How Long Can You Leave a German Shepherd in a Crate?

Categorized as Training and Behavior
crate training german shepherd

Most German shepherd owners can be confused about how long to leave their german shepherds in a crate. The main reason for this confusion is because there are conflicting opinions on the internet about the topic.

Some say that it is fine to leave them in for 8 hours while others claim that no dog should be left in a crate for more than 4 hours.

There are also stories of some German shepherds developing anxiety or other behavioral problems after being left in a crate for too long while others have no issues whatsoever.

In this article, we will answer how long you can realistically expect to leave them in a crate without any problems and we will also give some tips related to putting your German shepherd in a crate.

How Long Can You Leave a German Shepherd in a Crate?

For German shepherd puppies, the general rule is that they can be left in a crate for 1 hour for each month of age up to a maximum of 4 hours. For example, a 3-month-old puppy could be crated for 3 hours at a time. By 6 months old, your shepherd can stay in their crate overnight.

Of course, every dog is different, and some may need more or less time in their crate. Consult your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if you have any questions about crate training your German Shepherd.

For your reference, here is a handy chart that shows how long German shepherds of different ages can realistically be expected to stay in a crate:

Age of ShepherdTime in Crate
8 – 10 weeks30 – 60 minutes
11-14 weeks1-3 hours
15-16 weeks3-4 hours
3-4 months4-5 hours
Adult healthy dogs8 hours

What To Consider When Putting Your German Shepherd in a Crate

The most important thing to consider when crate training your shepherd is their age.

Puppies under 16 weeks old shouldn’t be left in a crate for more than 4 hours at a time as they need to go to the bathroom frequently and may not be able to hold it for long periods of time.

You should also take into consideration your dog’s individual temperament. If your shepherd is anxious or stressed in small spaces, a crate may not be the best option for them.

In this case, it’s better you choose an alternative like playpens or baby gates to confine them to a smaller area.

The Benefits of Crate Training a Dog?

Crate training a dog can be seen as cruel by some people, but it actually offers a number of benefits for both the dog and the owner. Here are some benefits of crate training:

Giving your dog space

As any dog owner knows, sometimes our furry friends just need a little alone time. But what are they supposed to do when we’re constantly underfoot? It’s not like they can just go sit in their room and read a book (or can they?).

Fortunately, dogs are natural den animals, which means they love having their own space to relax. A crate provides them with a safe place to call their own where they can retreat to when they need some alone time.

Potty training

If you crate train your German shepherd puppy, they will be less likely to have accidents in the house as they will learn to hold it in until they are released from the crate.

By establishing a regular schedule and confining your puppy to their crate when they’re not being directly supervised, you can help them learn to control their bladder and bowels.

In addition, dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping area and will try to hold it as long as possible.

Keeping your puppy safe

A crate is also a great way to keep your puppy safe and out of trouble when you can’t supervise them. We all know that puppies are curious little creatures, and they often get into things they shouldn’t. A crate can help to keep them safe and out of trouble when you can’t be there to supervise them.

For example, if you have to leave the house for a few hours, you can put them in their crate with some toys and they will be safe and boredom-free until you return.

What Could Happen If You Leave Your German Shepherd in a Crate for Too Long?

While crate training does offer many benefits, it also has the potential to do more harm than good if not done correctly.

Here are some potential problems that could arise if you leave your shepherd in a crate for too long:

Behavioral problems such as boredom and restlessness

Leaving your shepherd in a crate for too long can also lead to behavioral problems such as boredom and restlessness. If they are not given enough mental and physical stimulation, they may start to act out in an attempt to release all that pent-up energy.

This can manifest itself in destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging, as well as excessive barking. In the worst case, it can lead to separation anxiety.

Urination and defecation in the crate

Another potential problem that could arise if you leave your shepherd in a crate for too long is that they may start to urinate and defecate in the crate.

Depending on the age and training of your dog, this may happen out of necessity if they can’t hold it any longer, or it may be due to anxiety and stress.

Either way, it’s not a pleasant situation for either you or your dog, and it can be difficult to potty train them if they start doing this on a regular basis.

Lack of exercise

When it comes to selecting the right crate for your German Shepherd, size is one of the most important considerations. German Shepherds are large dogs, and they need a crate that can accommodate their size.

Selecting The Right Crate For Your German Shepherd

When it comes to choosing a crate for your German Shepherd, there are a few things you need to take into consideration:


If you get a crate that is too small, your dog will be uncomfortable and may even try to escape. On the other hand, if you get a crate that is too large, your dog will have too much space and may use one end as a bathroom.

As a general rule of thumb, you should select a crate that is at least double the size of your German Shepherd. This will give them enough room to move around and be comfortable without being too spacious.


The most common types of crates are made from plastic, metal, or wire. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Plastic crates are usually the most affordable option and can be easily wiped down if necessary.

However, they may not be as durable as other materials and may not provide as much ventilation. Metal crates are typically more expensive than plastic crates, but they are also more durable and offer better ventilation.

Wire crates are the most versatile option, as they can be used both indoors and outdoors. However, they can be more difficult to clean than other types of crates.

When choosing a crate for your German Shepherd, it is important to consider your dog’s needs and choose a material that will be safe, comfortable, and easy to maintain.


Different crates offer different features, so it is important to choose a crate that will suit your needs. For example, some crates come with removable trays for easy cleaning, while others have dividing panels that allow you to adjust the size of the crate.

Some crates even come with wheels, which can be helpful if you need to move the crate around often. When choosing a crate for your German Shepherd, it is important to consider what features would be most useful for you and your dog.


Crates can range in price from $100 to $300, so it is important to choose one that fits your budget. However, it is important to remember that the price is not always indicative of quality.

There are a number of factors outside quality that can affect the price of a crate, such as marketing and branding. And so, you should always do your own research to make sure you are getting the best possible value for your money.

If you’re in the market for a crate for your German Shepherd, be sure to check out our best crates for German Shepherds review. Our review contains a comprehensive list of the best crates on the market, as well as a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right crate for your needs.


When it comes to how long you can leave a German Shepherd in a crate, it depends on a number of factors, including the age and training of your dog, the size of the crate, and the climate. As a general rule of thumb, you should not leave your German Shepherd in a crate for more than 4 hours at a time.

If you need to leave your dog in a crate for longer periods of time, you may want to consider other alternatives such as doggy daycare or hiring a dog sitter.

Whatever you do, make sure you do your research and choose the option that is best for your dog.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.