Should You Shut the Crate Door on a Puppy? Pros and Cons

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting and joyous occasion. However, it also comes with a set of responsibilities, including crate training. 

Crate training has become a popular method for teaching puppies proper behavior and providing them with a safe and secure space. One common question that arises during crate training is whether or not to shut the crate door on a puppy. 

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of shutting the crate door on a puppy, helping you make an informed decision that is best for your furry friend.

Understanding Crate Training

Before delving into the question at hand, it’s essential to understand the purpose and benefits of crate training. 

Crate training is a process of teaching a puppy to feel comfortable and secure in a crate, which serves as their den or safe haven. When done correctly, crate training offers several advantages:

Housetraining: A crate can assist in the housetraining process by teaching the puppy to control their bladder and bowels. Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their living space, making the crate a valuable tool for housebreaking.

Safety and Security: A crate provides a secure space for a puppy when you are unable to supervise them. It keeps them away from potential dangers, such as household hazards or electrical cords, reducing the risk of accidents.

Preventing Destructive Behavior: Puppies are naturally curious and may engage in destructive behavior when left alone. A crate can limit their access to household items, protecting your furniture, shoes, and other valuable possessions.

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Travel and Vet Visits: Crate training prepares your puppy for travel and vet visits. A dog who is comfortable in a crate will feel less stressed and anxious during car rides or when staying at the veterinarian.

Pros of Shutting the Crate Door

Security and Comfort: Many puppies feel secure when the crate door is closed. It creates a den-like environment that mimics the natural instincts of a dog to seek a safe and enclosed space. Shutting the door can help them relax and sleep more soundly.

Reinforcing Housetraining: Closing the crate door during housetraining can help enforce the concept of a designated elimination area. 

When the door is shut, puppies are less likely to have accidents within the crate, as it contradicts their instinctual preference for cleanliness.

Preventing Misbehavior: By shutting the crate door, you can prevent your puppy from engaging in undesirable behaviors when you’re not around. It serves as a temporary time-out and teaches them to settle down and be calm, promoting good behavior.

Cons of Shutting the Crate Door

Anxiety and Stress: For some puppies, shutting the crate door can lead to anxiety and stress. They may feel trapped and develop negative associations with the crate, leading to resistance or fear of being confined.

Limited Freedom of Movement: Closing the crate door restricts the puppy’s freedom of movement. Some dogs may become restless or frustrated if they are confined for extended periods without the ability to stretch or explore their surroundings.

Dependence on the Crate: Over-reliance on a crate can hinder a puppy’s independence and ability to adapt to different environments. If a puppy becomes too accustomed to being crated, they may struggle when it comes to spending time outside of the crate.

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Social Isolation: Shutting the crate door separates the puppy from their human family and can lead to feelings of isolation. 

Dogs are social animals and need interaction and companionship for their mental well-being. Excessive crate time can hinder their social development.

Finding a Balanced Approach

Instead of adopting an all-or-nothing approach, finding a balanced approach to crate training is often the most beneficial for a puppy’s overall development. Here are some tips to strike the right balance:

Gradual Introduction: Start by introducing the puppy to the crate with the door open. Allow them to explore and enter voluntarily, associating the crate with positive experiences, such as treats and toys.

Short Duration Crating: Begin with short periods of crating while the door remains open. Slowly increase the duration as the puppy becomes comfortable and relaxed in the crate.

Crate as a Positive Space: Ensure the crate is a positive and comfortable space for the puppy. Use soft bedding, provide engaging toys, and avoid using the crate as a form of punishment.

Crate with Supervision: Initially, shut the crate door for short periods while you are present and able to monitor the puppy’s behavior. Gradually increase the time spent with the door closed as the puppy demonstrates comfort and calmness.

Gradual Independence: Once the puppy becomes accustomed to the crate, gradually increase their time outside of it. Allow supervised periods of exploration and play, gradually reducing their dependence on the crate.


Shutting the crate door on a puppy during crate training can have both pros and cons. While it provides security, reinforces housetraining, and prevents misbehavior, it can also lead to anxiety, limited freedom, and social isolation. 

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Finding a balanced approach that considers your puppy’s individual needs and temperament is crucial. 

Gradual introduction, positive association, and careful monitoring will help you create a safe and secure environment for your furry companion, ensuring their comfort and well-being throughout the crate training process.