Have you ever wondered what your dogs do while you aren’t at home? When left alone in the house for hours on end, your furry friends can get anxious or make a big mess. To keep your dog safe and comfortable while you’re out, you can introduce crate training. Many people, including PETA, consider this cruel, but when done right, keeping a dog in a cage all day can be a viable solution for both you and your pooch.
How to Properly Use a Crate and Cage
Many pet parents don’t like to crate-train their pets because they think that confinement is cruel. But when done properly, a crate can give dogs a sense of security, and it’s also an effective way to manage your pets when you’re not around.
One of the reasons many people are against crates and cages is that the method can easily be abused. If you plan on crate training your pets, be sure to set appropriate periods coupled with different goals, such as preventing destructive behavior, house training, and teaching your pet to settle.
If you teach your dog to love the crate rather than fear it, it becomes his safe place, like how children feel about their bedrooms. A crate or kennel is somewhere your dog can go if they want to be unbothered. It’s perfect for dogs that are tired or anxious. Since dogs have an instinct to be in a den, most of them can easily adjust to crates.
How Crate Training Helps Pet Parents
Crate training offers several benefits for pet parents as well. For example, if your pet has a perfectly sized crate, your dog will instinctively keep their space clean. This helps them control their bladder and bowel.
Additionally, using a crate keeps your pet safe during times when you can’t supervise them directly, such as during night times, when you’re at work (given that your work hours isn’t too long and that your pets regularly gets exercise before and after crate time), when you have visitors, etc.
Another benefit of crate training is that it teaches excitable dogs and puppies to relax and enjoy some downtime in their safe space. To keep them secure and relaxed, place their favorite toys and cozy blankets inside.
Choosing a Crate for Your Pooch
When choosing a dog crate, you need to consider several options, such as materials, size, and safety. With different types of crates available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your best friend.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider when choosing a crate:
Plastic dog crates are generally made from poly-blend materials with a steel bar door. These crates are leak-proof and have ventilated side panels. If you’re planning to travel with your pet, airlines usually approve plastic crates.
If you’re looking for security, portability, and ventilation, wire dog crates may be the best option for you. Many of these crates can fold down to a smaller size for better storage. In addition, it’s straightforward to clean because of its open space feature.
There are dog crates specifically made for travel. These crates are often more durable compared to the ones mentioned above. In addition, they offer hardwearing construction, excellent visibility, and maximum ventilation. It’s the perfect type of crate if you frequently fly or drive with your dog. Plus, you can use them for crate training as well, hitting two birds with one stone.
All of these crates offer universal features that you would expect from a dog crate. But some crates are made for specific needs and preferences. So be sure to observe your dog and figure out what they need when choosing a crate for them.
Crates come in varying sizes, so you need to make sure that you get the right crate size for your dog. The last thing you want is to have your dog crouch inside a crate that’s too small for them.
The perfect size depends on the height and length of your pet. Their crate should have enough space for your dog to stand without ducking his head below his shoulders. They should also be able to lie down and stretch without any problems comfortably.
If you’re buying a crate for a puppy, you can purchase one with divider panels so you can adjust the size as your pup grows. Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t buy a crate that’s too big either. Dogs have an instinct to keep themselves clean. But if the crate is too big for them, they might relieve themselves in one corner and sleep in another.
Aside from keeping your furniture safe from your excitable dog, crates can also keep your pet safe from dangerous situations if you aren’t there to look after him. Think of the crate as a child’s car seat. Your pet needs to be appropriately secured when going on long drives. When you place your dog in a crate, be sure to remove his leash so it won’t get stuck and choke your dog.
Is it Cruel to Keep a Dog in a Crate All Day?
The answer depends on the pet owner’s intentions. It’s essential to answer the following questions when it comes to crate training:
- How do you train your dog to use a crate?
- Why do you want to crate train your dog?
- How long are you planning to keep them in the crate?
Many people argue that keeping a dog in a cage all day is inhumane and causes psychological damage. The crate itself doesn’t cause damage, but people can cause harm in the way they misuse the crate.
If you’re going to put your dog in a crate for more than 12 hours a day, five days a week, then this can cause psychological harm. However, the damage is not because of the crate, per se. Instead, the crate acts as a tool you’ve chosen to commit acts of cruelty. Please read my article on how to transport a dog in a truck bed.
A leash and a collar are only cruel if you tie your dog to a post most of the day or yank them by their necks. But with proper use of a leash and collar, it becomes a valuable tool that keeps you and your dog safe. Of course, no dog likes to be tied to a leash when you put it on for the first time. But pet owners take the time to train their pets until they learn to get used to it.
The same goes for dog crates. You need to train your dog to get used to staying in a crate. Teach them to see crates as a safe space rather than a prison. Like the leash, using crates properly and sparingly contributes to your furry friend’s safety and well-being.
Critics’ Take on Crates Causing Psychological Problems
As mentioned, the psychological problems “caused” by crates are a result of crate misuse. Some pet owners use crates as a punishment tool. When this happens, dogs will see crates as more of a prison rather than a home.
Some people also use crates for long-term isolation with no interaction or physical activity. This causes obsessive habits (licking, chewing, etc.), separation anxiety, muscular atrophy, withdrawal, and difficulty bonding with other people.
To keep this from happening to your furry friend, make sure that your dog will only be created for a few hours a day. Crates come in handy during puppy management and training in the early stages of life. When your dog becomes an adult and has become adept at living with humans, he wouldn’t need the crate as often as he used to.
How Long You Should Leave Your Dog Alone
Compared to adult dogs, puppies find it harder to hold their bladders and bowels. For this reason, puppies should get minimal crate time than older dogs.
There are different opinions when it comes to crate training puppies. According to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) say that you shouldn’t leave puppies younger than six months in crates for more than three to four hours.
On the other hand, Modern Dog Magazine says that puppies can stay in their crates for hours based on their month of age plus one. For example, a six-month-old puppy can stay in its crate for seven hours.
However, the number of hours varies depending on your puppy’s behavior. It’s best to observe your puppy for the first few weeks to have an idea of their limit. If your puppies accidentally pee and empty their bowel, they have likely been left in the crate too long. Make sure to give them time to exercise and relieve themselves before and after putting them in the crate.
Crate Time for Adult Dogs
Adult dogs can stay in the crate longer than puppies do. You can leave them for about half a day, but your dog should get enough exercise when he’s out of the crate.
Many adult dogs can stay for as much as eight houses, but long hours in crates can affect your dog’s behavior. If you work long hours every day, you can consider getting a dog walker to leaving your pet in a doggy daycare to shorten crate time.
Risk of Overusing the Crate
Overusing the crate compromises the usefulness of training.