Are you a proud pooch parent that’s struggling to figure out the right answer to Should I put my dog in a crate at night? You’ll be happy to know that the decision depends on what works best for you and your dog.
By putting the dog in the crate at night, you’ll help it build its independence, get used to the concept of a crate, and stay out of trouble. However, if you don’t take the time to properly train it and help it adjust to the crate, you’re likely to run into a couple of issues — most of which involve late-night disturbances!
Should I Put My Dog in a Crate at Night?
As dog owners, we’re often torn between letting our pooches snuggle up next to us and getting a doggy bed. But if you’ve been researching dog care for a while, you may be asking yourself — Should I put my dog in a crate at night?
Crate training is and probably always will be a bit controversial; after all, animal rights are a big deal these days.
Some people, however, do like to take it too far by branding crates as puppy jails. In reality, a crate is a fantastic place for your dog to snooze the night away. Better still, it’s a necessity if you’re eager to housetrain your pup fast.
But like with everything in life, there are pros and cons you have to take into account. Let’s see why your dog may be happier sleeping in a crate and how that might affect your home life.
Should I Put My Dog in a Crate at Night? — 3 Major Advantages of Getting the Dog to Love Its Crate
1. You’ll Help Your Pooch Be Independent
It’s not that your dog wouldn’t feel secure if it were to sleep next to you in bed. In my experience, canines love being close to their humans. In fact, most of them even show how relaxed they are by letting their guards down in bed. Those dogs aren’t sleeping on their backs purely because it’s so comfy; they genuinely feel so secure there with their owners.
However, independence is a huge issue for some dog parents, especially now when most of us have been spending a lot of time at home. Dogs can grow very attached to their owners, so much so that they cannot be left alone — not even for a little bit.
And that’s where crates come into play. Although mainly used for housetraining, crate training is a fantastic way of teaching the dog how to be independent. Over time, your pooch will see its crate as its very own den, where all its toys and its favorite blanket are. It will be its sanctuary and a place it can go back to in order to unwind or relax when the human world becomes too much to handle.
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2. It Will Make Both of Your Lives a Lot Easier
Let’s face it — some dogs are likely to sprawl on your bed, leaving you with very little space. Letting the dog sleep in the crate is, thus, a lot better both for your back and sleep quality. It’s less likely you’ll have sleepless nights, that’s for sure!
On a more serious note, if you’re asking yourself, Should I put my dog in a crate at night? know that going through with it may make your life a whole lot easier later on.
I always encourage owners to introduce crates early on and let their pups sleep in them if they’re planning on traveling somewhere. A crate is a necessity for airplanes, and it’s a good thing to have even on road trips. If your dog is comfortable enough to be in one for a while, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble (and desperate howling!).
Any overnight stays at doggy care centers or even visits to the grooming parlors will be a breeze too. Since your pooch will already be familiar with the concept of a crate, it won’t become too nervous about going inside it and waiting its turn (or spending a night away from you).
3. It’ll Stay Out of Trouble at Night
Most dogs can sleep through the night without much hassle, that much is true. However, until you get to that point in your pooch’s life, it may cause some ruckus once the night falls.
Perhaps it doesn’t want to sleep alone on its doggy bed, or it’s simply distracted by your other pets. Either way, you may wake up to find your whole house turned upside down because the pooch got into your shoe closet, the bathroom, or even the kitchen.
You can, however, lock your dog inside the crate at bedtime and not worry about it getting into any trouble. Still, there are a few caveats to remember in that case.
Just Make Sure the Training Has Been a Total Success
If the dog still cannot control its bladder (or it has a limited capacity — puppies, for instance, may need to “go” every half hour or so), it will find its crate stay rather unsettling. The same goes if it’s isolated and thus fearful of sleeping alone.
In both cases, I recommend going at it slowly; you have to make sure the dog is actually willing to spend the night in the crate.
In the beginning, keep the crate in your bedroom, next to your bed. That way, you can always just put a finger through the bars to let the dog know you’re right there beside it.
Leave the doors open if you’re also housebreaking the dog, as it may want to go potty on a pad. Alternatively, by keeping the crate close by, you’ll hear its cries in case it needs to go outside.
Don’t Feel Bad About Using a Crate
It’s very easy to let dogs sleep on your bed — and rather hard to change the sleeping arrangement if it is no longer working for you. And at some point, you may not want to share your bed anymore. So why not just nip the problem in the bud in advance?
But there’s no reason to feel bad about using a crate. Sure, they are notorious among some preachy dog owners. I also don’t think dogs should sleep in them forever (unless they want to). However, you cannot deny how useful they are.
As long as the pooch is getting enough playtime and exercise each day, the crate won’t do any harm. After all, dogs aren’t looking for more square footage but rather a place they can call their own and relax in, totally unbothered by the rest of the world.
Should I Put My Dog in a Crate at Night? — Why Crate Snoozing Isn’t for Everyone
So are there any cons to putting a dog in a crate at night? Well, only a few if you really think about it.
1. Potty Accidents
Wondering Should I put my dog in a crate at night? but still cannot decide if it’s a good option for you?
First off, know that you may run into some trouble if you aren’t near the crate at night and cannot hear your dog crying.
Some may cry out because they want attention; in that case, it’s a good idea to ignore the dog. But if we’re talking about a small puppy here that still doesn’t have decent bladder control, it may have a few accidents inside the crate.
That actually ruins the whole point of crate training and would likely require you to start from scratch. Plus, all that stress and anxiety the dog feels if it has to hold it in or go potty in its own den — it’s all definitely emotionally scarring.
2. Whining, Barking, and Crying Due to Improper Training
On the other hand, even if your pooch has great bladder control, it still may not like its crate enough to sleep the whole night in it. Thus, it may show its displeasure by whining and barking at night, waking the whole household up and making you come and comfort it.
Generally, that’s a sign you’ve missed a few steps of the crate-training process, or may have rushed through it all. Alternatively, the crate may not be attractive enough; perhaps you forgot to give the dog enough toys to play around with or a blanket or piece of your clothing that would confirm its safety?
In a nutshell, if you follow all the steps and give your dog enough time to adjust, as well as meet its needs before bed, it’s unlikely to protest against the enclosure. Otherwise, you may have to fight failure after failure until you finally decide to just give up your own bed and sleep on the floor!
So, do you know the answer to Should I put my dog in a crate at night? I’d say it’s pretty evident that crates are not only a good sleeping arrangement but rather useful to dogs in the long run.
Still, I know that not every dog owner will want their pooch to sleep in a crate. In the end, you have to decide what would work best for your household and whether all the advantages are worth it.
One thing is certain, though — there’s not much you can lose by using a crate. With proper training, your pooch will definitely grow to love it. More importantly, it will learn to rely on it for peace and quiet whenever necessary, thus becoming more at ease whenever you’re not near it!