Dogcharmer: Puppy jail

What’s so hard about adopting crate training?


Dear Tom,

Why do many new puppy owners resist crate training?

I just reread your sections on crate training: Perfect! We as a society must think of the crate as jail. However, we do use playpens for our children, right?

Eleanor Green Winters

Dear Eleanor,

Excellent question, and great observation about “jailing” babies in playpens. Dogs have “den instinct,” and I believe we two-leggeds do too. It’s our home, that’s our den! The comfort and security of our home, be it house or apartment, is where you want to be if you feel sick or exhausted, or sad. It’s your den. And if you feel really lousy, it’s the bed in the bedroom, what I call your inner den. Well, when done right, the crate becomes the inner den, and the house or apartment becomes the den. And your four-legged isn’t going to defecate in your living room any more than you are. Think of the crate for four-leggeds as you would think of your bedroom. If it’s a metal crate, the four sides are not containment bars, but rather the walls of the bedroom. Cozy, peaceful, safe.

Eleanor, who in my guess asked this question because she’s a top-notch Dalmatian breeder (it’s her Dalmatian on the Budweiser commercial during the 2019 Super Bowl), gets somewhat frustrated when someone wants to buy one of her dogs while stating they don’t believe in crate training. I’m not in the habit of recommending, but Eleanor’s book “So Your Bitch Is Pregnant” is where to look if pups are on the way.

People still think it’s funny when I say, “It’s amazing how much of my life revolves around feces and urine,” but cleaning feces off the carpet is the very least fun thing to do, vis-à-vis your four-legged. The first chapter in my book is “Housebreaking.” Put simply, teach Puppy to absolutely love the comfort and “vibe” of the crate, and little four-legged will become “Mr. Clean!”

Have a question for the Dogcharmer? Write him at Find him on Instagram at DogTrainer Diaries.