This post contains affiliate links. We will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links, at no extra cost to you.
Crates are designed keeping in mind a puppy’s natural tendency to feel comfortable in den-like structures. In the wild, canine mothers are known to construct subterranean maternity dens for their pups to help them feel safe and secure. In the earlier days, Huskies would dig their way into the snow or the ground to give themselves a den-like enclosure for rest. It can be safely said that dogs, to an extent, are den animals.
However, we cannot dismiss the importance of putting in the time and effort in properly crate training our dogs just because they are born with some level of crate comfort. This article aims to teach your how to crate train a Husky puppy.
Selecting the right crate
The best crates for huskies should be big enough to easily stand up, sit, lay on their side, and turn around comfortably. Make sure to replace the crate if your dog faces any difficulty in performing these fundamental activities.
The right crate can set the ball rolling for successful crate training. There is a plethora of crate options available in the market today to match the needs of every pet and pet parent.
Make sure to consider these aspects while trying to narrow down on the ideal crate:
- Space requirement of the dog
- Space available in the house
Below are some of the most popular choices for dog crates. Make sure to pick a crate that serves your purpose and makes your dog feel comfortable.
Crate options include:
- Wired metal crate: Wired metal crates are popularly used in most households. They are well-ventilated and provide excellent visibility to your dog of their surroundings.
- Mesh crate: These types of crates are made out of soft mesh material. They make an ideal choice for dogs who prefer darker, den-like spaces to settle down with hazy visibility. They are lightweight and can be easily carried during outdoor excursions like overnight camping.
- Plastic crates: These crates make an excellent choice for travel because of their portability. They are compact, and robust and will help keep your dog safe in a variety of scenarios.
- Playpen: The playpen is a spacious version of the traditional metal crate. It is a suitable option for dogs that are not comfortable being confined in traditional crates. It allows dogs to move around and play which smaller crates don’t. It is a great option to consider if you are planning on confining your Husky for several hours.
- Furniture dog crates: Furniture-style dog crates are more fashionable while also being functional. They double up as a table or a nightstand, depending on their size. Unlike traditional crates, they blend in perfectly with the look and feel of the house.
Recommended uses of the crate
A crate is not only beneficial in fixing multiple behavioral issues but also nips several of them in the bud. They make great assistants in the early phase of training a husky. One of the most popular roles of the crate is to act as a safe space for dogs in the absence of humans. Apart from that, it can and must be used in the following scenarios:
High-energy pups like Huskies can keep going until they reach a point where they cannot physically move anymore. This generally translates to overstimulation and may lead to undesirable behaviors like nipping, jumping up, and crazily running around the house, to name a few. Scheduled downtimes are especially crucial for these puppies who have difficulty figuring out when it is time to relax.
Rest and relaxation
Once the dog considers the crate as a positive and safe space, it can be used as a rest and relaxation haven. Sleeping in random spots around the house may not provide them with the required amount of quality and quantity of sleep. The crate must be a space that the dog looks forward to tucking themselves in for a good nap.
A safe haven for anxious dogs
When dogs are faced with stressful or conflicting situations, the first thing they crave is familiarity; be it in any form. Crate confinement in such cases acts as a familiar place to retreat for anxious dogs. In situations like guests visiting home, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc, crates help a great deal in calming down fearful dogs.
As a potty-training aid
As much as we’d like it, spending 24*7 with our pups and keeping a constant eye on them is generally not possible. And, unsupervised pups frequently get into pee and potty accidents. A crate acts as an excellent medium of supervision and accident prevention because most dogs do not soil where they sleep.
Crates help in building bladder control too, thereby setting pups up for potty training success. Potty training a husky puppy works in synergy with crate training.
An ideal place for isolation
Another way to look at the crate is as a pseudo pet sitter. When you’re unable to keep an eye on your fur baby or take them with you, settling them down in the crate is a great way to ensure their safety and prevent accidents in the house.
How to choose an ideal spot for the crate in the house
The positioning of the crate in the house plays a pivotal role in crate training success. You may have to go through multiple trials and errors before narrowing down on a spot. Some puppies may prefer complete isolation while in the crate whereas some of them may want to be a part of the hustle and bustle around them. Some may like a den-like darkness and some may prefer a more well-lit space.
The crate can be made a lot more comfortable by throwing in a cozy dog bed or a plush crate mat in there. However, when it comes to Huskies, they may not take naturally to the plush mat as they are already blessed with a plush coat that provides them with enough warmth. If your dog is expected to spend even a few hours every day in the crate, it is important to make it more inviting.
A step-by-step guide to crate training a Husky
When crate training your Husky, focus on improving quality, rather than just increasing quantity. Locking them in the crate for several hours at once and expecting them to be calm the entire time may not be the best way to start. Here is a step-by-step tutorial to guide you along the way.
Step 1 – An open-door policy
You have a higher chance of familiarizing your Husky with the crate and getting him to be comfortable in there if he is able to go in and out of the crate of their own free will. Pushing and shoving him in the crate will only build a negative association.
Rewarding him with high-value treats, letting him chew on edible bones, playing exciting games, etc are excellent activities to engage in and around the crate and are great ways to make the crate fun for your Siberian pal and will make him want to enter the crate at his own free will.
Meanwhile, make sure to add a command for going in and out of the crate.
Further reading: Best treats for huskies
Step 2 – Make a Disneyland out of the crate
Rather than just using it as an isolation space, let the crate be the place where your dog would find all of their favorite things in the world; food, treats, edible bones, bully sticks, fun puzzle toys, and a cozy space to nap in. You could also keep a couple of his favorite activities exclusive to the crate. Eg, Your dog would get a Bully stick only inside the crate. This will make your Husky look forward to spending time in the crate.
Before investing in dog toys, see my recommendations for the best toys for huskies.
Step 3 – There is no such thing as too much positive reinforcement
Verbal praise and appreciation are, sometimes, as powerful a reward as high-value treats. This is because dogs tend to repeat behaviors they get attention for. Unfortunately, most times, we only end up giving attention to undesirable behaviors like whining, barking, hyperactivity, etc, and ignore calm behavior. This encourages them to perform undesirable behaviors more than calm ones.
Once your dog starts getting accustomed to the crate, there will be times during the day when they are naturally calm and good in there. Make sure to reinforce them proactively and positively during these times with treats and verbal praise in order to motivate them to be calm more often than not.
Step 4 – Gradually build duration
One of the most common mistakes in crate training is locking them in there for far too long, far too soon. Start with just a few minutes of crate time multiple times a day. Once your Husky gets familiarized and comfortable spending time in the crate, gradually build duration over the span of multiple days.
Step 5 – Isolation training
Before isolating your dog for several hours, make sure that they are okay when you leave the room for a few minutes first. Reappearing time and again in short periods of time will give your dog the confidence that a crate does not always lead to isolation. Be nonchalant about leaving and entering the room. Excitement while doing so may add to your dog’s existing crate anxiety.
Step 6 – Crate your dog when he is in a calm state of mind
One of the objectives of the crate is to help the dog settle down. A dog in a tired or naturally calm state of mind would find it easier to settle down. Afternoon time and post-walk and play times are generally when dogs are tired or naturally sleepy. During this time, they wouldn’t have the energy to retaliate as they would be too tired to keep up with the behavior. Crating the dog during this time would yield faster and more successful results.
Step 7 – Keep your dog company
Most dogs end up hating the crate because they are left alone in there when their humans aren’t able to supervise them. Even being in the same room as your dog and interacting with them often when they are in the crate can make a great deal of difference to them and help them settle down. If your Husky is able to see and interact with their humans while in there, the crate is not as bad a place anymore.
Step 8 – Let your dog out of the crate often
It cannot be stressed enough that when the dog crate is overused, its training ability is highly undermined. Huskies are high-energy dogs that need to relieve their pent-up energies every now and then, without which they can get bored, vocal, and destructive. Make sure to take multiple breaks in between so as to not overwhelm your Husky in the crate.
Being let out of the crate frequently will also improve their ability to relax in the crate for longer durations
Step 9 – Extending alone time in the crate
Most Huskies can stay in the crate without a problem for 5-6 hours at a stretch provided they are comfortable with confinement and they get plenty of exercise before and after. However, if you are planning to leave your dog for over 7-8 hours every day, it is highly recommended to let them out multiple times during the day for a pee, potty, and play breaks.
Make sure to increase the duration over a span of several days or weeks. It is crucial to take duration building at your dog’s pace.
How long should a puppy be in the crate?
Numerous aspects determine how long your puppy can and should be in their crate, such as:
The amount of exercise the puppy is currently getting
If your Husky is getting ample amount of physical and mental exercise, their ability to settle down in the crate will greatly improve. In the absence of it, they may get bored and destructive.
Energy levels of the pup
High-energy dogs can be more demanding in terms of physical and mental stimulation and may not do well being left in the crate for several hours without enough things to keep them engaged. They may do better with short durations.
The existing emotional response toward the crate
If a dog has grown up with a negative association towards the crate, it will be a while before he starts taking to it again. Furthermore, if the dog is dealing with problems like separation anxiety, it is not recommended to crate them for several hours at a time.
The dog’s ability to settle down
A Husky’s ability to settle down in the crate and the time taken to do so is directly proportional to the association the dog has towards the crate. If they have grown up forming an association of positivity, rest, and relaxation with the crate, settling down will be a cakewalk for them.
Bladder control ability
Puppies have tiny bladders that need to be relieved often during the day. If you are in the process of house training your Husky, make sure to let them out every 1.5 to 2 hours to prevent crate accidents. Crates help with bladder control, but if a dog tries to hold their pee for too long, it may end up negatively impacting their health.
Further reading: Why does my Siberian Husky pee so much?
Never do this while crate training a Husky puppy
Use it as a time-out/punishment zone
Using the crate as a time-out zone is a classic way to make your dog hate and fear the crate. This will impede their willingness to enter the crate willingly because no dog would be happy to enter a space where they get punished. Instead, learn how to discipline a Husky properly.
Scold/yell at the dog while he is in there
It is human to get annoyed when your Husky is constantly barking and whining in the crate. Many a time, you may want to yell at your dog and just ask them to zip it. But, doing so may only scare your dog and ruin their existing association with the crate. Attempt to be reasonable with your dog when they are not able to settle down in the crate and try different training techniques rather them scolding them into behaving.
Use it only when you must step out
Dogs end up feeling isolated in the crate because several pet parents only use the crate when they are not able to supervise their dogs. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers does not recommend doing this. Not only do Huskies not do well with long periods of isolation, but they may also end up with behavioral issues like destructive chewing and isolation distress.
Let boredom takeover
The fact that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop cannot be truer in the case of a dog inside a crate. Leaving your Husky in the crate for long hours with nothing to keep him engaged will sooner or later lead to severe behavioral issues and crate-related anxiety.
Make a big deal while leaving or coming back
If you have a Husky that is dealing with issues like isolation distress, separation anxiety, or crate anxiety, making a big deal about leaving and returning home may shoot up their anxiety levels. Your dog may end up spending all their time anticipating your return and make itself a lot more nervous. No matter how heartbreaking it might be, do not let your dog feed into your excitement when they are already dealing with issues of their own.
Use it for several hours at a stretch
Crates are undoubtedly an excellent training assistant. However, when used incorrectly, it is more of a bane than a boon. Regardless of their size, energy levels, age, and ability to settle in the crate, every dog needs a break from the crate. They need to be let out so that they relieve themselves and find appropriate outlets for their pent-up energies. Without that, Huskies can become lethargic and depressed.
How to stop a Husky puppy crying in their crate
Start by reading our guide about how to stop a Husky puppy crying in their crate.
Basic tips to stop your Siberian Husky puppy from crying in their crate include:
- Don’t give them attention every time they cry
- Provide mental stimulation for your Husky
- Keep excitement out of the crate to a minimum
- Build a positive association with the crate
- Give your dog company while they are in the crate
- Put them in the crate when they are tired or calm
- Consider calming solutions like pheromone diffusers, thundershirts, calming music, etc
- Keep entry and exit low key
Stopping a Husky puppy crying in their crate is all about getting them accustomed to their crate. Once they are, they will calm down. Positive association with the crate, positive reinforcement, patience, and consistency are key.
Crate training a Husky puppy may be a huge part of the solution to multiple behavioral problems, but it could take several weeks of time and effort investment before you see any results.
Learning how to crate train a Husky puppy has multiple long-term benefits too. If used correctly, it can be a game-changer in your dog training journey. If used incorrectly, it can turn out to be one of the biggest barriers in your dog’s mind.
What reasons have you chosen to crate train your Husky puppy?
Let us know in the comments below.
Need more with crate training? See our list of the best husky training books. 👈
Further reading: Are huskies good for first time owners?
Can Huskies be crate trained?
Yes, Huskies can be crate trained.
How long does it take to crate train a husky?
Crate training a husky puppy can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the individual dog’s temperament and how consistent the training is.