The Case Against Dog Crating
Chances are, when you were growing up you or someone you knew had dogs. These dogs were probably housebroken and well-behaved dogs. Were any of these dogs kept in cages? The answer is probably “NO” or “NEVER”.
The practice of crating dogs is a relatively new phenomenon introduced by trainers in the last thirty years or so. The practice is referred to as “crate training”, which often, is just a nice way of saying, “keeping a dog in a cage”. Crate training is promoted by some as the solution to housebreaking a dog. For those people who do not want to put the time or energy into correctly house training a dog, it works beautifully in terms of keeping messes from happening on one’s carpeting or floors. However, crate training is very often inhumane and ineffective, not to mention a good way to cause the very behavior problems dog owners hope to address by crate training to begin with.
Crate training is based on the concept that dogs are smart and will not soil where they sleep or stay for prolonged periods. In reality, caging a dog rarely teaches the dog to be housebroken. It is simply an avoidance technique that does not address the task of housebreaking. Working with your new dog using tried and true methods; such as taking them out often and teaching them to go to the door when they need to relieve themselves, effectively and humanely teaches a dog proper toileting. Dogs love routine and house training a dog is often as easy as establishing a routine that works well for you and your dog! There are numerous resources available on line and in print to help with housebreaking dogs, not to mention numerous professional dog trainers who can help with training.
Since crate training became a fad several years ago, many dog owners have mistakenly used crates to keep their dog confined when left at home unsupervised. A well-trained, happy dog will not eat shoes or shred furniture. People who use the crate as a babysitter often do so when they are away at work or for other extended periods of time. Not only is this unhealthy for a dog in terms of limited mobility, it also creates bladder and bowel control issues that can lead to serious medical problems.
In short, if your lifestyle does not permit you to devote the time necessary to have a calm, well-adjusted dog that does not need to be caged, you may wish to re-evaluate dog ownership and consider getting a goldfish until you are able to adapt your lifestyle to dog ownership.