Can You Crate Train A Labrador?

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Have you welcomed a new Labrador puppy or rescue into your home? If you're anything like me, you may be preparing your home and asking yourself what types of training you need to do with your new puppy. While there are certainly arguments for and against it, I always recommend crate training. So, can you crate train a Labrador?

You can crate train a labrador yourself with some guidance by an in-person or online dog trainer. Benefits include a calmer dog, a safe space for them when company is over, and their willingness to stay somewhere during travel. 

Whether your furry companion is a puppy or full-grown, there are plenty of crates to introduce and training programs to help get you get started. In this article, I'll give you some recommendations on tools and products to help you along the way!

In this article

How to Crate Train Your Labrador

There's a couple of ways to crate train your Labrador. You may even be able to learn from a local pet shop or trainer. However, I've found the easiest and fastest way to train your pet (and you) is from an online dog-training course. This sort of training course will enable you to learn at your own pace. Anytime, anywhere, and with any device!

The benefits of learning how to crate train through a program will help illustrate the basics of crate training theory. This will teach you it's an application and help create a deeper understanding of efficient communication with your pet. As a result, you feel more confident and your Lab will sense that.

The training that I recommend is Brain Training For Dogs, by Adrienne Farricelli. In Adrienne's affordable online training, she will teach you tons of techniques that you can apply not just in crate training, but in other aspects of training as well. It is the only online training that I reviewed and listed in my Recommended Products section. So go check it out!

It doesn't matter if you're welcoming a new puppy that needs some proper potty training or a full-grown Labrador that is just learning the ropes around your home. Introducing a crate with positive reinforcement can help ease anxiety for you and your new family member. 

What Size Crate Do I Need?

Labradors tend to be a larger breed of dog when they're fully grown. It may seem a little overboard to start with a large crate when introducing your pup into your home. Luckily, we've found a few ways to save you money, space, and finding the perfect crate that will grow along with your pet. 

For starters, it's important to consider the size of Labradors. If it's a puppy, think how large he or she will eventually be. Generally, Labradors require a large crate because this will give your pet adequate room to sit, lie, or stand up comfortably. 

We definitely don't want to give them all that space in the beginning, though! Most crates come with dividers, and we will use those until your Lab is fully grown. This divider not only benefits the training experience tremendously, but it helps the puppy understand, as they tend to make their crate space their home or den. 

If a puppy misunderstands the space's length, they may establish one area where they sleep and the extra space as a potty area. We definitely want to avoid that! Try taking in a couple of inches with dividers to create the ideal area where your pet feels safe and secure while also reducing the possibility to make a mess within the space. 

How to Measure Your Labrador for a Crate

To figure out the proper divider location for your Labrador, you should first measure her. To do this, start with a fabric measuring tape and have your dog stand up. Measure from your dog's nose to her tail. A dog’s length from these measurements determines whether they will be able to lie down or stretch in the crate comfortably.  

For a dog's height, have your dog sit down. Measure her, and add an extra four inches. This will create additional space so your dog can wiggle and move as necessary. It's vital to have proper measurements to ensure comfort for your dog. Remember, we want them to prefer this space, not despise it!

What Type of Crate Should I Use?

It doesn't matter if you're interested in finding a portable home to take your Labrador on the road or if you want something specifically for training purposes. There's a crate that can fit your needs!

  • Portable Crate: You're probably familiar with these portable containers made of thick plastic, as they're the typical ones you would see if a pet were to travel on an airplane or take care rides with their owner. They're dependable to protect the pet while having a handle that can help ease transport. 
  • Folding Metal Crate: This is the typical crate that you may have seen for the indoors; as it’s collapsible and can be moved with ease around the house. These crates are easy to clean, making it ideal for house training and comes in all sizes.
  • Fabric Crates: These crates are not always ideal for dogs who love to destroy things as canvas or nylon materials are generally used to make these soft-sided crates. So, take caution if your furry friend has some chewing tendencies, as this may not be the best option for them. 
  • Durable Crates: A heavy-duty crate is usually an option for larger dog breeds and often marketed towards those who are quick to learn the art of escape! These dogs like to chew on weak spots or use brute force to leverage a way to get out. 
  • Furniture Crates: Furniture crates have been an asset to homes as they can also double as a night or side table, which is an excellent answer for small spaces. Plus, they accommodate your dog into your area while even letting them be free to escape to their own space when they feel it's needed. 

Typically for a Labrador or Labrador puppy, it would be best to start with a folding wire crate. They are easy to clean, easy to move, and have different sizes to fit the needs of your space and dog.  

How to Crate Train Well

There are some circumstances to avoid when using a crate. Labs can quickly create an association towards the container itself. For instance, you do not want to use the crate as a tool for punishment. This will lead your Lab to develop a negative association with the crate. This negative association can disrupt the training process significantly. Plan ahead on how you will handle punishment that does not involve the use of the crate.

Another circumstance to avoid is extended use when it isn't necessary. When the household is home and awake, your Lab should be out of the crate. Should she remain in a crate for too long, it may cause her to feel depressed or develop anxiety associated with the crate. 

If your situation requires extended crate use, then you may need to consider alternatives. This can be the use of walkers, daycares, or a lifestyle change for the owner.

Why Should I Crate Train My Labrador?

Labradors are intelligent, and can be trained to do some pretty complex tasks. Crates have many benefits to the dog themselves. However, owners also benefit by giving them peace of mind when leaving the house. This precaution will help ensure that your pet is safe. Additionally, nothing will be destroyed or soiled while you are away. These are good things!

I've also found that crates work as a great training tool to establish outdoor potty training. Whenever I let Molly out of her crate, we immediately go to the back door to let her go potty! This reinforces in her mind that potty is not meant for the crate, and she will be let out right away when I return!

Also, using a crate can help pets feel included in activities. This spares the frustration of being removed when guests or an event is happening within the house. It can help keep your Lab confined when there is an event or a stimulus that causes your dog to become overexcited.


Labradors can absolutely be crate trained! In fact, the benefits of crate training extend into other important types of training as well. The use of an online training program can greatly assist a new owner, and I highly recommend it. Check out Brain Training For Dogs, by Adrienne Farricelli in my Recommended Products section.