I have had this same question asked to me more times than I can count. “Do you think I should crate train my puppy?” My answer is nearly, always “YES!” There are a couple of questions to answer to find out whether or not crate training is for you.
1) Do you like your furniture?
2) Do you like our shoes?
3) In the next 10-14 yrs, do you think you will ever need to leave your dog with someone else over
4) In the next 10-14 yrs, do you think it is possible your dog will need to spend a couple of hours or
more without you at the vet’s office?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then YES, I do believe crate training is for you!
Puppies are, for the most part, chewers. They chew out of play, boredom, teething, etc. If they are left to their own devices, they will find whatever is closest to them at the moment to chew on, not matter if it is their bone, toy, corner of the coffee table, couch, shoes, clothes, etc. Keeping them crated whenever you can’t keep an eagle’s eye on them keeps them from destroying your house, but most importantly, it keeps them from ingesting items that can become lodged in their intestines, which, in turn, could lead to surgery to remove said item.
I know, I know! Your little Muffy has never been a chewer! Well you are one of the lucky few! It does happen occasionally. So, to you I would have you refer to questions 3 and 4. You may believe you are never going to have to leave your pup with a family member, friend, or boarding over night, but life happens. Trust me, in the next 10-14yrs, something will happen requiring you to leave your dog for a night or two. Not everybody you have the option to leave them with is going to be able to allow them to roam freely in their home 24/7.
Now ok, ok. You are never going to spend the night away from your pet due to vacation, funeral, weddings, etc. Ok (really, I don’t believe it, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt), but can you guarantee your dog will never end up with the need to stay at the vet for a couple of hours or more in their ENTIRE life? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Dogs staying at the vet’s office when you aren’t there are put in cages. They can’t have the five dogs they have in for surgeries, illness, or injury running around all together. Dogs already get stressed walking into the vet’s office when they are there just for vaccines. If they have never been trained to stay in a crate, what kind of stress will they be in when that is first time they have to be in one? Now, they are in a strange place that, usually, already makes them uncomfortable. On top of that, you are now not with them, and they have been placed in holding pen.
All of these situations create undo stress on your pet. You don’t have to keep your pet in the crate all the time, but teach them to be in it for 5-20 mins at a time. One thing this will do is teach them not to associate going in the crate with you being gone for long periods of time. I do recommend leaving them in the crates when you aren’t home as well. Never use the crate as punishment. The crate should turn into a safe, calm place your pet.