Isn't it cruel to put your dog in a crate?

Dogs are by nature den animals. When properly introduced to a crate, most dogs love it, and they will often go into their crates on their own to sleep. Of course, no dog should be left in the crate so long that it must soil the crate. It's a wonderful tool to use for housetraining, but puppies are not physically equipped to go for more than three or four hours without going to the bathroom. And all use of a crate should be done with an eye toward eventually weaning the dog off of it. There are only a few dogs that must always use a crate while you are gone. Afterwards, it is a very useful thing to have -- for example if at all possible your dog should always ride in the car in his crate.

Crating a dog works to prevent the dog from doing many of the behaviors you don't want it to. What your dog does not do does not develop into a habit and thus requires no correction. Second, it means that when your dog does have an opportunity to engage in the unwanted behavior, you are around (because you're home to let it out) to give a proper and timely correction.

As the behavioral aspects pointed out above, reducing the territory to protect and keeping it in the den are also positive things from the dog's point of view, reducing the overall stress that it experiences.

(Cindy Moore, cindy@k9web.com)