Crate training is so very, very important even if you don't plan on using one in the future. Out of my dogs, only 1 is crated when we are not home now but they have all been crate trained. Here are some reasons why you should at least train a puppy to be comfortable in a crate:
If/when your dog has to go to the vet for a stay (neuter, hospitalization, etc) they WILL be in a crate. If this is the first time the dog has ever been crated, this will make their visit even more stressful than it already is. Many times a dog that has never been crated before a vet stay will be a danger not only to the staff, but also to themselves. I have seen numerous dogs freak out in a crate so badly that they have broken toes, legs, teeth, and even some that have gotten their jaw stuck in the cage door. These dogs are difficult if not impossible to treat properly and their medical care will suffer due to it. Many dogs that have never been crated will be fearful of the crate at the vet, requiring the use of somewhat forceful handling to get them into one. Dogs can also be cage aggressive due to this fear, requiring the use of control sticks (rabies pole) to get them out just so treatment can be provided. Now imagine how a 10 year old dog in liver failure will feel being in a crate for the first time away from home...
The number one reason a puppy has to be hospitalized is from ingesting a foreign object. Puppies eat everything! The best way to keep this from happening is to crate them when not supervised. You would be amazed at what a vet has removed from dogs' intestines. Just last week I assisted in a surgery to remove a 3" sewing needle from a 4 month old puppy before it could puncture the intestines. Carpet, toys, money, glass, drywall, and wood, are all things that have been surgically removed from puppies that I have assisted with. Not all of the pups recovered.
Everyone has seen the horror stories of dogs being ejected from a vehicle in an accident and lost never to be seen again. An unrestrained dog can/will become a projectile in the event of an accident, many times propelled into/out of the windshield. A travel crate (ie Vari-kennel) is THE safest way for your pet to travel. Second best is a harness and tether in the BACK SEAT. Air bags in the front can kill a dog. You wear a seatbelt and would not let a child ride in a car unrestrained, why would you let your dog?
If you ever go on vacation and have to board your dog somewhere, the dog will most likely be crated in some form. They are already stressed spending a few days in an unfamiliar place, why add the stress of being crated for the first time to that? If you take your dog with you on vacation and stay in a hotel, all hotels will require you to to crate your dog when you are not in the room. This is for their staff's safety as well as their way of reducing damage to their rooms. No one wants to be kicked out of the only hotel available that still accepts dogs for miles because their dog has never been crated before and screamed for 2 hours while you were at dinner. Damage and disturbance is the number one reason so many hotels no longer allow dogs or charge high pet fees.
I'm not sure if you plan on training and possibly competing with your dog, but all sport dogs must be able to crate quietly at events. Some days you are there for 12 hours or more, there is no fun involved when you have to hold on to a leash all day. You can't socialize with your friends, you can't watch the events, you can't go to the bathroom...
Crate training isn't a life sentence. It doesn't have to last forever, but it is such an important skill to have. Crating will also cut potty training time in half. I've mentioned in a previous post why.
(Posted from MobileWeb)