Are Dog Crates Cruel?

Before I knew a lot about dogs, I used to think putting a dog in a crate was cruel. It seemed like putting them in a cage at the zoo – a really tiny cage at that.

Now I know better. Crates, if used properly, can help prevent unwanted dog behaviors.

Dogs are naturally den animals. In the wild, a dog’s den is their home. It’s a safe haven where they can sleep, retreat, and raise pups without fear of danger. For a domesticated dog, the crate becomes the den.

So let’s look at the ways the use of a crate can help with your dog’s behavior.


Dogs don’t like to soil their den, so placing a puppy in a crate for short periods of time can help increase their bladder and bowel control. Instinctively they’ll understand that when you take them out of the crate and go outside your home, it’s time to do their business.

Staying Out of Trouble

When you’re doing things like cooking dinner, sleeping, or going to your office, putting your puppy in the crate is a great way to keep them out of trouble. This way they can’t be chewing on electric cords or eating your kids’ stuffed animals.

Learning Self-Control

Puppies are excitable, like 2 year olds! Just like kids get cranky when they don’t have enough rest, so do puppies. Having downtime in the crate can teach your puppy how to relax and calm down.

Be sure to correctly introduce and use the crate so it becomes a place of comfort, not punishment. Never leave your dog too long in the crate either. A good rule of thumb is one hour in the crate for each month of age, maxing out at 8 hours.

If you’d like to learn even more cool tips about dog behavior, join my Facebook group Pet Champions at Pet Champions is a great community of fellow dog lovers. Together we’re dedicated to better understanding our dogs. The result? Better relationships, deeper bonds, and fewer unwanted dog behaviors.