Whether you just got a new puppy or have an older dog you’d like to begin crate training, there are certainly a lot of things to consider with the process. While it can be a viable and effective way to teach your dog boundaries and discipline within your home, it comes with a few potential downsides. We take a look at the crate training pros and cons for your dog.
Whether you just got a new puppy or have an older dog you’d like to begin crate training, there are certainly pros and cons to the process. Crate training is a viable way to teach your dog boundaries and discipline within your home.
But while it can be a wildly effective tool, crate training your dog is not without its downsides, as with most things. Dogs have a natural instinct to burrow themselves in a den-like setting, which is where the crate comes in helpful. And since dogs don’t like to soil where they sleep, crate training is lauded for its ability to fully house-train your pet.
Here’s everything you need to know about crate training, with its full pros and cons.
What is Crate Training?
Crate training is a feasible, controlled way to provide your dog a cozy, peaceful, safe space where they can seek refuge or rest. Advocates praise crates for their ability to mimic a den-like setting, which enables your dog to embrace their inner canine.
Those against crate training believe it can be cruel to confine your dog to a small space for extended periods of time. While there is no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should crate train your dog, if it’s done properly, it can be incredibly beneficial.
Why Crate Train Your Dog?
Reasons to crate train your dog often begin in puppyhood. Since dogs don’t like to relieve themselves where they sleep, crates are often introduced at the start of a young pup’s life to minimize any accidents around the house. They also provide a controlled environment for your puppy’s napping needs.
Since puppies sleep upwards of eighteen hours per day, crates provide slumber and solitude. Using a crate to inform your puppy’s behavior at a young age comes with pros and cons, like much else.
Is Crate Training Cruel to Dogs?
Your dog should see their crate as their personal “den” where they can go to sleep, feel safe, or just take a break when they need to.
It shouldn’t ever be a form of punishment or torture for your dog – and you should never lock your dog up in a crate for long periods, or for the whole day while you go to work!
In general, crate training isn’t cruel to dogs – but it depends on how you use it.
Pros of Crate Training For Dogs
Crate training keeps your dog away from toxic and dangerous substances
Since your dog is in a confined, controlled, and safe environment within their crate, there’s little chance they can get into anything that could seriously harm them. If you’re a fan of chocolate, crate training can put your mind at ease that your pup won’t get into your secret stash! Crate training virtually erases the risk of your dog getting into anything dangerous or toxic, since they physically can’t get into trouble.
Prevents destructive behavior
Dogs, and especially puppies, can develop annoying and destructive behaviors that can destroy everything from your shoes, to furniture, and even walls in your house.
If your dog insists on chewing everything when they’re bored or alone, crate training can be useful to train them out of this behavior.
You won’t worry when you’re running errands
If you’re taking a quick trip to the grocery store, you can have peace of mind while you’re out as your dog is dreaming of treats in their crate.
When you come home, you can rest assured that your furniture, slippers, and trash won’t be laying out in pieces around your house. If your dog likes getting into things they shouldn’t, crate training can put your mind at ease while you’re out running errands.
Crates help socialize your dog when having guests over
When your dog comes to associate their crate with a safe, den-like setting, it can serve as a wonderful tool for socialization. Proper socialization and introduction to new people is one of the best things for your dog, and that can be done from the safety of their crate.
Crates can help prevent your dog from getting nervous, anxious, or overly excited when having people over.
Crates make it easy for you to take your dog on adventures!
Since crates are portable, it makes it easy for your dog to feel safe in the car on a road trip. Crates can be especially helpful for dogs who experience car anxiety. You also don’t have to worry about your pup sticking its head too far out the window!
A dog that is familiar to its crate will travel comfortably and safely by car. And in some cases, if he has to spend a few days at the vets, being used to spending time in a crate can make the experience a little less stressful for your dog.
Potty training / housebreaking a puppy
One way to housebreak your puppy quickly and effectively is by using a dog crate. Puppies have small, weak bladders so they have to urinate several times a day. They need to learn to do this outside, not inside!
When you bring your puppy home, make sure you have a suitable crate set up with toys and their bed inside it. Once he gets used to this den-like space, he won’t urinate in there, as it’s his own personal space.
Young puppies will still pee in their crates until they reach about 6 months old, as they’re often unable to control their bladder properly.
With the right crate training, your pup will eventually control their bladder and go outside when they need to urinate.
Cons of Crate Training For Dogs
Dogs can easily experience too much confinement in a crate
It’s important for dogs to have free roam around the house when not in their crate. Confining your dog to a crate for prolonged periods of time can cause more harm than good. Crates are meant for training purposes and shouldn’t be used as a kennel. Dogs are very mobile and active animals that thrive off physical movement, even if they’re just browsing around the house. When home, be sure to leave your dog’s crate door open so they can freely roam.
Crate training isn’t always the best option for dogs with certain medical conditions
Dogs with incontinence issues or history of seizures should not be confined to a crate. If your dog is defecating or soiling itself, keeping them in a crate can exacerbate the problem. Instead, opt for a controlled area prepped with potty pads, a tarp, or towels. A dog that has a history of seizures should not be confined to a crate either. If a seizure were to happen, your dog could seriously injure themselves by hitting their head on the side of their crate. Make sure to set them up in a soft, padded area if you have to leave the house.
Some crates don’t have proper ventilation
Wire crates are the best option when crate training your dog, not to be confused with common kennel carriers. Properly ventilated crates are better for your dog’s overall well being and can ease their worries about the crate. Be sure to get a standard wire crate with wide enough spacing to ensure proper ventilation. This is especially important in the unlikely event your dog has an accident in their crate, so they’re not overwhelmed by the scent of ammonia.
Crate training can lead to negative feelings and trauma
Your dog might undergo feelings of seclusion, worry, isolation, or anxiety if confined in their crate too often. The crate is designed to be a safe haven for a dog, to make them feel safe and secure. It should never be used as a punishment for certain unwanted behavior. Dogs are some of the most social and emotional animals on the planet and thrive off interaction with their person. Keeping your dog confined to their crate can create feelings of exclusion and worry.
Is crate training dangerous for your dog?
Many popular crates are made of metal which is hinged and designed to fold flat when not in use. Before your dog uses the crate, make sure you’ve put it together securely. You don’t want the crate to collapse and injure your dog, as this will give them future anxiety about being inside the crate.
Make sure you remove your dog’s collar and leash before they go into the crate to avoid accidentally getting stuck on a door or hinge which may cause choking.
If you’re worried about crate training your dog in any way, or need advice on the best type of crate for your dog – consult your veterinarian for advice.
Recommended crates for training your dog
In summary – crate training pros and cons: is it right for your dog?
By weighing up the crate training pros and cons you’re now in a better position to choose what’s right for you and your canine friend.
When used correctly and compassionately, crate training is a wonderful option for your dog for all the right reasons! Providing them a safe space can allow them to feel nurtured and special – and what more could we want for our dogs than that?