Welcome to the crate debate. It's often said that placing a dog in a crate is cruel. We tend to forget that our canine friends prefer to have a den-like area.

Adopting a rescue can be a bigger challenge with more responsibility than a typical puppy adoption. Often, rescue dogs suffered trauma in the past that can make things difficult for a new pet owner, particularly when crate training. However, we’ve personally crate trained a few rescues, and can assure you that it’s not impossible.


1. Provide a safe space

Dogs have a natural ‘denning’ instinct and crates can provide a haven for your dog when he is feeling stressed or tired and needs some downtime. Children especially, must be taught that when the dog is in his crate, whether by his own choice or by yours, that he is out of bounds for them and must be left alone.

2. Help with house training

Crates are great for house training. Dogs and puppies don’t like a soiled bed, so a properly sized crate is very useful to assist you in teaching him bladder and bowel control.

3. Household safety

Having your dog resting comfortably in his crate while you are not able to supervise him is a bonus. Maybe you are cooking dinner or working on renovations where your pup could cause safety issues just by being underfoot. Having him tucked safely away will give you peace of mind.

4. Safer travel

Car travel in a crate is far safer for both of you than having him loose in the car.

5. Easier vet visits

If your dog ever needs to stay overnight at the vet’s, he will be far less stressed when he is confined in the cage or run if he has already been crate trained.

6. Damage limitation

Have you seen those ‘dog shaming’ videos on the net, where the pet parent comes home to find his furniture in a shambles? Funny though they are, those disasters could have been avoided if the dog had been left in his crate with a bone or toy to chew on, instead of destroying the designer couch.

7. Evacuation

Finally, if you ever have to evacuate your home in case of a disaster or emergency, heaven forbid, having a crate trained dog is so much easier for all concerned. Whether you keep your dog with you, or he has to be handed over to carers, your pup will be better off in his own crate. He’ll be more relaxed with his own blankets and toys with your scent on them, than one who is unfamiliar with a crate and therefore experiences undue stress.life.


One of the most important things to remember is that this process will take time. If your dog is ever scared, or feels forced to go into his crate, you will really struggle to train him.  Even dogs who are afraid of crates will love them again. 

Of course, you will probably not be able to find a crate that fits the exact length, width and height of your dog. Just try to stay as close to those measurements as possible.


When in doubt, go with a bigger length, width or height than you need because they must be able to do the following without touching the sides;

           Sit & Stand             Turn around          Lay down


Young or old,  regardless of their past experiences,  ALWAYS start from the beginning.  Move with baby steps.

This video will show you everything you need to know, and do,  to make their crate an amazing place. 

Crate training needs to be done gradually. Locking your dog in a crate and expecting them to instantly be comfortable is unrealistic.  Start the process right away so when you need to leave them in the crate for a bit, you are ready.

Even the most tired dog can find trouble in a few minutes.

Don't wait until its too late, start training now! 



Crates can also be misused and have a negative influence on your dog.


Here are some uses to avoid >>

Common sense should be your guide when it comes to crate training. Good, positive associations will help your pup love their crate!


It is very important to remember not to use a crate as punishment for your dog. His crate should be his haven. I have often found my dogs resting in their crates of their own accord with the door wide open.


While crates can be used for teaching your dog the house rules, it is NOT okay to use the crate as a crutch because of lack of training. Your dog wants to be with YOU, not spending his life in a crate, so be diligent about your training regime early on.


Never leave your dog in his crate for too long, especially puppies who have limited bladder control. Yes, a regular work schedule of 6-8 hours is generally okay. Don't go much past that. Look into having a friend, or pet sitter come in and let him out, or look into a good doggy daycare. 

Kelowna, B.C

©2019  Paws It Forward