Is crating your dog cruel? – Part 3

Critics of crating point to any number of things to prevent putting a dog in a crate. “How would we like to…” – well we (as in people reading this) are not dogs. We don’t relish a roll in smelly stuff or eating roadkill either but dogs do it if given a chance.

Yes there is a chance that the dog will be trapped in a vehicle in a crate. There is a much bigger chance he’ll survive the accident and bolt into traffic, being hit and killed outright or getting lost, without the safety of his owner. This happened to a Wolfhound near Meridian Mississippi and a pair of Pyrs near Clarksville Tennessee. The dogs have not been found – if only they had been restrained in the vehicle! The loss of a dog is difficult enough – but surviving an accident to then bolt and get lost from all that is familiar is tragic – especially when it’s preventable.

Dogs trained to a crate for a few hours per day don’t get a chance to learn bad habits or tear things up. Unfortunately, due to activities of animal rights activists in some areas a dog can’t be left in their own yard without being stolen, and if in the house crates are a way to keep them out of trouble while you’re away. It speeds house training if used properly.

In normal temperatures dogs don’t need a drink 24/7 – a six or seven hour stretch is not an issue *providing* they are not confined in the sun and heat. Most don’t need to eat 24/7 either. Gates are fine – until the dog learns to go over them. A dog that gets into chocolate or other treats in the kitchen can be a very sick, if not dead, dog – which wouldn’t happen if safe in his crate with treats and toys.

What SHOULD a well trained dog do when you’re gone? Play with toys a bit and curl up for a snooze? So why does it matter if it’s on the couch or in his own den in the crate. Many dogs find security in their crate and will run there if anxious. Some like a crate so much they will squeeze into a crate much smaller than they should – such as the German Shepherd who found the only crate open was the fox terrier’s – and squeezed into it for a snooze! She had the door open and did no have to stay there – had run of the mobile home.

Properly used, crates are an invaluable training and travel tool. A dog used to a crate is MUCH less stressed when emergency evacuations happen – even in uncertain chaos the crate is familiar. Any tool can be misused. But to automatically say crating is cruel is not right either. A difference of opinion does not make cruelty.

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