Is using a crate cruel?
Recently I reposted my article on "6 foolproof steps to housebreaking a puppy" on Facebook. Frankly, I was surprised at how many comments it got that crating a dog is cruel.
For one, I am NOT, nor would I EVER be cruel to my precious fur babies! I used a crate to housebreak all of them, and I have a crate in the bedroom with an open door policy. So, I felt compelled to address this apparently controversial subject.
Confusion in Terminology, Perhaps?
Possibly it is a simple confusion in terminology. Perhaps some people confuse a crate with a cage. A cage is definitely cruel, but sadly it is also necessary in a few cases — Shelters and at the Veterinarian, for example.
A cage is also something you find in a puppy mill. These are often filthy, stacked on top of each other and with no type of comfort what so ever. That is cruel!
This is a cage. Don't be fooled, pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills
You even find dogs and cats in cages at the local animal shelter. Although it may be cruel the shelter, really has no other alternative. Responsible shelters do their very best to make them as comfortable and calming as they can while they try to find good homes for these poor animals.
A cage is something you find at the veterinarian office. Again, unfortunately, there they are necessary for your dog's and all the other dog's safety.
Reasons a Crate Is Not Cruel
Okay, you've heard this many times, dogs are den animals. I wholeheartedly believe that our domestic dogs of today have been with humans for such a long period of time that they have adapted to our lifestyle and our way of living. They no longer always act as their ancestor, the wolf. However, when it comes to a crate and dogs being den animals, that has not changed. However, that is not the only reason — keep reading.
THIS is a CAGE, and yes, it is cruel!
The point is; you may think that using a crate is cruel, but guess what? Your dog does not feel the same way about a crate as you do. According to the AKC, dogs will seek out a den or "den-like" place when they are cold, when they sleep, or when they are stressed.
This is a comfy, cozy crate and this little darling could leave at any time. He doesn't seem to mind it.
Does your dog crawl under and snuggle into a blanket? Why do they do that? Because it feels safe, it is warm, and it feels like a den. They like the dark, warm and safe feel of a cozy den.
Not To Be MisUsed
I think that another reason for the confusion is the misuse of crates. A crate is NOT a place for you to keep your dog all day for your own convenience.
With all of that being said, using a crate can be misused and then a crate becomes cruel. Never leave a dog in a crate for a long period of time at all, ever, period. A crate is a good way to contain a puppy, for very short periods as a way to housetrain.
When a dog is already housetrained it is an option to have a crate in a quiet place in the house with the door always open where your dog can go to get away from any person or situation that may be overwhelming for them.
For instance, say you are having a party. That may be the time your dog feels overwhelmed and wants to go where it is safe and quiet to rest. Perhaps you have a friend visiting with a toddler, that just loves puppies and wants to squeeze them. If there is a crate in a quiet place away from the overzealous toddler, he will go there.
It's An Option
I'm certainly not saying that you have to use a crate after your puppy is housebroken. It is an option. Some people prefer to use a cozy bed with a blanket to serve the same purpose. Some use a cozy open doored crate and some prefer the cozy bed with a blanket option. Neither option is wrong, nor is it cruel. That is your decision according to your preference.
Here's The Take-A-Way
To create or not to create? The answer is; it is the very best way to housetrain a puppy, as long as it is not for long periods of time for your convenience.
After that, it's your option as to whether you use a cozy crate or a cozy bed. But you should provide your Chihuahua one or the other in a quiet place so he will always have his very own place to "chillax".
"Shouldn’t we all be so lucky to have a place which means peace and quiet?" ~ PETMD