Crate training is a very polarizing issue, some people believe it’s the best thing for the entire family, including the dog. Others believe that crate training is cruel and ineffective. There are absolutely instances where crate training is done improperly and becomes inhumane, but when done correctly crate training is an amazing tool, providing your dog with a safe environment that he or she will come to love.
Crate training, when done correctly, is not only humane, but can even be enjoyable for your dog. Crate training was never meant for caging or confining your dog just because it’s bothering you at the moment and you just don’t want it around. Crates are also not meant to be used hours on end, locking your puppy or dog away and only letting it out when you feel like giving it attention. Care should be taken not to use the crate excessively, but only when you are truly unable to watch what your dog is getting into.
With proper use, there are many benefits to crate training. Dogs will not urinate or defecate in a confined area, so using a crate is an extremely effective way of potty training your puppy. Dog also may get into trouble by damaging things that are important to their owners, or by ingesting things that can be fatally poisonous to them; proper use of the crate will prevent both of these issues. The crate should become a safe haven for your dog, and having it will make them feel more comfortable.
Dogs are descendants of wolves and, like wolves, are “den” animals. Being in a den helps a dog feel confident and secure. Proper use of the crate creates that “den” for them and they will actually be happy to go to it when sent there. And when it comes up against situations that are uncomfortable, this safe “den” can provide a sense of safety and security. Many dogs, in fact, have such a strong sense of their crate as their “safe zone,” that they’ll go to their crate entirely on their own if they feel threatened.
Another benefit of crate training is that it will help establish boundaries for your dog. But for this to work, the crate should never become a punishment and should never be used in a negative way. Crating your dog when you are not home teaches them where they belong anytime you leave the house. They will become so comfortable with the crate and the known expectation, that they may even go to it on their own when you are away, and stay in it on their own even if the door is not locked.
Despite all the evidence to the crate’s positive results, the dog-owning community remains greatly divided about its use as a proper training tool. Should you decide to crate train, be sure the purchase a quality one that is the proper size for your dog; she should be able to stand up and turn around in it comfortably, and it is vital that you take care not to over-use and abuse the crate. You’ll find that when you use crate training only when appropriate and necessary, the result will be a well-trained puppy or dog with a happy owner!