For thousands of years dogs have sought out small, enclosed spaces for shelter and security. Crating your dog can give him that feeling of safety, like he has his own room to go to. Here are four ways to use the crate:
For the young
For puppies, the crate functions as a sort of babysitter when you can't be there to monitor unsafe or undesirable behavior. And, because dogs instinctively try to keep their sleeping areas clean, the crate helps the puppy learn to hold and strengthen its young bladder and bowel muscles, making housebreaking less of a chore for you and the dog.
What's more, if you're raising a dog in a household with young children, the crate serves as a safe harbor, giving the pup a break from too much action, and the kids a break from the puppy's sharp baby teeth.
For the traveling dog
For the dog who travels often with his family, the crate can be a constant and familiar haven, from car to weekend retreat-a place to feel secure in when the world around him changes.
For the insecure dog
Because dogs feel responsible for their own territory, the insecure dog should have less space to protect, not more. A crate (rather than the whole house) means less territory to patrol, making it easier for the dog to settle down and relax.
For the rescued dog
To the rehomed dog, a crate is sometimes the only consistent environment he has ever had. A crate gives this dog time to safely adjust to new surroundings, as well as the luxury of not having to fight for his own space in new territory. It can ease the transition from one family to another.
Originally published in AKC Family Dog.
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