Call it the canine version of a man cave or a she shed. A dog views a crate as a place to retreat to when he or she wants to get away from the action and just relax a while. The desire for a crate, or den, is so embedded in canine DNA that many crate-less dogs will create cozy getaways out of tight spaces in your home — between the couch and a wall, under a table or desk, behind a bed.
That’s why you should invest in a crate if you don’t already own one. It will really enhance the quality of your pet’s life when she needs a little “me” time.
Choose a crate that will provide a snug, but not uncomfortable, fit. It should be just tall enough for your dog to stand up in without having to hunch over, just wide enough to turn around, and just long enough so that her nose and behind don’t touch the ends.
Only the front of the crate should have a view of the “outside” world so the dog feels secure and protected rather than having sights and sounds coming at her from literally all sides. Some crates meet that need because they have solid sides and a solid top and a wired front. But if you choose a crate made entirely of wire, all you need to do
is put a throw or large towel over it so that only the door side remains uncovered.
Outfit the crate with soft bumper pads that you might find in a baby’s crib. Not only will they provide more comfort than leaning against wire. They will eliminate the possibility of trapped paws, dental damage, and collar snags. A soft, plush toy or two is a good idea, too.
Finally, keep the crate in a fairly high-traffic area of the home. That might sound counterintuitive, since the crate’s purpose is to provide some separation, but dogs generally like to be able to see the action even if they want a break from it. It’s a cozy feeling to know what’s going on without having to participate.
Granted, you may not like the idea of a crate interfering with your decor or taking up space in an often-used room. But it’s a small price to pay for a happier dog.