There may be some dogs out there that have impeccable habits at home and whose parents never feel the need to manage their dogs when company comes or something out of the ordinary is happening. I have met a few dogs who, when mature, could handle complete freedom at all times in their home. This, however, is not the norm, especially with young dogs.

Getting a young dog comfortable in a crate or den can be challenging. And trying to figure out what to do when things don’t seem to be working makes it even worse. A new dog or puppy poses challenges because of the stress of a new home and family. And not knowing them well can make settling and this kind of training harder.

Sometimes, just letting the youngster have freedom in the home might seem easier. Initially, things may be calmer and quieter, making everything appear to be fine. There. Problem solved. It may seem easier in the short term, but I encourage people not to give up.

Reasons Why Not to Give Up On the Dog Den

Not to make too fine a point of it, giving up is a cop-out. Easier is not OK if it means the pup is not:

  • being taught the skills they need to be successful in life
  • learning how to cope with daily challenges
  • gaining emotional regulation

I encourage people to keep going and continue getting their dogs comfortable with management options. There are so many situations when using them will not only be convenient but may also be the only safe option.

Crates and dens are great tools for management and safety that dog parents can use in many practical and valuable ways. They can save the day in daily life, irregular occurrences, and emergencies.

In the long run, not being able to have these at your disposal may be more restricting to your dog. By not being able to use a den or crate, your dog may not be able to be present for some events or be able to join you when you are travelling or visiting friends or family.

And as if you needed another reason, having your dog comfortable in the den will also allow you to start preliminary training to prepare them for being alone. The den makes the first steps easy and sensible for the dog.

As a side note, I prefer a den or large pen for day-to-day use over a crate, as the extra space is more comfortable for most dogs and a fairer choice. However, all dogs can benefit from routine positive conditioning to a crate. Unplanned events or trips to the vet or groomer, hotel visits, renos or staying at a friend’s are all times when crating might be necessary. If your dog is not comfortable in a crate, then this can make a stressful time even harder.

Next Steps

If you want to start introducing your pup to a crate or den, check out these blogs for more information on setting up a dog den and avoiding common mistakes parents make when using the den.

Why Puppy Pens Fail

Do You Need to Power Up Your Puppy Pen?

An Easy Way to Condition Your Dog to Love the Crate

If you are experiencing issues, such as your formerly tolerant pup now objecting to spending time in the crate or den, get help from an experienced pro to avoid making the situation worse.