I’m a fan of using a kennel/crate for puppies.

A crate helps with potty training, teaching manners, keeping the puppy safe and giving the owner a break.

But what about crating an adult dog?

Is it cruel to crate an adult dog?

No, it’s not cruel.

In general, it’s completely fine if you want to leave your well-behaved adult dog in a crate when you’re not home.

But of course, it depends on the dog.

I can understand why using a crate is helpful for some adult dogs:

1. Some dogs appreciate the crate routine when they’re home alone. It’s what they’re used to. It helps them feel calm and secure. They become anxious without the crate.

2. Some dogs will always get into things on occasion such as the trash, food on the counter or whatever it might be. Crating the dog removes those opportunities.

3. Some dogs bark out the windows or scratch at the doors and windows on occasion. Crating them removes those opportunities.

Is it cruel to crate an adult dog?

4. The majority of dogs sleep the whole time their owners are gone anyway. It’s simply not a big deal to crate them.

5. If you have multiple dogs, sometimes it’s safer to crate one or both dogs while you’re away to prevent fights or other mischief.

6. Some people have enough stress in their day with work or kids or whatever. Crating the dog removes the added stress of worrying about what the dog might be doing. Totally worth it.

7. Finally, most dogs don’t really mind their crates if they’ve been crate trained. They’re dogs. They adapt to whatever we decide for them.

I prefer to leave my dogs loose … once they’ve earned it

I view the crate as a tool to help a dog earn future freedom.

I have a 10-year-old Lab mix named Ace (update: RIP Ace) and an 11-month old weimaraner named Remy. You can probably guess that Ace is left loose and Remy is crated when they’re home alone.

I used a kennel with Ace until he was about 18 months old. The kennel helped him learn the proper routine of relaxing when home alone vs. getting into things.

Ideally, I’ll be able to leave Remy loose at some point too, but we’re nowhere near that point yet! In the meantime, I do not feel one bit guilty about using a crate for him.

How to make the crate more enjoyable

Kong toys

To help make the crate more enjoyable for Remy, I often give him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or other treats when he’s in his crate. If I’m going to be gone awhile, I make two of these and freeze them beforehand so they last longer.

Plenty of exercise beforehand

I also make sure he gets a lot of exercise, play, interaction and training every day. If he’s going to be left alone for several hours, then I make sure to exercise him before I leave and again when I get home.

What do you think?

Do you crate your adult dog?

Remy the weimaraner in his kennel

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