Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets,
and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

Crate training can be an effective tool for dog owners if done correctly,
but it has some unfortunate downsides as well.

Crate training can be an effective tool for dog owners if done correctly, but
it has some unfortunate downsides as well.

Chaoticfluffy, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Disadvantages and Benefits of Crate Training

The crate. An object with which a dog has a difficult relationship. The
subject of crate training a dog is one of perennial debate. Many dog trainers
believe, not wrongly, that it is a good way of teaching a dog the proper
boundaries and behaviors at home. Others understandably see improper crate use
as being way too harsh.

Using a crate to guide a dog’s behavior comes with some benefits and some
uncomfortable disadvantages that novice dog owners must consider. As well as
delivering a personal take on crate training, this article will give some
suggestions on how to use this object in a safe, appropriate, and humane way.

The Pros and Cons of Crate Training Dogs

Pros| Cons

Keeps dog away from harmful substances


Physical frustratiuon

Helps hone den instincts


Emotional distress

Can help with potty training


Dangerous if poorly assembled


Dangerous if not well-ventilated


Dangerous if dog is wearing collar or leash

Disadvantages of Crate Training Your Dog

The crate has certain cons attached to it if not used with judiciousness. It
can have some very adverse effects on a dog’s physical safety and emotional
well-being, so these must be properly addressed before a crate can be used.

It Causes Physical Frustration in the Dog

Keeping a dog in a too-small crate would cause it much physical frustration.
This physical stress can cause a dog to constantly lick itself and develop
stress sores. A dog may also develop stress on its limbs if it is not able to
stand properly.

Someone my mother knows kept a schnauzer in a cage for 12 years till it passed
away of cancer. The mild manner schnauzer never complained, but it was not
able to stand up properly because the cage was a little too small for it.

It Causes Emotional Distress in the Dog

This is just a little reminder because much has been said of this subject
before. We do not like being confined and neither do dogs. Being in a cage for
a long time causes the animal extended emotional discomfort and results in its
maladaptive behavior.

The schnauzer I mentioned earlier never resisted being in a cage, but it did
develop a dislike for people. The cage, when used for a prolonged period, can
develop the same feelings in dogs as in humans who have been isolated for a
long time.

It Is Dangerous if It Is Not Assembled Well

If a cage is not assembled properly, it can collapse upon the dog and cause it
physical harm.

It Is Dangerous if There Is Not Enough Ventilation

Some cages have bars that are extremely close together, restricting the air
that is allowed to circulate within. This causes extreme discomfort.

It Is Dangerous if the Dog Is Wearing a Collar or Leash

The cage can be dangerous if your dog wears a collar or leash. The collar or
lead can get caught on the bars and there is a danger of strangulation.

A frustrated westie pup  in a cage.

A frustrated westie pup  in a cage.


A frustrated westie pup in a cage.

1 / 2

Benefits of Crate Training Your Dog

That having been said, using a crate with care does serve at times to guide a
dog’s behavior. Crate training is a useful tool to guide puppies as they are
being house trained.

Scroll to Continue

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A Crate Keeps Your Dog Away From Harmful Substances

If you have a dog who loves chewing objects, a crate can be a useful tool. A
dog, especially a puppy, may ingest something that is dangerous or poisonous
if he is left to his own devices without being watched.

It Helps to Hone a Dog’s Den Instincts

Dogs are natural den animals and need a home to go to. A crate, when used
wisely, serves as a place a dog can call its own.

Allow me to digress a little and mention a little observation that I have
made. My little West Highland, Cloudy, loves her spot under the sofa, a place
she has made her own little den.

A Crate Can Help With Potty Training a Puppy

A bigger cage can help localize your puppy and understand where he needs to go
to ease himself. A small potty in the cage would help him associate with the
scent and know that it is his bathroom.

A Personal Take on Using a Crate to Guide a Dog’s Behavior

Where I am concerned, I personally do not like the idea of using a crate to
contain dog for reasons of freedom and comfort, both physically and mentally.
Many will share this view.

However, a crate is a useful place for your dog to go to, provided owners have
some very important things in mind.

Shiloh in her crate

Shiloh in her crate

alexpg, CC-BY-NC 2.0 via Creative Commons

Things to Keep in Mind When Crating a Dog

If crating is to be used as a method of housebreaking or guiding a dog’s
behavior, here are a few things to consider.

Do Not Leave a Dog in a Crate for Long Periods

As mentioned, a dog, when left too long in a crate, becomes terribly
distressed because of prolonged isolation. Do not keep it there for more than
two to three hours at a time. A dog in a cage for too long will start to
emotionally withdraw. It may become hyperactive because its basic freedom to
walk around is being curtailed.

If you have a very long workday, you might want to consider hiring a dog
sitter who would take care of its walking and other needs while you are away
for the day.

Never Use the Crate as a Form of Punishment

The cage should never be a form of punishment. Using the crate this way will
cause a dog to associate it with negativity.

As with children, the dog might even become rebellious and do the exact things
you do not want it to. Emotionally disturbed dogs turn to obsessive licking
that causes stress sores.

Associate the Crate With Something Pleasant

The crate should be a dog’s little den. It should be a place that it can go to
when it needs time of its own and some “dog-sonal” space.

A door to a crate should never be used unless you want to keep a dog safe for
certain reasons, e.g. if renovation work is going on at home and the dog has
to be left there for a while during the day. The dog should use the crate as
his little home or place, to freely come and go as he pleases.

Consider the Size of the Crate

The crate should be big and comfortable and allow the dog a good stretch. If
your dog is not able to stand in a crate, it can develop muscle atrophy.

Never Put Your Dog in With a Collar or Leash

While you are not aware, the dog’s lead or collar can get caught in the crate
and cause strangulation.

So, Is Crate Training Good or Bad?

A crate can turn into a dog’s home if he is trained to associate it with being
one. It can also be a safe place for him to be in certain circumstances. It
can, however, cause much physical and emotional distress if used in the wrong
way or for inappropriate purposes.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It
is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription,
or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.
Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a
veterinarian immediately.


Nelia on August 03, 2018:

My opinion about crate training does not matter neither does anyone else’s
opinion in my eyesI I just see scientific evidence that it is not beneficial
to the pet, ie, regulating body temperature, bone and muscle mass or joint
health not to be able to move around and stretch as desired. Vey beneficial to
the dog owner to be able to pack away his responsibilities in a box at certain
times but not beneficial to the pet.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 20, 2013:

Indeed it does, Deb. you did it well! Thanks for sharing.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 19, 2013:

Before I got my first dog as a puppy, I did a lot of research and decided to
crate train her. It worked out very well, and she eventually graduated to
having run of the house. We then crate trained our second dog, who at the age
of 3 (almost 4) still prefers to sleep in her crate every night. Crate
training caused neither dog physical or emotional distress. But I agree, it
has to be done properly to work right.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 14, 2013:

That is too true, Nancy! Thanks for sharing!!

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on February 13, 2013:

I like the way you discussed both of the pros and cons on the subject. Some
people seem to think that the crate is the only answer.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 10, 2013:

Thanks, James! If dogs associate the crate with protection and comfort, it can
become a safe haven. Thanks for sharing!

James A Watkins from Chicago on February 09, 2013:

Thank you for this excellent and needful article. I have a Westie like the one
in your first picture. She has never had a crate but for many years I had a
Maltese and the crate worked great for him. It became his private space that
no one ever entered. He voluntarily spent a lot of time in it. It became his
own little den.


Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 08, 2013:

I think that play pens are indeed a great alternative to crates. Crates do
make a dog uncomfortable, especially when the dog is left for too long. Thanks
for sharing!

Adrienne Farricelli on February 07, 2013:

As a trainer and behavior consultant, I have been lately recommending play
pens and the use of baby gates more than crates. If crates need to be used, I
tell owners to make sure to create positive associations and avoid them to
assume a negative stigma. In my home, all crates are with the door open, and
as such they’re a welcoming place to retreat. Voted up and awesome.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Yes, many who crate use the crate wrongly and resort to it for convenience,
verging on abuse. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Yes, many who crate use the crate wrongly and resort to it for convenience,
verging on abuse. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Yes, many who crate use the crate wrongly and resort to it for convenience,
verging on abuse. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Yes, many who crate use the crate wrongly and resort to it for convenience,
verging on abuse. Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Thanks, Mary!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

You used the crate with wisdom, Cyndi. So your little one probably got used to
it and knew when it was needed! Thanks for sharing!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

Thanks, Bill, glad to be of help!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 07, 2013:

That’s exactly right, Nell. For a dog’s safety and for short periods, it’s
fine. But prolonged isolation is mistreatment. Thanks for sharing!

Nell Rose from England on February 06, 2013:

Great information about crate training, I for one would never use it as it
makes me uncomfortable just seeing a dog in one, but if its put in a warm safe
place where the dog can see people then maybe for short periods of time its
okay, nell

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 06, 2013:

You definitely know your stuff when it comes to dogs, Michelle. You are my
one-stop source of dog information and I thank you for it.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on February 06, 2013:

OMG. Is that a Westie I see? They are so wonderful. (Yes, I know every dog
owner says that about their breed.) LOL

I did use a crate early on with my Westie if everyone was away from the house
for long stretches of time, until he was well trained. Admittedly, it wasn’t
often that he was alone. The crate was also useful for trips. But the crate
was plenty big enough for him to move around comfortably and he never seemed
to mind. Now he has free roam of the entire house, rarely has any accidents
and doesn’t chew up anything. He is the most social dog I have ever seen. I
think we have way too much fun with him.

In short, using the crate didn’t seem to have any adverse affects, but then he
wasn’t “confined” to it too often.

Great hub.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on February 06, 2013:

I’ve never used a crate for my dogs, but I can certainly see advantages to
them. My daughter uses one to put her dog in for road trips. She buckles the
crate with the seat belt. I think she is wise to do that for the dog’s safety.

As usual, this is a great Hub for us pet owners.

Voted up, and shared, Pinned and Tweeted.

Mary Craig from New York on February 06, 2013:

I totally agree with everything you said Michelle. Let me further state, I’ve
had dogs all my life and never used a crate, however, with my current dog we
did use a crate when he was a puppy as he was shipped to us in a crate. He
treated it as his safe haven and so did we. Now, three years later, when he
wants to be alone (away from pestering kids)- he goes in the crate, when he
knows he’s done something wrong – he goes in the crate, when I put my suitcase
on the floor – he goes in the crate. So, I guess you can see I’m not against
PROPER crate training and neither are most dogs.

Loved this hub and voted up, useful, and interesting.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on February 06, 2013:

Having dogs when I was younger and Kevin, too, we never have crated our dogs,
but like you know others who have. You bring up some valid points on both end
of the coin. And do believe this article will be beneficial to those
considering this. Thanks as always for such wonderful in depth articles and
have of course voted and shared, too!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 06, 2013:

An article on the pros and cons of crate training a dog, and things an owner
should consider when doing so.