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  • Writer's pictureHeather Brendle

Why I Crate My Dogs.

I have always crated my dogs, even those that we have adopted as adults. If they didn't already have the ability to be crated, it was something they learned to do, some were more comfortable with this than others. I have owned a dog that had full-on separation anxiety and I have owned dogs that could relax in their crate for 12 hours, if that is what I asked of them. I have owned 2 dogs that wanted to kill each other and required we live a crate and rotate lifestyle for 10 years. I suppose I have a high expectation in regard to crating behaviors, but I have a long list of reasons why I think it could be important throughout their lives.

  • For their own safety.

  • For another animal's safety.

  • For a person's safety.

  • There is an emergency, and your dog needs to be confined.

  • They need to be crated at the vet clinic so they can have a procedure.

  • Recovery from a procedure.

  • You are traveling and they cannot roam the hotel room/Airbnb freely.

  • You want them safe in a vehicle.

  • To keep them from ingesting items that could make them sick.

That being said, the way I approach crate training today is very different than what I did years ago. In the past, it was toss them in a crate with a frozen kong and be on your merry way, they will figure it out or cry it out, whichever comes first. This method could be very effective, although now, it feels like a setup for failure. While my expectations are high, I also like to set my dogs up for success, whenever possible. So now, crate training looks more like an experiment. What can the dog handle? What makes crating easier for them? What makes it harder? How long can they go? How can we build on the successes? I didn't ditch the frozen kong but I sure have added a few items to my bag of tricks too. PATIENCE, a camera to watch, a primo pad, a marrow bone, different types of crates to test, a white noise machine, etc.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you have a new puppy, I advise that you at least introduce them to a crate. Even knowing if they can handle it, is valuable information to have. If they can't, I would look for resources that can help you get to a point that they are comfortable. There are way too many scenarios that will pop up in their lives with you where a crate could be extremely useful, for their sanity and yours.

If your dog is experiencing separation related anxiety (in or out of a crate), below is an excellent resource.

Rottweiler in a green crate in a vehicle.
Thiago exiting his travel crate, ready to go for a trail walk.

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