Crate training is well known as a tool for housetraining dogs of all ages, but I have found that its uses go far beyond that. Our five-year-old Rottweiler Lola (shown in the photo) loves her huge crate, and seeks it out frequently… except when our feisty cat Misty has taken up residence in the crate with a “make my day” attitude. Then Lola may whine as she settles down on the floor nearby to wait her turn.
Here are some of the ways that crate training is useful:
- In a multi-dog household, there are times when you may want to give one of the dogs a timeout from being with the other, or you may want to feed a dog in the crate, to not have to supervise if one might go for another’s food.
- If you ever have to leave the dog at a veterinarian’s, the dog will be far less stressed if used to being crated.
- Travel goes well with the dog in a crate, if you happen to have a vehicle large enough for the crate. When we came back to US after living in Mexico, Lola traveled in her crate in our motorhome. (Our LarryDog, who detested crates when we got him as a rescue and still does, was tied near Lola where he couldn’t end up in the driver’s seat.)
- If you have guests over, you can protect the dog from them, as we did recently when a family with three lively preschoolers came for dinner. Or you can protect your guests from the dog, as I did when a group of friends came for lunch and it turned out that one of them was afraid of Lola. I could have told her that Lola was a creampuff till I was blue in the face, but the crate solved the problem more effectively. (It was midwinter and blustery outside, so kicking the dogs out wasn’t a choice. LarryDog ended up in the bedroom.)
By the way, the dog crate can become part of a room pretty easily. In the picture here, we have the crate in a corner. The TV table is in front of it, not showing in the photo. In the winter, we often keep firewood for our woodstove on top of the crate, and our Christmas tree went there during the holidays. That’s a wooden-slat bookcase in the corner on top of the crate too.
Here’s a recording I made about crate training: