Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pros and Cons of Crate Training

Crate training is controversial and there are pros and cons on the subject. If you have ever had an ongoing home improvement project or traveled with your dog (planes require crates) you may understand there are benefits to having a crate trained dog, but unfortunately crates are also used inappropriately by some owners. The purpose of the crate should be for the safety of the pet; this includes preventing them from engaging in destructive and dangerous behaviors and providing a familiar place when traveling that may lessen anxiety. Dogs, especially puppies, can be inquisitive, active chewers, and escape artists; a crate can eliminate the risk of accidental ingestion of something dangerous or an unsupervised dog on the loose. An added  bonus, is it can help tremendously in housebreaking puppies (dogs instinctively avoid soiling where they sleep).  Some dogs may end up LOVING their crate and go there whenever they want to feel safe. The biggest con to crate training though stems from owners acting irresponsibly. They may be keeping the dog crated for excessively long periods of time, using a crate that is too small (limiting movement and comfort), or using an unsafe crate. For crate training to be successful, it must be a safe and comfortable space for your pet, not a place of punishment!

Tips to successful crate training
  • Pick a proper crate for your dog (consider size in the future)
  • Train your dog to go into the crate by using positive reinforcement
  • Start for short periods of time
  • Have crate in an area with the family (dogs are pack animals and the family is their pack)
  • Do not keep a dog in a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours unless absolutely necessary
  • If your dog gets anxious in the crate and becomes excessively destructive, find an alternative