Crate training is one of the best ways to prepare your dog for success. Crating is an ideal tool when housetraining your dog, and for preventing destructive behavior when the dog is alone in the home. Why does dog crate training sometimes get a bad rap? That’s generally because people are misinformed about the proper way to use dog crate training, or they erroneously equate keeping your dog safe in a crate with “abuse.”
Here are some of the common misconceptions about dog crate training and the reality behind the practice.
Do Dogs Hate Crates?
Detractors allege that dogs hate crates. That’s absolutely not the case, as long as the owner uses the crate properly. In fact, most dogs really like their crates. They are akin to the den a canine uses in the wild, a place in which they feel safe and secure.
Now, if the owner is misusing dog crate training, the dog can learn to hate it. As with any training tool, the person teaching the dog must go about it the right way. A dog may indeed hate his crate if he’s left there 23 hours a day. That’s not training. There are exceptions, of course, if the dog is confined while recuperating from surgery, injury, or illness.
Never use the crate as a way to punish your dog. That’s where a negative association with crating can take root. The dog should think of his crate as a place to rest and enjoy a favorite toy or chew item.
Does Crate Training Delay Housebreaking?
If there’s any myth that deserves busting, it’s this one. Puppy and dog owners often turn to crate training as an aid to housebreaking, and it produces good results. Because dogs do not like to urinate and defecate in their den, they are hesitant to soil the crate. They soon learn that going outside after confinement in the crate overnight gives them the opportunity to relieve their bladder and bowels.
What actually delays housebreaking? Giving an untrained dog the run of the house and allowing it to eliminate anywhere he wants. A dog needs to make the connection in his mind between where it is acceptable to eliminate and where it isn’t. Well-defined boundaries, such as going outside immediately after exiting the crate, help establish that connection. Once a puppy or young dog is reliably housetrained, you won’t need the crate for this purpose, although it can still come in handy for other reasons.
Is Crate Training Cruel?
Here’s the dogma propagated by the anti-crate crowd. While there are those who misuse crate training, such as leaving a dog alone in the crate for the bulk of its life, crate training has literally saved the lives of many canines.
The top behavioral reasons for dogs getting turned into shelters include the inability to housetrain and destructiveness. Crate training can turn these behaviors around, allowing these animals to find new, loving homes.
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