a crate as part of a management and teaching program for
puppies and young adult dogs is not a new concept. But
like any training tool, it can be misused, and end up
doing more harm than good.
introduced and used properly, the crate is a terrific
aid for potty training and general house training. But
for Sadie, one little terrier, the crate was used as
punishment, and Sadie was banished to the crate as a way
to address any and all behavior that was deemed
undesirable by her owners.
owners aren’t bad people; they’re just first-time
dog owners who received some bad information, and as a
result, now have a serious behavior problem. Because of
the negative association with the crate, Sadie doesn’t
see it as a refuge, or a safe and relaxing place to be.
Her owners must forcibly put her in the crate, and she
snarls and snaps if anyone reaches for her while in the
for this dog, the crating concept has been poisoned to
the extent that it can no longer be used. Sadie’s
owners have made many drastic changes in the last few
weeks, and are now using a small pen, erected in the
kitchen, with a comfy bed, as a place for Sadie to be
when she can’t be closely watched. And the pen has
been introduced as a happy place, where toys and chewies
are, so Sadie has no qualms about going in on her own,
and remaining there in between bouts of exercise. When
her owners are prepared to monitor her behavior, she is
loose in the house, and they are now focusing on guiding
Sadie into behaving in acceptable ways, instead of
waiting for mistakes and then punishing.
anti-crate comment recently overheard was that placing
your dog in a crate is putting the dog in danger, as it
is essentially a death trap in the event of house fire.
Really? This idea is flawed on many levels, the first of
which is that the chance of there being a house fire is
0.0001 percent. Second, if a fire should occur, and one
needs to exit the house immediately, you will know
exactly where your puppy is, and can without delay run
to the crate and get it, as opposed to searching the
smoke-filled house for a terrified — and probably
hidden — dog. This is just another example of how good
concepts can be twisted and misconstrued in ridiculous
harm can be done to your dog with a crate. Also with a
buckle collar. And a pillow. But if common sense
prevails, and information is gathered from
professionals, the results yielded are positive and
beneficial for both dog and owner.