Virginia Simpson and Chance

Why You Should Use a Crate if You Love Your Puppy

by Virginia Simpson, Unleashed Canine Obedience

I hear it a lot in consultations, “we think it is cruel to put our puppy in a crate.”  You’re not doing your pup any favors by not teaching them how to be calm and accepting of being in a crate and having their space controlled.  At some point they might need to be in a crate or confined space, like at the vets or groomers and you don’t want a stressful situation made worse due to crate anxiety.

Additionally, if you have to leave your puppy alone at home before they are displaying a working knowledge of when and where to go the bathroom and what is and isn’t appropriate to chew on, it is not only kind but imperative that your pup be confined in such a way that they will be safe and unable to engage in behaviors around the home that you don’t want.  Top reasons why pets are given up: potty training issues and destructive behavior.  Top reason why dogs are not potty trained or tend to engage in destructive behavior: never crated during important developmental stages and development of the bad habits due to lack of supervision.  If you are not available to redirect your puppy into more appropriate behavior, your pup will never learn the right way to behave when left home alone. 

Baby gates and playpens were developed to keep young children safe before they are ready to have free rein of the home.  We need to use similar tools to keep puppies and young exuberant dogs safe as well, and you can use these things as tools to teach appropriate behaviors.
Just like us, puppies do not come out of the womb with loads of self-control.  It is a taught behavior.  In the wild, the pups would more than likely be constantly monitored by a member of the pack who would redirect or correct as appropriate.  When you are not home, the crate will keep your pup from engaging in behaviors that you don’t want, like peeing inside, and will also keep them safe from chewing on things that will make them sick or worse.

Crating can also help relieve anxiety for dogs.  A crate can give a dog a nice quiet, enclosed space to retreat to.  Some dogs can feel a great deal of anxiety when given too much freedom too quickly.  This is especially true of dogs that are adopted from the pound or a rescue group.  The move can be overwhelming and all the new stimuli can create heavy feelings of anxiousness in many dogs.  Sometimes giving them a day to just chill in a crate in another room and soak up all the smells and sounds of the new home before forcing them to interact can be the best thing you can do for a new dog.

When used appropriately, with plenty of time for exercising and interactions with the world, the crate can be a very useful and simple tool to use to teach your pup appropriate manners for living in your home.   Stay tuned for ways to make crate training fun!


Virginia L. Simpson
Certified Dog Trainer
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
IACP Member #3141
Phone:  513.317.7484