Is it Mean to Use a Crate for Dogs and Puppies?

If I couldn’t have a crate for my puppy Remy, I would not have gotten a puppy.

Yes, some people raise puppies without crates/kennels and it goes just fine.  I’m just saying I personally wouldn’t do it.

Some of the reasons a crate has been so helpful for my weimaraner include:

  • Knowing my puppy was safe and not eating something that could harm him
  • Training him not to go potty in the house
  • Teaching him how to relax
  • Having a safe place to keep him when I wasn’t home and at night
  • Having a safe, comfortable place to put him when someone came to the door or when my other pets need a break from him
  • Peace of mind knowing he’s not destroying our couch, shoes, door paneling, etc. (we rent)
  • Allowing me time to take a break from my puppy and re-charge so I could be a better owner and trainer

We received a large, wire crate from Carlson Pet Products, the sponsor of this post.

I prefer a wire crate for my dogs because you can easily fold it down for storage or travel. Our crate from Carlson Pet Products fits in the trunk of my small car and I can easily carry it myself. It’s actually fairly lightweight.

So, is it mean to use a crate for dogs?

No! Of course not. I look at kennels/crates as temporary tools for future FREEDOM!

Because my senior dog Ace stayed in his crate years ago while I was at work, he never developed any bad habits like pacing around anxiously or chewing items that were off limits. Instead, he just settled into his crate with his peanut butter Kong and relaxed.

Within a few months, I started leaving him loose for half days and eventually full work days when he was around 18 months old.

Had I not used a crate, I think my dog would’ve felt more anxious and I know he would’ve destroyed something!

Today, it’s the same concept with my 2-year-old weimaraner.

My husband and I both work from home, but if we have to leave for an hour or two, Remy goes in his crate and we have peace of mind knowing he’s safe. It also takes pressure off Remy by removing any opportunities for him to make mistakes (like chewing our couch).

Now that Remy is 2 years old, I’m sure we’ll eventually try leaving him loose for short periods. But Remy is a more intelligent, high-energy and mischievous dog than Ace so we’ll be keeping the crate on hand for quite some time I’m sure!

Here are some ideas for helping your dog love his crate!

It helps significantly if you start introducing the crate to your dog as a puppy. We put Remy in his crate right away in the car on the way home from the breeder’s house when he was just 8 weeks old! It was about an hour drive and he fell asleep immediately.

Once home, we spent about an hour with him and then put him in his crate again for a nap. We filled it with some soft blankets and some tempting chews like bully sticks and hooves and he cried for about five minutes and then crashed and slept for another hour.

My suggestions are to make the crate comfortable by:

  • Padding it with comfy blankets (if your dog doesn’t eat blankets)
  • Stocking it with tempting chews like bully sticks or Kongs stuffed with peanut butter
  • Keeping it in a central, comfortable area of the house where you spend a lot of time too (like a TV room, home office or your bedroom)
  • Look into information on “Crate Games” by Susan Garrett. It’s about using training and games and rewards to help your dog LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his crate!
  • And of course, provide plenty of exercise, training and companionship throughout the day so YOU DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.

A note on guilt …

When people feel guilty about using a crate, their dogs are more likely to feel anxious too. I believe the crate is no big deal. I see it as a tool to allow my dog future freedom. So, Remy also views the crate as no big deal.

Limiting time in the crate

One concern with crates is that some dog owners might be tempted to use them for too long and too often.

Maybe the dog is crated for 9 hours while the owner is at work and again for 8 hours every night, for example. Sometimes there’s just no way around this, and I wouldn’t say the owner is being cruel.

What I would recommend, though, is that you look for ways to make that arrangement as temporary as possible.

  • Could your dog sleep in your bedroom on a dog bed at night?
  • Could she go to daycare once or twice a week?
  • Could you hire a dog walker or a friend to walk him mid-day?

Sometimes these are reasonable options and sometimes, due to financial reasons or perhaps aggressive behavior, these are not realistic. So you do your best.

Also, here are some other uses for a crate:

  • You never know when you’ll need to crate your dog in an emergency, at the vet or during travel (like flying with your dog)
  • Sometimes groomers or pet sitters need to crate dogs
  • When you’re staying at someone else’s house with your dog, crating him while you go out for dinner removes stress for everyone involved!
  • Some dogs truly like their crates and prefer to sleep there. My senior dog goes into his crate, for example, if he wants to be away from puppy Remy!

More info on our crate from Carlson Pet Products

How to buy: You can order a crate on the company’s website HERE.

Cost: Our large crate (42” L x 28” W x 30” H) is $89.99 but prices range from $49.99 to $149.99. View all the sizing options here. The large size is plenty big enough for either my 70-pound Lab mix or my 60-pound weimaraner. It has one door at the front of the crate.

Crates from Carlson Pet Products are collapsible, which is so nice for travel or storage. Our crate folds nearly flat and only takes about 20 seconds to fold up or set up, and I can do it myself. It’s built with a steel wire frame with a multi-point locking system that will keep your dog secure and safe in the crate.

If your dog is not used to a crate or might try to get out, I would recommend the heavy-duty option. This was not necessary for my dogs because they are used to their crates.

The product also comes with a removable bottom pan, which is nice if you have a puppy (accidents happen!) or if you feed your dog in his crate and need to clean it easily.

Remy’s new crate from Carlson Pet Products is roomier than his previous “home.” He has more room to stand comfortably now, and he loves his new space! Thank you, Carlson Pet Products!

Giveaway – Win a free crate for your dog!

*This giveaway has ended.

Carlson Pet Products is giving away a FREE crate to one reader of That Mutt! Just leave a comment below to enter.

The winner will receive:

  • A fold-up crate in the size they choose

Is it mean to use a crate for dogs?

Just leave a comment below to enter. Let me know why your dog is interested in a new crate!

Must have a U.S. mailing address to win. I’ll choose the winner at random on Sunday May 21 and notify the winner by email.

Everyone signed up for the $7 reward or higher on That Mutt’s Patreon page receives automatic entries into ALL giveaways. There are still 10 spots remaining. Click here.

Do you use a crate for your dog?

Let us know in the comments!

49 thoughts on “Is it Mean to Use a Crate for Dogs and Puppies?”

  1. Crate training is essential in my experience. It helps to give the dog a neutral space that they can feel safe in. It also helps to protect them. Certain breeds such as a Malinois or Dutchie need crate training. I’ve done crate training with most of my dogs. And I feel no guilt. It has helped them tremendously.

    1. he has successfully chewed the bottom of his crate. He chews everything. He loves to eat/drink in his crate. I just leave the door open and he goes in and out whenever he wants to.

  2. Early crate training is essential. The pup learns to think of it as their safe place. Crate training has saved many unruly ill mannered shelter dogs. You should not use it as punishment or have unrealistic expectations of a puppy. Do not leave puppies all day without a bathroom break by either you or a pet sitter.

  3. Mia Covarrubias

    My 6 month old black lab Cassie absolutely adores her crate! I do not know if I would have survived potty training or chew-mania without it. I am about to move out of my childhood home and of course I have to take my fur baby with me! I am in need of a second crate, the one I have now does not fold up, i’m not sure of the brand, and transporting it will be an extreme hassle. I was planning on leaving the OG crate at my childhood home anyways since my parents love watching their fur grandchild and it’s convenient to keep one here. I would love the chance to try out the Carlson Pet Produts crate!

  4. My boys love their crates, which is great because both would chew my house to pieces when left alone:). We consider their crates their rooms. The door is always open and they can go there if they are feeling overwhelmed. My grandkids know to leave the boys alone when they “go to their rooms.”

  5. Christina Moran

    I could not imagine having a puppy without a crate. It is a safe comfortable place for my dogs.

  6. I have always used crates and have taught other family members & friends (who thought crates were “mean”) to successfully use a crate. My dogs crates are their “homes” but I currently have the bulky plastic type; and since we can now venture further with the dogs, a fold-up crate would be so handy and allow the “boys” to join us on even more fun adventures, plus they could have a safe place to go amid the action (rather than down the hall) when the household gets a bit crazy.

  7. LeeAnn McNeil

    Crates are great for keeping dogs safe. For traveling in cars also if hurt and need to be confined. My sheltie love going to her crate to sleep when ever she wants to. Crates are i house train my puppies. I have always had crates my mother used them all my life..

  8. We crate trained our golden doodle she is now 15 months old and stays out during day when we are not home but is crated at night at bedtime, she roams and barks at nighttime noises so for now is more settled in the crate at night.

  9. I have a 7 month old Lab mix named Zeke. He is growing so fast we are already on our 2nd crate and going to need a bigger one soon. Zeke loves his crate. We call it his “room”. He goes to his “room” on command and sometimes without us asking. He feels safe in there and it def. gives us a piece of mind while we are at work. We also have a 12 yr old Bernese mix who I think enjoys the break sometimes haha

  10. Shannon Smith

    I totally believe in crates. It is a safe place for your pet to retire for a nap or to eat. I would love to win a crate. I find it is an absolute necessity.

  11. I’m just teaching my 5 year-old Chihuahuador, Griffen, that the crate is a happy place. I have one in my office and would love another one for upstairs, so that he may enjoy time in his crate when I’m not working.

  12. My 8 year old dog Simon is in his crate as I type. We got him at 7 months and immediately got him used to his crate. He goes in voluntarily during the day because he likes it & sleeps there at night. We don’t close the door anymore because he no longer gets into puppy mischief. Best advice I ever got.

  13. I have always used crates for my dogs, I would not have been able to have my puppy now if he was not crate trained. He is crated during the day but sleeps with me at night. He gets to go to day care at least once a week to break it up.

  14. My Sam Pete is eight and he still uses his crate. Its like his crate is his house. A place he can get away from action around the house.

  15. I never agreed with crate training until I got my first dog and realized how absolutely safe and good it was for my pup.

  16. Susan Brazell

    We have a rescue dog and love him so much. We did buy a crate and use it infrequently, but it is essential to have.
    We travel and he seems to be more calm in it. When people visit, we sometimes put him in his crate.
    Portable would be wonderful for our trip to Ct. This summer!
    Thank you for considering us. We are Seniors in Louisiana!

  17. Kathryn Butterfield

    My girl loves her crate… I have made it a valuable place to be by rewarding her with treats when she chooses it… and choose it she does! When I get ready to leave , she puts herself in the crate without being asked … because she knows a stuffed long is coming and she feels cozy and safe there. I have a dog monitor app on my phone and I can check in to see what she Is up to ..,and she is always snoozing after she finishes her treat. Crates are win-win! Comfort for the dog and peace of mind for the owner! Yay for crates!

  18. My BFF “OSO” likes his crate, and it is a safe place for when I have to leave him alone for awhile! Sure he would enjoy a brand new one!!!

  19. Kandy Gillean

    Crate is essential for owner and pup alike. Pup has a comfortable quite place to relax, snooze play with his toys while mom is gone at work. Mom gets piece of mind pup is safe and not getting into mischief while I’m gone. Crate has become pup’s “safe” place to go when mom is vacuming, not a big fan of vacum. Crate is part of our daily routine.

  20. We ALWAYS crate train ours dogs! It gives them a place of their own to feel safe and secure. A place to rest while we eat, or when new friends come over. Qur pup is 17 months, and that is her spot to watch the goings on of the household!
    I am like you-I couldn’t have a puppy with out having a crate!

  21. Julie Jenkins

    My puppy, Benjamin, likes to go in his crate sometimes even when we are home. I know he fells safe in there. It would be nice to have one that folds up so we could take it when we go to the lake or travel. I wish I had gotten one for my two dogs that passed away in the summer.

  22. We borrowed our Crate from a friend for our 9 month old pup but I think we are going to have to give it back this summer ;-(

  23. This would be ideal for travel. We just can’t spare the room for his big crate. If we had a folding one it would help to keep him in the crate when we need to step out for a moment to grab dinner. We can never dine out during travel because we have no crate for the dog.

  24. When I leave for work, sometimes I put my little dog in her kennel/carrier, which is pretty small. I’ve been looking for a crate that will plow some more movement and home feeling. Also something I can intodicr her too without previous association.

    The reason I crate my little one is because she runs and barks at everyone that walks by. I live in the middle of a city and so she’s barking all day when I’m gone. And I can’t think that’s good for her. The stress of running around and barking every five minutes for 9 hours makes me worry. When she’s in her kennel she doesn’t bark or get nearly as stressed.

  25. Sandy Weinstein

    i would love an extra crate. this is a really nice one. i like to keep 3 crates in my house for emergencies. i also use 2 of them to put their food in their crates so they dont bother my oldest gal, who wonders when she eats b/c she has dementia. i have to keep putting her back by her bowl. she does not like being in crates anymore. it scares her now, b/c of her health issues. a nice large crate like this would really help her. i worry when i have to leave the house even though i have tried to think of every precaution to keep her safe. she now tries to go thru the post on the deck, and sometimes gets stuck. she has kept me up for the past several nights with her sundowners as well. all night long the past 3 nites. you never know when you will need a crate which is why i like to get them in the house. they are open for the girls to go in anytime they please. also good when you have workmen over.

  26. A crate is essential to having a puppy/dog as it helps with training and gives them their safe place. At nite, if my
    dog gets tired he goes to sleep in his crate until I finish
    my book and then he sleeps with me. Would love a collapsable crate for all our travel.

  27. I have been fostering large dogs- Danes and many mixes. I didn’t use crates when if first started owning dogs 30 years ago, and I now see the mistakes. I couldn’t live without crates for fostering, especially when adding to multi dog household. My first used crate is not in great shape from last foster who broke weldings and escaped, thankfully unhurt. But a happy ending to that adoption, and they’re not crating…onto the next challenging foster! (different issues with this one!)

  28. Our 3 year old rescue dog was not used to being in a crate when we got her. It’s taken some time and patience but she has adapted to it very well. It’s great peace of mind when we have to leave the house for more than 2 hours. We borrowed a crate from a friend when we first got her. I think it’s a bit too small her and she’d be happier if we “size-up”.

  29. I’m right there with you as far as loving crates is concerned. They were a huge help when I raised my puppies. Both “graduated” from daily crate use at about 1.5 years of age because I could trust them not to wreak havoc when left home alone. That being said, I still have their crates set up in a corner of the living room almost 6 years later. They still use them on a daily basis, usually to enjoy a stuffed KONG (I like to fill them with their frozen raw food, keeps them busy for at least 30 mins).

  30. Carole Krajeski

    I could not raise a puppy or foster dogs without crates. My two boys love their crates and often go into them to nap.

  31. Yup, crate training is essential if you’re at work all day and you unfortunately can’t bring your beloved four legged buddy along. Especially if you care for highly inteligent and easily bored breeds that get are prone to separaton anxiety like your weimaraner or my darling Jack Russell Terrier for that matter.

    Crates don’t keep them from harm’s way just in the home. They are a safe way to transport them in your car so having your dog accustomed to a crate at home will defintely make your life easier when taking them on a trip.

  32. Our dogs love their crates. To them they are their “own place” and a sanctuary to rest and have privacy and security when they need it. We foster dogs for a local rescue and all of our fosters get their own crates so we would love to be able to win another one.

  33. Crate training is a life skill at my house. (Yes, it’s a required skill in order to live here.) A dog has to be able to handle itself in a crate for many reasons: Vet, groomer, travel, trials, short-term guests who are afraid of dogs, a short break for the humans.

    I think it could be mean to force a crate on a dog too suddenly, or on a dog who has real anxiety with it, but overall, I don’t think it’s mean at all.

    My dog doesn’t spend much time in her crate now that she’s past the magic age of 2, but she knows it’s her space and that it’s safe. She has a crate pad from K9 Ballistics (HIGHLY recommend these products, they’re durable and apparently comfortable given that my dog voluntarily spent hours napping in her crate when I introduced it), a blanket, and access to go in and out as she pleases. She prefers “her” chair in the living room with us, but I still catch her napping in there from time to time.

  34. Patricia G. Mcsharry

    I’m wanting to rescue a new puppy and I would like to crate train them. I would like to have a place of their own where they can be comfortable. Sometimes we all need a quiet place to be.

  35. All my dogs have been crate trained. Years ago I raised Chinese Crested Dogs.with 20 dogsto care for at a time, crates were essential. They each had their own and if I put them in the wrong one, oh my!! Actually they would spread their legs apart so I couldn’t even get them in the door! They were always fed in their crates. That made it easy to use different diets as needed plus I could keep track of who might not be be eating well and also made it easy to give meds in their food. They were crated when I had to leave home and the boys slept in theirs. The girls all slept with me! Plus new or expectant moms had kennels by my head so I could keep track of them. Of course housebreaking was a snap with a crate also!
    I recently rescued a small chihuahua mix pup and could really use a nice new crate for Jax!
    Hope I win!

  36. When I got my new puppy, Zeke, I had to take my older dog (Ruin)’s crate to use for the pup. I felt really terrible about this because the older dog used his crate for comfort and safety and somewhere to relax and have his own time. He truly loved his personal little den and he deserves another. Obviously the puppy has to have the crate for her safety. This crate is special and different than anything you can buy at the pet store. It’s all steel and has extra bars both vertically and horizontally. The tiny pup could easily get her head stuck through anything from the pet store. When Ruin was a puppy himself, he ate his way through the rubbage pet store crate. Fortunately, I found this steel crate on Craigslist and he was not able to chew through the steel! (He tried!) I would love to have an excuse to rearrange the living room to suit another crate and to allow my good ol boy to has his den again and time away from the pup.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Aww, I know what you mean. My old guy Ace likes going in the crate too even though he doesn’t have to be in there for behavior reasons. He just likes to get away sometimes and have his own space.

  37. Thanks for the article on Crate training. I run into so many people who misunderstand the proper use of the crate. I try my best to help them understand that dogs are den animals and fine the crate to be a safe haven if used appropriately.

  38. A crate is a wonderful option. Just like with many things, you shouldn’t overuse it, of course. I will never bring home another puppy, or older dog for that matter, without having some sort of crate on hand. This one looks great, and I like how you can fold it up, unlike the bulkier plastic type we have. I also like the wire ones because they allow the dogs to see out better and provide better ventilation. Thanks for the post.

  39. Elsie DeJesus

    Chuii was a terror as a puppy. His crate was such a useful piece of equipment! He still enjoys his “me” time in his crate, especially when other unruly pups come over for a vist.

  40. Judith Weikum

    Years ago when I started fostering I never liked them. After reading and learning that dogs and puppies learn to make crates their comfort zone, I always use them. When a puppy takes a nap, I take them outside when they wake up. It is the best way in starting house training!

  41. Loved this article!Crate training is a life skill at my house. I could not imagine having a puppy without a crate. It is a safe comfortable place for my dogs.I have used crates since 1994 when I got my first dog.

  42. As long as the crate is the right size, it’s not mean at all! It’s actually a safe place for many dogs.

    My two dogs (a cockapoo and a golden/pix mix) love their cages and go in them quite willingly.

  43. I recently purchased a crate for my pup, but she whines whenever I put her in the crate, and it makes me feel extremely guilty. But after reading your article and all the comments, I see how important/beneficial crate training can be in the beginning! Thanks for sharing!

  44. Yes! Crate training! No, It’s not mean. I think most people feel crate training is mean because they may not understand the proper way to use a crate, or the proper way to crate train. Boy, are crates a life saver for both dogs and humans! Good information on crate training here. We recommend crates and I’m glad to see such positive feedback here. Thank you for the great article!

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