“Crate training” means that you are getting your dog accustomed to being in a crate, or cage. Many people can’t ever imagine crate training their dog. They believe it’s cruel to get a cage for their dog. However, crate training is widely considered by dog experts as not cruel at all; rather, it is a modern necessity for owning a dog.
Think of it this way. In the wild, a dog’s natural home is a den. Your crate is a dog’s modern version of a “den.” Rather than thinking of a crate as a cage that keeps your dog from freedom, a crate should be thought of as a den, a personal space that your dog calls his own. You’ll find that your dog enjoys spending time in his crate. If dogs have been properly crate trained, they’ll go into their crate often to sleep, relax, or just get some down time. This “down time” is especially important if you have kids.
Crate training is not for the faint of heart, however. You must withstand your puppy’s crying. Puppies cry in their crates because they are used to sleeping in a litter with their brothers and sisters. They like to snuggle up and a crate seems lonely, scary, and isolated from a puppy’s new family. For the first few nights, you may want to sleep next to the crate, so that when your puppy cries you can put your hand in and soothe him, letting him know that he is not alone.
Crate training during the day is difficult, too. Even if you plan on letting your dog roam the house freely during the day, there will be times when you need to crate your dog. Maybe you spilled a chemical or chocolate pudding and you need to clean it up. Maybe you have a guest coming over who’s afraid of dogs. Maybe the painters are coming and they have a strict policy on uncrated dogs. Crating is a part of modern dog ownership.