Dog Crates

All about Dog Crates

Why Should I Crate My Dog? I’ll Just Leave Him in the Kitchen

| 44 Comments

Why Crate Your Dog? Image People ask me all the time: Why should I crate my dog? I’ll just leave him in the kitchen. There’s nothing in there he can get into.

Ah… I respond, Here are some of the things I’ve seen dogs “get into”: eating holes in drywall, ripping up flooring, chewing moulding, chewing lower cabinets, getting into lower cabinets, getting into the fridge, getting onto the counter, getting into the upper cabinets, emptying the cabinets, destroying everything in the cabinets, turning on the stove, turning on the water, chewing the dials off the stove.

I only work with people who crate their pups. I’ve known too many pups dying from chewing cords, swallowing yarn, getting into chemicals or finding a single penny.

No one particularly likes crating. I’d love it if I could safely raise a puppy without it. I’d love it if a toddler could ride in the front seat of my car without restraint of any kind and be safe. But letting a small child ride that way would be irresponsible and so is leaving a puppy unrestrained.

The pix here is funny but only because the dog didn’t die in the process. Another dog might have swallowed some of the stuffing or fabric or threads with tragic results. And that is not me being dramatic; that’s me remembering dogs who died young.

I draw very few lines in the sand in my work. I believe in giving people the room and the time to learn. But I do draw this one. This is a matter of safety.

Crate for the first year -at least – and set the stage for a lifetime of freedom.

Refuse to crate and you set the stage for problems of all kinds. You don’t have to take my word for it. Your dog will teach you – I just hope not at the price of his health or your bond.

44 Comments

  1. Good article! My son and his wife adopted a puppy from their local shelter. I advised — til I was blue in the face — what to do to train the puppy. They didn’t listen, and six months later the puppy was returned to the shelter. I was furious with them, but I suspect (hope) the puppy was better off. Crating is one of those things that our parents’ generation didn’t do, but Mom was home to train and care for the puppy. Now, as you said, times are different and we have to do what we have to do!

    • I hate to see a puppy returned because he is usually at the ugly teenage stage when no one will adopt him when before he was a cute fluffy baby.

  2. I always crate my Staffie, I have done since she was 10 weeks old.. They know no difference if you do it at all time… I’ve only got to shake my car keys and in she goes…. The funny thing is, I did the same routine and forgot to lock the gate, I didn’t notice until I can home.. She had actually stayed in the crate with the gate door wide open….

  3. I crate mine….They know it as their bed….We just adopted another puppy.. She gonna big a big one….but I already have her crate broke from barking, and yelling….but I havent got her to understand we dont use the bathroom in it….I dont have her in a large crate but she has plenty of growing room…should I get a smaller one ??? I was always told they dont go where they sleep …well does…..my other 2 never have…but that was like 11 and 8 years ago….they have to be in the same crate…they weight at like tops 7lbs. each…..the new puppy is 3 months they say and 15 to 20 lbs aleady…on a good note she has already learned how to sit, lay, and leash broke…she is smart…

    • We have two that hate to come in the house and now three as we have a stray we are trying to place in a good home (had her spayed, vaccinated etc and working on heartworm treatment)- the catahoula and the red heeler just whine and stand at the door to go back out to their houses and if not let back out poop in front of the door and scratch on it- (fenced yard) – Lovebug the stray loves her small cage(6 X 10 feet) and dog house even when the door is open- kept her shut up while she had her stiches. The two Brussels sleep with us and the other three (yes we have 8 dogs) are all crate to sleep in or when we go away dogs- the blue heeler and the schnauzer go in and out all day depending on the weather but Elvira the poodle le thing lives in her crate 24/7- she goes out to potty and right back in- its on top of another crate in the dining room by sliders and she can see outside- the deer, wild turkeys, horse and donkey in the back pasture- pony and donkey in the front pasture- bird feeders and every one or thing moving out there or what ever we are doing inside but that is where she wants to be. You let her in and she runs over and jumps right in- now that she is getting older and having eye trouble she puts her front feet up and waits for a boost!

  4. I got my two shelties and we have four crates they have always slept in my bedroom since they were puppys we have two crates in my bedrm and two crates in our family room when they were puppys I started them using the crates I see nothing wrong with the crate it gives them a den like feeling and there safe and I knew they were safe now that my two shelties are 10 years old at night we go to sleep I leave there crate doors open for them an when there tired of the floor they go in there crate when we go out the dogs go into there crates they go right into them themselves

  5. Another plus to using crates…you know EXACTLY where the dog is in case of an emergency. You wake up to the smoke alarm and fire and you can’t get to the dog, you can tell the fireman exactly where the crate is. No dangerous searching looking for a dog that might be hiding where emergency personnel cannot get to. He may need oxygen when they bring him out, but at least he isn’t dead. And neither are you or anyone else killed looking for him.
    And secured crates in a vehicle keep him from becoming a furry projectile in an accident AND keeps him from diving out of the vehicle or hurting the responders who are opening the doors to help you.

  6. I agree with all of the above, and then some. All of my dogs have been crated for the first year to two years of their lives, depending upon each dog’s individual character. Even after gaining trust and full run of the house, all of my dogs sleep and relax happily in their crates, with the doors wide open, when we are gone. They feel safe and secure and that is where they choose to be even when they have many other options.

  7. Great article! I always remind my clients that crates are a good thing, not a bad thing!

  8. My 12 yr old mixed breed HATED her crate when young! But after several months, I could trust her free in the house (she is EXTREMELY intelligent, docile & calm).
    Within the last few months or so, she peed in the house & destroyed a rug. So I dragged her crate out again.
    Yesterday, I found her napping in it for 10 minutes!
    – I have such peace of mind knowing she will not get a bowel obstruction & I will not get wet carpet. 🙂

  9. I make the same requirement for my clients as well…. but I would also add – what if you are having a party and the kitchen is in full use? Where do you put the dog? Bedroom? And when workmen come to the house that are afraid of your dog, or what if they need dog-free space because they’re setting up a ladder… or you have an elderly guest who doesn’t want a dog bothering them…. a crate is a great option… the dog is free from young children chasing him around the house and everyone can relax!

  10. Good reminder about responsibility. It was once great fun to rude and wrestle with the dogs in the back of a Pick-Up! Today, we should know better! So good to hear from you!

    • Thanks, George! You’re so right about the pick-up trucks. Now we know what can happen so we don’t do it anymore. Exactly.

  11. My husband left our dog in the kitchen and drove to town to run some errands. Being completely housebroken she had to get outside and go to the bathroom. He came home to a chewed up kitchen door and the entrance door. Big enough for her to go outside and potty. Better to crate when leaving a dog in the house alone.

    • That must have been a shock! Thank you for sharing your hard-earned experience here. Glad everyone was okay. And compared to all that – a crate is cheap indeed. Ouch!

  12. We do alot of canine competition-confirmation,obedience,rally, agility ect. 4 crates per dog-one in the bedroom for when we are not home or have guests, one in the truck for travel, one for set ups at events and a soft crate for hotel rooms and out door events . Dogs know that is their space where no one is going to mess with them and will make a dash for their crate and peace after a trip to the ring

  13. I use to be “one of those people”! Then we got Birdie, our black lab pup! She destroyed two crates(even those gorilla ones that are all metal). Eventually, we had to resort to a baby-sitter (grandma) while we were out or take her with us everywhere! Her anxiety level was off the charts and no pills worked. That was 15 years ago! We adopted a Golden and crate trained him. The best thing we ever did!!! Not only was he safe while we slept or were gone, but it helped with potty-training. By the time he was 3 years old, we no longer needed to use it. However, that was his spot! He had his doggie bed in there and that’ where he laid all on his own. Start young! The best and safest thing you can do for your dog!

    • Wow, Angela, you hung in there a looong time with your Lab and were creative and dedicated about making it work. Wise words. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Congrats on your Golden. Crating does make things easier, doesn’t it?

  14. I didn’t “believe” in crate training for my first couple of dogs. I always thought it “cruel” to confine them. Now I wouldn’t train another dog without it! It’s SOOOO nice to say “Jozee, go to bed” and have immediate compliance (not to mention a safe dog) than it was to clean up the messes the dogs left while I was gone. My lab is 4 years old and I started crate training the first night she came home at 11 weeks of age. My husband and I took turns for the first 5 nights sleeping on the couch beside her to comfort her and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. On a side note, I’m VERY happy that I also taught her the vacuum was nothing to be scared of either. It took an hour, a ton of treats and LOTS of patience, but I got her, at 16 weeks, to eat a treat OFF OF A RUNNING VACUUM cleaner; instead of chasing and trying to “kill it” like other dogs I’ve owned, lol!

  15. I wish i had the space to have one crate let alone two. A NYC apartment doesn’t lend itself to extra space unless you live in place I could never afford.

    I had a crate for BJ a the beginning. He was 7 mos. and I kept him in it until he was about a year. Then I put him in the bedroom with a baby gate across the door. It worked for a while and then one day I came home and he greeted me at the door. So much for thinking he couldn’t climb.

    He was trained and never chewed furniture, etc. He’s 14 now. I guess I was fortunate.

  16. The only dogs I have never had to crate, surprisingly, have been my Akitas, though I’ve had crates at the ready. I say “surprisingly” because Akitas have a bad rep for search and destroy.

  17. There’s no other place safer than the crate. I have a 16mth old yellow Lab that had been through a crate training for his entire life. Now he can sit and wait for me inside the crate & I don’t have to close the door. He’s very solid on ‘crate command’. No matter what he’s doing, he always go into his crate whenever I gave him the command. You will grateful when you have a dog like that!

  18. Plan on getting a puppy soon. Had a puppy for a short time, had to go back to breeder due to allergies. Allergies are no longer a concern. So, I would like a complete list of exactly what and how the crate training works. are the puppies in the crate all the time?
    Do they get to run around the house? we had a puppy in August, but as i said went back. I was doing the crate, in your crate don’t come out unless to eat or potty. she was fine all day but at night she would cry. we would take her out for a potty break, would not go. Into the crate, fine. back to bed, come check on her 15 mins. later…poop in crate. So, i guess i was doing it wrong. My husband said the new dog is going to get to run around the house. i can see that ok for a time after full potty break and play time, but just for some time. then crate. I believe he wants a house dog…running around, in beds,…I don’t want my house ripped apart. Again, this will be my first indoor dog. and i will be the caregiver. thanks

    • Konnie, crates are great for potty training too. (My next puppy comes home Jan 4!) I will crate overnight & use the crate every time I can’t have my undivided attention on him. If you KNOW your puppy just pottied outside, allow some freedom in the house as long as someone is paying attention. Outside every few hours, tons of praise when puppy does the job, & use the crate when you need to do something else for awhile.

      My dogs LOVE their crates. I laugh when I notice my fairly large GSD male sleeping in the crate that is for his substantially smaller sister…even tho his is empty right next door!

  19. Mine broke the kitchen window out! Luckily he was not hurt and a nice lady called me to say she found my dog walking around not far from our house. Talk about a very emotional time!

    • Hi Karen – that is just the sort of thing no one would (or could) expect! Glad your dog was safe and all ended well. Phew!

  20. I have 1 collie year old, 2 -3yr old aussies and a 4yr old. all crate trained. At night I say sleeptime, and they all run and jump in their crates. I don’t have to close the doors they just know and want to be there. Crates are the best. Years ago before crates I had a puppy remove all the bottom wallpaper in my kitchen, what a nightmare.

  21. Excellent article. We promote crate training too. It’s quality of time spent over quantity with new pups/dogs. When you cannot supervise them the crate is the safest place.

  22. Crates are a perfect home away from home, you can bring your dog to the beach, a hotel, out of town visits, kennels etc. and they have a place that feels safe and familiar so the don’t get defensive or territorial. We got an older shelter dog when my kids were little and the cardinal rule for them and any visitors was once the dog was tired of play and in his special spot he was to be left alone. We had him 10 years until he passed away peacefully in his sleep in his own bed. He went from nervous, abandoned shelter dog to a fabulous family pet and the crate made it possible.

  23. I acquired a three year old collie-shepherd mix. Her owner brought her into my vet requesting immediate euthanasia, as she had chewed a cell phone (final straw!). ‘Trixie’ was an absolute emotional wreck, and chewed destructively when she was nervous, anxious, or insecure. This was most of the time at her former home. She was on a pharmacy of drugs to control and shape her behavior, and her owners had used lots of yelling, shaker cans, etc. A crate at my house was her best friend. She could relax, lounge, and feel safe and secure. Over time she got comfortable with the house routine, became confident through training, and had lovely house manners where she could be home alone without a crate, until her passing at age 16. Some dogs just can’t handle the responsibility of being ‘home alone’, and it is a kindness to them to use a crate.

  24. Your puppy’s early time can be an influence. When my pups are big enough to leave the whelping box I have a GIANT ( way bigger than necessary for mom & pups) wire crate adjacent to a heat source (wood stove) w/ door OPENED and attached to a big secure x-pen. Bitch and pups are in this enclosure in my LR. Crate is warm with deep bedding. The far end of the x-pen is paper lined Lots of toys and treats and lots of socialization (my living room). By 2 to 3 weeks the crate is their beloved home and they are crate trained, never messing in there, only on the paper in the x-pen. My puppy customers have an easy time as the youngsters know the crate is their safe place. A piece of soiled newspaper out on the lawn makes the transition to defecating outside real fast and easy. Two large crates without doors are a counter in my kitchen. the adult dogs fight over those in preference to the couches and dog beds around the house. Dogs are den animals and unless human behavior defines the crate as negative your dog will choose to rest in it’s security.
    Know where your new family member was raised and how. Puppies from a pet shop NEVER get this kind of nurturing. They live in tiny enclosures in their own dirt. Rescues are a question mark and most often take a lot more effort to undo the problems that resulted in their landing in the shelter.

  25. I’ve never owned a dog before but would like to. I really have benefited from this article ANC comments from it. My question is; how long is an appropriate amount of time to leave the dog in the crate? I am gone for 12 hours and feel that is too long to let the pup stay in the crate. ESP because I have two cats that have free ro of the house. Thanks all!

  26. I have crated Darcy now 2yrs young , since birth & she sees it as her den, I even pop a blanket over it at night ! I know she feels secure inside & she’s safe n sound ! Pups & dogs need boundaries just like children! I only wish I had continued using it for wen she needs time put(barking or jumping up people) although she only little ! But don’t want her to see it as a negative place now she’s 2 xxxx would recommend to anyone x

    • Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your experience with Darcy. 🙂

      Now, tell me what Darcy’s issue is with barking and I’ll blog some suggestions.

  27. Love this article. Actually, Mr. Darcy, my 2-year-old labradoodle still sleeps in his crate with his blankie and often naps there as well. We wanted to get rid of it, but didn’t want to upset him.

    • Exactly. Many dogs love their crate; clearly Dr. Darcy is one of those dogs. Good for you for recognizing that his reality differed from yours and then respecting his. Nice. 🙂

  28. I am 57 years old. I have had dogs always, usually more than one. I have NEVER crated a dog. I see no need in it. My dogs have never destroyed anything while I am away. When I have a puppy, I see to it that the pup gets frequent time outdoors and is not left unattended – even if I must take off work for a couple of weeks. I plan for the puppy’s arrival and train early. I abhor crates. What happens if the house catches fire and my well-trained dog is confined to a crate? A dog might survive a house fire if it could run to another room. I trust my dogs. 57 years of dogs. No one has been hurt. Why be so harsh?

    • I’m glad it has all worked well for you and your dogs. That is great. But other people need other approaches and my experience is that crating is the safest and kindest option. Your dogs have done well so that’s your experience. I know many dogs who did not do well, and some who died, so that is mine. Crates are the safest place to leave a pup. Just like carseats are the safest place for an infant in a car.

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