Dog Crates

All about Dog Crates


chihuahua in metal dog crate People have so many questions about dog crates:

  • What kind to get?
  • What size?
  • How to introduce it?
  • What schedule to use?
  • And so much more.

In the over 25 years I have been a professional trainer, I’ve assisted and personally crate trained thousands of dogs. Used properly, is the safest way to raise a puppy. Period. It is the crib of the dog world – a necessary stage.

Some dogs love them and continue to use them into adulthood. Some dogs stress without one and they continue to need them into adulthood. Most dogs don’t need them once they grow up but keep them around anyway for those times your dog comes in muddy or wet, or you have workman in and out or for many other reasons.

Crating is a life-skill that we gift to our companions. It makes their lives safer and saner.

Please feel free to ask me questions in comments. I’ll answer all I can.



  1. I have a 4 year old mostly well behaved jack russell /poodle mix. Potty training was EASY. I never used a crate. He was my first dog ever in my life. I just adopted a month ago a tiny (we think) chihauhau/jack russell mix and she is just not getting potty training and I am starting to think I have to go get a crate. I have been reading your thoughts on this. So how do I introduce it? Do I move it around the house with me? One in each room? Leave her alone for how long? Just want to do this right.

  2. I have a pit bull who has a real problem staying home in a crate we got her from the humane society in our area and the crate we got was metal she broke out of it 4 times I had then tried putting it close to our bed and she stayed in but chewed up a pair of our sheets we love her but can’t always have her with us and we are getting stressed out because we’ve tried leaving her un-crated she went poop and pee on the floor and my neighbor had to come get her and bring her down to her house until we got home I am home most of the time only going to appointments once a week and my fiance works 10 hours Wednesday through Saturday second shift and she even mopes when he is gone basically what I am asking since metal did not work what other crate would work please I really don’t want people breaking the windows of my vehicle because she is in it if you can help me with the separation anxiety as well it would be helpful

  3. Hi my puppy Marley has broken his leg and will be getting surgery tomorro.. He needs to be off his leg for a month what is the best advice you can give me and size of cage. He is a TT and is 8.6kgs and 17weeks

    • Hi Lindsey – sorry to hear about your pup’s break. 🙁 This is an excellent question and one I would refer to your vet. Find out what they recommend. There is no way for me to know if moving around on it will be okay or not and that will help define the size or crate or pen you need.

      Your pup should heal up quickly and completely. {{{ }}} – Sarah

  4. Hello, we need some guidance. We have a 2 year old rescue Beagle, Pug mix we got 4 months ago. He has fit into our family perfectly and loves us all, 2 adults and 2 teenage boys. The only problem we have is separation anxiety when we leave. We leave him alone maybe 5 days a week and it’s for 2 or 3 hours. We have video taped him in his crate and he barks and is up and down, biting and pawing at the crate the entire time. We have tried the Pet Naturals calming for stress reduction and it does nothing. We have tried leaving music on, covering the crate on 3 sides. left the lights on, turned the lights off, and nothing makes a difference. We have always been loving and never used the crate for punishment. We have put him in the crate while at home for short periods, and he does ok, but sometimes shakes when doing so. We have put surprise treats in the crate with the door open when he is not looking and he will get them and eat them, but will not spend any other time in the crate when he does not have to. He just broke the metal side open and had his head caught inside the bars. As soon as we come home, he runs his energy off like mad for a few minutes and is then back to normal. He is such a happy perfect dog all other times. Now we need a new crate. Any suggestions on size of crate or what to do different? The current crate is just enough room for him to get up, turn around (maybe a bit bigger than that). Would a larger crate be better, or keep it the same size and keep trying? He recently has went pee a little in the crate, but never pooped. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Dan

    • Hi Dan – Guess my first question is: Does he need crating? What happens if you gate him in a room? If crating is necessary, then getting a larger crate and a different kind can help some dogs. This isn’t a housebreaking issue any longer (I’m assuming) so getting a larger one might be helpful. Crating him routinely when you are home will help to normalize it. Feeding him in there and continuing to store treats and toys in there all can help. – Good luck! Sarah

  5. Hi my husband and I have the most adorable bernese mountain dog / puppy almost 7 months so he\\\’s a large puppy 68lbs.
    I also have a 7 year old who literally acts like a person and never ever does anything wrong. I think our older dog has helped with our new puppy from mimicking what he does and wanting to from all the praise he gets. BUT We are having major issues over the past 2 weeks on and off. When we got the male puppy we also had a friend get one as well getting a female. When she comes over it keeps getting worse because she is so very hyper throws him completely off track its like he forgets anything he has ever learned been trained – they play nonstop which is great but I think thats what makes him excited and has accidents etc., they chew which is getting worse he used to just do it only when she was over along with chewing up our newly landscaped yard but now he just started doing it by himself its not that often but enough to make me furious when my fav pair of shorts shoes whatever are destroyed. He sleeps with our older dog in our bathroom and has never ever had a accident which I have spoken to my vet and he said bc he sees this as his bedroom. He got sick the night before we were going out of town having diarrhea in the middle of the night – right by my bedside literally the smell woke me up – he was trying to wake me up as he has seen our big dog do this when he need to cough up something which he holds it until we wake up from him doing so. Since we have gotten back he is getting sick from eating leaves which can not be controlled and the female puppy is here who doesn\\\’t have accidents had one last night. I leave them outside as long as possible. their breed and breeders usually don\\\’t believe in the crate due to their personality character traits. (we did put him in the crate for awhile and he kept having accidents in it) they want to be with you please you and be apart of the family. they become skittish when not being loved especially the female who will have to continue to have over for afternoons or whole weekends. we travel a lot and the older dog mostly goes with us unless we are flying and the puppy used to as well but now he has gotten so big you can\\\’t really bring him anywhere without trusting him going to the bathroom. how do i keep him on track when not home he has a pretty solid schedule. he\\\’s huge and will only get bigger so do you suggest more a playpen the ones that are open i believe they call them exercise pens? One that could go indoor and outdoor? the ones I have seen range for $40 to $400 which is needed if you suggest? any suggestions! I know I know most think he should go in the crate and when the female friend comes over she is smaller and go in the other crate (my vet is sole believer in the crate). they just aren\\\’t like labs/retrievers all the do is sleep next to you – 75% of the day if not more. He stopped having accidents when he was with the old dog in our master bath – we made it a big deal to let him come sleep in there). My yard I will just keep trying new tricks and instead of getting a house sitter send him to overnight boarding. I am basically hoping an outdoor pen like (Go Pet Club GH Heavy Duty Pet Play and Exercise Pen OR MidWest Exercise Pen)
    plus indoor – portable or one for both will really help. I am sorry to ramble – I just don\\\’t know what to do and don\\\’t want him my cute adorable large puppy to turn into a chore you neglect rather than my loving pet. I also left random details to get somewhat of a glimpse into our situation.

    • Hi there. Sorry you’re having such struggles. As for crates, I am in agreement with your vet. I’ve crated Berners for decades now and never had an issue so I am confused as to why that is not an option for your pup. For now, I’d stop having the female come over until they are both more controllable around each other, I’d supervise him outside so you can manage his behavior, and get started with his training. That is a lovely breed, very trainable and I am betting you’ll have a great time together once things get back on track. You have a lot of good questions. Maybe a local trainer can help you sort this all out. Best of luck – Sarah

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