Are Dogs or Wolves Den Animals?
Dens, Nests, and Resting Places
Contrary to popular belief neither 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.