Many dog owners talk about crate training benefits, but if you’re new to dog ownership or you’ve always had a dog that does well free roaming in the home, then you may wonder what the point of crate training is and whether it’s really necessary.
The benefits of crating a dog go beyond just keeping them in a contained space while you are away from home. Dog crates keep pets safe in a number of ways, both inside and outside of the home.
I personally believe that crate training is one of the most beneficial life skills to teach a dog because it will keep them safe in a variety of stressful situations. The skill is not something you will want to wish you had when you need it.
Keep reading to learn why crate training is an important part of our training plan.
Crate Training Seems Cruel, Are there Alternatives?
For humans, it’s understandable that the thought of keeping a dog contained in a small space for several hours seems cruel.
While there are certainly ways to abuse the crate, when used properly, the crate is a safe and comforting space for your dog.
My friend has a dog named Griffey Flood. He earned his name when she was seeking an alternative to the crate by shutting him in the bathroom when they left one day.
They came home to a flooded bathroom because Griffey took it upon himself to chew through some piping while hanging out in the bathroom.
And that is how Griffey got the middle name Flood.
Inside a safe crate, there is really very little damage your dog can do, whether to themselves or to anything inside the crate.
Sure, they can destroy their bed, but if your dog displays destructive behaviors, then start out with an empty crate until they demonstrate that they can be calm.
11 Crate Training Benefits
There are so many benefits to crate training your dog that you may not have ever considered. A lot of the reasons come in handy in emergency situations.
Will you use them regularly? Hopefully not, but you will be glad your dog has the skills when you need them.
Other reasons to crate train your dog include veterinary stays, for creating calmness, and for reducing the risk of damage.
Crates Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car
I’ve talked about how awful Sitka was in the car when I first adopted him. I’m talking lunging, yowling, constant movement, barking. I was sure we’d get into a car crash.
After trying a harness designed for car travel, I moved on to using a crate because Sitka would become entangled in the straps in his attempt to move around.
When someone I know from Instagram was involved in a car accident with their dogs, where her car was T-boned and flipped several times, I knew a crate was the right choice. Their dogs emerged totally safe from the accident, with just a few scratches to the kennels.
I did my research on the best dog crates for car travel and got one for Sitka. It’s been MUCH better driving with him in a kennel. He can spin around all he wants, but I don’t have to pull over to detangle him.
Kennels are great for dogs with anxiety in the car, but also general safety. I have peace of mind knowing that Sitka is safer if we are ever in an accident.
Crates Allow Emergency Responders to Find Your Dog Easily in Fire
In the event of an emergency at your home while you are away, emergency responders can more easily locate your dog in their kennel than if they were roaming free.
If your dog is scared, they may run away and hide or escape when the rescue team enters the house. If your dog is locked in a crate, then they can’t escape, plain and simple.
Crated dogs also keep emergency responders safe from your dog. Even the sweetest dogs can react out of character and bite when they are scared.
Crates Prepare Your Dog for an Emergency Evacuation Situation
If you need to flee your house and find emergency shelter at a moment’s notice, then a crate trained dog will be one less stressor off your plate.
Not only will crate training help you assemble your dog and load them up into the car more quickly and easily, but if your dog needs to stay somewhere apart from you during the evacuation, they will be safer in a crate than roaming freely in a new, unfamiliar space.
Want more dog training content? Check out these posts:
The 5 Essential Dog Training Commands I Use Every Day
9 E-Collar Training Myths: Busted
The Place Command: What is Is and Why You Should Teach Your Dog
9 Helpful Tips for Hiking with a Dog with Leash Reactivity
9 Reasons to Say No to On Leash Greetings and What to Do Instead
Dog Crates Keep Escape Artists Safe
While backpacking with a friend one summer, he told me about his sister’s cattle dog who was hit and killed by a car because he kept escaping from the house.
“Why didn’t they crate him?” I asked?
He replied that he supposed that people have different opinions about crate training.
I recently learned about another dog that would escape from the house and was struck by a car and died.
While I get that some people don’t like the idea of a crate, I think getting killed by a car is a far worse fate than having to spend a few hours in a kennel each day.
Crate Training Prevents Destructive Behaviors
I was once in a mastermind group with other pet bloggers where one of the participants was working on an article about how pet insurance saved them tens of thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.
The reason they had incurred such high vet bills?
Their dogs had gotten into just about anything and everything you could imagine while they were free roaming the house while the owners were away.
They were lucky the dogs didn’t die.
I know another, much safer, and economical solution: dog crates!
Whenever I can’t keep a close eye on my dog, I put him in the crate. Even though I trust him not to destroy and get into things while I’m away, it’s just not worth the risk to me.
Crates Prepare Your Dog for Overnight Stays at the Veterinarian
There may come a time when your dog will need to stay overnight at the vet’s office after a surgery or for other observations.
While your dog may still feel uncomfortable having to stay in an unfamiliar place away from you, they will feel more secure in the kennel if they are used to staying in one regularly.
Dog Crates Give Your Puppy a Space to Nap and Stay out of Trouble
Wonder why puppies are trouble? Aside from being young and curious, puppies are especially obnoxious when they are tired.
Puppies require up to 20 hours of sleep depending on their age!
Creating a schedule that rotates between potty breaks, naps, training sessions, and quiet time will help tame your
It will also give you time for yourself to get things done without having to worry about your puppy getting into something while you’re not looking.
Crate Training Inhibits Separation Anxiety
When you practice being away from your dog at home, when you leave the house, your dog won’t freak out and bark for hours while you are away.
It’s ok for us to spend time away from our dogs, even while we’re at home.
If you have a space large enough, keep your dog’s crate in a separate room and have them spend a few hours there each day when you’re home.
An especially great time to do this is after a training session. The crate gives them a space to process the mental work they just practiced and chill out.
Crates Keep Your Dog away From Guests
Anytime guests come over to visit, I always start off with Sitka in his crate.
This prevents him from practicing a number of behaviors, including:
- Barking at the door
- Jumping up on guests
- Breaking commands when your guests don’t listen to your request to ignore your dog
- Running out the door when they arrive
Once the excitement over the guests’ arrival has passed, I may then decide to let my dog out and put him on place.
Crate Training Can Help Dogs Recover Faster after Injury or Surgery
There may be a time when your veterinarian puts your dog on crate rest due to an injury or after surgery.
If they have never spent time in a crate, then they could cause more damage to the affected area or heal slower due to the stress of being in the crate.
A dog that has had practice hanging out in the crate will fare far better and recover more quickly if they are calm and not stressed about having to spend so much time in a crate.
Crates Prevent Fighting between Dogs
I’ve got yet another story about a different friend’s dog that could have been easily prevented by a crate.
My friend left her dog with her sister while she went on vacation, only to come home to a dog with stitches in her face.
Well, the sister also had a dog and she left the two dogs alone while she went out for the day and her dog attacked my friend’s dog. Imagine, two dogs that are “friends” got into a fight.
How could this have been easily prevented? You guessed it–crate!
You just never know what dogs will decide to fight over when there are no humans there to intervene. The sister’s dog could have easily killed her dog, she’s very lucky that her dog came out with just a few stitches.