Crate and Rotate

Recommended for Dogs Who Do Not Get Along

For Multiple Dog Homes

Crate and rotate routine is a regimen many multiple dog homes use. It is also very common to find it used in foster home situations. Using good strong crates or separate rooms, you can accomplish this easily. For dogs that do not get along, it is NOT suggested to use gates.Provided dogs typically get along using a gate as a precautionary measure when no one is there to supervise should be fine. Keep in mind dogs can go over gates if they really want to.

It’s always a good idea to have your dog comfortable with a crate. The crate should be a happy and safe place for your dog. Never use a crate for punishment. Please read crate training tips.

Why is it Necessary

Keeping Dogs Safe is the Goal

There are dogs that get along famously with other dogs. Then there are those dogs that don’t get along with other dogs. Typically, if it’s going to happen it will around maturity but can happen anytime during their lifetime. Never try to let them work it out on their own.

Sometimes fights start over food or toys; sometimes they happen for no apparent reason. Typically once there has been a fight another will follow. Adrenaline levels stay raised for about two weeks after a dog fight. Which increases the chance of another fight. The only difference is, it will be worse the next time, as they learn what works best and what doesn’t.

Owners must be diligent in supervising their dogs and pay attention to any aggression happening before a fight does break out.

The reason for a crate and rotate lifestyle is fairly simple. Separate dogs that reside in the same house that do not get along The dynamic that creates a crate and rotate life necessarily are dogs who react aggressively to one another.

This behavior can be typical amongst Pit Bulls due to their unique heritage as fighting dogs. This behavior also tends to happen more frequently when dogs are of the same sex or of the same age. If this happens in your household, a crate and rotate routine can help immensely to stabilize and reduce stress in the home. It will keep the dogs safe and it will keep them in their homes.

How to Implement

You will be rotating the dogs with time out of the crate or space periodically through the day. Since the dogs can’t be loose together and must be separated from each other, there will need to be a schedule in place and a special time reserved for each dog to be able to enjoy free time. Everyone in the household should be aware of the scheduale and adhere to it.

This lifestyle is not the easiest to maintain, but it can be the best decision and can be done successfully. There is no shame in having a crate and rotating home. If you’re not sure how to maintain routine, and your dogs are not getting along, talk to a trainer with experience in management of this type and how such an arrangement can be set up for your dogs.

Creating Schedules

Depending on your household schedule and routine, you will need to develop a plan that fits and works within your own schedule. It is crucial that everyone in your household is aware, partakes in, and abides by this new schedule. And, that everyone understands it completely. Once you establish a scheduled routine that works, stick with it. Dogs love routines and will learn the routine much faster if you and the rest of your family are consistent with it.

It may take you a while to come to a system that works for everyone. Developing a consistent practice can include: identifying which crates you will use for which dogs, and what location those crates will be. Determine which rooms dogs have access to. Create a scheduled time for allowing them out and keeping a scheduled feeding time. (it’s also a good idea to feed them in their crate or space) Keeping everything on the schedule you create will make it easier on you and the dogs.

In Addition to Schedules

In addition to schedules and to help make maintaining dogs on a rotate routine more manageable, it’s best to include at least the very basics of obedience training and adequate exercise. Dogs trained in obedience can be easier to manage; a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise burns off excess energy and can help reduce anxiety and tension.


Have patience and remember many other families crate and rotate their dogs.

pitbull in pool

Crate and Rotate JUNE 7, 2016 


Life With Crate and Rotate

 A lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that 2 of my dogs are on a crate rotation schedule. They’ll often say, “I don’t know how you do it!” Or, “I could never do that.” Or even, “Why don’t you just get friendlier dogs instead?” At the end of the day, this is my pack and none of them are leaving. It’s my job to make sure they stay safe and this is the best solution that I have come across to date.

The Fact is

Our crate rotation schedule provides me with peace of mind. And confidence knowing that I’m not going to have to separate two fighting dogs or deal with any injuries or a possible fatality.

When you have a dog that is aggressive, which would you rather do? Walk on eggshells all day long waiting for the next fight to happen? Be paying out your ass for stitches and antibiotics and for wounds to wrap and clean? Feeling on edge 24/7 because the dogs may or may not fight and you’ve got to be ready for when they do? Or, would you rather have a simple system put in place to protect both dogs from getting injured? While still being able to enjoy and spend time with both dogs?

black short coat medium sized dog lying on black leather sofa

Personally, I’ve got enough daily stress in my life. I don’t need the additional stress by the notion that one day my dogs might kill each other. I also don’t think that it’s fair to the dogs to be putting them in harm’s way. What type of quality of life are you providing them with if you aren’t mitigating the ability for a fight to break out. Also, living in a constantly stressful environment simply isn’t healthy for anyone.

One thing that I have run into is that people assume that because a crate rotation exists in my household, my dogs have zero quality of life. I’ll clear that up right now: My dogs have very fulfilling lives and I’ll explain how it works in our house.

We rotate the 2 female dogs every 2-4 hours. Does this mean that they might spend time in their crates a little more than your average dog? Perhaps. Does that mean they aren’t regularly exercised and cared for? Not at all. During the 2-4 hours that one dog is out, they are not only exercised, but we do obedience training as well as just relax on the couch. Then we alternate.

On warm days I will take one dog outside and leave the other in the house uncrated. So, we are rotating from inside to outside and they aren’t confined to their crate. In addition to being exercised at home, they also both get to go out on separate hikes, trips to the creek as well as to sports (Rally-O, Dock Diving, PSA, Nose Work). When one dog is out at a sports activity, the other is free to be in the house.

At night we alternate which dog gets to sleep in bed with us.

Crate rotating is simply a safety measure that I have put in place. This is to ensure that I can continue enjoying both of my dogs without having to worry about any potential fights. It creates a safe, calm and relaxing environment for both my dogs and me. Despite the stigma attached to crate and rotate schedules, I will continue to use this method simply because it is what works best in my household. It has become second nature to us, it doesn’t take up any additional time out of our lives. And gives us the ability to truly enjoy our dogs.