We had several dogs growing up in the 60’s and my family only knew a crate was for storing or shipping things. We never crated our dogs and I was not familiar with crates until I was 29 years old and saw our Police K-9 Unit crating their dogs when they traveled. I didn’t think it was cruel or unusual, in fact I thought “what a great idea.” The dogs were contained in the vehicle so they did not interfere with the driver and they were also safe in case of an accident. As I learned more about dogs, raising pups, and training I found that almost everyone used crates. All police dogs stay in crates when traveling in the handlers personal cars and when staying in hotels.
What do crates do for the pet owner? Crates keep your pup safe when you are away. They keep them from damaging your home, protect them from ingesting something harmful or death by chewing on an electric cord. Crates can save the pet owner a whole lot of grief. When I pick up a puppy from a breeder, the puppy rides in the crate on the way home. I start out as soon as I get the pup the crate in your new den. I feed my pups in the crate, I toss treats and toys in the crate. When I leave the pup in the crate I leave them a Kong stuffed with teats and liver paste. The paste comes in a variety of flavors and dogs love them. If your dog is not a fan of peanut butter try chicken, cheese or liver. Let the pup go into the crate, get their treat or toy and come out. Make the crate a positive thing.
You will need to learn your pup’s cries just like a parent learns their new born baby cries. Does the pup need go outdoors and potty or is the pup just protesting “let me out!” If it’s the latter, do not let a crying pup out of the crate. The pup quickly learns that crying gets him out of the crate and you’ll be creating a monster. Let your pup out of the crate when they are quiet. Now if our pup has slept for couple of hours awakens and cries, they most likely need to go outdoors and relieve themselves.
The style of crate can help your dog too. I do not recommend the all metal wire collapsible crate as seen in the photograph below.
When people tell me their dog broke out of the crate it is this type. Not only can dogs break their way out and possibly injure themselves, they have no privacy. Crates should replicate a den for the dog. I like the plastic shipping style crates. They tend to be dark inside which the dogs like. They like the privacy of the plastic crates. An example of the plastic crate is below.
Crates are not cruel and you will find your dog will go to the crate to rest. Leave the door open so your dog can go there whenever they want. My dogs love their crates. They are the one piece of home you can take with your when to go to Grandma’s house. Some dogs may get nervous when not at home and nervous dogs pace. It is difficult to sleep if your dog is up all night pacing. The crate gives them a sense of security and something they are familiar with when away from home. My dogs love their crates and yours will too.