Are Dog Crates Inhumane? - DoggyCrap
Are Dog Crates Inhumane?

Are Dog Crates Inhumane?

February 19, 2019

     Adopting a new furry companion is an exhilarating experience for the entire family. During that exciting shopping spree just days before adoption, you’ve probably considered the purchase of a crate. A king has his castle, a child yearns for his own room, and an infant is placed in a crib or playpen for safekeeping. While the use of crates is a hotly debated topic among the dog community, the real issue at hand is not an ethical one. Crates are tools that can be invaluable while potty-training or teaching your dog the rules of the house, it’s a great way to transport your four-legged friend, and it can serve as a safe place for your pup to escape to once he comes to accept it as his space.

    Sadly, although humans would do anything to keep their new best friends happy, we’re making colossal mistakes that can drastically confuse the animal and think it’s getting punished for no reason. After reading this blog you’ll be able to deploy the crate with confidence and ensure that your dog learns the correct perspective on crate training.

Why Should I Crate Train My Dog?

    Training crates for dogs are too often deemed cruel. In fact, they are both training and safety devices and as such can benefit dog and owner alike. Crating on a humane schedule teaches puppies bladder and bowel control and limits teething to his/her own property. A dog crated in a car has a better chance of surviving an auto accident and little chance of causing one. Furthermore, in the unfortunate event when your doggy needs to stay the night at the veterinary office due to a procedure, they aren’t as stressed out by being in an enclosure as a dog who has never been in a crate.

Awesome Crate Advantages:

  1. Peace of Mind: Enjoy the nigh tout without worrying about your expensive couch being turned into a chew toy or giant puppy pad. Go to the local shops knowing that your new puppy is protected from dangerous chemicals and cables often easily accessible to an eager puppy.
  2. House Training Tool: Dogs will never soil where they sleep. You can easily capitalize on this biological tool and speed up the house training process by establishing a regular routine for outdoor elimination, and prevent accidents at night or when your dog is left alone.
  3. The Ultimate Seat Belt: Keep your pet safe in the car by placing them in a giant seat belt. Car crashes as low as 30 mph without safety can crush bones and find both you and your dog booking doctor appointments.
  4. My Space: Dog can enjoy the privacy and security of a den of her own, to which she can retreat when tired, stressed or not feeling well.

Important Things To Avoid

    A crate is not a magical solution to common canine behavior. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. Many dog owners find themselves doing “bad” research and accidentally turning that potential safe space into a confined prison. Studies have shown that long-term confinement is detrimental to the physical and psychological well-being of animals. Animals caged for extended periods can develop many different disorders such as aggression, depression, separation anxiety and eating disorders. It’s imperative that one fully understands the pros and cons of using crates to maximize the relationship with their pet.

Big No-No With Crates!

  1. Bad Dog: Some will tell you that the crate is a powerful punishment tool for bad dogs. NEVER! Use the crate as punishment as your dog will come to fear it and refuse to enter. Keep in mind that dogs learn through experiences and every trip to the crate for bad behavior will strengthen the idea of crates being doggy prisons. You’ll find your dog wondering what they did wrong when you’re just utilizing the crate to go grocery shopping.
  2. Timing: Do not let any pet in a crate for long periods of time without proper exercise and stimulation. Dogs that are crated all day and night that don’t get enough exercise or human interaction can become depressed or anxious. You may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter or take your dog to a daycare facility to reduce the amount of time they spend in their crate each day.
  3. Puppy Caution: Young dogs cannot control their bladders for extended periods of time. The goal is to give our puppies an impression that crates are their safe place. Accidents in the crate will make the puppy distressed and uncomfortable, resulting in the crate not being a pleasant place for your doggy

    Today, crates are more than just a box with some bars around it. The market is filled with beautifully crafted pieces of art that will complement any home interior, but it’s important to note that not all crates are created equal.  A basic wire dog crate or a crate that looks like furniture is more appropriate if your crate will not be used for travel, and will have a permanent spot in hour home. The basic wire crate is usually collapsible and can easily be transported if you need to take your crate to a pet sitter’s home. Lastly, for smaller dogs, the soft crates are fantastic for air travel and trips to the veterinarian office. It’s entirely up to you and your decor style that determines on what crate to get, but you must follow proper sizing protocol.

Pick The Correct Size

Our furry friends must feel secure and comfortable inside their little private spot. It is important to pick a crate that is the correct size for the pet and is appropriate for its purpose. Often larger crates come with some sort of divider so that a crate can grow with the pet. The correct size for a crate is just enough room for the animal to stand up without hitting their head, lay down and stretch out their paws and to turn around unimpeded. There are many crates that offer customers the convenience of adjusting its size by moving a wall as the puppy grows.  If you have a puppy and there is too much room in the crate, he may soil on one side and sleep on the other.

Training Process You Must Get Right

    The primary reason why utilizing the crate is such a hotly debated topic at dog parks is mainly due to inefficient training. This sensitive exercise must be done in a timely matter to ensure no cruelty and signs of punishment cross the animals mind. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Keep in mind that you’re NOT doing the dog a disservice by using the crate if done correctly. Later I will tell my personal story of how I ruined the crate life for my dog without realizing, but first….

The Step-By-Step Process:

  1. Introduce the Crate: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won’t hit your dog and frighten them. Toss a treat into the crate and let them get it. When they enter the crate act all excited saying “GOOD BOY/GIRL!!”Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.
  2. Meal Time: Food is a powerful tool when it comes to training dogs. If possible, you want to place the food at the back of the crate so that your dog goes all the way in. Some dogs may not be willing to do this, though, so you can start with the food just inside the crate and slowly move it back with successive meals. Again, take your time because you want the dog to walk in their on its own and never associate the crate with something bad.
  3. Close It: After a few days of eating in the crate you want to start closing the crate. Again, you want to make sure your doggy is 100% comfortable without any fuss. As soon as your dog is eating his meals while standing all the way inside the crate, it’s time to close the door. After he’s done eating that first time, open the door immediately. You’ll leave him in longer and longer with each meal, adding just a few minutes every time.
  4. Increase Timing: Now that your pet is comfortable in the crate, start walking away. When he’s eating, close the gate and leave the room. Put him in the crate when showering and reward like crazy when you come back. Keep increasing the time as you do this until your dog is able to stay in the locked crate for half an hour without your presence. When she’s able to do this, she’s ready for you to leave her for short periods and possibly even sleep in the closed crate overnight.
  5. Take Your Time: Again, be sure to never force your dog into the crate. The key is for every action to be voluntary and painless. You may have to wait days or weeks before the dog is ready for extended periods of time

Why I Won’t Crate Ever Again

When I adopted my first puppy, the crate was something I thought was essential in an apartment building. Potty training was incredibly frustrating and downright annoying at times. We never used pee pads and like with all puppies, accidents happened. We would put Sasha in the crate to keep her from going to sniff the mess and let us clean. We would say ‘Bad Dog!” when she did the accident and put her in the cage. Without realizing it, we were teaching our dog that the crate is a bad place. The cable guy came in the house to fix something two years later and we were forced to crate our dog at the landlord’s request. Keep in mind that Sasha is extremely well trained and understands her boundaries. When we put her in the crate, she just looked up at us like “What Did I Do?”. The goal is the do this correctly! You want to build trust with your dog so only use the crate until your pet is good in the house. Remember, dogs want to treat us like kings. It’s up to you to show leadership and never use force. One lucky good charm has blessed me from this story. When Sasha is feeling sick or has diarrhea, she will run to the cage letting us know she has to potty really bad.  If she runs in the cage, something is wrong.

What Did I learn?

  1. Crates Cost Big Bucks: We purchased two crates that were used only once for their intended purpose. People in this household have different working shifts so there was always someone to correct bad behavior growing up. We spent hundreds of dollars on crates we would never use.
  2. Terrible Training: The crate became a doggy prison that my dog hated. She is extremely loyal and is willing to learn new tricks just to keep us smiling. Our ignorance has turned future crate episodes into a nightmare.
  3. Crate Is Not Necessary: The idea that crates are essential part of dog ownership is ludicrous. Correct bad behavior immediately and overtime the dog will understand right from wrong. If you stimulate and socialize your pet correctly, he/she will not have the energy or boredom to attack your furniture.

Crates can become incredible tools when used correctly. For our dogs, it’s their version of our children’s tree house. While many will argue that crates are cruel instruments that only restrict freedom, for some they are life savers and cost effective tools for transportation and initial training. To properly crate train, one must understand how dogs view the world. Humans tend to make rookie mistakes that breed unintentional behavior problems that we confuse with personality. Crates are NOT necessary if one raises their pet correctly. If you choose to utilize the crate in your day to day activities, it’s imperative that you properly train your dog before learning them in there. The goal is to develop a trust relationship and never use the crate ever again unless required to.

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