The Great Crate Debate

Pug in a CrateMany people feel that crate training a dog is appalling and cruel. Yet there are many who swear by it. Let’s see what crate training is really about….

Some experts say that dogs have a natural denning instinct, which is why you almost always find them under something. If you’ve ever woke up in the morning to find your dog curled up under your comforter, this is the denning instinct; this also includes under the table, under your legs, or curled up in a corner. In the wild, dogs are pack animals, they raise their young in dens for safety and protection. This is what keeps the pack going.

Crate training plays on this natural instinct, when used properly the crate provides your dog with a safe, secure place to go when he is tired, stressed out or just needs a break from the kids for a bit. Not only that, but the crate can prevent him from harming himself (like eating things he’s not suppose to when you’re not home) or tearing up your furniture. Crate training is also a great tool for potty training. Most dogs will not soil “their space” and since they are in their crate, it also saves your carpet.

Some view crate training as cruel to a dog, well, it is if you leave your dog in it all day, then put him in it all night too. That much time in a small space isn’t good for anyone’s sanity. If you are doing this, you might need to reconsider having a dog. Your dog should be allowed out of his crate when you are home. If you can’t be home to let him out during the day, you might want to consider hiring a dog walker or taking him to doggie daycare (doggie daycare also allows him to socialize with other people and other dogs).

What if your dog gets ill and has to spend time at the vet’s office? He will be in a crate there. So if he’s already stressed out from being sick and then has to spend time in a crate and he’s not used to it, it will stress him out even more. If he’s used to being in a crate, it will offer him safety and security so that he can recover faster and be less stressed.

If you do a lot of traveling, a crate is the safest place for your dog to ride. It keeps him secure as well as off the steering wheel, gas peddle and everything else. If you fly and take your dog, he will have to be in an airline approved crate. If you all of a sudden shove him in one, he will be confused and stressed out because he doesn’t know what is going on, then of course put him in a plane and you’ll probably have one sick puppy!

So is crate training a good thing, yes, I feel it is, when it is used properly. But, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and whether you choose to use crate training or not is your personal preference. If you would like more information on how to crate train your puppy, please let me know!

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5 thoughts on “The Great Crate Debate

  1. I never got crates for my dogs because I thought if I left them home all day long (I work) that they would go “potty” in their crate. Now I know that they wouldn’t. But, they would have to hold it all day long and they are Chihuahuas with little tiny bladders. They must relieve themselves which seems like 10 times a day, or more! 🙂

  2. It definitely depends on the size of the dog too. The smaller the dog is the less time they can “hold it” before having to go outside, the same for puppies. I read somewhere that for puppies it’s based on how old they are, like if they are 3 months they get 3 hours or something like that. I don’t really know how true that estimation is, I think it just depends on the dog.

    Do you have a doggie door or use potty pads? What is your solution for potty training with smaller dogs?

  3. We used crate training as puppies. Then when they got old enough to hold it during the day, we practically never put them in it. Now, my beagle will go in there sometimes and lay down, but my aussie never will. Both of them go in peacefully when asked, though, so it seems to have worked out well. I’ve known people who kept their dog in there all the time thinking this would potty train her. They were actually told to do this by a trainer! Then when they let their dog go out, it would always run away. No surprise there..

  4. puppymom says:

    We are using crates for our dogs – both as a tool for potty training and a tool for keeping them out of trouble when we can’t keep close watch of them (like when we’re sleeping) and when we can’t be home. They both get long walks every day and plenty of time with us and each other playing, etc., so I don’t worry about them being cramped into their crates all day and all night.

    They both like their crates – some really juicy bones can only be played with in their crates (to prevent fighting which is absolutely not allowed), so they got the idea that good things happen there pretty quickly. Yesterday, they had a little fight and Lucy went to her crate for awhile, all on her own; she just needed to relax away from Sally for a bit. So, I feel good knowing that they have a place to go when they get stressed.

  5. puppymom says:

    “I don’t worry about them being cramped into their crates all day and all night.” – I just read my above comment and realized this makes it sound like they are cramped in their crates all day and all night. They aren’t. What I meant to say is that, because they are out of their crates getting long walks and playing with us and each other for many hours of the day, I don’t worry that they are in their crates too much.

    Also, another important point to make with crate training is that crates should NEVER be used as a punishment. If you have multiple dogs and you need to crate them to separate them or even if you have one dog and you need to crate it to have a little “settle down” time… always ALWAYS calm your dog down first and then put the dog in the crate. You don’t want your dog to think that every time they go in their crate, it is a punishment.

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