With every new decade, there are new training demands and methods. Crate training dogs is a relatively recent phenomenon, which has become popular over the last 20 years. But is it necessary? Let’s find out.
Crate Training Dogs
The phenomenon of crate training comes from the belief that dogs come from wolves, and wolves are den animals. Hence, by crate training a dog, we are doing them a great deal of good.
There are many arguments behind this theory. All those who favour crate training argue that wolves are den animals while those who don’t support it will tell you that wolves aren’t denning animals.
The truth is that wolves may seek out a den for comfort, and then they are in labour. Mothers will seclude themselves in a cave until their puppies are 8 weeks old and then rejoin the pack.
Wolves spend most of their time with their pack; hence they are pack animals, and they thrive with their pack. If we use that argument, we should understand that dogs are pack animals too and therefore enjoy the company of their pack more than being in a crate.
We want to clarify that we are not against crate training. Just that, it is essential to know that there is no evolutionary reason to crate training. It is only done to benefit pet parents.
Crate Training Dogs Properly
Any device can be used as a torture device, and crates are no exception. If you plan to crate train your dog, you must do it with positive reinforcement, so that they associate crates as a safe place.
Crate training does not happen overnight, so, if you are determined to make it work, you may have to devote weeks, maybe even months to crate them properly.
Always crate train with treats and positive reinforcement. Never use it as a time out the place because this would send them mixed signals and they may be less thrilled to get into the crate.
Crate Training For The Night
Every family is different, and some may prefer to sleep separately from their dogs. Crates may be an essential tool to help both of you get sound sleep at night, but proper training is critical.
Imagine being a little puppy who is accustomed to sleeping with mom and littermates, and you suddenly go into a new home. Even if your new family is great, you miss your littermates and your mom, and at night you are expected to sleep all alone in a crate.
You have no idea where you are and how long you’ll stay or if you’ll stay here or go somewhere else.
This is precisely how it is for a little puppy, and if we lock them up in a crate and hope for the best, it can lead to traumas and psychological issues in the future.
If you want to crate train, we understand why you would want to start right from the day they come home. But, try to meet them halfway. They were accustomed to sleeping with their littermates. If their crate is next to your bed, it may help them relax a bit.
First nights are never easy. They might whine a lot, and you may have to wake up a few times in the night to take them out or to comfort them.
Don’t ever scold them for whining in the crate, instead of praising them when they are quiet. Consistent training right from day one may make them accustomed to the crate as they grow up.
Is Crate Training Really Necessary?
Crate training is a personal choice. You don’t have to crate train your dog to get them off your favourite furniture or to stop them from chewing dangerous objects.
Consistent obedience training followed by enough exercise and the right kind of food may be what they need to get rid of a bad habit. And while training takes time and consistency, crate training takes an equal amount of time and effort. There is no short cut to their well being.
Now, this does not mean crate training is terrible per se. There are many situations where the crate may prove quite beneficial.
For example, you brought home a little puppy who still doesn’t understand what to chew and what not to chew, and you can’t stay with them all the time. So, you put them in a crate for a few minutes while you attend the door or finish important work.
You can also provide them with an open crate as a safe spot when they want to go somewhere when they want to be alone.
You can keep them engaged in the crate with a chew toy while you are gone. While crates are right for these moments, it is not ideal for keeping them in the crate for long hours.
Most trainers suggest that the maximum you can keep a dog in a crate is 6 hours at a time, but you need to build upto it slowly. So, you can’t expect to bring your dog and lock them in the crate the next day when you go to work.
Training is a must whether you have a crate or not. This is why we think that crate training is optional and not necessary.
We hope this article answered your questions on crate training dogs. Have you crate trained your dog, or are you planning to crate train them? Let us know in the comment section below.