To Crate Or Not To Crate, that is the question!

Should I crate train my dog??

The age-old question that trainers get asked a lot is “Should I crate train my dog/puppy?” There are lots of questions and concerns regarding crate training dogs.

In this post, we are going to talk about the most common concerns. We are not going to try to persuade you one way or the other. Instead, we are going to provide you with information so that you can make the best decision for you and your furbaby. Let’s get started, shall we?

Do I really need to crate train my dog?

The answer to this question depends on the dog. If you have a new puppy crate training can help house train them and keep them out of trouble. In fact, the best set up for puppies is to have a crate just big enough for them to stand up, turn around and lie down in. Beyond that, you can have them in a small room where there isn’t anything they can get into or use an enclosure like an x-pen to make their area small. This is the best place for your puppy to be when you are unable to keep an eye on them. Otherwise, they can get into trouble around the house. For more information about housetraining puppies check out our housetraining article.

If you have a puppy who gets anxiety when placed in a crate but is good around the house you may not need to crate them. Dogs who have crate anxiety can learn to be calm in a crate, it just takes time and patience as well as the proper training. Changing your dogs emotional response to being in a crate takes time and should never be rushed.

The question here is, is it worth the hassle? If your dog is good in the house you may decide that he doesn’t really need the crate. But what about outside the house? If your dog ever gets loose and caught be a dog catcher he will be placed inside a crate during transportation. What if something happens and your dog needs to go to the vet he will likely be placed in a crate. Your dog may one day need stitches and he may need to be on crate rest, which is hard to do for a dog who gets anxiety when in a crate.

Now those scenarios may never happen for your dog. Is it worth the hassle for the slightest possibility? That is a personal question that only you can answer.

Isn’t putting your dog in a crate mean?

The answer to this is no. Providing your dog with a crate provides your dog with a safe place that is all his. A space he can go to when he is feeling scared or nervous. Unlike people, dog’s don’t need lots of space. They prefer small spaces where they can curl up.

Have you ever seen a dog dig themselves a hole to curl up in the yard? They make the hole just big enough for them to curl up in. A theory of mine is that dogs do this for protection. They curl into themselves protecting their underbelly while they rest. A dogs underbelly is one of the most vulnerable spots. Dogs who sleep stretched out or on their backs with their feet in the air only do so where they feel safe.

If you put your dog in a crate when he is bad won’t that make your dog hate the crate?

No. By removing your dog from the fun you are telling him that when he does that behavior fun is removed. He doesn’t link it to the crate. It works in the same way as sending your kid to his room when he is bad. Does your kid learn to hate his room? No. Dogs need boundaries as much as kids do. Using a crate to remove your dog from situations will help your dog learn what his boundaries are. For example: your playing with your new puppy and he gets riled up and starts biting your arms and legs. By simply telling him no and putting him in a crate he will learn that play ends when teeth touch skin. He will not want play to end so he will try harder not to let his teeth touch skin.


Deciding to crate train your dog definetly deepends on your individual dog, your training needs, and what works best for your family. If you have a dog who doesn’t do well in a crate a small room or an x-pen may work and still get similar results. As long as your dog has his own space somewhere that is key.

Have more questions about crate training? Leave them in the comments section below and we will answer them for you!

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