Crating a dog when you leave the house, travel or have company over may cause feelings of guilt, but it 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.
Many owners, especially post covid, either don’t use the crate often or seem to be in a hurry to phase it out because they feel guilty. When you do 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 or destructively chew.
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 often. There are also many boarding and daycare facilities that promote themselves as “cage free.” We tend to put too much responsibility on our dogs and expect them to know what to do with it.
Leaving a dog unattended can also be life threatening. Eating a sock or getting into the garbage is not the only danger. Swallowing a rawhide or squeaker from a dog toy can cause a blockage and put your dog in an emergency.
In a home with more than one dog, a fight can quickly breakout, resulting in expensive vet bills and in the worst cases, loss of a pet. Unfortunately, these cases happen more often than you think.
On the contrary, there are many benefits to crate training your dog and keeping it part of their lives. When used correctly (not used as a time out or for punishment), the crate will represent a safe place and can be used in multiple situations:
During travel to help them adapt and stay calm in new environments.
Recovering from Injury
Crating a dog recovering from injury will help them heal faster and they are less likely to further agitate a wound.
The easiest way to potty train a puppy is by crate training.
Guests Who Fear Dogs
Guests that are afraid of 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
Nervous or fearful dogs will feel safe in their crate when new people come over.
Many behavioral issues such as barking, destructive chewing, jumping on people or charging the door will fade simply by crating a dog more frequently.
In summary, when done right, the crate represents the safest place for your dog to be.
Remember to use crate training for safety, not time-out or punishment.
Finally, 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 to help reintroduce the crate in a positive way
Updated on February 25, 2022