Crate training is a controversial topic among dog parents, with some believing it to be essential for their pet’s safety and well-being, while others see it as cruel and unnecessary. So, is crate training necessary? Let’s discuss it.
What is crate training?
Crate training involves using a crate or confined area as a safe and secure place for a dog to rest, sleep, and eat. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The aim is to teach the dog to view the crate as their den.
Dogs are den animals so it is natural to them to relax and rest in a reduced space. I can see how from a human perspective crate training can be viewed as un- natural, but it’s really not. What’s un natural to them is to be left alone, since they are pack-social oriented animals. So we need to teach them gradually and slowly. Crate training sometimes can help in this process. Another way of looking at it is to think of bears. Bears hibernate for months at a time in a very small area. Other animals might do similar things that we humans might view as unbearable or cruel, but that’s their nature.
Is crate training necessary?
Whether or not crate training is necessary depends your situation and on your dog. For example, a dog that spends a lot of time alone in the house may benefit from having a safe and secure place to rest, while a dog that is never left alone may not need a crate. Note that dogs that are never left alone can develop separation anxiety. Which is not a good problem to have. Some dogs might have develop a fearful/anxious association with the crate. In this case the crate might not be the best option.
However crate training can make the process of potty training much faster and easier, since it’s easier to avoid accidents without having to constantly supervise your puppy.
In some cases, crate training may be essential for a dog’s safety and well-being. For example, if a dog is destructive when left alone, they may be at risk of harming themselves or damaging the home. A crate can provide a safe and secure environment while preventing destructive behavior.
Additionally, some dogs may benefit from a crate during travel or when staying in a boarding facility. Being comfortable in a crate can reduce stress and anxiety in unfamiliar situations.
Why do people crate train their dogs?
There are several reasons to crate train your dog. These include:
- Potty training.The crate can be very helpful to teach your dog two things: a. to avoid 90% of accidents without constant supervision and b. to hold the bladder. Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping area, so using a crate can help setting up a schedule where accidents can be easily avoided.
- Safety: A crate can keep a dog safe from potential hazards, such as electrical cords, toxic substances, or other pets in the home.
- Housetraining: A crate can keep your house safe from destructive behaviors. Puppies do not know the difference between a expensive furniture or objects and chew toys.
- Travel: A crate can be a convenient and safe way to transport a dog. Sometimes it’s actually mandatory. if your dog is not crate trained your dog will have a hard time traveling in a crate or carrier.
- Separation anxiety: For some dogs, a crate can provide a sense of security and comfort when left alone.
- Vet visits or grooming. If your dog gets sick and needs to stay over night, most likely the vet is going to use a crate. Groomers very often use crates while the dogs wait for their owners to pick them up.
Havng said this, crate training should never be used as a punishment or as a way to confine a dog for extended periods. Dogs are social animals and need interaction and exercise to stay healthy and happy.
How to crate train a dog?
If you decide to crate train your dog, it’s essential to do so in a positive and gentle way. Here are some tips:
- Introduce the crate gradually: Start by leaving the crate door open and placing treats or toys inside to encourage your dog to explore.
- Make the crate comfortable: Add a soft bed or blanket to make the crate inviting.
- Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they enter the crate voluntarily.
- Start with short periods: Initially, leave your dog in the crate for short periods while you’re at home, gradually increasing the time as they become comfortable.
- Never force your dog into the crate: If your dog seems reluctant to enter the crate, don’t force them. Instead, try using treats or toys to encourage them.
In summary, crate training can be beneficial for some dogs in certain situations. However, it’s not necessary for every dog, and it’s crucial to use a mindful approach when introducing a crate. Remember, a crate should be a safe and secure place for your dog, not a form of punishment or confinement.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved July 2023