Crating your dog has often been a contentious issue for many, but we believe it is more because of people being uninformed, or because it is used and abused.
One could compare it to trying to teach your child (in this case your dog) correct behaviour by sending them to their room if they misbehave. You often would say something like “please return when you have calmed down”. On the other hand, if a parent locked their child in the room for hours – or whatever other unimaginable time, it does reflect more towards abuse than trying to teach them correctional behaviour. The same principle applies to crating our pets.
Just like our bedroom is our special place, crates become our pet’s special place too.
Owning a highly strung pet is never easy and crating them is a great way to help them cope when their emotions run high.
Local animal lover and pet owner of a Doberman named Bagheera, Kerusha Singh shared with her fellow friends on Facebook group DogMoms of South Africa a very good example of what acceptable and good crate training is about:
Looks like everyone is upset that I crate my dogs so it's time for some education...
What is a crate?
A crate mimics a den, it creates a safe space where the dog can go to when it needs space because it is sick or grumpy or just overwhelmed.
Why do we crate train?
As puppies we start crate training so that if our dogs have their own space (and we know they want to be left alone) and also should they need to stay at the vet in a kennel btw they don't freak out and possibly injure themselves further.
Why can't they just sleep on dog beds?
My older one, Bagheera, has the choice to sleep on my bed, his bed, the couch or his CRATE, and he CHOOSES his crate. As he is getting older, he wants his own space.
Madison is my rescue that I've had for a week almost. She also goes into her crate when she is feeling overwhelmed and needs to decompress.
Why are the doors closed?
The doors are closed after they have settled to reinforce to the other dogs or people that they want to be left alone, like a do not disturb sign.
Like any tool, crates can be abused and people leave their dogs in there as a quick fix to training out undesirable behaviours.
And to those who think that my dogs are abused, they are raw fed, Bagheera goes to day-care (Madison - my other dobe, will join him once she is settled) and go to training every weekend. They also have more puzzle toys than I can count which range between R200 and R500 each.
As a side note, if you want to get your dog into agility or any other dog sport, I recommend crate training as the adrenaline sometimes causes fights and having a crate for your dog to calm down in is a good way to prevent this.
By: Kerusha Singh
We would recommend that you too consider crate-training for highly strung pets, who often fight with each other if the doorbell rings or similar situation that raises their emotions above an unacceptable level of your control. By placing them in the crate to give them time to calm down or removing them from a situation, can help making pet ownership with difficult pets more tolerable.