Misconception #2: Putting a dog in a crate is cruel.
Dogs are not only pack animals by nature, they’re also den animals. When used properly, most dogs come to love their crates. You may have noticed that your dog likes to lie beneath your dining room table or other confined spaces, and the crate isn’t all that different. Both resemble a den.
Crates can be a great training tool, particularly when housetraining puppies. Puppies don’t like to soil where they sleep, so they learn to control themselves until they’re let out. It’s important to remember that puppies should not be left in crates for more than 3 or 4 hours without being let out to go to the bathroom, and it’s best to use the crate with the intention of ultimately weaning your dog off of it. Crates can also be used as a comforting personal space for your dog, a place where you can tell him to go to as needed. This can be handy in a number of different training situations, such as when dealing with dogs who bark excessively or dogs who are afraid of thunder. It can also be good if your dog needs a timeout from a situation like when visitors come to the house.
There are some dogs who do best being crated when left alone to keep them from behaving destructively. You can keep your furniture and other items from being chewed or otherwise destroyed, but you’ll also keep your dog safer. Again, keep in mind that dogs need plenty of opportunities to be let out to go to the bathroom and get some exercise.