The Doggie Diaries - Should We Be Using a Dog Crate?

More on PawNation: crating, dog behavior, dog training, DogBehavior, doggie diaries, doggiediaries, DogTraining, house training, HouseTraining
The Doggie Diaries dog crate picture Anna Westhoff
Each week, Ben Westhoff shares the ups and downs of owning Pippi, the dalmatian mix he and his wife Anna adopted as a puppy in late 2009, and the first dog Ben's ever had.

Anna wrote this week's column.


We don't crate Pippi. There, I said it. In my childhood in Alabama, we never crated our dogs. In fact, the only dogs I ever saw cooped up were trained hunting dogs that often lived outside in a pen year-round.

No one seemed to crate in the house, and it didn't seem to make much sense for us to start when Ben and I got Pippi. For one thing, a dog of her size needs a somewhat large crate, and we live in a relatively small apartment. Plus, we have a fairly indestructible kitchen where Pippi can hang out unsupervised, and even a little cave-like anteroom next to the kitchen where she can sleep. The way I see it, skipping the crate gives us all more room to be together when we're playing tug or cooking supper.

Makes sense, no? But where we live, folks are just crazy for crating! They seem to regard it as some kind of canine panacea, claiming it promotes housetraining, combats anxiety and curbs destructive behavior, among other purported virtues. Ben and I have even been scolded for not crating Pippi, as though it were some kind of mistreatment not to lock her down at night.

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