Are Dogs or Wolves Den Animals?
Dens, Nests, and Resting Places
Contrary to popular belief dogs nor wolves are “den” animals in the way it has been popularized. “Denning” is a seasonal maternal behavior and the den is only used for newborn puppies for about 8-weeks before being abandoned. From 8-20 weeks the puppies are moved to an area with a “nest”. After 20-weeks I think it would be more accurate to say dogs seek out a resting place. While there may be a small percentage of dogs that would choose a protected area such as a crate for resting this is not the norm. If this was the normal behavior for dogs there would not be the strong emphases on “crate training”. Choosing a resting place that is isolated is different from choosing a crate.. Sadly way too many people believe a crate is a necessary "tool" for confinement. When confinement is required, I prefer to limit a dog’s access to other areas with a barrier like a baby gate or at times a large x-pen. I think it’s important for every dog to except a crate, but I’m not a fan of using crates except in limited circumstances. For vehicle travel a crate is a great choice if it is crash tested and secured in the vehicle.
A crate should be large enough for a dog to stand, turn-around (without touching the sides), lie down comfortably and strech out.