To crate or not to crate?

There comes a point, sooner or later, when every dog parent is faced with a decision: to crate or not to crate.

While most experts agree that dogs should be crate trained, since some situations require it (for example after vet procedures or plane travel), there is a definite split between those that use crating at home for training/ containment purposes or for car travel.

Crating as a training/containment tool:

Many dog owners use crates with puppies and adopted adult dogs to train them and also to make sure dogs stay out of harm’s way when they are left alone.

  • Pro’s:
    • It can keep dogs safe- and prevent them from getting into trouble by chewing power cables, or running around the house
    • The carte can be a sanctuary for you dog- a safe place for them to go that is their own
    • It’s a great training tool
  • Con’s:
    • It is very easily abused- PETA is very firm in it’s guidance that crating as a training tool can have adverse effects
    • It deprives dogs of freedom- dogs that spend most of the day in a crate are limited in their movements, and limits their interaction with the environment
    • Can lead to behavioral problems when used excessively

Crating while travelling:

While in some situations, such as plane travel, this is not a decision left to us (then we need to decide if it’s worth the crating- but we’ll get into that later) we have come across an interesting debate in terms of crating during car travel.

  • Pro’s:
    • Less distracting for the driver- having your dog jumping or sliding around, or worse sitting on your lap (which is illegal in some states) can put both you’re and your pup in an emergency situation
    • Protects the dog in an emergency stop- there are also crash tested crates, so think of this as your dog’s seatbelt
  • Con’s
    • Owner guilt associated with putting their dog in a crate- we recommend taking frequent stops (every 2-3 hours) and let your dog out for a quick sniff and jog
    • Do not leave your dog in the crate (or loose in the car) when you leave- hopefully this will seem obvious but nevertheless always an important reminder

What do you think? Do you crate your dog? What are the benefits and downsides? Let us know in the comments!

And if you are looking to crate here’s some of the more popular crates out there:

Midwest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate

Petmate Vari Kennel

Precision Pet ProValu2 Dog Crate 

Remington Wire Kennel

Precision Pet Products Precision Pet ProValu Great Crate Double Door Dog Crate

And check out this guide to choosing the right size crate for your dog

4 thoughts on “To crate or not to crate?

  1. Crate training (getting him used to a crate) is necessary for the obvious reasons however, Ray’s den (crate) is his “safe” place. While he gets treats there, and often finds them there when he comes back from a walk, he is never touched while in there. Ray has a history which we can only speculate on but we deemed it necessary for him to have an “escape/retreat” place if needed. Everything worked out well and Ray does still occasionally wander off to chill out in his den (crate).
    The above situation (while we still think it was a good idea) does present problems in that while we must get him used to being in his den (crate) with the door down, we cannot afford to give him a bad experience there. The last thing we want is for him to no longer see his den as a good, safe place. The end result is that we are moving extremely slowly with crate training.

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience! It is important for dogs to have their own space, and we agree- better to take it slowly and create a positive experience than risk a trauma.

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  2. I like crates for potty training purposes but NOT for prolonged periods of time; a dog’s perception of a long period of time may not be the same as yours. 8 hours a day is too long for sure. If you can’t leave your dog unattended somewhere in the house & you work full time, hire a dog walker or sitter, use doggie day camp, come home during lunch, or ask a friend/family member to spend time w/ your dog mid day. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

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