Some people consider crate training a dog to be mean or barbaric. However, if you take the time to see the crate from your dog’s perspective, you’ll find that crate training fulfills his innate desire for a safe place to call his own. Dogs are den animals. They want a secure, sheltered area to rest. If you’ve ever found your dog asleep in a closet or under the coffee table, this is his way of following that den instinct. Crate training can satisfy this natural urge and provide you with several benefits in the process.
Simplifies the house training process
Dogs instinctively know to keep their den clean. If you choose a crate that’s the proper fit for your dog, he’ll refrain from using the bathroom until you let him outside. Crate training becomes a simple way to schedule regular trips to his soiling area.
Provides a secure place to keep your dog
If you’re away from home or can’t supervise him, your dog’s crate is the perfect place to keep him safe. It can also be a comforting spot for him to rest if he’s injured or sick.
It’s the safest way for a dog to travel
The most secure and convenient way to transport your dog is in his crate. It keeps him protected while in the car and is a necessity for airline travel.
Disadvantages of crate training
While using a crate the right way can offer numerous benefits, using it incorrectly may actually harm your dog. The following are some dangers and disadvantages you should keep in mind when learning to crate train a dog:
Temptation to over-use or misuse the crate
Once your dog is comfortable with his crate, you may be tempted to keep him there throughout the day or use it as a way to punish him. Both of these can undermine the training process and keep your dog from appreciating his new den.
Can increase problems with separation anxiety
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and you toss him in a crate to keep him quiet, you may make the situation worse. Crate training can play a role in rehabilitation, but without adequate exercise and conditioning, being shut in a crate will only increase your dog’s feelings of isolation.
Safety concerns about heat and choking hazards
Plastic or enclosed crates, if kept in a hot environment, can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog. The lack of air flow and high temperatures can lead to heat related illnesses. Also, your dog may be exposed to a choking hazard if you leave a slip collar on him while he’s in his crate or you use a crate with a door that doesn’t close tightly.
Despite these concerns, which can all be overcome with good judgment, you should crate train your dog. There’s no substitute for the satisfaction he’ll get from knowing he has a special place to call home.