Introduction to Dog Crates
Dog crates, or dog cages as they are sometimes called are basically used for security and to enhance the safety of the dog.
If used correctly they are never cruel, and any negative thoughts about crating invariably stem from the human perspective and a human horror of being caged.
Dogs in general love their crate! They see things differently.
Dog crates have many uses and here we explore the five more common reasons for crating.
Use for training.
All dogs - and especially puppies - need a certain amount of training and crates can help to train your dog to be left alone for short periods and are also often found to be a great help in toilet training.
In fact a dog crate is often the training tool most recommended by dog trainers and vets. Without doubt a crate helps to build and maintain a bond between you and your dog.
But first, the dog or puppy must be trained to actually use the crate and we have a lot of helpful tips on this site to assist.
You may find the button links below a help in your training regime. Every moment spent on crate training is time well spent.
Use as a den or safe place - not a "sin bin"
Dogs are, by nature, "den" animals and have a natural tendency to seek out a safe place. This allows them to relax in their own secure environment using the crate as protection. Correctly trained dogs have a positive association with their crate and will quite happily walk in and out of it. They will also be quite happy to be left alone in the crate as they will be happy there.
But this all comes down to the training. Crates must never be used as a punishment or to prevent unwanted behaviour. If your dog or puppy's behaviour does give you cause for concern and you feel that the training tips on this site are not quite enough for you, then see your vet or breeder who if they are not able to help will be happy to point you towards an expert professional dog behaviourist, and this usually does the trick!
Do not use the crate as a "sin bin" - this will help no-one. The crate should be a safe haven not a place of punishment.
Use for short term confinement.
Inevitably there will be times when you have to leave your dog or puppy alone in its crate, and this is when you will reap the benefit of the training you have done as if your dog feels insecure it may suffer from separation anxiety and may even attack the crate. A dog which has a relaxed and confident attitude in relation to the crate will not do this. Always try to leave some distraction for your dog - perhaps the radio playing in the background and some toys inside the crate. Here we usually find the 'Kong' treat toys or the 'Lickimat' range to be helpful, giving your dog distraction as it finds and enjoys tasty treats.
There are many situations when you need to leave your dog such as popping out to the shop or to visit a friend or any other reason, including if you are staying away from home in a hotel or b&b, or if you show your dog at local open or championship dog shows. Whatever the reason, your crate is there to help.
Use following illness - or your Vet says so.
When we are ill or feeling under the weather we often take to our bed as a comforting and comfortable place to be. Your dog is no different!
And if your dog is unfortunate enough to have had surgery, or is recovering from an accident which may have broken bones, your vet may prescribe a period of crate rest. This period of rest may go on for a considerable time - sometimes weeks or months - a time when your crate becomes ever more valuable. The whole subject of crate rest is explored in more detail in another of our blogs. Just follow the button link to read up on this important topic if you are unfortunate enough to need to.
Use in the car or when travelling.
The Highway Code leaves no doubt that dogs should be restricted whilst travelling in a car, and the owner may be prosecuted if this is not done! Dogs should not distract the attention of the driver and should not be placed in a position to injure themselves or you should you stop quickly or have an accident.
There are several ways you can operate this restraint including a seat belt harness, but many believe - as we do - that the best way of protecting yourself and your dog is by the use of a dog crate or dog guard.
This may be achieved by using a standard rectangular dog crate, but there are available shaped crates to fit more snugly inside your car. A more expensive option, but one which is probably worth every penny, can be found in our range of crash tested car crates which offer that extra degree of safety. These are available in many sizes, all of which can expand to make better use of the space available. For the very small dog a crash tested crate which sits on the car seat and restrained using the seatbelt is available.
We cannot recommend crash tested crates enough, and you can see the range by clicking on the button below. On these pages you will also see our handy crate finder which shows which crate fits in which car.
A further option is to fit a dog guard behind the back seats together with a tailgate guard which includes an entry door.
Again we would recommend the crash tested versions - follow the link below.