Can anyone explain how crating dogs isn't cruel?

(216 Posts)
DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 13:10:35

I am not trying to be controversial. I am genuinely shocked by the crating "trend". I am aware that lots of people do this. But I cannot understand how locking the dog in a crate is at all fair or beneficial to the dog. I can however see how locking the dog in a crate is very beneficial to the owner. Is there any justification in terms of it being beneficial to dogs that I really can't see?

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 13:17:26

When it is done properly, the dog sees it as his sanctuary. If it gets too loud in the house, if my DD has friends over, he takes himself off to his crate for some 'me' time. Everyone respects that it is his space and no one is allowed to disturb him in there.

Also, in dogs that like to chew, they are better off being left safely in their crate with suitable chew toys, than left to electrocute themselves on cables, or end up with perforated bowels due to shredding skirting boards.

The same as Lilcamper. We put our lab puppy in a crate at night from the word go - and it helped her to become house trained much more quickly, because she didn't want to soil her bed, so would wait until the morning, then go when we let her out.

And it became her safe place - she would go in there whenever she wanted to (we left the door open all the time, except at night), and she clearly found it a comfortable and safe place to be.

It also meant she was safe if we had to go out and leave her home alone, when she was still in the chewing everything phase.

She is in a proper bed now, but it is in the same place as the cage was (under the stairs) to maintain that safe place feeling.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 13:20:38

I'm keen to hear the response too because from my many successful years of dog breeding, training, owning, my common sense and my logic all go against the idea of crating.

My theory is that it's an American practice that's come over here in the past 10 years, probably because of web forums and the availability of American written training books online. From American books and forums they seem to use less reward based training and more dominance - generally speaking. I'm not comfortable with this.

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 13:27:51

I am completely against outdated dominance theory. Totally force free positive training here. His crate was initially to keep him safe as a pup, also a Labrador that was liable to chew anything, last theming we wanted was for him to be able to hurt himself.

he house trained really quickly too.

He is out of the chewing phase now so the door to the crate is always left open.

If anything were to happen where he needed an op and complete rest a.he wouldn't panic on waking from an anaesthetic in the vets and finding himself in a crate because he is used to it and b. if he had an injury that required him to rest, he would happily while away his time in his crate, because he is used to it.

pigsDOfly Fri 03-May-13 13:40:02

My dog loved her crate when she was small, and if I had to leave her to go shopping I knew she was safe and couldn't do anything to hurt herself. When she decided she no longer wanted to have that space to herself I put it away.

It's only cruel if it's used as a punishment or the dog is shut in when it doesn't want to be or for a long time. Otherwise it's no different from having the dog's bed anywhere else in the house.

My dog's mother gave birth in a crate in the breeder's living room because that's where she felt safe.

When my daughter's dog was a puppy if anything scared her while she was playing in the garden, such as a long bang or car door slamming, she'd rush back into the house and straight into her crate.

Obviously if the dog doesn't like it then yes it is cruel, but otherwise, if used properly, excellent.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 03-May-13 13:44:45

In our family we have been using crates since 1971 when the first croft ones became avaliable. My Dad shows so very useful for transporting several dogs safely to shows. When at home the crates are in his office with the doors open all day. You will often find at least one dog asleep in a crate even though they have access to multiple beds in the breakfast room and conservatory in a wide variety of places.
Use correctly they are an excellent sanctuary for dogs which they freely use of their own volition.
So definitely not recent arrival.

cq Fri 03-May-13 13:48:21

Yep, my two love their crate. They take themselves off for naps at all times of day, both curl up together in one big crate quite happily. They've always associated it with peace, safety and treats, so it's just their sanctuary. Door is left open and they come and go as they like.

It's really useful now to be able to shut them away when needed, for example when workmen are in the house and the doors & garden gates are open. They don't mind a bit, just sleep until I open the door again. Also useful in thunderstorms, and presently I shut them in at night as they have taken to waking up early and barking at pigeons through the french doors.

As long as they are properly introduced to it and not left in it for the majority of time, I see no problem.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 13:49:56

Mine is crated - it is where he goes to hide if something scares him, it's where he goes when he's stolen something and he chooses to sleep in there about half the amount of time when he has free choice.

He's only shut in there for about 6 hours overnight and when I have to go do something where he can't go. I don't work, so it's an hour or so every few days. He goes in there willingly and is always asleep when I get back.

The plan was to use it till he was housetrained and finished teething, but, he's still chewing everything, I can tell him to stop when I'm here... But god only knows what he'd eat if he was loose when there's no-one here.

So yes, a bed would do what he wants to use it for, but I'm happier knowing he's safe when I can't watch him.

HormonalHousewife Fri 03-May-13 13:51:39

My dog is not locked in hers. She used to be as a pup for an hour or two and night.

She chooses it rather than her rug in the kitchen.

lurcherlover Fri 03-May-13 13:53:33

Don't forget a dog doesn't understand the notion of a cage or the connotations. Done properly, it's a den, pure and simple.

Agree that there is potential for abuse though if people use them as cages and leave dogs in there for hours on end.

Imsosorryalan Fri 03-May-13 13:54:46

Some dogs, like mine cannot cope with having the run of the house. She did initially but has a very nervous character. So any noise outdoors and she was on her guard, never relaxed.
The crate is covered on top and sides and she loves the cosyness of it.
Also, she tends to follow me from room to room, even if she's busy with a toy/ treat. You can almost see her sigh with relief when she goes in and I shut the door. grin

I think a lot of dogs like 'caves'. We don't have a crate but my dogs will often curl up behind the sofa.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 14:01:48

House training is easy enough and must be less stressful for the dog if its done not through the fear and discomfort of pooing in its own bed.

Just saying, there are other options to how you train your dog.

It's not cruel, it's like a secure place for them to go. My dog trainer thoroughly recommends them - all his are crated for large parts of the day.

My eldest dog wasn't used to the crate, and never really took to it even when he was younger - used to sratch like billy-o to get out. We've had several issue with where he sleeps - for a while it was on the couch, but then he started peeing in the house again (he's 6), so we couldn't let him have the full run of the house. So now he sleeps in the kitchen with the door closed (though he scratches and scrapes at it too.)

Little dog was crated from an early age, and is very content to go into her "house". She sleeps there, goes in there while I'm having a shower, shows every sign that she is keen to go there.

So no, it's not cruel. Can be very benficial for both dog and owner if used properly from a young age.

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 14:05:01

Mine was in his crate next to my bed and was taken out to the garden every time he stirred in the night, no fear or discomfort there, right next to Mum and Dad's bed, knowing we were there and no chance of chewing on bedside light cables or anything else.

nemno Fri 03-May-13 14:09:26

Crating isn't something I've done with my own dogs and I was a bit concerned when my parents started it with a new dog (based on advice from my SIL a veterinary nurse). I now have no problem with it as long as it is done the way my folks have, the dog loves her crate and goes in it whenever she wants (often). It is now left open at all times.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 14:12:45

I have 2 dogs, one is crated when I go out and doesn't mind (we introduced him to the crate slowly and he now will get in there on his own and will chose to sleep in there), we tried a crate for my other dog when she was a pup and she didn't like it at all so we don't crate her. I have to crate my other dog as I don't trust my other dog alone with him when i'm not at home. The only time he is crated now is when I go out (which is only the school run and when I do food shop) and when the dd's are eating, though he is getting better at not grabbing food so doesn't always need to be crated now.

I don't think its cruel if used correctly, I would not leave my dog in a crate if he was distressed and didn't like it in their.

It has also helped with toilet training and he's now fully house trained.

cathpip Fri 03-May-13 14:21:37

We have a large crate that we got from when our youngest dog was a pup, purely as we have an open plan house and unattended at night would not have been safe. The door used to be locked (at night) but is now always open, its our pups safe place were he knows he can get some peace from the kids (they are not allowed to touch dog when he is in his crate) Funnily enough we also have a 6 year old rescue who we knew little about before rehoming and he is always in the crate, they both love it, if they didn't they would not go in there voluntarily

CalamityKate Fri 03-May-13 14:29:02

It's not complicated really.

Dogs are den animals. They naturally LIKE to snuggle in cosy places. My older dog likes to squeeze in the gap between two chairs and they both like it under the table.

To my dogs the crate is their own cosy space where they are never disturbed. They are out of the way and can't get stepped on accidentally. It's a place where they quite often get extra special things like raw bones or filled kongs.

Of course if they were confined to their crate for hours on end it would stop being a good place to be but any tool can be misused.

Frettchen Fri 03-May-13 14:30:25

I, and my family, have had dogs for 10-15 years now, and I was very anti-crating until quite recently. My cousin recently got a puppy, and has found the crate really handy for managing the dog, and giving her a place to go.

I think I'd still be a bit hesitant about using one in the house myself, but I have just got one to be used in the car as my older dog doesn't travel well in the new car, and I think a crate would make travelling easier and safer. If I were to get a new dog I wouldn't be getting a puppy, so would probably expect to only crate in the car.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 14:31:43

I didn't housetrain mine through fear and discomfort of pooing in his bed. hmm

I did it by standing outside with him for what felt like weeks like everyone else with a puppy. But if he had an accident while I wasn't there to watch him then I knew where to look, lol.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 15:47:51

My dog has not got a fear of pooing in his own bed hmm, he actually pooed in there the other day smile, its not a fear of pooing in there (why would there be any fear, its just common sense to most animals not to shit in their own bed. Don't you think we still had to stand outside with him every half an hour, praising him? hmm of course we did.

My dog is happy in a crate for an hour or so when I go out, its either that or he gets beaten up by my other dog so surely he is safer asleep with door on his cage closed whilst I am out?

I was against crating until I got my 2nd pup, with my first dog I bought a crate to use in the car, she hated being in at and would chew at the bars so I felt it was cruel to use one but now with pup 2 it is a god send and he is happy to sleep in there, most of his day consists of lying on the sofa or running around the garden so he's not shut in a cage all day (just when I pop out).

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 03-May-13 15:53:01

When feral dogs like to create a 'den' to sleep in, somewhere safe, such as a disused shed, in deep thickets, old boxes etc. The crate, effectively is a den, where the dog feels safe and secure.

Only one of my dogs has a crate, the one we have had from a pup, she loves her crate, it is her sanctuary and the place she will retire to if she is scared/wants to be left alone. When she had a larger crate the other dogs would voluntarily go in there for some peace and quiet.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 03-May-13 15:59:56

My little dog has a very big crate but I do not agree with crate training.
I truly believe in a few years time trends will reverse and everyone will be shock and deny they ever did it.... <ducks>....

I do believe they have their uses though.As I said,mine small dog has a large dog crate as his bed. It is mainly so that if we stay somewhere else or go camping he has a safe place he can be put and where he feels secure.

He is only ever shut in there if we are somewhere else or if we have children round to play who are worried by dogs. He doesn't mind at all being shut in,but I would only do it for a reason and not as a matter of course.

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