The Great Crate Debate: Arguments For and Against Crating

Crate dog 1There is a great divide among animal activists, dog trainers and owners; to crate or not to crate? The question arises with each new dog owner. Is it safe for the dog or convenient for the owner? Does it help or hinder separation anxiety? Is it a useful training tool or an isolation tank? Some people believe that when used in a positive manner, a crate is no different than a dog having their own room to hang out and relax in. Others believe it is a cruel form of torture used by lazy owners who don’t want to invest in their dog’s emotional well being. Listed below are four reasons in favor of and four reasons against crating a dog.

Arguments in Favor of Crate Training

1)      Dogs originally were pack animals that lived in dens (small confined enclosures). The crate represents a den for a dog to hang out in and have some space. It may be regarded as their room and can be sent to for de-stressing after an overwhelming experience.

2)      Used as a training tool, the crate is effective method to confine a dog at night that is not yet housetrained. Provided that the owner takes the puppy out every four to five hours to relieve themselves.

3)       A food or toy aggressive dog may take prized possessions into their crate and enjoy them in peace. The dog won’t feel anyone is taking their things away and an owner won’t be worried about being bitten.

4)      Keeps a dog out of trouble when an owner is not home. By crating the dog, he won’t be prone to chewing electrical cords or great grandma’s heirloom afghan.

Arguments Against Crate Training

1)      A crate inhibits a dog’s freedom to move around, which in turn makes the dog more klutzy and prone to accidents. By not crating a dog, an owner is allowing them more exercise which increases the dog’s quality of life.

2)      It makes the dog feel isolated from their family which will increase behavioral problems. Dogs are incredibly social animals and most would prefer cuddling over being crated.

3)      Crating is considered “lazy training”. By crating the dog, an owner does not invest enough time or energy in rearing a happy healthy dog.

4)      As a housebreaking technique, crate training hinders a dog’s ability to control their bowels. Dogs are normally clean animals who like to distance themselves from their messes, which is impossible to do in a crate.

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