Is Crate Training Cruel?
Crate training is an important tool used in dog training…but is crate training cruel? I am very much a believer that a tool is just that… a tool. And tools are only as useful as the person that uses them.
I cannot recall ever feeling that crate training was cruel or feeling that by crating my dog I was not allowing him to be natural.
Yet, I can say that I have met a few people over the years who have wondered…is crate training cruel? While I empathize with a person’s desire for their dog to be free, I know as a professional too much freedom can work against our goals of dog ownership. I also know that to be healthy we must be realistic about what dogs need to know to live in today’s world.
The real issue here should always be the well-being of the dog and in modern society a crate is most likely going to be needed at some point in a dog’s life.
Often in the dog training profession we see dogs that do not accept the confinement of a crate, kennel, or any type of enclosure. I’ve witnessed this first hand as a young person working in veterinary clinics. I saw dogs that were already stressed due to illness or injury who were made even more stressed when their treatment required them to stay in a kennel and they were not accustomed to confinement of any kind. This was extremely stressful for ailing dogs that were already unhappy being away from home.
The difference between the dogs that were crate-trained and the ones that were not was drastic. The dogs that were not crate-trained showed extreme body language and anxious behaviors that were obvious. I was puzzled. The thought that some dogs are not crate-trained was a foreign concept to me.
When we bring dogs into our world they are reliant on us for their well-being. That is so much more than food, water, shelter, and petting. Preparing your dog for all aspects of life with us should be general protocol.
I do agree that using a crate too much or for too long is definitely unkind. Yet when asked is crate training cruel the conclusion I have come to is that it is actually just as cruel to dismiss the importance of crates for our dogs and to fail to teach them to understand and except kennels and separation from us from time to time. It is cruel to allow our emotions to keep us from preparing our dogs for very real situations. As loving dog owners we should prepare our dogs for every aspect of their life with us and when we fail to do so our dogs must bear the consequences.
So I must answer the question is crate training cruel by encouraging people to understand the importance of the crate for their dog. The crate provides a safety zone for your dog when traveling, when we are away, and when we have changes in our lives like having a new child or moving. Crate training your dog ultimately helps them if they ever need to be re-homed. If you would like to know more about the value of crate training your dog please give us a call.