Guide To Vizsla Crate Training In 4 Easy Steps

By: Rachel

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Are you a new Vizsla puppy owner ready to embark on Vizsla crate training but uncertain about where to begin? Or perhaps you’re a future Vizsla owner, eager to learn about crate training a vizsla puppy.

Well look no further thank this comprehensive guide where we dive deep into the world of crate training a Vizsla. Discover the benefits of crate training your dog, follow the step-by-step process, and gain invaluable tips and insights to ensure your Vizsla’s crate training journey is a resounding success.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Hungarian Vizsla dog enthusiast or a newcomer to this gorgeous dog breed, read on to discover how crate training can transform your dog’s life and yours.


This article is based on research and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, breeder, Vet or dog behaviourist.


Why Crate Train Your Dog?

Crate training is an important part of training your vizsla puppy and offers many benefits, both for your dog and your home.

Overall, it can contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable transition for your new vizsla puppy into your home. Ultimately it helps your vizsla become a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dog.

But here are five specific reasons why you should crate train your vizsla.

1. Your Dog’s Safety And Security

A dog crate provides a safe and secure environment for your vizsla when you’re not able to supervise them.

It helps prevent accidents, keeps them away from potentially dangerous household items like electrical cords, stops them eating things they shouldn’t, and ensures they’re secure when you’re not at home.

This is particularly important in the first year or two as your Vizsla goes through the puppy and naughty teenager phases.

2. Potty Training

Crate training can speed up the time it takes to potty train your dog.

Dogs don’t want to pee or poop in their bed or sleeping area. So a snug crate helps your dog develop bladder and bowel control as they have to hold it until they’re released from the crate.

Obviously there are limits to this, especially when they are a young puppy. But you can definitely use crate training for potty training success.

3. Reduced Anxiety

Some vizslas are anxious and many suffer from separation anxiety. A crate can serve as a den-like sanctuary where your dog can relax and retreat to if they feel anxious.

If they feel safe in their crate, it can also help calm them in stressful situations like during thunderstorms or fireworks displays or when young children visit the home.

Obviously this will only occur if the crate is introduced as a positive and happy place – not a place they are banished to when they’re misbehaving.

4. Travel And Vet Convenience

A dog that is comfortable in a crate is such an advantage when you travel, go on vacation or need to confine your dog after surgery.

Whether it’s a car ride, flight, overnight stay at the vet or imposed due to injury, a familiar crate provides a sense of security and reduces the stress associated with travel and new places.

5. Well Mannered Dog Training

Crate training can help manage and improve your dog’s behavior in a wide range of areas.

Among other things it can teach them about boundaries and self-control, reduce destructive chewing in the home, manage excessive barking, and temper other undesirable behaviors.

Remember crate training should always be done with patience and positive reinforcement to ensure your dog views the crate as a safe and happy place.

Preparing For Vizsla Crate Training

Before you start training your vizsla in a crate, there are few things you’ll need to do first:

  1. Choose the right crate
  2. Find some comfortable bedding
  3. Choose high value treats and toys
  4. Pick the location for your crate.

1. Choose The Right Crate

An appropriately designed and sized crate is essential for your dog’s comfort and safety.

There are many different types of crates to choose from including wire, plastic and soft sided crates.

Wire crates are well ventilated and roomy and generally the style I recommend. But plastic crates are also good for travel and often better for anxious dogs.

Soft sided crates are not a good choice for new puppies and best to use once your dog is crate trained.

What Is The Best Vizsla Crate Size?

You want your dog to comfortably stand, lay and sit in the crate.

As vizslas grow quite quickly there isn’t much point buying a puppy crate. Instead I recommend you buy a crate with a divider so it grows with your pup.

The best crate size for vizsla dogs is between 36-42″ (90-105 cm) in length and 30″ (75cm) high.

You may also want to purchase a crate cover, or find a blanket that can fit over the crate to make it more cozy and den like.

2. Comfortable Bedding

You want to make the crate a relaxing, warm and comfy place for your dog. So pop some comfy bedding or a crate mattress in the crate for your pup.

Tip: A dog bed with removable covers or a few soft blankets that can be piled into a nest are the best options, especially if you are potty training at the same time.

3. Prepare High Value Treats

In the early days of crate training your puppy, I recommend you use high value treats to reward them as they explore and enter the crate.

Very small pieces of cooked chicken, cheese, sausage or dried jerky are all good options.

4. Decide Where To Put The Crate

Next, consider where you want to put the crate in your home.

This place may change over time once they are crate trained. But in general for vizsla puppies you want to position the crate someplace close to where you and the family are during the day – not isolated in a room on their own.

If you can’t easily move the crate from room to room you may also want to consider buying two crates.

The reason is you’ll need one for the living area and one for your bedroom, where I recommend they sleep at night for the first few weeks.

The chosen place should be free of draughts, not too close to a heater or direct sun and easy to access for you and your dog.

Once you have all these things in place you’re ready to crate train your vizsla.

Diggs revol dog crate in lounge.

How To Crate Train A Vizsla Puppy In 4 Easy Steps

Essentially crate training a puppy can be broken down into 4 steps:

  1. Crate familiarization
  2. Making the crate part of the everyday routine
  3. Closing the door
  4. Increasing distance and time away

We cover each of these steps in detail below.

You should plan for 1-4 weeks of intensive crate training to achieve a crate trained dog.

Note this crate training schedule very much depends on the personality of your pup and how much time you dedicate to positive crate training.

1. Start Crate Familiarization Right Away

You should start crate training the day you bring your vizsla puppy or dog home.

Your objective in this first step is to get your puppy comfortable in and around the crate. This can take anywhere from a single day to a couple of days, depending on how often you actively train.

You want them to naturally explore the crate and discover that fun things happen there.

First up you want to simply drop treats in the direction of the crate to encourage them to move closer, then every time they look at or go near the crate, mark and treat.

Note: You can use a clicker to mark or a single short word, like “Good” or “Yes”.

If your pup puts a paw or their head into the entry of the crate, mark and drop a treat right by the door. Do not close the door at any time.

Repeat this many times, over and over, encouraging your puppy in to the crate.

Do not force your puppy in to the crate and do not shut the door in this first step.

The video below demonstrates this training for you.

Repeat this training several times in the day over a few days until your puppy is comfortable going into the crate before moving on to the next step.

2. Make The Crate Part Of Your Daily Routine

If you already have my vizsla puppy planner, you know how important establishing a routine is for your puppy.

Once your puppy is comfortable entering the crate, it’s time to incorporate the crate into your daily routine.

  • Start by feeding all their meals in the crate (door open)
  • Encourage them to nap in their crate with the door open
  • Play games in and around the crate – like throwing a fetch toy in
  • Reward them for laying down in the crate
  • Drop treats into the crate when they aren’t looking for them to discover later

You can also start using your cue word for them to enter the crate when they go inside – a simple word like “crate”, “in to bed”, or “kennel” works well.

Repeat these activities over and over, marking every time, but treating every other time, so they don’t become reliant on the treats to perform the action.

Once your puppy is doing all of these things happily, it is time to move on to step 3.

Vizsla puppy asleep in dog crate with door open.

3. Closing The Door

Once your pup is comfortable entering and laying down in the crate, it’s time to start training them to stay relaxed in the crate when closing the door.

Start by closing the door for 1 second (not latching it), then open and reward if they remain calm.

Allow your dog to leave the crate, then re-enter, lay down and close the crate door again. This time keep it closed for 5 seconds.

You can now also start to close the door when they are eating their meals. But be sure to open the door as soon as they’re finished so they don’t become upset and whine.

If at any time your dog becomes anxious, end the game and go back a few steps next time you train.

As your puppy becomes comfortable with the door closed, begin locking the door and practising this too.

Repeat this activity many times gradually increasing the time the door is closed and locked.

Once your dog is happy to stay in the crate for a short time with the door shut, it’s time to move on to the final step.

4. Increasing Distance And Time

In the final step you’re training your dog to remain calm when you step away from the crate.

This is the same process as you used for closing the door – gradually increasing the time and distance you step away from the crate, rewarding them each time you return and release them.

Repeat this step over and over, gradually increasing the time from a minute, to several minutes, to a longer time frame.

Also repeat the process where you stay in the room, leave the room or perform other activities close by. Don’t forget to reward them every time you return if they have remained calm.

And that’s it – with consistent training and many repetitions, your dog will hopefully become more settled and relaxed in their crate.

Vizsla puppy sleeping in partitioned dog crate.

Top Tips For Crate Training A Vizsla

As you train your vizsla through each of the crate training steps, keep these vizsla dog crate training tips in mind.

1. Comfy Is Different For Each Dog

Some vizslas are fine in a wire crate, others need the wire crate to be covered. Some do better in a smaller plastic crate with solid sides.

Each vizsla is unique and if you are struggling with crate training, consider changing the type of crate you’re using so they feel more comfortable.

2. Slow And Steady

Don’t rush through each step too quickly. You want your dog to be completely relaxed and comfortable each step of the way.

It can feel frustrating to move so slowly, but the long term benefits will far outweigh the slow progress in the beginning.

3. Do Not Give In To Whining

If you follow the steps above, your vizsla puppy should rarely be worked up and whining to get out of the crate.

But if they are, wait until they are calm before releasing them from the crate. The minute you open the crate when they are whining, you are teaching them that whining gets them what they want.

4. Music And Chews Are Helpful

Some vizslas are hyper alert and struggle to self soothe and remain calm. If this sounds like your dog, a radio or music playing quietly close by can often help with crate training.

Another good option is to leave them with a frozen kong treat to chew on while in the crate.

5. Do Not Leave A Puppy In The Crate For Long Periods

Vizsla puppies do not have much bladder control in the early weeks. So you cannot expect to leave your pup in the crate for hours at a time.

If you need to go to work, consider securing them in a puppy safe room instead of locking them in a crate until they are completely house trained.

6. Never Use The Crate As Punishment

You don’t ever want to use the crate as punishment or you will undo all the good work you put in training.

We’ve all been there – you’re trying to make dinner, the puppy is overtired and biting the kids and you just need to restrain them.

But instead of putting them in their crate for a time out, consider placing them in a play pen or a puppy safe room instead.

7. Learn Crate Games

Many vizsla owners use a crate for many years, so it is worth investing in some training up front to really get the benefits of crate training your dog.

In addition to this guide, there are many free videos on Youtube too.

And if you are looking for more, Susan Garrett’s online Crate Games Program is considered one of the very best (and affordable) programs for crate training your dog.

8. Remove All Leads And Collars

Never leave your pup in their crate with a collar or lead attached if you are not at home.

They can become caught and potentially strangle your dog so always remove before entering the crate.

Adult Vizsla dog laying in plastic dog crate.

Tips For Crate Training A Vizsla Puppy At Night

The first few nights can be a bit rough for both puppy and you when crate training a vizsla puppy.

This shouldn’t be surprising – your puppy has left their warm, snuggly litter mates and is now being asked to sleep alone.

While interrupted sleep is almost guaranteed if you are taking them outside to potty during the night, here are some tips to help your pup settle in their crate at night.

1. Establish A Night Time Routine

From day one after bringing your puppy home, I recommend you establish a regular night time routine.

Ask your breeder if they had a routine and follow that for the first few nights to maintain some consistency.

Your routine should include a final calm play time to wear them out, taking them outside to pee and a consistent command to indicate to pup it is bed time.

You might play some calming music (or white noise), place the cover over the crate and sit beside the crate while they settle in for the night.

Also set a timer to take them out to pee during the night – before they start to whine. Carry them outside on a lead, get them to pee then straight back to the crate. Minimal interactions, no playing.

You can find out more about night time potty training here.

And most important of all, if you don’t want your dog to sleep on your bed in the long term, DO NOT give in and let them sleep in your bed when they’re a puppy.

Vizslas love to cuddle and doing this will only make it harder to convince your pup to go to their crate.

2. Use A Snuggle Puppy

Many vizsla owners recommend using a toy with a heat pack and/or something that mimics a pulsing heart beat (like a clock) for vizsla crate training at night.

The heat pack helps keep the puppy warm through the cooler part of the night and the ticking or pulsing comforts your puppy as it reminds them of their mum and littermates.

The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Stuffed Toy is the top recommended toy for this purpose.

With both a heat pack and real-feel heart beat, it can help reduce anxiety for new dogs.

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3. Lay Beside The Crate

For the first few nights it’s a good idea to sleep close to your puppy while they’re in the crate. They will sense you close by and this reassures them everything is okay.

Many vizsla owners lay beside the crate. I set up a mattress on the floor and spent the first week or so sleeping alongside my pup.

You could also place the crate next to you on the bed if you have space.

If your pup becomes unsettled during the night, a gentle hush or putting your fingers through the crate helps calm them.

Whatever you do, don’t bring them out of the crate when they are whining. This simply reinforces to your dog that whining will get them out of the crate.

If comforting them in the crate doesn’t work, pop the lead on and take them outside again to pee.

They probably won’t need to, but it signals to your pup that the only reason they’re leaving the crate during the night is to go do their business.

4. Be Consistent

It is so important to be consistent when crate training and especially at night. Dogs are creatures of habit and find comfort in the same routines being repeated each day.

So repeating the same routine before bed, during the night and in the morning will help your pup learn what is expected more quickly.

Hungarian vizsla dog in crate with text how to crate train a vizsla in 4 easy steps.

Vizsla Dog Crate Training FAQS

Can vizslas be crate trained?

Yes, Hungarian vizslas can be crate trained. Whilst they are a sensitive dog breed, with a positive and gentle approach and plenty of repetition and reward, vizslas can be successfully crate trained.

When crate training a puppy where should the crate be?

During the day you should place the crate close to where you and the family spend their time – like in the living room.

Overnight I recommend you place the crate next to your bed. If you don’t want to move the crate around, you can set up a mattress to sleep on next to their crate in the living room.

How does crate training help with potty training?

Dogs naturally avoid going to the toilet on their bedding. So by placing their bedding in the crate it encourages your dog to hold on until they are released from the crate.

What should I do if crate training is not working for my puppy?

Every puppy (and owner) is different. If you find your puppy can’t be calm in the crate and you don’t want to go back to training the basics, you may consider stopping crate training. However you will need to find alternative safe places for your pup to spend time alone when you are outside the home.

Before You Go

I hope you found these crate training vizsla puppy tips helpful.

Before you go, be sure to read our guide to the best vizsla crates for all our top crate reviews and this guide for more useful tips for new vizsla puppy owners.

And if you are just getting starting training your vizsla puppy, read this guide.

More Hungarian Vizsla Training Tips

Or, browse all the vizsla training articles here.

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Rachel

Rachel is the founder of It's a Vizsla. She is a Hungarian Vizsla owner and general dog enthusiast! She loves to research and share practical tips to help other vizsla owners care for their dogs.

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