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I am planning to adopt an adult dog that is already housebroken. Everything I read about crate training says that it is very helpful for house training puppies, but I can’t find anything about adult dogs who are already past that point.

Is it okay to not have a crate for adult, housebroken dogs? I’ve read about how dogs have an instinct to create a “den” and that a crate can satisfy that, so if I put their bedding in a secluded area to address that, do I need to bother with the expense and hassle of a crate?

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Dogs don't need a crate but it's OK to have one if you wish. Normally there are two reasons to have a crate for your dogs.

One is to help you control your dog when you're not around for a longer period of time (i.e. being at work). Not as a substitute for training your dog to behave in the house when unsupervised, but rather for situations in which unforeseen things might happen (thunderstorms, fireworks or other events that might scare/trigger your dog while you're not around). Or, if you travel a lot, you need a dog who is used to staying in a crate when traveling.

The other reason is when you have a fearful or insecure dog, you can use the crate as a den, where he can retreat and feel safe. It can be one tool to help you deal with such an insecure dog, but it's not mandatory.

In both case it's completely up to you to decide if you want a crate to help you in your day to day life.

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No, crates aren't necessary. I had 4 different dogs while growing up at my parents house and we never owned a single crate.

My personal dog that I have now has his own crate, and I love it for the peace of mind that he can't ever get into the garbage or anything while I'm out or while I'm sleeping. But That kind of stuff rarely happened with my dogs as a kid, so it definitely isn't necessary.

Whether or not the dog would prefer having one? Who knows. I know my dog loves his crate now, and often spends time in there even if the door is open. It's a useful tool, but not a requirement by any means.

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