That’s the question on the lips of every dog owner, and what a question it is! This article will unpack the debate between crate training and not crate training, and aims to assist you in choosing the best for your puppy.
Crate Training is a method of training used to introduce your dog to your home and provide it with a safe haven for when it feels stressed or unhappy. It uses some form of crate or box to simulate the tight spaces that dogs love so much. By crate training your dog, you encourage it to self-regulate its behaviour and emotions. Dog owners are not limited by choice in terms of crate either. Crate training can make use of plastic crates, collapsible wire crates, and collapsible fabric crates. All of which can generally be altered to suit the needs of the dog.
Crate training generally involves gradually introducing your dog to the crate through meal times, treats, and interactive play. The crate should be large enough so that the dog can stand up, turn around, and lay down within it. For more in depth information on how to crate train your dog, check out our useful guide here.
What are the benefits of Crate Training your dog?
1. Crate Training allows your puppy to find their own ‘space’. When you come home from work, like many people, it’s quite likely that you try to find a quiet space to relax and unwind. The same is true for dogs, who will look to ‘de-stress’ after particularly intense, or emotional situations. Through positive reinforcement and training cues, crate training provides your dog with this exact type of safe haven, a place to call their own. By crate training your puppy, you teach it to associate the crate with positive feelings.
2. Crate Training reinforces pack order within the home. In order to maintain a positive relationship with your dog, it is important to maintain a firm social order. Dogs are pack animals and in the wild, the alpha dog is in charge. To limit negative behaviour, and encourage obedience, dog owners must find ways to remind their pet that they are in charge. This is where crate training comes in. Crate training reminds your dog that you are in control. When you send your puppy to the crate, he is subservient. He is reminded that when you tell him to do something, he must obey or he will not be rewarded. Likewise, when you release your puppy from the crate, he is rewarded for his positive behaviour (not scratching/ whining) which encourages him to continue it.
3. Crate training allows your dog to escape stressful situations. When everything is going wrong. When there’s too much noise and too much to do, sometimes you feel like screaming, throwing things, or punching someone or something. This destructive behaviour is no different to a dogs biting, scratching, and digging. These negative behaviours are instinct for a dog. They allow it to vent its energy and emotions, and fear. By having a crate in a quiet place in your home, you allow your dog to find refuge when it all become too much. This is especially important when young children come over. Children love playing with dogs but quite often can’t understand the queues that warn of potential aggression. The crate allows your dog to remove itself from the situation, before it escalates to aggressive or negative behaviour such as biting.
4. Crate Training can be helpful in toilet training your puppy. By using the crate as a tool, puppy owners can create a very important toilet routine for their dog. Owners should take their puppy directly to their toilet area after leaving the crate. This regiments a positive bathroom routine which encourages the dog to take themselves to the toilet. Because dogs don’t like to go to the toilet in the same place that they sleep, they will more likely than not, choose to hold it until you take them outside! By creating a specific routine, you simplify what is acceptable in the dog’s mind and allow it to make the right decisions again and again.
5. Crate Training allows you to safely and easily transport your dog. Having a dog loose in a car is a bad idea, and in most Australian states its illegal. Your dog’s crate serves a double purpose. Not only does it assist with house training, but it can be used to safely transport your dog to and from the vet or the park. In addition, if you plan on taking your dog on a flight, they will need to be in a crate for the entire duration of the flight. If you have introduced the crate from an early age, this journey will be a lot smoother and more enjoyable for your companion.
Some Final Advice About Making Crate Training Work For You!
When considering whether crate training is good or bad for your dog, it’s important to be aware of the benefits and costs of this method. Generally, crates can be found inexpensively at pet stores and on the internet so the biggest ‘cost’ for dog owners is finding the space for a crate in your house. This should be something to consider when selecting breed, because a larger dog will need a considerably larger crate. Many crate training naysayers often complain that crates are ugly and don’t fit into their interior decorating scheme. Many enthusiasts however, find that they can eliminate the eyesore by keeping the dog’s crate between lounges or in the laundry. This way, the crate is out of the line of sight but can still be easily accessed by the dog.
Crate training for dogs is a devisive issue. Many people ask “Is Crate Training Bad?” “Is Crate Training necessary?” As with anything, what a dog owner chooses to do for their puppy is completely their own discretion, but for me, crate training cannot be overlooked. By installing a rigid crate regimen with your dog most owners will find that their time with their dog is a wholly more positive experience.