Crate Training Pros and Cons

Crate Training Pros and Cons

Dogs are man’s best friends, especially when you train them right. A well-trained dog is like a loyal companion — always there to comfort you, have fun with you, and sometimes protect you where necessary.

But getting your new pup accustomed to new habits and behaviours around the home is not a walk in the park; you’ll need to put some effort into training your new best friend with methods such as crate training. 

Veterinarians and professional dog trainers acknowledge crate training as one of the fastest ways to train dogs. However, whether or not crate training is a good option for dogs has been a topic of discussion among dog guardians. 

Before you decide where to stand on that discussion, learning about the pros and cons of crate training can help. We’ll also equip you with some tips that can help improve crate training and even ease some challenges new pup owners face when they begin this training method. 

What Does Crate Training Mean for You and Your New Pup?

Crate training simply means introducing your dog to a crate with the intent of making the crate a comfortable and safe space for the dog. It helps to confine your canine buddy for safety and security reasons, especially when you have to travel with them.

The crate is usually an enclosed space made of fabric, plastic, or thick wire. They come in different sizes to accommodate different sizes of dogs. As a means of security and to provide the confinement intended for the training, the crates also have slide bolt latches or zips for thick wire or fabric crates, respectively. 

As a dog guardian or parent, crate training might seem like imprisoning your beloved pet. However, only humans feel claustrophobic with the idea of crate training because dogs naturally seek a secure, den-like space for relaxation. 

So, rather than caging them up as you might think crate training is about, you’re actually simulating an environment similar to what they naturally desire.

Why Is Crate Training Necessary, Though? 

Let’s take a look at why many dog owners use crate training for their canine companions.  Possibly, it’ll convince you to try it out for your dog as well. 

Here are some of the pros of crate training:

  • Protects Dogs from Harmful Substances

  • If your dog has gone through crate training, you can rest assured knowing it’ll not be at risk of roaming the house and consuming harmful substances. Certain substances in our homes that we might think are harmless can be fatal to a dog. 

    For example, dogs must not eat garlic, onions, or chives because they can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Some dogs find these items in their owners’ refrigerators, pantries, etc. and consume them. Crate training ensures the dogs are safely relaxing in their safe space, especially when you’re not around to watch them. 

  • Hones Dogs’ Den Instincts and Serves as Their Safe Haven

  • Dogs naturally have den instincts. They seek a secure space where they can relax and sleep. If you don’t provide one for them, then they can "colonise" your entire house. With crate training, you’re giving them their own territory to dominate and feel safe in. 

    It’s the same way a parent will provide a room for their child. The crate serves as your dog’s personal space. So when they feel anxious or scared, they can always go to their special spot in your home, even without your intervention. 

  • Serves as a Method for Potty Training

  • It can be challenging to potty train some breeds of dogs. However, crate training can be an effective training method. For the training, you need to get a crate of a suitable size, with just enough room for your dog to lie, turn, and stand. 

    When they stay in their crates long enough and need to relieve themselves, they often whine and scratch. At that point, you need to take them out to relieve themselves. If you don’t, they might think it’s okay to mess up the crate. When that happens, your whole house is at risk as well. 

  • Provides Peace for Owners

  • The benefits of crate training also extend to dog owners. Crate training assures you that your dog will be in its crate when you’re away from the house for work or other commitments. This means that your canine friends are safely away from harmful substances, and they can handle themselves whenever they feel confused, scared, or stressed. This, in turn, keeps your mind at ease. 

    Crate training also helps to curb the separation anxiety your dog might feel when you’re away. Knowing that can help you go about your day without worrying about your furry friend. Additionally, whenever you need to travel, your dog can come too, because they’re familiar with the crate and won’t feel abandoned in a strange environment.

  • Effectively Manage Over-Stimulation of Emotions

  • Crate training makes it easier for dog owners to control their dogs when they are overstimulated. For example, if you have a dog that gets overly excited or aggressive when they meet new people, crate training ensures the dog can comfortably stay in their crates while you have guests around. 

    Additionally, when you have many kids running around your house, you can avoid setting off too much excitement by taking your dog to their crate, where they can relax. Crate training also means your dog won’t be at your table every night begging for crumbs.

  • Tames Unwanted Outdoor Behaviours 

  • Dogs are inherently curious, and certain breeds, like retrievers, have strong prey drives. If you give them room to roam freely in your yard, it becomes their den. Then they could develop some unwanted behaviours like digging, barking, and chewing. 

    Over time, some may even find a way to leave your compound to feed their curiosity or hunt. Fortunately, crate training provides the means to avoid such behaviours by ensuring dogs stay safely and comfortably in their special spot or kennel. 

    Why You May Want to Avoid Crate Training

    Knowing the pros of crate training alone might entice you to want to adopt this training method. However, not all dogs benefit from crate training. 

    To make a solid decision about whether or not to adopt crate training, you need to weigh the pros and cons relative to your dog. Let’s see some drawbacks to the crate training method:

  • Dogs Cannot Stay in the Crate for Long Periods

  • The recommended timeframe to keep your 4-legged furry friend in a crate is 4-8 hours. Anything more can cause unfavourable results. Your dog might begin to feel like he’s being punished if you leave him in the crate past the 8-hour mark. Even though they seek a den-like space, dogs don't appreciate being confined for too long. They might grow to dislike the crate or people.  

  • Dogs May Experience Emotional Distress and Exclusion

  • Your dog may feel isolated as a result of crate training because you’re setting up a physical barrier between you and them. They are prone to the feeling of exclusion because they’re very social animals, and they love working in packs. If the barrier stays up for too long, it can be difficult for the pup to feel wanted.  As a result, you may get unpleasant results like aggression from the training. 

  • Unsuitable Crate Sizes Can Hurt Dogs

  • Getting a crate size that's unsuitable for your dog forfeits the whole idea of creating a safe and secure space for your dog, which is what crate training is essentially about. Your dog should have enough space to lie down, stand up, and turn around within their crate. If they outgrow the initial crate you got them, replace it with a bigger crate or adjust the old one if possible. 

    5 Things to Note When Crate Training Your Pup

    If you decide to go through with the crate training process, here are 5 things to note that can guide you through the entire process:

    1. Be mindful of the time your dog stays in the crate. Younger puppies of about 8-10 weeks should only spend between 30-60 minutes in a crate. Only dogs over 17 weeks can spend over 4 hours. 
    2. The crate should never be a form of punishment. You can furnish the crate with comforting toys like like the RiffRaff comforter to serve as a snuggle buddy for your new pup. Also, you may include a few treats and attach a water bottle or bowl if you intend to let your dog stay there for over 2 hours. 
    3. Don’t force your dog in or out of the crate. This is to avoid injuries and preserve the crate as a positive space. You can always lure them in or out with toys or treats. 
    4. Always walk your dog before crating time. Engage them in activities to exercise their brain and body as well. Also, ensure they take a potty break before crating. The latter is more important for puppies because they may not be able to hold it for so long. 
    5. To facilitate the mindset of the crate as a positive space, play crate games with your dog. For example, you can play fetch or hide treats within the crate for your dog to find. 

    Crate Training Tips for Best Results

    Generally, you can improve the process and outcome of crate training your dog with the following tips: 

  • Use Comforters to Ease Separation Anxiety and Loneliness

  • Puppies that are separated from their mothers and siblings usually find it difficult to sleep at night. But you can ease the separation anxiety they feel with the RiffRaff Comforter. It is designed with a durable and safe material, mimics a heartbeat and generates warmth that creates the illusion of a real puppy mate. The RiffRaff comforter is perfect for pups as it helps them sleep better at night, and reduces loneliness. 

  • Move Your Puppy to the Crate When They Nap

  • When your dog naps during the day, gently pick them up and place them in their crate to help them get familiar with the crate. Leave the door open so they can walk out when they wake up. Stay close as well when they wake up because potty time usually comes after. 

  • Talk to Your Dog When Crate Training to Relieve Isolation

  • Recall that one of the cons of crate training is that your dog may feel emotionally distressed or isolated. One of the ways you can ease them out of this is by talking to them softly as part of their crate training. Talking to them makes them feel less lonely and anxious. 

  • Provide a Familiar Smell

  • A familiar smell can provide comfort to your dog in the crate. If your dog is attached to you, you can leave any of your old shirts in the crate. If it’s a newborn puppy, get a towel with the pup’s mother’s scent on it (if available). Having a familiar smell can help ease separation anxiety. However, ensure the material is harmless to the pups. 

    Top 2 Alternatives to Crate Training You Can Try

    If you still don’t think crate training is suitable for your dog, no worries. There are other methods that dog guardians use to housetrain their dogs and keep them safe. 

    1. Playpens

    A playpen is a metal or plastic gate used to form an area of confinement to provide safety for pups. They allow you to take a break from constantly keeping an eye on your dog while they are inside your house. Many dogs outgrow the playpen, but most times, they develop the independence needed to live safely within the house before they do.

    2. Dog Gates

    Another alternative to dog crates might be to erect baby gates to fence off a particular area in your house or yard. Although it may not be the best option, they still offer protection to your pup and confine them to a particular area in your house for training. 

    Final Verdict: Is Crate Training Good or Not?

    Crate training has pros and cons, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell if one outweighs the other. But with the crate training tips in this guide and the Riff Raff comforter by your dog’s side, crate training might be a good option for housetraining your dog. 

    However, you must consider whether the method is suitable for the breed and peculiar behaviour of your dog, as well as your lifestyle, before making a final decision.

    Newer post