Myth: Dogs will seek out closed spaces that mimic a den; it’s in their nature.
Truth: Dogs don’t like dens any more than you do!
Proponents of crate training will often rush to tell you how awesome crates are for dogs because of their natural tendency to seek out protection in a den.
Like so many dog behaviour myths, this is a case of mistaken identity: wolves will seek out or create a den, dogs will not. Additionally, wolves only exhibit denning behaviour while raising their young, not year-round.
Dogs may seek refuge under furniture, provided they fit, because they learn early on that they are more likely to be left alone if they hide under furniture.
Crate training is a very important part of dog ownership not because it mimics a den — which, admittedly, is a little bit of a stretch — but because some dogs need to be kept out of trouble while unsupervised. It’s also great for overwhelmed or over-excited dogs (especially puppies) that need to calm down a little.
If you need to crate your dog during the day, make sure he is kept busy in there. Boredom isn’t good for you, and it’s not good for your dog!
Does your dog hate his crate? Check out our article on “crate-hate” for a step-by-step guide on how to solve crating issues.