Is crating your dog cruel? – Part 2

Before making a decision as to whether or not crating a dog is cruel you first need to understand how a dog thinks. If you were to find a dog in the wild you would find him resting or seeking safety tucked away in a nook somewhere in the woods. Animals of all breeds usually feel safe when they have a place to hide away from predators. This is an animal’s natural instinct and it does not change when one is domesticated.

I have trained dogs for years and found the most well adjusted are those that were introduced to crate training at a very early age. They are better behaved and easier trained by learning their place in the hierarchy of the family just as they would in a pack. Dogs need structure and consistency to feel safe as well. Leaving a dog too much freedom causes confusion and fear which leads to bad habits. Crating your dog lets him know you are the Alpha in the house and for the same reason you are protecting and giving him a safe haven to retreat to when you are not around.

This is not to say you are mistreating your pet by not using a crate or that you are showing him you do not care. Ones dog is ones own responsibility and their care is solely up to the owner. The opposite argument could be made that not crating your dog is cruel in the respect the owner doesn’t want to be troubled by providing their pet with a place of their own where they always know they can feel safe and relaxed. When you break it all down this is a harmless technique in training your dog. However, ask yourself this “Is it cruel to put your baby in a crib?” Are you not really using the crib to keep your child safe from harm when you cannot be right there for them when they are awake? Is it cruel to give your teenager his or her own room?

I think it makes more sense when you take the dog out of the question as an animal and look at them as a real part of the family. Even adults have a place to go when they need to get away. I do not think the majority of people in this world are raised to sleep or live anywhere they landed. I have never seen a dog complain about being given a crate to sleep in with his or her own special blanket and a bowl of water. I even went so far as to give mine a bone to chew on as a treat. Kind of like that teddy bear you had as a kid you could not sleep without and would scream at the top of your lungs until your parents found and tucked it into bed with you at night. No, I do not think crating dogs is cruel at all. I just think people need to keep it in perspective as to what it means for the dog and not for themselves. So do Fido a favor and give him his own room.

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