For thousands of years dogs have sought out small, enclosed spaces for shelter and security. These dens have functioned as dog safehouses for the newborn and ailing, as well as resting places for the weary.
With the den boasting so many advantages, why do we humans debate the idea of putting a dog in one? Whatever the reasons, our dogs—if they could—would surely beg for a crate of their own. If you’re one of those people who are still on the fence about whether or not to crate your dog, here’s what you should know.
For the young dog
For puppies, the crate functions as a sort of babysitter when you can’t be there to monitor unsafe or undesirable behavior. And, because dogs instinctively try to keep their sleeping areas clean, the crate helps the puppy learn to hold and strengthen its young bladder and bowel muscles, making housebreaking less of a chore.
For the traveling dog
For the dog who travels often with his family, the crate can be a constant and familiar haven, from car to weekend retreat—a place to feel secure when the world around him changes.
For the insecure dog
Because dogs feel responsible for their own territory, the insecure dog should have less space to protect, not more. A crate (rather than the whole house) means less territory to patrol, making it easier for the insecure dog to settle down and relax.
For the rescued dog
To the rehomed dog, a crate is sometimes the only consistent environment he has ever had. A crate gives this dog time to safely adjust to new surroundings, as well as the luxury of not having to fight for his own space in new territory. It can ease the transition from one family to another.
What not to do
Avoid the routine of crating your dog all day.
This can lead to future behavior problems.
The crate is a safe place for the dog to rest, but it doesn’t teach the dog good habits.
Use a crate wisely.
Don’t overuse it.