The use of dog crates by dog owners is increasing. Gradually more and more dog owners are getting crates for their dogs. Is this a good or a bad thing?
Is it cruel to put your dog in a dog crate, or are there good reasons to crate your dog?
Dogs are, of course, descended from thousands or millions of years of generations of wild dogs, and the instincts generated by those innumerable generations of breeding remain. Whilst your dog might seem like a wonderful, playful energetic house puppy, which he is, he still keeps much of his instinctual programming from all those generations of wild dogs.
That's not to say your dog is wild, dogs can, of course, be successfully trained. And if he is wild he should not be, that's your fault for lack of training.
However it's also true that dogs still find comfort in the things from their ancestor's past. They instinctively take to certain things because for all those thousands of generations of previous dogs, when some things were important.
And one of the things wild dogs did, and still do, is to find a den to sleep in at night. Wild dogs do not generally sleep in the open, they find somewhere dry and comfy to sleep in and raise their puppies.
A dog crate is the dogs den of the modern, domesticated age. Dogs feel secure and happy with a den / crate to sleep in, and should be happy to do so.
Does this mean that all dog crates are wonderful? Not necessarily, because it depends on what the dog owner does with the crate that determines whether it's cruel or kind to the dog. The same crate used by one dog owner can be a wonderful tool for both the owner and the dog, but the same crate misused by another dog owner can be cruel and improper.
So a dog crate is fine for sleeping. It is not fine for keeping the dog locked up all day because you want it bound. It is not fine for use as an indiscriminate discipline tool, but it OK if used properly for dog discipline. If you use the dog crate sparingly for discipline, putting your dog in it only when it's clear to him why he's been put in the crate during the day, that's ok. It's clear to him when the punishment is imposed immediately you catch the dog in the act of misbehaving and he can associate the punishment with his misbehavior.
If he did something naughty an hour ago do not lock him up, he will not understand why, it will not work to correct the misbehavior and it's unnecessary and, arguably, cruel.
A good dog crate is a fine tool for dog training, and is a great way to give your dog his own sleeping place each night. Used correctly it's well worth having a dog crate for your dog.
But used incorrectly it's not appropriate, and you could have accused of dog cruelty in some circumstances.
It's up to you to learn enough to understand the right way, and the wrong way, to use a dog crate.