Thoughts on Crating Puppy Throughout the Day? **EDITED**

Updated on July 31, 2008
J.T. asks from Mansfield, TX
17 answers

I am well aware that getting this puppy was not a good idea. I held on strongly to my "no, it's not time for a puppy" for 2 weeks, but ultimately and unfortunately, I gave in. I didn't want to be the "mean" or disappointing wife. I know that's stupid, and I will be stronger in the future. My post is regarding what to do now, not why I allowed this situation to come about in the first place. Thank you to those who responded appropriately. I truly appreciate it!!

OK, so my husband talked me in to us getting a Golden Retriever. He's 13 weeks old. I stay at home with my almost 17-month-old high-maintainance son and 7-year-old dog. My husband works all day. My husband comes from a family of dog craters, and I do not. I believe it's ok to crate them at night (their little safe doggie cave) and when you leave the house for a while, until they are housebroken and do not chew on things they're not supposed to. HOWEVER, I'm not very comfortable crating him during the day for periods of time when we are home. This is what my husband said I should do. I'm really having a hard time watching this dog's every move trying to catch him before he potties inside and interact with my son at the same time. Also, my 7-yr.-old dog is not wanting to play with the puppy and so they "fight". My son gets scared sometimes. Oh yeah, and our backyard is almost entirely pool (which puppy fell into today) so it's not like I can put him out back to play when it's cool enough unless I, my toddler, the puppy, and the dog all go out there. It's only been 2 days and I'm already so stressed.

What do I do? What do you think about putting puppy in his crate for periods throughout the day while we are home? Is that cruel? I'm looking for any suggestions, words of encouragement, anything? I know it could be a whole lot worse, but I still need help! Thanks!!!

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answers from Dallas on

Crating is wonderful when done properly. Also keep in mind tha tdogs that have been crated do much better when needing to stay extended periods at vets and what not for emergencies. You dog wil always have a safe "his only" place to get some down time.


answers from Dallas on

I come from the same background as you. I've never liked the idea of crating dogs. Once he was housebroken, I left my pug out all the time, even at night. Then 2 years ago my hubby and I got a black lab. He's been housebroken, but he can get so hyper that we have to crate him when we're gone and at night. Now that I'm staying at home, I do like to have a little break from the dogs, and it's too hot to leave them out, so I do crate them sometimes for a short while. Especially while housebreaking him, I would suggest crating him for short periods of time throughout the day.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't think you should crate the puppy the entire day, but crating it for a few hours in order to give yourself some respite is just fine.

Puppies really can't be crated more than 4 hours at a stretch anyway, because their bladders are too little.

I love dogs; I love myself and my children more. If necessary, you may need to take a hard line on this one. If your husband wanted this dog and you didn't, then he needs to be the one to deal with all the hassles (including getting up in the middle of the night to let it go potty). It is sometimes VERY VERY hard to ignore things like a puppy in a crate, but you might need to do it until he sees how bad it is for the puppy and until he is forced to take care of it himself. If you continue to deal with the situation, he will accept your help, see it as YOUR fault that you are stressed (after all, he told you to crate it), and never accept that the puppy was a bad decision.

Just put the crate in an out of the way place so the puppy doesn't constantly see you and you don't constantly see (or hear) it.

You can stand up for yourself. You go girl!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Our dog has been crated since birth. He stays in there during the day while we are at work and we go straight home to let him out in the afternoons. We do NOT crate during the day, but having a puppy IS a job when they are just learning how to go outside and such.

When I leave our dog out during the day (while we're gone) he panics and chews on EVERYTHING, the crate gives him a safe secure place to go and there's no problems.

I don't think I would be confortable crating during the day when I was there. But it DOES beg the question of who's bright idea was it to get a new puppy?

Smiles to you and your family. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am with you all the way- I owned an amazing golden retriever that just died at 7 years old right after we moved here from NJ - cancer- broke my heart- They are a TRUE family pet and want to mix and mingle with the family. By all means- when you are away or during the night- or when you really can't watch them and are busy-they need to be kept in the crate- but other than that they need to socialize with all of you and know the boundaries with you and the children. They also need to be put in the pool and shown the exit incase they do fall in - do this a few times and them him swim to the exit- they will memorize this procedure. Same exit all the time for the pool and for letting them out to pee-use the same door.
Do you have a laundry room that you can let him hang out in with a gate but yet not be in his crate- the crate is their safe haven a place to relax - if he can hang in the room with the door open, have the crate door open and see everyone through a gate- its a happy medium for when you have things that need to get done and if he pees on the laundry room floor - no biggie -its not the carpet. He'll start going into the crate by himself too. Just give him a cushion and chew toy and he can hang in there without being in the crate.

My mother breeds dogs and the only time I have seem animals crated all day was during breeding processes or when people just didnt want to be bothered. I see it a lot with hunting dog people as well I think its inhumane and doesnt allow the dog to socialize. As a safety feature- by ALL means crate the little lovey when you are not around and all at night and when you are out-and when you just don't have time to watch them. As soon as his is let out- take him outside and you then know that you have some decent time to interact without him having to pee.
Having a dog and toddler is VERy stressful. However- if your 7 yr old isnt interested in the dog- it may not have been the best time to get him. Usually at 7 yr old thats a great age- it just may not be his thing.-One thing kids hate is that Puppies have those sharp puppy teeth- lots of chew toys-lol-

A great idea is to have the 7 yr old bring the puppy for walks in the neighborhood with you- pop the stroller out and there you [email protected] him be in charge of a feeding too -it may giev him a responsibility and the dog will respect him more too.
But the main idea behind having a pet- especially a golden retriever is the family interaction- I envy you- they are amazing animals.

If you ever need pet sitting I have met her serveral times and she is truly into the aspect of what an animal needs-
[email protected] ###-###-####-Stephanie

Well- enjoy! and hang in there- its basically a third child- but within a few months it will be wonderful!

If you ever have a party and need someone to reduce your stress and do all the cleaning and serving and tending to guests while you enjoy your party- give us a call-
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2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi Jessica.
I feel that crating a dog is a perfectly healthy part of training and raising a dog. I have a chihuahua and a pit bull who are both crate trained. They stay in their crates when I am not home and at night. I feel that when anyone has a dog, they have gotten it with the intention of it being part of their family. With that being said, they should be given as much attention as you can possibly give. When I am busy during the day and unable to watch or give my pets the attention they crave, I put them in their crate.(My pets are like my kids. They are at my heels every second. This gets hard when I'm trying to clean or work on something.) However, when I do this, I make sure their crate is out of site from me. To have them in their crate able to watch me is much more cruel that crating them. It makes them feel they are in trouble. The crate should never be used as a form of punishment. The crate is a safe haven for dogs when they are introduced to it early on. I do not even have to close the doors or lock them anymore. When I tell my pets to go to their "bed" they do so without hesitation and do not come out until I tell them they can. I also make sure to give them alot of love and attention everytime they come out. I know that my pets do not dislike their crates because they will grab their blankies and a toy and will go into their crates on their own when they want to rest or just get away from the rest of us.

Good Luck and Happy Training!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would crate the puppy for periods during the day. The puppy needs rest time and he can learn that his crate is a good place to rest. Don't feel bad about it. My dogs are all crate trained. They know to go there at bedtime and they go there voluntarily to rest or just get away. It is their safe haven.

Teaching the puppy early is going to make it so much easier later. Don't feel bad about it. Put him in there for a couple hours, then let him outside and then back inside to play for a litle while, get some love from you, stretch his legs. He'll get tired pretty quick (cause he is a baby) then you can put him back in the crate.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I feel your pain I too was just suckered into getting a new puppy but we got a chihuahua. I crate him at night and while we are gone right now. I do however crate him during the day while I try and get some stuff done, he is a very active little man. I try not to keep him kenneled for to long because he has been kenneled for the whole night. I usually let him run around and play for a couple of hours before I kennel him for my chores, when I let him out afterwards I just make sure I love on him a little to let him know he wasn't in trouble or anything. Good luck with the new puppy and they do learn alot faster then you think...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

Crating is a part of puppy training. It's not inhumane.

Think about it this way - would you train your child or get rid of him? A well trained puppy grows into a well-trained dog who is a beloved member of your family. You and your husband owe it to this puppy - and to your son - who will eventually be this dog's best friend; to teach him not to potty in the house (which because of your situation requires crating - or tying his leash to your ankle), not to bite others - and a few fun tricks, sit, stay, come, shake - sign up for beginner obedience classes, let your son come, and embrace it as a challenge.:)


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

You are not stupid. You are a loving wife who wants her man, who is a wonderful provider, to have his dog. Apparently, it is going to be some work for you, but never fear, you can do it!! Crating dogs is very healthy for them. Dogs, especially puppys, sleep over 80% of their lives. Sleep is as important as food and water for dogs. All he is going to do in that crate is sleep. Also, dogs need their little space, like a bedroom, or they will think that your space is their space. He will feel safe and secure and know that is his space. You need to start putting him in there now, while he is young and trainable. Put the crate in a separate room from you guys. He will definately want out if he can see or hear you and your baby. This is also a great potty training tool for dogs because they won't potty their bed. We have a 7 y/o boxer, 4 y/o english pointer, and a 2 y/o chihuahua who are all trained to there crates. They love their little "houses" and go in them by their own free will. Be sure you give your dog a biscuit right when he goes in. I still give all ours biscuits when they go in, it is our little ritual. Also, give him a chew toy, that will occupy him until he gets used to the crate. Start by leaving him in there for just a couple hours at a time, while you are gone from the house. When you get back take him out immediately. That will get him comfortable to going potty outside, also, use a potty word. You will be so much happier with this dog!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Dogs view their crates as their safe havens (they are den animals). Crating can be a very positive training tool and create a feeling of comfort for a dog when used properly. It is ok for you to crate him for short periods while you are home, in fact, it would probably be very beneficial if you are just introducing the crate or still trying to get him used to it.

It's better (for your sanity and the puppy's) to get him used to it in short periods (start with just 10 mins, then work up to 15-20, and even to 30 mins every few hours or so) during the day than to introduce it for the first time at night. Because he isn't used to it, he may cry at first, hence why it could help to introduce it during the day without interrupting anyone's sleep. Use a command word when you put him in his crate, so he gets used to that. We use "Kennel up", but you can use "get in your house", "kennel", "get in your crate", etc. Once he's used to the crate, you can decrease the amount of daytime crating, or leave him out all during the day, whichever your (and the puppy's) preference is.

If you put him in for short periods of time during the day, it is ok to put a toy or treat (something you know he won't get choked on or chew up and get choked on) in his crate with him). I know lots of dog owners who put peanut butter stuffed Kongs in the crates with their dogs. You can also give him a small treat when you put him in (or especially when he goes willingly on his own). All of this helps convey positive feelings about his crate to him.

You may find that he enjoys going in there for short periods during the day to "get away from it all"...puppies get overstimulated too! If he's used to the crate by this time, you can just leave the door open and allow him to venture in and out during the day for naps as he pleases.

However, a puppy shouldn't be left in a crate too long. One, because they need to be active and get exercise, and two, because their little bladders can't hold it that long and dogs do not usually like soiling their crates (it would be like you or I wetting the bed). Be sure to take him out about every hour to make sure he potties....set a kitchen timer if you need help remembering. :)

When you have him out of the crate during the day, but you don't want him to get into anything or don't want your other dog to get too rough with the puppy, put a leash on the pup and keep him close to you in the house.

I hope this helps some. I am no expert by any means, but I am a volunteer for a local rescue, and have crate trained foster dogs before. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. :)



answers from Dallas on

Why not take the puppy to "puppy college" at PetSmart. It's not that expensive, you'll have experienced folks to ask questions of and other puppy parents to commiserate with on puppy issues.

I fostered a litter of 9 puppies once. Obviously I didn't have crates for them all. Most were adopted out after 10 weeks or so. I did keep them sectioned off in the hallway to the laundry and laundry room by using a baby gate. They had their sleeping area, water and the gate to keep the other dog from playing with them. But if they got bored, they'd come up to the gate and socialize with us all.

Maybe a baby gate would work for you during the day, and keep his crate in the gated area, but leave it open. Then he could in and out.



answers from Dallas on

I originally did not like the crating concept, but after reading about dogs, it is actually something that is not bad (especially at nite). We just went through the end of last year. I did not need to crate the puppy much at all during the day, BUT I have all tile floors and no young child. And, for our puppy in only took a couple weeks to potty train - you just need to regularly take out (and often) during the first few weeks. If you're inconsistent, it will be much harder to get the puppy house trained, which sounds really important for you.

I only crated needed to crate my puppy during the day if I was going to be out of the house or otherwise very distracted. Even at one year, I will crate him when he gets too wild with the kitties. However, I also have a great yard for a dog (an important consideration for anyone getting a dog IMHO). I recommend you put some sort of gating system in your back yard and possibly consider a nice (short decorative) fence for your front, as dogs really do need that outdoor time and you'll have far fewer behavior issues in the long run if you do that. It's not safe for the puppy to have access to the pool area, but I'm honestly also worried that your pool seems so accessible for young kids.

At a minimum, you can put one of those ring style baby play yards (the kind with multiple panels that you can arrange in many ways). That's been the most useful item for our dogs. I still use that in my house during the day when the dogs are about (and when we travel) to block off the dogs from particular areas (the puppy still chews on the cat/dog beds. We leave the crates out in the living area with nice padding and they will sleep there during the day (as do the cats) with the door open. It's not reasonable to expect a puppy to behave well all day inside a house, so you really do need to manage to find a good outdoor area.

I would also consider why you let your husband talk YOU into this - I suggest that the dog is entirely his responsibility when he is home (training, walking in the evening, etc.) The reality is that having a young dog is like having another baby/toddler in terms of the needed attention during the early days. Unless you're quite dedicated to the early training, you may have more problems in the end. That said, your older dog should get used to the puppy over time - all my cats did with our puppy.

Just my opinions - please just consider what seems feasible for your individual situation.



answers from Dallas on

I thought the same thing when we got our doberman...I hated seeing him crated all day....But you know all the advice given previous to me is correct...The crate is the best place for a young puppy. He feels safe and knows his place. If that puppy was left to roam in big spaces instead of confined it would make potty training mUCH HARDER.
We took our puppy out to eat, play, and go outside. Every 3 hours in the daytime when we were home we took him out.
He is now 8 yrs old and has NEVER had an accident in the house,
never chewed, or destroyed carpets, flooring, furniture...
Start early to avoid any feelings of frustrations towards your puppy later on his life.
It's not so bad, and don't give in!



answers from Dallas on

It's not cruel as long as it's periods (not the entire day and night) and the dog gets interaction and food/water. Even the Monks of New Skete crate their puppies during the day (it's part of the dog's daily routine and training). You should check out their books. They are completely positive in their training and gentle. The crate is a big part of their dog training. What could be worse is to NOT crate the dog, have it destroy things, become a discipline problem and then have it end up at the pound, or worse, at the bottom of your pool.

Regarding your son, he's probably old enough to take the dog to training classes at Petsmart with you or someplace like that. I bet it would help them bond and give him some responsibility in raising the dog. Also, maybe by limiting his interaction with the dog throughout the day, they'll "fight" less.

Good luck!!



answers from Abilene on

Crating him is not a bad thing. It can actually be comforting for him and give him a sense of security (and a place to get away from your son). Be sure to take him outside before and after crating him. He won't want to soil his bedroom so he will get the concept of going outside pretty quickly.

One thing to remember is that dogs generally cannot fully control the muscles to be 100% housebroken until some where between 4 and 6 months. I had 1 dog years ago that was a week away from 6 months and he still wasn't fully getting it. Then on the day he turned 6 months old it just stuck! So, be patient (as patiente as possible) and give the pup lots of love!



answers from Dallas on

I think you've gotten some great advice on crating, so I'll tackle the other concern... why did you let your husband talk you into getting a golden retriever when HE is the one working all day, YOU are the one who is home, AND you have a 17 month old son? I'm afraid that is disater waiting to happen.

I suspect that if this situation doesn't improve drastically very soon, this puppy will end up causing a lot of strain on you, which will cause strain on your marriage, which will eventually mean the puppy will need to be re-homed.

It's not a good idea to get any sort of animal unless the person who truly wants the animal is going to be the one who is the primary caregiver.

Plus, as wonderful as golden retrievers are, I'm always curious when people think it's a good idea to add the burden of potty training and obidendence training a puppy at the same time that you are trying to raise a toddler. There will come a time when you're son is in the middle of something critical (potty training or something) and you're going to hear the dog doing something crazy and you'll have to choose which to do. It's not a good situation to be in.

another thing to realize about golden retrievers... they will get MUCH bigger before they EVER start to really behave. When my Lab went through that phase, I called it Labolescence. They are in this HUGE body but they have the grace of a 13 month old who just learned to walk and the manners of 2-3 year on a bad day with no nap. Retrievers (goldens and Labs) really don't start to calm down until they are At Least 3 years old.

You have a very long road ahead of you. I love the breed... I have an 11 year old Lab at home right now AND a 3.5 year old son, but a puppy and a toddler can be a recipe for disaster. I applaud you asking for help on the crating, but you'll definitely want to sign the puppy up for some extensive training too. Your priority is to your son and if your husband works all day, you'll need to find another arrangement to get the puppy training so he doesn't drive you all bonkers.

Good luck!

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