If you are a new dog owner who is trying to master the art of crate training, you are probably wondering how long you should leave your dog in his crate at a time. The short answer is that it varies. The length of time you should leave your dog crated will vary from pet to pet and from owner to owner. Your dog’s personality and your individual circumstances should dictate the length of his confinement. You must remember that your dog needs to run and exercise. He can’t do that when he’s confined to a crate. Whether you’re using a wire crate, a wooden dog crate or a play pen style crate that give your pup more wiggle room, your animal won’t be able to move very much when he’s in it. He also won’t be able to relieve himself or get the affection he needs. When you first begin training your dog, you’ll want to only leave him in his crate for short periods of time. In the beginning, your dog may not be able to go an hour without breaking. After some training, you should be able to keep your pup crated all through the night, or through a typical work day. The more comfortable you make your crate, the easier it will be on your dog. While dogs can use their crates without any special padding or beds, a nice, comfy crate mat or pad will definitely make it more comfortable and more attractive for the pooch. When you are first starting out with your crate training, if your dog can see you, you may soon find that he's doing his best to sound miserable in hopes you will cave and let him out to play. If you need your pet to get used to staying in his crate for hours at a time, consider (at least in the beginning) keeping the crate in the kitchen, garage or somewhere where he can't see everything going on around him that he may feel he's missing out on. If this is not an option, a dog crate cover, such as those made by Bowsers Pet Products and other leading pet supply manufacturers, will darken the crate and limit your dog's visibility, making it easier for him to stay calm and even sleep while in his crate. Once your dog gets used to the idea that spending a portion of his or her day in the crate is just a way of life, you will have more options and your dog should be fine even if he's crated in your living room while you have company over, etc. This stage is nice because not only can your pet feel more like part of the family by being able to be in the middle of the activity, but you can also move into using more furniture style dog crates, such as end table dog crates and other wooden dog crate styles. and keep the wire or plastic crate as a spare out in that garage. Back to our question of how long you can leave a dog in his crate. The ideal is to try to let them out for a break after 4-6 hours, however, some pet owners who do not have that option keep their dog crates for the duration of a normal work day. They can stay in their crate all night as well. If you do have to leave your dog crated for longer periods such as 8 hours, be sure they are getting plenty of attention and exercise when they do get out. They do need a good workout, walk, run or time in the yard and, of course, a lot of love, attention and interaction with their family. That being said, if you find that your dog is not doing well and is soiling their dog crate often, you should reconsider your arrangement and try to arrange for someone to come and give the dog a mid-day break if you are unable to do so yourself. Only you and your dog can know how long you should leave your dog in his crate at a time. Take your cues from your animal and strive to meet both of your needs for a harmonious relationship.