It is possible to raise your puppy without a crate but it can be a very useful tool. You can compare it to a crib for a baby - it’s a safe place to sleep. A puppy run is also not necessary but it can give you a lot of spare time by removing the need to 'play a police officer'.
Is a crate and/or puppy pen useful for you?
Most puppies are not good at resting. With a few exceptions, they stay awake for so long that they get overly sleepy and become hyper with fatigue. Owners often complain that the puppy starts to bite or bark even more than usual. This is sometimes described as 'the puppy attacks me out of nowhere and cannot be distracted'. This is very normal puppy behavior and it is due to that overtiredness.
Types of puppy crates
Regular puppy crateIf your puppy does not suffer from this and sleeps enough on its own, then a crate is not necessary. If not, a crate can help your puppy rest. There is not much space in a crate, so the puppy cannot really play. In addition, it is a kind of burrow, especially if you have a closed crate or a rug hanging over it. As a result, fewer stimuli come in, so that your puppy is less likely to wake up. The 'burrow effect' has the added advantage that many puppies feel very safe in a crate. If the hustle and bustle at home become too much for them, they have the option to withdraw for a while.
Once your puppy can lie in the crate with the door closed, it knows nothing is going to happen. That gives the dog peace of mind because it doesn't have to jump out of the basket enthusiastically every time someone is around it. And that is a good first step for learning to be alone. Because only when your puppy no longer follows you everywhere he can learn that, after leaving, you always come back.
Finally, it is useful to get your puppy used to the crate while young. Because if the dog ever hurt himself in such a way that bench rest is recommended by the vet, it is nice if your dog feels comfortable in it.
Puppy playpenSometimes a crate is used as a box where the dog can be alone safely for a longer period of time. A regular crate is actually too small for that. Even if you buy a very large crate that your dog can sit and stand in since the puppy still cannot easily walk around in it and really move. In this situation, a puppy playpen is better: it is a large fence that is open at the top. You may see a puppy playpen when you choose a puppy at a breeder, as they often use them to keep puppies and mothers together.
A playpen is a safe place where the puppy can play and sniff around without needing constant attention. You only put things for your puppy inside the playpen. This way your belongings can remain intact and your puppy can do its own thing. A puppy playpen is therefore useful if you want to be able to leave the puppy alone.
People who are usually at home can also benefit from a puppy playpen. Preventing unwanted behavior is often the best solution. Using a puppy run prevents a puppy from doing naughty things to get your attention, which gives both you and your puppy peace of mind.
What to pay attention to when buying a crate
There are three different types of crates: the travel crate, the transport box and the wire crate. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Travel crate for dogsA travel crate is made of fabric. It is easy to set up and to carry. These crates are easy to take apart and are, therefore, not a suitable permanent place for many puppies.
Transport box for dogsA transport box is much stronger. These crates are made of plastic or metal. As the name implies, these types of crates are often used to transport the animal. There are variants that are specially designed for the car and crates that are adapted to be allowed on the plane.
These crates are sturdy enough to use as a permanent crate. Some dogs like this kind of burrow because all sides and the top are almost completely closed. But there are also dogs who find this annoying. And admittedly, this type of crate really stands out in your room.
Wire crateA wire bench is the most popular option. That's because it is the most flexible in use. It is sturdy, a puppy cannot just chew through it. But most wire benches are foldable, so you can take them with you if you need to.
A wire crate looks lighter, both for you and your dog. And if your dog still wants a hole, you can put a rug over it. So look for a crate for your home that you can take with you every now and then when you go away for a weekend. Then this is probably your best option.