Crate training has become a very common practice for many dog owners, and there are benefits including safety, security, and convenience.
However, some owners prefer to try other methods instead, and there are a number of alternatives to crate training – read on to discover the best options, and which can benefit your dog.
- Alternatives To Crate Training
- What Is Crate Training?
- The Benefits Of Crate Training
- What Are The Downsides of Crate Training?
- What To Do If Your Dog Hates The Crate?
- Final Thoughts
Alternatives To Crate Training
Fortunately, there are several great alternatives to create training, and these include:
1. A Doggy Exercise Pen
An exercise pen or playpen is a great alternative to crate training (see also ‘Is A Playpen Better Than A Crate?‘). These pens provide a safe space for your dog to run around, play, and stretch his legs.
They don’t restrict movement like a crate does, but they still offer protection and security. You can also add your dog’s food, water, and toys to the pen to ensure that they are happy and content.
2. A Trailing Lead
A trailing lead is another great alternative for crate training.
This is a long line attached to your dog’s collar that allows him to walk around freely, but which still offers the option to pull back on the leash if needed, keeping your pooch safe and within reach.
You must take care when using a trailing lead, however, as these can get tangled up easily – always make sure that your dog is well supervised, and that there are no obstacles such as furniture that they could get caught up on.
3. Hire A Dogsitter
If you need to leave your dog alone for an extended period of time, then hiring a dog sitter may be the best solution and a great alternative to a crate.
Hiring a dog sitter means that you don’t have to worry about leaving your dog in a strange place, or worrying about what might happen to him if he escapes, and can be a great alternative to a crate.
Doggy daycare is another great way to keep your dog company during the day.
Many doggy daycares offer a variety of activities for your dog to keep them busy and active, and this is the perfect option if you have a pooch who struggles to be alone, or who needs to socialize with other animals.
4. Dog Gates
Another great alternative to crate training is the use of gates. These allow your dog to have free rein of a certain area of the house while preventing him from going into areas where he shouldn’t be.
There are different types of gates available, including sliding doors, folding gates, and even retractable ones.
This means that you can control the areas that your dog is free to explore, without worrying about him getting out of bounds.
Be Around To Supervise
If none of the above solutions work effectively, and your dog is still distressed by being crated, then you may have to ensure that you are in a position where you can offer constant reassurance and supervision, and help your dog feel secure.
If you’re at home, then this will mean ensuring that you are nearby to supervise any activity that your dog engages in, while those who work out of the home will need to find someone else to look after your dog while you’re gone, and the doggy daycare or sitters we mentioned can help.
It’s important to remember that all of these options are just that – options. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to choose one that works for you and your dog.
What Is Crate Training?
Create training is a type of behavior modification that uses positive reinforcement to train dogs. It’s also known as clicker training or operant conditioning.
The idea behind creating training is to teach a dog what you want him to do by rewarding him with treats when he does it correctly. This method is used in place of traditional punishment-based training.
The Benefits Of Crate Training
Crate training is a great way to train your dog. There are several reasons why this is so:
1. It Is Safe
A crate provides a secure environment where your dog feels comfortable and protected. He won’t be able to escape if he gets out of control.
2. You Can Use A Crate For Other Purposes
If you have another purpose for using a crate, such as keeping your dog safe while you’re away from home, then crate training will work well for you.
3. Your Dog Will Be More Comfortable In A Crate
Some dogs are comforted by the certainty and predictability of a crate, and this can help them to feel safer inside than they would outside.
4. It Allows You To Train Your Dog At Home
If you use a crate at home, you’ll be able to train your dog without having to take him somewhere else.
5. It Works Well With Dogs That Are Aggressive Or Have Issues
Some dogs have issues with being around people, especially strangers. If your dog is having difficulties with others, then crate training could help him to learn how to behave better.
What Are The Downsides of Crate Training?
While crate training is a fantastic method of house training, there are some downsides to consider before deciding whether to adopt this technique.
1. Crate Training Is Not For All Dogs
Not every dog is suitable for crate training, and many owners simply aren’t comfortable with potentially stressing or upsetting their dog.
Some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others, and this may cause problems if your dog isn’t used to being confined in a small space.
2. It Can Take A Lot of Effort
It’s important to note that although crate training is a great tool for teaching your dog how to behave, it’s also something that requires a lot of effort from both you and your dog.
As a result, it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to train your dog to be completely obedient overnight.
You’ll need to spend plenty of time working on your relationship with your dog, as well as helping him learn new skills, and this may take longer than you expect.
3. Your Dog Might Have Other Problems
Although crate training is a great way to teach your dog how to behave around people, it’s important to realize that it doesn’t always solve all of your dog’s issues.
It’s possible that your dog has separation anxiety, which could make it difficult for him to cope when left alone in his crate.
In addition, it’s important to understand that dogs don’t necessarily like being locked up, and they might become stressed or anxious when they’re forced to stay inside.
Though there are undoubtedly advantages that come with crate training, many dog owners are uncomfortable with using these with their dogs.
This can be due to the fact that crates are often seen as cruel devices, and some people believe that crate training is not humane because it involves confinement.
What To Do If Your Dog Hates The Crate?
If you are trying crating, but your dog is reluctant, it is worth taking some time to work out why this might be the case.
If you have a pooch who cries, whines, or simply refuses to go into the crate, here are some tips to help you resolve the issue and move things along.
1. Find Out Why They Dislike It
The first step is to find out just what it is about the crate that your dog doesn’t like. Is it the size? Does it smell bad?
Are there any noises that bother them? Once you know exactly what your dog dislikes about the crate, you will be able to try and change it.
2. Make Sure That He Has Enough Space
It is important to make sure that your dog has enough room to move around in the crate. If he is cramped, he will feel uncomfortable, and this won’t encourage him to enter the crate willingly.
Make sure that he has plenty of bedding and toys to keep him occupied, and that he has access to food and water as needed.
3. Try Different Types Of Bedding And Toys
Different types of bedding and toys will appeal to different breeds of dogs. For example, soft blankets are more suitable for small dogs, whereas hard beds are better suited to larger breeds (see also ‘The Ultimate Puppy Crate Set Up‘).
Similarly, toys that squeak or rattle are ideal for smaller dogs, whereas balls and bones are better for bigger dogs.
4. Give Them Some Time
Sometimes, it takes a little bit of time before your dog gets used to his new surroundings. Try not to force him into the crate too quickly, and give him time to adjust to his new home.
5. Keep In Mind That Crates Aren’t Always Necessary
While crates are often recommended by trainers and behaviorists, they aren’t always necessary. If you think that your dog would benefit from being kept inside at certain times, then a crate could be useful.
However, if you want to train your dog to stay indoors, then using a gate is likely to be a much easier option.
Crate training is a great tool for many dogs, but it isn’t suitable for every breed or temperament.
It’s important to understand how your dog reacts to being confined before deciding whether to crate train him, and to consider alternatives if necessary, and we have put together some great alternative options.