The Great Crate Debate

For some, crating is a major part of puppyhood and the overall training process they go through with their puppy or new dog. For others, it’s a totally skippable step.

Just like all of the other training decisions we make, it’s a personal choice. There are definitely benefits, but crating may not be a necessary part of your dog’s life.

Some Quick Mythbusting

Are crates cruel? No.

Are they right for every dog? Also no.

Crates are not a “natural” part of a dog’s life. Dogs are not den animals, so they don’t take to crates with ease. Training is key to getting them comfortable. 

Just because it’s not natural though, doesn’t mean it’s cruel. Walking on a leash isn’t natural either. It takes some positive association training to get them comfortable and to help them see their crate as their own space within your home. 

It’s not a punishment to use a crate, it becomes a punishment when crates are used punitively. Crates can be hugely beneficial and create a space that helps you and your dog feel secure whenever you leave the house. 

Creating The Perfect Crate

When used appropriately, their crate is their zen den, retreat area, special alone space. It’s the first place they go when they just want to chill out and have a few moments of peace. Whether that’s after dinner, during a party, or when they just need a nap.

From the outside, the crate is just metal wires and a big plastic sheet. It looks uninviting, a little cold, and definitely not what we think of when we imagine our favorite place to relax. That’s why creating a whole vibe is key to keeping your dog happy and feeling super secure inside their home within a home.

Blankets, beds, and crate covers are essential parts of setting the mood. It helps us look at the crate as a comfortable space and makes it the perfect nook for your dog to tuck themselves into.

Alternative Options

Still not on board the crate train? That’s totally okay.

If your dog is staying at home, and it’s too risky to let them free roam, there are plenty of other options to keep them out of trouble.

Exercise Pens are my favorite alternative to a crate. Easy to set-up (and collapse to flat storage), these provide your dog with more space to roam around but keep them contained. Plenty of space for a bed, fresh water, and their favorite toy.

If you have a room that they’re free to roam in, set up a gate to keep them in that area, or out of off-limit spaces.

If you want to get your dog out of the house for the day, there are so many daycares, dogsitters, or hey, ask a friend or neighbor who works from home or at a dog-friendly office! Time-sharing your dog is a total New York move and they get to have daytime adventures.

There are some endless guides out there for how to crate train, but it’s up to you to decide if crating is the right move for you and your dog. 

Check out our favorite crate guides, and let us know what your experience with crate-training (or forgoing it!) was like.

//Crate Training Tips Video by Rachel Fusaro

//The Ultimate Guide to Crating by the Humane Society