Do you think crate training your dog is a good idea? Do the cons of doing this outweigh the pros?
Speed up your decision-making process by finding out the pros and cons of crate training in this article.
The period of crate training is a crucial stage in your dog’s life.
It is a way of taking advantage of the usual den intuition of your dog.
Knowing the pros and cons of crate training before adopting this method is essential.
This is because this training can positively and negatively affect the life of both the dog and you – the owner.
We have outlined the pros and problems associated with crate training to consider before making your decision…
But before we get started:
Is crate training cruel?
I have to confess!
The first time I heard about dog crates, it didn’t sound right:
“Put my dog in a crate? Never!” – I said to myself.
Of course, I was thinking about their use from the wrong perspective, I saw it as a kind of prison where people locked their poor dogs up so that they wouldn’t be disturbed, as a punishment, or so that they wouldn’t wreck the house while they went to work.
And the truth is that there may be people who do this sort of thing, but, in that case, they will be making the wrong use of dog crates, because dog crates should NEVER be used to lock a dog in for long periods, let alone serve as a form of punishment.
On the contrary, your furry friend should see his crate as his “den”, a safe place, just for him to go to when he wants to relax.
So basically, crate training is not cruel but depends on how you employ its usage.
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Pros / Advantages of Crate Training
1. Helps prevent destructive behavior and ensures safety
Dogs, more often than not come up with different strange and destructive behaviors. Inappropriate chewing is one and is a fairly common problem in dogs, especially puppies.
Dogs who like to chew furniture or things in the house when they are alone are sometimes put in a dog crate to avoid this behavior.
Also, due to their inquisitive nature, your dog can get in trouble with possible dangers around your environment such as household cleaners and chemicals, potentially toxic plants, and even electrical cords.
A simple way to ensure his safety is to put him in a crate for the times when he cannot be supervised.
By keeping your pet away from this potential accident, you not only save your dog’s life, but you also save yourself the trouble.
2. To Potty Training or Housebreak puppies
One of the ways to effectively housebreak a puppy  is by using a dog crate. It is a fact that puppies have a weak bladder. They have to pee several times a day and learn to do business outside, not indoors.
When a new puppy is first brought home, you should get a suitable crate for him and place his bed and toy inside it. As soon as he gets used to being inside it, it will be advantageous to teach him not to have accidents.
The theory behind using a dog crate is that a dog becomes house-trained because it does not want to contaminate its own “den”.
This is partially correct, but young puppies up to 6 months old occasionally lose a little urine because they simply cannot hold it. Putting him in a dog crate will delay it as long as possible.
However, you should never keep him in the crate for more than three hours.
3. Helps prevent separation anxiety problems
Crate training can also help your dog cope better with loneliness and problems associated with separation anxiety. If your dog is used to using a crate and already sees it as its shelter, he will be much less likely to develop problems such as separation anxiety.
Of course, you should never leave him locked up all day in his crate, especially if you are away from home for an extended period.
It is important to note that if your dog is already suffering from separation anxiety, you should NEVER confine him in a crate at your own risk, as this would only make the situation worse.
In this case, the best thing you can do is contact a dog behaviorist or an ethologist, who can give you the guidelines to follow to solve this problem.
4. Natural need
Dogs have a particular affection for confined spaces. They like it beneath the table, in cars … and this need is instinctive with them. It is their way of having a territory to relax and protect themselves from possible interference.
Giving them a place of comfort, a safe place to call home whenever they are anxious, frightened, or unsure of what is happening around them isn’t bad.
Within a short period of crate training, they’ll feel safe even in the absence of humans. Therefore, whenever they have an opportunity to stay in a particular spot in your home, they’ll treasure it. This makes them content with their space and freedom.
5. Suitable for dogs that just had surgery or gave birth
On the other hand, the fact that your dog is used to using a crate and sees it as something positive can come in handy if he has to spend a few days in a veterinary hospital since he would have to be inside a crate there for his own safety. And thus have a great experience with a little less stress. The same also applies when your dog has just given birth.
6. Helps when transporting your dog to a new environment,
A dog that is familiar with its crate will travel comfortably and safely by car if you put it in the trunk. Also, in some cases, if he has to spend a few days at the vet, being used to spending time in a crate can make the experience a little less stressful for your dog.
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Cons of Crate Training
1. Fear of confinement
More commonly known as claustrophobia, this disorder can be triggered in a dog that struggles with the experience of confinement. The physical and behavioral consequences can result in problems like panting and drooling.
2. It causes learned helplessness.
Placing your dog in a crate shouldn’t be your way of punishing them for their behaviors.
Even gentle pups get to a point where they relate individual decisions with impending consequences like isolation. This process can make them display other harmful behaviors, which results in another correction hence forming an endless negative cycle.
Repeated corrections would only end up frightening and confusing your pup.
Sometimes they protect themselves from learned helplessness through accepting what they feel is abuse, even though you think differently. Utilize the crate as a home, rather than a punishment.
3. Can cause illnesses
In extreme cases when you place your dog in a crate more often, your dog may contract illnesses related to the lack of physical activity and anxiety such as diabetes or neurosis.
4. Can leave your dog traumatized
It’s highly possible for your dog to have a bad experience putting him in a crate. This could leave him traumatized, anxious, and unable to trust his owners. This is one of the major disadvantages of crate training.
5. It creates the feeling of being excluded.
By crate training your dog, you have built a physical barrier between you too.
Dogs are very sociable animals that enjoy operating in packs. You are part of that pack and will be seen as the leader when the training is performed accurately.
But when you maintain that barrier for a long time, the puppy finds it difficult to believe that it is wanted. He is unable to relate with you in a way that’s natural to them. This disadvantage results in many bad behaviors as time goes on, including aggression.
To sum up
By weighing the pros and cons of crate training, you’re now in a better position to choose. Knowing that the crate training has lots of benefits and can also result in unwanted behavior and other problems when it isn’t used correctly.