Dog crates are a training tool that have become more and more popular through the years. The notion that they are cruel is outdated and most people realize this simply isn't the case. I have personally crate trained over a dozen dogs in my home along with helping hundreds of clients crate train their dogs. Some of them were adult dogs from shelters that had never been confined before. The majority of dogs can learn fairly quickly to go in their crate on command and relax quietly until it is time to come out.
The crate is a training tool and like many other tools, can be used incorrectly. The crate should not be used as punishment, rather a place to send your dog when you want them to lay down and do nothing. If you do it right, it is something that most dogs will accept and even enjoy as a safe place to relax and chill out. Proper crate training should be done when you are home to ensure your dog is ok when you leave.
There are many reasons to crate train a dog. The two biggest reasons are to aid in housebreaking and to keep your dog out of trouble and safe when you aren't home. Start by teaching the dog that when they go in their crate, they get a treat. Repeat this hundreds of times then gradually build the amount of time they stay in the crate with the door closed. It is also very important to teach your dog not to bark or paw at the crate. It is also important to keep your dogs crate in a quiet climate controlled area. (away from windows or other stimulating situations) If you can exercise your dog before crating, it will be easier for them to relax and go to sleep.
There will always be times when you'll need to confine your dog. They may have an injury at some point in their life and need to remain still for a long period of time. It is also a good idea to confine your dog when any stranger comes to your home like a contractor. These are just a couple of reasons why I recommend crating for the life of your dog. The notion that dogs should stop being crated at a certain age is simply untrue. Another benefit is that people are more likely to watch your dog when you go away if they are well crate trained. This will save you money and save your dog the stressful experience of being boarded.
In conclusion, a well crate trained dog is an easier dog to live with all around!
Written by Lynette Meissner