates are wonderful for sighthounds who can be prone to injury.

  3. I have 3 dogs, 2 Labs & I rescued a deaf dog Holly over a year ago & I used to be against crates until I got Holly & I mainly brought it as a safe place for her to go if she wanted to escape the other dogs, also for while I was out as I didn’t want to worry if she would destroy something or worse get out. Now I would recommend crate training & wished I had crate trained my Labs they wouldn’t have destroyed the things they did. I find the crate so helpful in so many ways & so many advantages & will be definitely crate training all my dogs from now on.

    1. Aren’t they wonderful, I find them really really good for retrievers! I haven’t looked back.

  4. A really timely article for Chloe and I this week. Have followed your guide to introduce dogs to a crate. The real test comes after surgery and extended stay in confinement while her leg heals

    1. It is something that really interests me and I enjoy crate training. I look forward to hearing how things go. Shout out if you need help 🙂 GOOD LUCK CHLOE! (good luck mum)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *