"I always thought crating was cruel."
"Haven't they been kenneled enough?"
"Oh yeah, for when they do something wrong!"
Unfortunately, all of these statements are rooted in some misconceptions about the goals of crate training. As with any tool, there are ways to misuse it and also ways to humanely utilize the crate to help your new dog (be it a young puppy or an adult) adjust to a pretty intense change in their life.
The Humane Society of the United States has a fantastic Crate Training 101 to break down the goals of crating and how to properly use and choose a crate for your dog. "Crate training takes advantage of your dog's natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog's den is their home—a place to sleep, hide from danger and raise a family. The crate becomes your dog's den, where they can find comfort and solitude while you know they’re safe and secure (and not shredding your house while you're out running errands)."
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The HSUS offers these cautions as well:
"A crate is not a magical solution to common canine behavior. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated.
"Never use the crate as a punishment. Your dog will come to fear it and refuse to enter."
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Photo by maplegirlie via flickr.
HSUS Crate Training 101
Positively by Victoria Stilwell's Guide to Crate Training
How To Crate Train A Puppy Or Dog: A Step-By-Step Guide by TotallyGoldens
Toilet Training Adult Dogs