Veterinarians and professional dog trainers accept the purpose of crate training as a means of developing desirable dog behaviors and easing separation anxiety.
But is it fair to confine your canine companion to a crate for long periods of time? Why is crate training essential? And are there any benefits to kennel training?
Read this article to learn the 15 benefits of crate training and a few downsides.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Crate Training?
Some people believe that crate training is cruel and unnecessary, while others are happy to jump on the crate training bandwagon from day one.
However, most dog owners like the peace of mind they get from knowing that their furry friend is safely contained in his crate when they’re not around to watch him.
So, what are the pros of crate training and cons that pet parents should know?
15 Benefits Of Crate Training Your Dog
Here are 15 benefits to crate training your dog that will help you decide!
1. A Safe Space
My dog loved her crate and would often head there of her own volition without my encouragement.
Most dogs view their crate as a safe space where they can take a nap or escape the distractions of a busy household.
2. On Vacation
If you like to take your dog with you on vacation, life is much easier if Fido is crate-trained.
Some dogs become restless and disoriented when taken away from their home environment, and the familiarity of their crate and bed can help your furry friend to settle somewhere new.
3. Sleep Tight!
It would be best if you didn’t encourage your dog to share your bed at night.
That’s because dogs are natural pack animals that live within a strict hierarchy. If you allow your dog to sleep on your bed, he will start to regard the bed as his territory and might even get aggressive if you try to remove him.
Dogs can be fidgety at night, climbing on and off the bed and wandering around the house, where they can get up to all kinds of mischief, including potty accidents and kitchen trash raids.
So, one of the biggest crate training pros is that your dog won’t be able to disturb you at night.
4. Houdini Hounds
If your dog is a Houdini hound that regularly escapes from your home, keeping your canine companion in an escape-proof crate can give you peace of mind that your pet will be kept safe.
5. Veterinary Visits
Most dogs need to spend time at the vet clinic periodically for minor routine desexing surgery or tests.
Your dog must stay in a crate at the vet clinic, so if he’s already crate-trained, that will make the experience much less stressful for everyone.
6. Keeping The Peace
If you already have a dog, bringing a new one into your home can trigger trouble.
However, keeping one or both dogs crated until they have gotten used to each other can be a great way of keeping the peace. The same goes for other pets.
I remember when I took home a stray cat from the vet clinic where I worked. I was concerned that he would be afraid of my dog. So, I opted to keep the cat in a wire mesh crate so the dog could sniff him without touching him. As it happened, my dog was used to cats, the cat was unfazed, and they got along fine.
7. Recovery From Illness Or Injury
Your vet often recommends that a sick dog recovers in a crate to prevent the pup from splitting stitches or aggravating an injury.
Keep the crate dark and quiet, perhaps by covering it with a blanket or a custom-made cover.
Some people are allergic to pets, and others don’t like dogs. So, crating your dog can prevent him from jumping up at guests, escaping when they arrive, barking, or stress-peeing on the carpet.
9. Emergency Safety
In an emergency, such as a house fire, emergency responders will find it much easier and safer to rescue your pet if he’s confined to a crate than if the terrified pup is running loose.
10. Unavoidable Confinement
If your dog is accustomed to being crated, you’ll find it much easier when traveling with your pet, especially on a train or airplane.
Dogs thrive on having a routine, and that includes spending time in their crate while you’re out at work or at the store.
Regular crate time can also help your dog cope with and overcome behavioral problems, including separation anxiety.
12. Potty Training
Dogs won’t willingly go to the bathroom in their sleeping space or den unless they absolutely cannot wait.
Using a crate lets you house-train your dog without risking potty accidents around your home, provided you have a suitable size and divider panel. However, we don’t recommend using puppy pee pads in a crate, as that could confuse your furry friend and set your house training back.
13. Safe Travel
If you love to take road trips with your dog, using a travel crate is the safest way to go for you, your passengers, and your dog. In the event of an accident, an unsecured dog becomes a potentially lethal projectile, and injuries are much less likely if the pup is confined to a crate.
In addition, loose dogs in vehicles are a significant cause of driver distraction, and you could be risking a ticket if your dog is caught riding unsecured by law enforcement.
And if you want to fly with Fido, most airlines insist that your dog travels in an approved crate. Some travel companies even provide flight travel crates to rent if you don’t have one already.
Finally, a filthy dog can cause carnage in the back of a car, so by keeping your pup confined to a crate, you can help keep your vehicle clean and mud-free.
14. Damage Prevention
Unfortunately, not every dog can be trusted not to behave while his owner is not around to watch him.
Keeping your dog in his crate can help to prevent undesirable destructive behaviors, such as chewing your stuff and digging up your lawn.
15. Safety In An Emergency
In some regions, earthquakes, bushfires, and tornadoes happen regularly. In that case, your furry friend could be in grave danger if he’s allowed to run loose in your home.
However, a crate-trained dog will be much easier to manage and relocate, potentially saving your pet’s life.
9 Crate Training Drawbacks
Although there are plenty of benefits to crate training your dog, there are a few downsides.
- Dog owners who go out to work during the day can become overreliant on their crates, leaving their dogs confined for extended periods without a break.
- Some dogs HATE being crated and can develop anxiety-related behavioral issues.
- If the crate is the wrong size for the dog, the pup can suffer from emotional and physical distress.
- Some health conditions, such as arthritis, can worsen by confining a dog to a crate for long periods.
You can mitigate some potential problems by ensuring that your dog has everything he needs to be comfortable, including a supportive bed that will keep your dog warm, a crate water bowl or bottle, and some crate-safe toys.
- If you fail the assemble the crate correctly, that could pose a danger to your furry friend.
- Improperly ventilated crates can be extremely dangerous, especially during long car journeys on warm days.
- Never use the crate as a punishment tool. That can create serious behavioral problems.
- If your dog is a wriggler or an escape artist, there’s a danger that his collar or harness could become snagged on the crate. That could lead to choking and even strangulation. To be safe, never leave your dog’s harness or collar on while he’s in his crate.
- Dog crates are not the most attractive items to have around your home. But if you’re short on space, you could buy a furniture dog crate that’s practical and attractive. Alternatively, you could hide the crate underneath your staircase or disguise it with a cleverly designed dog crate cover.
So, yes, there are a few downsides to crating your dog. However, many of the cons listed above can easily be overcome with some thought.
In this part of our guide, we answer some of the commonly asked questions about crate training.
Q: Do vets recommend crate training?
A: According to the American Kennel Club, most vets do recommend crate training puppies from an early age.
Q: How many hours a day should you crate-train your dog?
A: As with any kind of training, you should begin your dog’s crate training with short sessions of just a few minutes of confinement in the crate. As the dog becomes more confident, you can increase the periods of time he spends shut in the crate to six hours maximum.
Q: Is crate training good for every dog?
A: Although most dogs learn to accept spending time in their crate, some absolutely hate the idea, usually due to previous punishment-based training methods.
However, with plenty of positive reinforcement and praise, it’s usually possible to teach your dog to spend some time in a comfortable, well-appointed crate.
Q: Is crate training stressful for dogs?
A: Crate training should be a positive experience for a puppy or dog. Provided you don’t try to rush your pet into spending time alone confined to his crate, your dog shouldn’t get stressed.
Punishment-based training is never successful and will undoubtedly damage the bond between you and your pet. So, take time to establish the basics of crate training, focus on using positive reinforcement training techniques, and be patient.
Q: At how many months old should you crate-train your dog?
A: You can start crate training a puppy from eight weeks of age. However, you must remember that a very young puppy can’t hold his pee or poop for very long, and you’ll need to be on hand to let your pet out for a potty stop every hour or two at first.
Older dogs can be crate-trained, although some take to the process better than others.
Did you enjoy our guide to the benefits and drawbacks of crate training your dog? If you did, please take a moment to share the article.
Crate training your dog presents plenty of pros, but there are a few drawbacks too. Most vets agree that a positive crate training experience benefits dogs and their owners. A crate is your dog’s safe, secure den, aids in-house training of a puppy, prevents destructive behavior, and makes safer travel possible.
Did you crate-train your puppy, or did you decide against it? Tell us why you came to your decision in the comments box below.