Should I Crate My Dog?
I’ve noticed that many humans feel bad about putting their dogs in a kennel or crate – probably because they’re thinking they’d hate to be in a crate themselves!
But us dogs are different from humans. A lot of us like our crates. They’re our little “dens” where we can relax and feel safe, especially when they’re made comfy and cozy.
Still, there’s a lot of confusion, so here’s some advice on when you should crate your dog and when you should NOT crate your dog.
When You Should Crate Your Dog
When your dog is new to your house. Whether you’re adding a puppy or an adult dog to your family, a crate can be a good tool for them to transition to their new environment. While they are getting used to unfamiliar people, an unfamiliar place, and an unfamiliar routine, a crate can be a place to go to that’s theirs and theirs alone. It can make them feel safe and give them a place to retreat to when needed.
When house-training. The crate can be used as a training tool when house-training your puppy. Trainers suggest feeding your puppy in their crate and then taking them directly outside afterwards so they can learn the routine and understand that potty breaks ONLY happen outside. Until your pup is fully house-trained, you may want to keep them in their crate at night, too, but be prepared to take them out once or twice during the night, especially for younger dogs, so they do not have accidents in their crate.
When you’re out of the house and your dogs can’t be left out. You may want to crate your dog when you’re out of the house, particularly if your dog is too destructive to be left out. Just keep in mind this is not a long-term way of life! Instead, work on ridding your dog’s destructive tendencies so you get to the point where they can be left out of their crate when you’re out of the house, especially if you’re gone 8-10 hours for work. That’s just too long for most dogs.
When company comes over. If your dog is, like me, VERY EXUBERANT when meeting new people, and you have guests coming over who aren’t “doggy people,” then crating your dogs is a good idea. This gives you the option to let your dog out after they’ve calmed down or keep them in for the duration of your guests’ visit.
When You Shouldn’t Crate Your Dog
As a punishment. Your dog’s crate is NOT a tool for punishment. The crate should always feel like a safe, welcoming space, and if you only put your dog in there when they’ve done something naughty, they will begin to associate it with negativity. Use other training methods to curb your dog’s bad behavior.
When your dog is afraid of their crate. If your dog has intense separation anxiety or simply fears the crate, don’t force them. It will only make the problem worse. If they whine, shake and resist going in, they are likely afraid. You can use training methods to help them overcome the fear of the crate, but in the meantime, don’t force it.
When your dog has special health issues. Dogs with arthritis, joint problems, and other medical issues may suffer when left in a crate too long. They need to be able to stretch and walk around to stay healthy. Try to limit the time these dogs spend locked in their crate.
When your dog starts soiling their crate. Whether it’s anxiety, fear, or a medical condition that causes accidents in the crate, this is a situation you want to avoid. Dogs do not like to soil their living area, and being in the same location where they went potty is very distressing to your dog. Address the underlying reason before you continue crating them.
A Crate Is a Getaway, Not a Prison!
Remember, your dog’s crate is either a training tool or a place for them to relax, it’s not a tool for punishment or a place to put them when you’ve “had enough.” Just make sure their crate is comfortable and in a part of the house where people are, since dogs just want to be a part of the family. Then everyone will be happy!
Did you know that Snoozer has an entire line of Crate Pads and stylish Crate Covers? It’s true! They even have Forgiveness Crate Pads that are fully washable, so dogs who have accidents can enjoy a clean crate.
Kia is a full-sized dog living with a full-sized family! She's full of energy and loves to romp with kids, so whenever Kia is around, you know you're in for an exciting time!