"Private room with a view. Ideal for traveling dogs or for those who just want a secure, quiet place to hang out at home."
That's how your dog might describe his crate. It's his own personal den where he can find comfort and solitude while you know he's safe and secure—and not shredding your house while you're out running errands.
Crate training uses a dog's natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog's den is his home, a place to sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family. The crate becomes your dog's den, an ideal spot to snooze or take refuge during a thunderstorm.
The primary use for a crate is housetraining. Dogs don't like to soil their dens. The crate can limit access to the rest of the house while he learns other rules, like not to chew on furniture.
Crates are a safe way to transport your dog in the car.
A crate isn't a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. Never use the crate as a punishment. Your dog will come to fear it and refuse to enter it. Don't leave your dog in the crate too long. A dog that’s crated day and night doesn't get enough exercise or human interaction and can become depressed or anxious. You may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter, or take your dog to a doggie daycare facility to reduce the amount of time he must spend in his crate every day.
Puppies under six months of age shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can't control their bladders and bowels for that long. The same goes for adult dogs that are being housetrained. Physically, they can hold it, but they don’t know they’re supposed to. Crate your dog only until you can trust him not to destroy the house. After that, it should be a place he goes voluntarily.
Selecting a crate Several types of crates are available:
Plastic (often called "flight kennels") Fabric on a collapsible, rigid frame Collapsible, metal pens Crates come in different sizes and can be purchased at most pet supply stores or pet supply catalogs. Your dog's crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. If your dog is still growing, choose a crate size that will accommodate his adult size.