When people first see a dog crate, they sometimes think that they are cruel. I will admit that I too had misgivings about using them; I felt uncomfortable about locking my dogs away in what looked like a cage. Many years and many dogs later, I am a convert and I believe that crate training has benefits for both dogs and their parents.
Dogs tend not to mess where they sleep, so if your pup can settle in their crate, it helps with learning bowel and bladder control. This is very useful for when you cannot keep an eye on them, because it minimizes the risk of accidents that could happen while you are not looking. Take your pup outside to eliminate frequently so that they don’t inadvertently go to the toilet in the crate. A pup's age in months is the maximum number of hours that you should leave him crated before taking him out to the toilet. For example, a six month old puppy should not stay in the crate for more than six hours at a time. Even this rule-of-thumb duration is a little too long for some individuals.
A Safe Place
If your dog has a crate that they are comfortable in, it becomes their safe place, a place for them to retreat to when they need some quiet time. This can be very helpful for when you have noisy visitors or tradesmen working around your home and they are nervous and stressed. Friends and family members can be told that when your dog is in their crate, they are not to be disturbed.
It is also handy to settle your dog in their crate with a treat if you are doing chores and you would prefer not to have them underfoot, or if your visitors are afraid of dogs and would prefer to avoid an overenthusiastic welcome.
Travel and Vacation
Having a dog that is crate-trained is wonderful when you are travelling. A properly anchored and secured crate will keep them from being thrown around in the car should you be involved in an accident. If your pet needs to fly overseas, the experience will be less stressful if they are comfortable lying in a crate.
Even when you are at your destination, the crate is useful. It is a familiar place for your dog to rest when you are camping or in a vacation house. If you compete in dog sports, a crate can help protect your dog from unwelcome attention from the general public, much more so than being staked out or tied to a fence.
Vets and Groomers
It can be stressful for your dog to have to stay at the vet surgery or their grooming parlor. There are lots of noises and smells, and unfamiliar people coming and going. They will also be confined to a crate during their stay. A dog that is well used to spending time in a crate will be less stressed and is likely to feel more secure and relaxed, particularly if you put a familiar smelling blanket in with him. This is particularly helpful when they have to stay in an animal hospital.
Dogs have a natural instinct to be in a den. Many dogs take to a crate very easily. Do not be put off by their cage-like appearance; you may be surprised at how useful a crate is, and how much your dog enjoys it.