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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!

Anne Allan

Sunday 12th of June 2022

I've rescued a 5mth old cockapoo and I'm crate training him he settles at night time a small whimper then nothing all night, but as soon as he hears you in the morning moving he starts barking, which is not ideal as I'm up early. And if I go out he starts barking when I leave. What do you suggest I have a 2yr old dog aswell who is crate trained but we've took him out of the crate to train the new one as he doesn't chew anything was this the right thing to do.

Martinique Eimer

Tuesday 12th of September 2017

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!


Wednesday 31st of May 2017

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!

Puppy Snuggles

Friday 26th of May 2017

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.

Susan - The4legged

Thursday 25th of May 2017

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.