We are going to confront the word “crate” once and for all, because, simply put, a crate is not a bad thing for your dog. Dogs come from wolves and, wolves are denning animals. Dogs need a den of their own. Most homeowners use crates or outdoor doghouses for such (another subject for summer). Dogs need this small space to feel safe and secure. When a crate is used appropriately, meaning not for punishment, it creates a feeling of sanctuary for a dog. It’s his or her space and can act as his bedroom which brings comfort and security.
When dogs don’t have a space of their own, they tend to create such under furniture, under bushes, and will even dig holes to create a den. Who has dogs that dig? 😊
The ideal crate for your dog is one that allows him/her to stand and turn around when choosing a spot to sit and lay down. It should be well ventilated and not a box with holes. If it’s too small, your dog will feel cramped and confined. If it’s too big, your pet may think there is room to go to the bathroom. Make sure there is a comfy bed. If your pet is a chewer, start out with inexpensive beds. The important thing is to make sure the crate is associated with a positive experience. Repeated, this will teach your dog that the crate is his safe place and will make him/her want to go there when tired.
Dogs should never stay in a crate longer than overnight or for half a day. Before crating make sure your pet is sufficiently exercised so there is a need for rest. They will gladly go to their crates when tired – after a good drink of cool water.
Dogs who feel safe and secure in crates do better in enrichment too! They play and learn at Fetch. We are all about the balance between physical play and mental stimulation, and during appropriate times during the day, dogs must recuperate and take a break in a den/crate, where they feel safe enough to sleep even in the presence of other dogs and humans. So, there we have used the “crate” word appropriately! If you have any questions, I am always just a bark away.
Carolyn Lapps is the General Manager at Fetch Family Pet Resort. Her love and passion for all animals began at a young age and has led to a career. She is frequently consulted on pet socialization, family integration issues, and is highly regarded for her experience with domestic animal management and care.