Some Benefits and Disadvantages of Crate Training: Things Dog Owners Should Consider
Dog training tips: crate training pros and cons
The crate. An object with which a dog has a difficult relationship.
The subject of crate training a dog is one of perennial debate. Many dog trainers believe, not wrongly, that it is a good way of teaching a dog the proper boundaries and behaviors at home. Others understandably see the wrong use of it as being way too harsh.
Using a crate to guide a dog’s behavior comes with some benefits and some uncomfortable disadvantages that novice dog owners must consider. As well as delivering a personal take on crate training, this article will give some suggestions on how to use this object in a safe, appropriate and humane way.
A personal take on using a crate to guide a dog’s behavior
Where I am concerned, I personally do not like the idea of using a crate to contain dog for reasons of freedom and comfort, both physically and mentally. Many will share this view.
However, a crate is a useful place for your dog to go to, provided owners have some very important things in mind.
What are some of the disadvantages of using a crate to train your dog?
The crate has certain cons attached to it if not used with judiciousness. It can have some very adverse effects on a dog’s physical safety and emotional well-being, so these must be properly addressed before a crate can be used.
It causes physical frustration to a dog.
Keeping a dog in a too-small crate would cause it much physical frustration. The physical stress can cause a dog to constantly lick itself and develop stress sores. A dog may also develop stress on his limbs if he is not able to stand properly.
Someone my mother knows kept a schnauzer in a cage for 12 years till it passed away of cancer. The mild manner schnauzer never complained, but was not able to stand up properly because the cage was a little too small for it.
It causes emotional distress to a dog.
This is just a little reminder because much has been said of this subject before. We do not like being confined and neither do dogs. Being in a cage for a long time causes the animal extended emotional discomfort and results in its maladaptive behavior.
The schnauzer I mentioned earlier never resisted being in a cage, but did develop a dislike for people. The cage, when used for a prolonged period, can develop the same feelings in dogs as in humans who have been isolated for a long time.
It is dangerous if it is not assembled well.
If a cage is not assembled properly it can collapse upon the dog and cause it physical harm.
It is dangerous if there is not enough ventilation.
Some cages have bars that are extremely close together, restricting the air that is allowed to circulate within. This causes extreme discomfort.
The cage could be dangerous if a dog is put in a crate with a collar or leash.
The cage can be dangerous if your dog wears a collar or leash. The collar or lead can get caught on the bars and there is danger of strangulation.
What are the benefits of crate training?
That having been said, using a crate with care does serve at times to guide a dog’s behavior. . Crate training is a useful tool to guide puppies as they are being house trained.
A crate keeps your dog away from harmful substances.
If you have a dog who loves chewing objects, a crate can be a useful tool. A dog, especially a puppy, may ingest something that is dangerous or poisonous if he is left to his own devices without being watched.
It helps to hone a dog’s den instincts.
Dogs are natural den animals and need a home to go to. A crate, when used wisely, serves as a place a dog can call its own.
Allow me to digress a little and mention a little observation that I have made. My little West Highland, Cloudy, loves her spot under the sofa, a place she has made her own little den.
A crate can help with potty training a puppy.
A bigger cage can help localize your puppy and understand where he needs to go to ease himself. A small potty in the cage would help him associate with the scent and know that it is his bathroom.
What are the things to keep in mind when crating a dog?
If crating is to be used as a method of housebreaking or guiding a dog’s behavior, here are a few things to consider.
Do not leave a dog there for long stretches.
As mentioned, a dog, when left too long in a crate, becomes terribly distressed because of prolonged isolation. Do not keep it there for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time. A dog in a cage for too long will start to emotionally withdraw. It may become hyperactive because its basic freedom to walk around is being curtailed.
If you have a very long work day, you might want to consider hiring a dog sitter who would take care of its walking and other needs while you are away for the day.
Never use the crate as a form of punishment.
The cage should never be a form of punishment. Using the crate this way will cause a dog to associate it with negativity.
As with children, the dog might even become rebellious and do the exact things you do not want it to. Emotionally disturbed dogs turn to obsessive licking that causes stress sores.
Associate the crate with something pleasant.
The crate should be a dog’s little den. It should be a place that it can go to when it needs time of its own and some “dog-sonal” space.
A door to a crate should never be used unless you want to keep a dog safe for certain reasons eg. if renovation work is going on at home and the dog has to be left there for a while during the day. The dog should use the crate as his little home or place, to freely come and go as he pleases.
Consider the size of the crate.
The crate should be big and comfortable and allow the dog a good stretch. If your dog is not able to stand in a crate, it can develop muscle atrophy.
Never put your dog in with collar or leash.
While you are not aware, the dog’s lead or collar can get caught in the crate and cause strangulation.
A crate can turn into a dog’s home if he is trained to associate it with being one. It can also be a safe place for him to be in certain circumstances. It can, however, cause much physical and emotional distress if used in the wrong way or for inappropriate purposes.