IS IT MEAN TO USE A CRATE FOR DOGS AND PUPPIES?
- No, it provides a comfortable safe space for your puppy or dog.
Crating your new pup? Why should I consider that?
Yes, some people raise puppies without crates/kennels and it goes just fine. I’m just suggesting a crate makes everyone’s life easier, including your young dog
Some of the reasons a crate has been so helpful for my puppy include:
- Knowing my dog was safe and not eating something that could harm him
- Training him not to go potty in the house
- Teaching him how to relax
- Having a safe place to keep him when I wasn’t home and at night
- Having a safe, comfortable place to put him when someone came to the door or when my other pets need a break from him
- Peace of mind knowing he’s not destroying our couch, shoes, door paneling, etc. (we rent)
- Allowing me time to take a break from my puppy and re-charge so I could be a better owner and trainer
I prefer a wood furniture crate but, a standard wire crate works well for crate training as well. Foldable crates offer convenience for those who travel with their dog because you can easily fold it down for storage or travel. Our crate from Pet Gear fits in the trunk of most cars and I can easily carry it myself.
So, is it mean to use a crate for dogs?
No! Of course not. I look at kennels/crates as temporary tools for future FREEDOM!
Because my senior dog Barley stayed in his crate years ago while I was at work, he never developed any bad habits like pacing around anxiously or chewing items that were off limits. Instead, he just settled into his crate with his peanut butter Kong and relaxed.
Within a few months, I started leaving him loose for half days and eventually full workdays when he was around 18 months old.
Had I not used a crate, I think my dog would’ve felt more anxious and I know he would’ve destroyed something!
Today, it’s the same concept with my 3 year old Labrador.
My husband and I both work from home, but if we have to leave for an hour or two, Spike goes in his crate, and we have peace of mind knowing he’s safe. It also takes pressure off Spike by removing any opportunities for him to make mistakes (like chewing our couch).
Now that Spike is 3, I’m sure we’ll eventually try leaving him loose for short periods. But Spike is a more intelligent, high-energy and mischievous dog than Barley so we’ll be keeping the crate on hand for quite some time I’m sure!
Here are some ideas for helping your dog love his crate!
It helps significantly if you start introducing the crate to your dog as a puppy. We put Spike in his crate right away in the car on the way home from the breeder’s house when he was just 12 weeks old! It was about an hour drive, and he fell asleep immediately.
Once home, we spent about an hour with him and then put him in his crate again for a nap. We filled it with some soft blankets and some tempting chews like bully sticks and hooves and he cried for about five minutes and then crashed and slept for another hour.
My suggestions are to make the crate comfortable by:
- Padding it with comfy blankets (if your dog doesn’t eat blankets)
- Stocking it with tempting chews like bully sticks or Kongs stuffed with peanut butter
- Keeping it in a central, comfortable area of the house where you spend a lot of time too (like a TV room, home office or your bedroom)
- Look into information on “Crate Games” by Susan Garrett. It’s about using training and games and rewards to help your dog LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his crate!
- And of course, provide plenty of exercise, training and companionship throughout the day so YOU DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.
When people feel guilty about using a crate, their dogs are more likely to feel anxious too. I believe the crate is no big deal. I see it as a tool to allow my dog future freedom. So, Remy also views the crate as no big deal.
Limiting time in the crate
One concern with crates is that some dog owners might be tempted to use them for too long and too often.
Maybe the dog is crated for 9 hours while the owner is at work and again for 8 hours every night, for example. Sometimes there’s just no way around this, and I wouldn’t say the owner is being cruel.
What I would recommend, though, is that you look for ways to make that arrangement as temporary as possible.
- Could your dog sleep in your bedroom on a dog bed at night?
- Could she go to daycare once or twice a week?
- Could you hire a dog walker or a friend to walk him mid-day?
Sometimes these are reasonable options and sometimes, due to financial reasons or perhaps aggressive behavior, these are not realistic. So, you do your best.
Also, here are some other uses for a crate:
- You never know when you’ll need to crate your dog in an emergency, at the vet or during travel (like flying with your dog)
- Sometimes groomers or pet sitters need to crate dogs
- When you’re staying at someone else’s house with your dog, crating him while you go out for dinner removes stress for everyone involved!
- Some dogs truly like their crates and prefer to sleep there. My senior dog goes into his crate, for example, if he wants to be away from puppy Remy!
More info on crate options
How to buy: You can order a crate at OfficialDogHouse HERE
Cost: Crates start at 79.99 but for an attractive furniture crate be prepared to spend several hundred but hey, you are buying a piece of furniture to invite your dog into your living space. I think it is highly worth it.
Portable folding travel crates are collapsible, which is so nice for travel or storage. Our crate folds nearly flat and only takes about 20 seconds to fold up or set up, and I can do it myself.
If your dog is not used to a crate or might try to get out, I would recommend the heavy-duty option. This was not necessary for my dogs because they are used to their crates.
For Puppies, you will want a crate with a removable bottom pan, (accidents happen!) or if you feed your dog in his crate and need to clean it easily.
May 16, 2021 at 05:52 AM
Crate training is essential in my experience. It helps to give the dog a neutral space that they can feel safe in. It also helps to protect them. Certain breeds such as a Malinois or Dutchie need crate training. I’ve done crate training with most of my dogs. And I feel no guilt. It has helped them tremendously.
February 27, 2021 at 10:03 AM
he has successfully chewed the bottom of his crate. He chews everything. He loves to eat/drink in his crate. I just leave the door open and he goes in and out whenever he wants to.
May 16, 2020 at 06:20 AM
Early crate training is essential. The pup learns to think of it as their safe place. Crate training has saved many unruly ill-mannered shelter dogs. You should not use it as punishment or have unrealistic expectations of a puppy. Do not leave puppies all day without a bathroom break by either you or a pet sitter.
May 16, 2019 at 06:20 AM
My 6 month old black lab Cassie absolutely adores her crate! I do not know if I would have survived potty training or chew-mania without it. I am about to move out of my childhood home and of course I have to take my fur baby with me! I am in need of a second crate, the one I have now does not fold up, i’m not sure of the brand, and transporting it will be an extreme hassle. I was planning on leaving the DOG crate at my childhood home anyways since my parents love watching their fur grandchild and it’s convenient to keep one here
May 16, 2019 at 06:21 AM
My boys love their crates, which is great because both would chew my house to pieces when left alone:). We consider their crates their rooms. The door is always open and they can go there if they are feeling overwhelmed. My grandkids know to leave the boys alone when they “go to their rooms.”
May 16, 2018 at 06:32 AM
I could not imagine having a puppy without a crate. It is a safe comfortable place for my dogs.