Use a Dog Crate and You’ll Never Regret It

As an experienced and responsible dog owner and retired dog breeder, I feel the three most important pieces of equipment purchased for your dog are a leash, collar and a dog crate. From these three items, I believe that the dog crate is the most valuable you will ever purchase. Why? Let me explain.

dog crate

Puppy Potty Training

It took me 3 days to potty train my toy poodle puppy at 8 weeks old using a dog crate. How did I accomplish this? When your pup wants to sleep, walk him to the dog crate, make sure he is comfortable, and shut the door. When he wakes up, take him from the dog crate straight outside to the area in which you want him to do his business. The key with small dogs, in particular, is to make them walk to the door. People tend to want to pick them up and carry them outside. While researching what others have to suggest about potty training, they give you the right information, except many leave out the part about having your dog “walk” to the door. Even large breed puppies tend to get carried out the door because:

*They are just babies *They are still sleepy *They are just so cute and cuddly you have to carry them everywhere.

Do not carry them. Through experimentation, I have learned that “walking” them to the door helps them find their way faster. They will associate the door to the outside very quickly. Open the door and head straight to the potty spot. They will learn all this faster if they are not floating through the air on someone’s arm to be deposited at the potty spot. A good idea is to pick a phrase you are comfortable with to say to your dog, like “Go Potty” and repeat it every time you take them outside. The minimum time to wait for some action is 20 minutes. Don’t give up. The other key is to dedicate your time to monitoring your puppy until you are successful. The small amount of time, say a week or two, is minute compared to the life of the dog. A dog crate will help you enormously by giving you a breather while they are sleeping, knowing they are tucked away and you have approximately 2 hours before they wake up.


Saving your small dog from your children or grandkids by putting them in a dog crate can keep the peace in your home. Our toy poodle liked small children except when they tried to pick him up. He would avoid them by staying just out of reach, while the grandkids slowly stalked him, bent over with their arms spread like they were herding geese. They would eventually get him cornered. Feeling trapped, Spike would come out nipping their hands so he could escape. To avoid the crying children and upset dog, I would put Spike in his dog crate. He was quite happy and beyond searching hands until the grandkids made their exit. The routine then became: Grandkids arrive, Spike disappears to his dog crate for safety.

Dog Shows

If you take your dog to dog shows or other dog events, it is inevitable that you will want to tuck him away during the times you can’t be with him. You may have several dogs to show, you may want to grab something to eat, you may have to use the washroom, along with an abundance of reasons that you need to put your dog away in a dog crate where he is safe while you do something else. Dog crates also make a great grooming table with a few modifications.

Show Dog Handlers

The life of a show dog handler can be fun, exciting and sometimes dangerous, trying to make it from one show to the next while tending to the dogs in their care. They are hardworking people who take on several dogs to travel with and promote throughout the country and sometimes on other continents. They usually have a van or motorhome where they place dogs in dog crates while travelling. I have known some of these hardworking people to be involved in accidents while travelling from one show to another. One handler had an accident when her camper van was severely damaged and dog crates with dogs inside went flying everywhere. Not one dog was injured because they were all secure in their dog crates. Besides saving the lives of the dogs in her charge, she also avoided being sued by the owners of these dogs, all because the dogs were safe in their dog crates.


When you acquire your dog, the last thing you would expect to do with your dog is fly. I had the same thought, until we decided to breed our female Bouvier des Flandres to a male on the other side of the country. Driving was out of the question, so we flew her to the male dog. There is no other way of flying your dog to another location without a dog crate. Airlines are particular about what kind of dog crate they will allow you to use, so make sure you check that you have the right kind before you attempt to fly with your dog. It can save you a giant headache at the airport if you don’t have the right dog crate.

Pickup Trucks

I have witnessed dogs riding loose in the back of pickup trucks for more than 50 years. As a kid, I thought it was cool to see them perched on the tool box with their ears flying, tongue hanging out and a great big grin on their faces…until I saw one lose his balance and fall out onto the road. The physical injuries that dog endured were images that stick in my mind to this day. When I noticed that people were stringing a line across the truck bed and leashing their dog to the line, I thought that was a great idea…until I saw a dog flip over the side on a curve and get hanged as the owner was oblivious to what was happening. We managed to stop him so he could rescue his dog, but he would never have known had we not alerted him. Now, when I see a dog crate in the back of a pickup truck I silently thank the guy for loving his dog so much that he spent the money to keep his dog safe while traveling.


Drivers with small dogs draped along their arm so their dog can stick their head out the window because he “likes” it and it makes him feel good are a hazard to everyone around them. An unexpected jerk of the vehicle can send your dog tumbling underneath your feet where you need the most control in a bad situation. Add children to the mix and the safety issue is even more important. Keep everyone safe by buckling up the children and securing your dog, preferably in a dog crate.

It is your responsibility to keep your dog safe and healthy. One of the many ways of doing this, as a responsible dog owner, is to put your dog in a dog crate when the situation arises. From potty training to saving your dog’s life while in a vehicle, and the many reasons in between, a dog crate is invaluable and worth the investment.

Donna White is an experienced and responsible dog owner, retired dog breeder and wife to a retired Police Dog Trainer. It is your responsibility to keep your dog safe and healthy. One of the many ways of doing this, as a responsible dog owner, is to put your dog in a dog crate when the situation arises. From potty training to saving your dog’s life while in a vehicle, and the many reasons in between, a dog crate from [] is invaluable and worth the investment.

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