When Can I Switch My Puppy From A Kennel To A Dog Bed?

One of your first big decisions as a new puppy parent is to decide where your puppy will sleep at night. More specifically, will you give them a dog bed to sleep in or use a crate and crate train them? The former means purchasing a bed only, while the latter means you’ll need a bed and a crate (among lots of other puppy-related stuff).

Another decision is where to put their dog bed or crate in your home or apartment. Will you let them sleep in your bedroom or put their dog bed in another part of the house? 

These are two big decisions that you need to immediately make when you bring your new puppy home. Plus, the results of your decision will reverberate in your home for years to come. For example, if you don’t want your pup to sleep in your bedroom as an adult, letting them sleep in your room as a puppy would be counterproductive. 

These days, many puppy parents start with a crate and bed combination, with the bed inside the crate. That way, they can rest assured (literally) that their precious pup will be safe at night and not get into any trouble wandering the house while you’re asleep.

Crates are an excellent training tool for several reasons (which I talk about in my other blogs). That being said, there will eventually come a time when you can let your puppy stay outside of their crate at night and, eventually, put their crate away altogether.

The other day, I talked about this very subject with my neighbor, who has a new pup. He asked me a question I hear all the time, when can I switch my puppy from a kennel to a dog bed?

The answer is that if your puppy has learned how to sleep through the night without going to the bathroom, you can start switching them from their kennel (crate) by the time they reach a year old, more or less.  

One caveat is that your puppy should be (relatively) non-destructive when making the change. If your puppy still has strong destructive tendencies, sleeping in their crate until they’re fully trained would be better.

Now that you know the answer to when can I switch my puppy from a kennel to a dog bed, I’m sure you have other questions about making the change. How do I transition my puppy from his crate to a bed, for example, and when should I still use the crate? Please read on for the answer to these questions, several more, and some useful advice.

How Do I Transition my Puppy from his Crate to a Bed?

Transitioning your puppy from a crate to a bed, while not extremely difficult, is a process that does demand a little time, effort, and patience. Also, the timing is crucial. Letting a puppy out of their crate at night before they’re ready can cause behavior problems that are difficult to correct.

Remember that veterinarians recommend transitioning from a crate or kennel to a bed around the 1-year mark. That’s because most puppies have been potty trained at that point, and their destructive tendencies will have subsided substantially. (If they haven’t, keep waiting.)

  • The First Night

The first night you let your puppy out of their crate should be in your bedroom with the door closed so they can’t roam around the house. Also, you will hear them if they need to go potty or if they start being destructive.

If your puppy has not been sleeping in its crate in your bedroom but another room, do the same thing; open their crate but close the door to that room. 

TIP: Make sure you puppy-proof the room before allowing your pup to sleep outside of their crate the first night, whether it’s your bedroom or another room in the house.

  • The First Week 

During the first week, do the same thing every night. Make sure your puppy is happy and safe, and, whether in your room or another room, close the door until the next morning.

You’re looking for a puppy who can make it through the night without going potty, destroying anything, making a fuss, or otherwise intruding on their (and your) ability to get a good night’s sleep.

  • The 2nd Week

If your puppy makes it through the first week without going potty or destroying something, you can open the door to your room or their room and allow them to have access to the rest of the house.

This new freedom comes with the caveat that you should puppy-proof the rest of your house. If they have access to the kitchen, leaving any type of food out where they can get to it is a no-no. It’s the same thing with plants that might be toxic and anything else that they might chew on. 

The thing is, even a well-trained puppy can’t resist chewing on things like toys, shoes, etc. If you leave those things out at night, you risk your puppy falling prey to their innate instincts and chewing them to shreds. 

TIP: Make sure your puppy has plenty of toys they can chew on if they get the desire. Most will sleep through the night, but if they wake up, better they have something they’re allowed to chew on than something forbidden. 

When Should I Still Use the Crate?

If your puppy is still having accidents in the house and tearing up things other than their toys and bones, they should be crated at night until both of those behavioral problems have been solved. 

You can also use their crate during times of stress to give your puppy an immediate feeling of comfort and security. For example, on the 4th of July, many dogs and puppies freak out due to the loud explosions from fireworks. During anxiety-producing times like these is a perfect time to put your pup in their kennel where they will feel safer and protected.

When you take your puppy to the veterinarian or the dog groomer, you can also use the crate to keep them calm and safe in your automobile. Many veterinarians recommend crating a dog in a car to protect them in case of an accident, even if they have no anxiety problems.

Putting your puppy in its crate when new people visit or during the first few days after adopting another pet can be very helpful. Also, for example, when a service provider of some kind is working in your home, like an electrician, plumber, etc.

In these and other situations, crating your puppy will keep them calm and prevent any problems with nipping and aggression. Crating is especially helpful if you see that your puppy is stressed out, as their crate is seen as a safe space.

Final Thoughts

 “When can I switch my puppy from a kennel to a dog bed?” is a question I hear a lot. As we’ve seen today, the answer is that most puppies will be ready to make the switch from kennel or crate to dog bed at about a year old. Some might be ready as early as 7 or 8 months, while others might take a few weeks or months more.

The biggest factor in deciding when to switch your puppy from a kennel to a dog bed is whether they can make it through the night without having an “accident” and not tearing up anything besides their bones or toys. If your puppy can do that, they’re ready to make the switch.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog, and all the questions you had about switching your puppy from a kennel to a dog bed have been answered. If you have more or want to learn more about being a puppy parent, please see my other blogs. I do my very best to fill them with interesting, valuable, real-world information that will help you in your journey to being an exceptional dog owner.