Is Crate Training Cruel? Part I

Big woofs to canine guest blogger Nika, a Dogster member who believes that crate training can be beneficial for dogs and reduce stress. My name...
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Big woofs to canine guest blogger Nika, a Dogster member who believes that crate training can be beneficial for dogs and reduce stress.

My name is Nika, and I am a ten-year-old Siberian Husky. I won’t bore you with all the details of my puppyhood and crating issues. However, I’d like to share with you my take on crate training.

Bottom line is, crating can be cruel. It is often forced on dogs in extreme situations when the last thing the dog needs to deal with is learning to like a crate. I know you humans are already saying I would never do that! I would never force my dog to into a crate if they didn’t want to go in, and I certainly wouldn’t do it if they were already under stress.

Well, I am here to tell you that there is a good chance a situation will occur in your dog’s lifetime when they will need to be crated.

When? Here is the short list: visiting the vet’s office, recovering from surgery, flying on a plane, staying in a hotel or motel. I won’t even get into how the use of a crate could have kept so many dogs from ending up at the local shelter.

I am loose in the house during the day, but that doesn’t mean I am not crate-trained. I often get refresher courses and have seen many dogs even at the age of ten like me learn to like crates! So please don’t ever give up on the crate training! I know a lot of folks think crates are cruel, but one thing I return to is if your dog ever in his or her lifetime needs to stay at the vet’s or wants to travel, being okay with a crate make those times so much easier on the dog.

Want to know how being happy in a crate helped me out? Well

– I get to travel more often. I can’t stay in a hotel/motel without a crate. Because if the humans go out to eat, housekeeping could still come in and let me escape!

– I go to places with my humans and volunteer at events, and the crate is my place to go when I have had enough.

– I had masses removed from my liver. Imagine how much worse my stay at the vet would have been if I really hated my crate in a dreaded vet’s office and forced into a crate.

-Recovery from liver surgery includes extreme risk of internal bleeding. Guess where I had to stay for my recovery. Yup, a crate! Without a crate I would have been able to jump on the couch and pull out my stitches. I could have bled to death.

– Recently we had an owner who contacted us because they have to move overseas and want the dog to come with them, but they never crate trained the dog. Now the poor dog is going to have a very stressful ride in a crate on an airplane or, even worse, will have to find a new owner.

So you humans may hate crates, but guess what? Sometimes they are necessary, and today is a better day to learn to accept them rather than a day when you really need one. There is a good chance your dog will have to go in one in the future!

Next week, I’ll post tips on how to teach dogs to like their crates.

More resources:

Guide to Crate Training a Puppy
Answers to Crate Training Questions
Behavior & Training Forum

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