Dog crate training has become increasingly popular among pet owners who want to provide their dogs with a safe and comfortable environment. However, is this method right for everyone?
Crate training is an efficient way to house-train your pet, it can help relieve stress and anxiety, and it provides a safe place for your pup.
Moreover, using a crate when traveling can make trips smoother for both you and your dog. On the other hand, some believe that crating your pet could lead to behavioral issues if used incorrectly or excessively.
So, should you use a crate to train your pet? To answer this question, you need to understand all the pros and cons of dog crate training. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using a dog crate in training (see also ‘4 Alternatives To Crate Training Your Dog‘).
What Exactly Is Crate Training?
Crate training is when you teach a dog to associate their crate with comfort, and security. The aim is that your pup will become comfortable to the point where they sleep and see the crate or cage as an extended little home of sorts.
Not only must the puppy be accustomed to his new routine (which requires plenty of patience on your part), but this practice requires upkeep over time as well.
Be sure to be properly committed before starting a project like this — otherwise, both of you could be in for some frustrating results.
What Are The Pros And Possible Cons Of Crate Training?
Crate training your furry pal can be an effective and straightforward approach to providing them with the best care.
We will cover some basics about crate training: from why pup parents use this method in the first place to what size crate you should buy and more.
The Pros Of Crate Training For Your Dog
Creating a comfortable, familiar space for your dog is an important part of developing the bond between you and your pup.
Crate training, which involves introducing a crate or other enclosed space as an area where the pet can rest, will help create a sense of security and a den-like atmosphere for your four-legged friend.
1. A Valid Safe Space
You may find that your dog finds a crate space to be more comfortable during high anxiety-inducing environments or times of the day (see also ‘How Many Hours A Day Should My Dog Be In His Crate?‘).
Or, if the dog isn’t exactly very social, they may prefer a bit of peace and quiet in his cage over interacting with people or particularly loud noises.
2. Improves Potty Training
Crate training can be beneficial in other ways too. Puppies innately do not want to soil their spaces; this means providing them with just enough room in their crates.
They won’t want to do their business while they are inside them — saving you several trips outdoors! Potty training a puppy can be a grueling task, but using a crate can make it much simpler.
Having the puppy graduate to a bigger cage as soon as he is comfortable with his new home can help localize where your pup should be going and ease himself appropriately.
In addition, having a small potty in the cage with the same scent will help them associate it with his bathroom so that wherever he goes that scent will remind them of home and what goes where when it comes to relieving themselves.
3. Improves Dog’s Natural Instincts
We have read many studies that advise us of the benefits of this, where was observed the significant change in a litter of puppies when crates were introduced in the environment.
They felt more secure and rested more without feeling anxious or having to defend themselves from each other.
The Cons Of Crate Style Training For Your Dog
Crate Training your pup may seem like a great idea, but there are some cons to consider before folding up that pet playpen.
1. Physical Frustrations
Other potential cons come with the purchase of the structure itself: there are precautions you should be taking when buying a crate for your dog; from choosing materials without sharp edges or objects that could swallow; and making sure the structure is constructed correctly, so your pup doesn’t get injured if it gives way from being incorrectly assembled.
The restricted area creates stress, leading to signs such as constant licking and self-mutilation that manifests in stress sores.
2. Emotional Stress
We’ve all heard that keeping a dog in a tightly spaced cage or crate can be damaging to the animal’s emotional and mental health (see also ‘My Dog Keeps Breaking Out Of His Crate‘).
Animal advocates and experts often warn not to keep your pet in a cage for extended lengths of time, but there are still many owners who do it anyway.
3. Potential Dangers With Ventilation
Caged animals, like birds and hamsters, need enough ventilation to remain healthy and comfortable. This can make it difficult for your pet to breathe and move around, which results in extreme discomfort.
In extreme cases where there is not enough ventilation, caged animals experience heat exhaustion, and respiratory illnesses and can even be poisoned by carbon dioxide.
Therefore, it is essential to choose a cage with ample bar spacing, so air will be able to do its job of circulating in and out of the confined space.
With the right ventilation system set up, your caged pet will enjoy better health and well-being overall.
What Do You Need To Consider When Buying A Crate?
Maximize safety to avoid fear and anxiety. Make sure the crate is large enough for your pup to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably. Place food, toys, and treats inside the crate that can occupy your pet while in a confined space.
Put familiar items like blankets or old clothing in the crate to reduce stress levels and make it feel more like home.
Introduce the crate slowly and positively, and let your pup get comfortable with it before attempting any kind of training with it.
Rewards-based training is key for successful crating, as it encourages good behavior from your pup when left alone in their kennel/crate.
Lastly, make sure you pay attention to how long you leave them in for, as it’s important that everyone gets a potty break!
Try Not To Leave Your Dog For Extended Periods Of Time
If your dog is kept for long periods, it may become emotionally and physically withdrawn from you.
Prolonged crating can also lead to hyperactivity and aggression due to the restricted freedom of movement which dogs naturally require and enjoy.
Therefore, using a steady routine of crate training is beneficial for teaching good habits to your pup. Also, make sure that you take regular breaks from work or studies and give enough attention to your pet during the day.
The Crate Is Not A Punishment
The crate has been traditionally used as a training tool to house-train puppies and subsequently provide them with a safe space afterward.
Your pet will associate the cage with unpleasant experiences instead of feeling that it is their comfortable, safe haven if it is treated as a punishment.
If you are using the crate solely for punishment, this may lead to behavioral issues such as barking, chewing, or digging inside or outside of it.
Proper usage and timing are crucial if you decide to use the crate as part of house training your puppy or just providing it with a safe place during stressful times.
Buying The Correct Size
Purchasing a crate for your dog is important for housebreaking, travel, and obedience training. The size of the carrier should be adequate and reflect your dog’s size.
If you have a large-breed puppy or an adult small-breed dog, consider purchasing a crate that is adjustable, so it can accommodate your pet as it grows.
Also, if your pet can stand up without being stooped over and has enough room to fully turn around, then the carrier will be comfortable for him. It should also allow him to stretch his legs out full length.
A cramped space doesn’t provide mental stimulation for your pet or adequate oxygen levels, either. Uncomfortable conditions can also lead to muscle atrophy if your dog is not able to move around much in his crate.
Crate training can be a great way to help your pup learn good behaviors and become house-trained. However, it is important to remember that there are pros and cons to this type of training.
It is essential to consider the size of the crate, ventilation, and potential dangers before making a purchase. Additionally, it is important to limit the amount of time your pup spends in the crate to avoid emotional and physical stress.
With the right approach, crate training can be a great way to help your pup become a well-behaved member of the family. It’s all about your dog’s emotional and physical well-being at the end of the day.