Crating a Dog: Why You Should Stop Feeling Guilty.
Crating a dog when you leave, travel or have company over may cause feelings of guilt, but is the safest place for your dog to be. Dogs are den dwelling animals that will often curl up and go to sleep when they are comfortable in their crate. Most owners, however seem to be in a race to wean off crating a dog because they feel guilty. What is it that you expect your dog to do when you leave? They cannot read a magazine, text their friends or surf the web. What they can and often will do when you leave is pace, bark out the window, destructively chew or defecate indoors.
The guilt comes from a feeling of taking freedom away when crating a dog. The word cage gets used in replacement of crate or kennel and every commercial about animal abuse features a dog behind bars. We put too much responsibility on our dogs and expect them to know what to do with it. A dog that barks out the window or jumps on your guests loses that option when crated.
Leaving a dog unattended can also be life threatening. Ingesting clothing or garbage is not the only danger. Choking on rawhide, a bone shard or a squeaky from a dog toy can also put your dog in an emergency situation. In a multi-dog house, a dogfight can result in expensive vet bills and sometimes loss of a pet. Unfortunately, these cases happen more often than you think.
On the other hand, there are many benefits to crating a dog and keeping it part of their lives. During travel, your dog has a safe place to adapt to new environments, which will reduce stress. Crating a dog recovering from injury will help them heal faster. The easiest way to potty train a puppy is by crate training. Guests that do not like dogs will be more comfortable in your home and guests that are “dog lovers” (we all know one), will not teach your dog bad habits. Nervous or fearful dogs will feel safe in their crate when new people come over. Many behavioral issues will fade simply by crating a dog more frequently. By letting go of feeling guilty and focusing on doing what is best for your dog, you will be rewarded with a better relationship.
*If you have a dog with crate or separation anxiety contact a professional for help