Unlike a cot for a newborn baby, dogs don’t mature out of using a crate. Of course, you may need to increase the size of your dog’s crate from when it is a puppy to a fully grown canine but the benefit of using a crate doesn't expire with age.
A common misconception many dog owners have is that once a dog outgrows its best puppy toys, masters potty training and is no longer a nuisance when left unsupervised, then they no longer have any use for a crate. Angie Barber, a functional obedience & lifestyle dog trainer, disagrees with this. She instead teaches dog owners that a crate can offer so much more than this to a dog.
She shared in an Instagram video which you can watch below, “I’ve had a lot of clients who have said that they used to use the crate but then they stopped because their dog is now potty trained and isn’t destroying anything so they say they don’t need it anymore.” But Barber explains that crates are a dog’s safe space and that your dog’s sense of safety is extremely important.
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According to Barber, it doesn't matter what kind of dog you own or how old they are, giving them their own personal space they know belongs to them, where they can rest, feel safe, and not be bothered is a really helpful thing you can do as a dog parent.
Anxiety in dogs is very prevalent and sometimes when a dog is feeling overwhelmed it just takes a little break and a place of refuge to manage the situation. Barber says a crate will especially come in handy for calming a dog down if you've got a household with kids or other dogs in it.
"Think of it as their little bedroom. It can help with anxiety, it promotes boundaries, it can facilitate calmness and it also helps prevent other nuisance behaviors from forming," she explains, "It’s also just super practical."
Another reason why you shouldn't chuck out your dog crate is there will be times when you will need your dog to be crate trained. For example, if you have to take them to the vet, groomer or an emergency happens.
"There’s so many scenarios where your dog is going to have to be crated and so it’s really kind to teach them how to be comfortable in that crate for those situations and is what will make it a lot less stressful on them," adds Barber, "Giving them that sense of safety and structure can really benefit their state of mind and can also help with your overall relationship."
Crate training a dog won't happen with a click of the fingers, it will take time to do it properly and ensure they feel safe and secure inside it. If this is something you feel like you and your pup could use some help with then don't be afraid to reach out for 1:1 help from a professional. Alternatively, read our vet's guide on how to crate train a dog.
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With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.