Let's begin with understanding, what is Crate Training?
Crate training is the process of teaching a pet to accept a dog crate or cage as a familiar location, somewhat like a 'home' to the pet.
There are different schools of thought that guide trainers make an ethical choice of including crate training or not when partnering with dogs. None of them are wrong or right, but as pet parents, we encourage you to make a conscious decision whether to crate or not to crate. How, you may ask? Well, we say, ask your dog!
Every dog comes with a personality unique to him or her. Some dogs are perfectly happy with having a crate as home to themselves, which they would associate to a 'den' they can go into, whether its for some me-time or just getting cozy in their personal space. Whereas, there would be some dogs who prefer being around their family, sleeping by their feet while the humans are busy on typing away on the laptop (like what my dog is doing right now as we speak) or give you the puppy eyes when you send them back to their crate, whimpering as you walk away.
This is how our animals tell us how they truly feel about the crate. Sure, training can help you de-sensitize your dog towards the crate, but what if we tell you All Ears has a better solution to this?
LIST YOUR REASONS
First things first, let's understand the reason of crate training your dog. Usually they include -
Providing a safe space
Chewing furniture and other items around the house
Peeing/Pooping in certain areas in/around the crate
Sleeping by themselves in the crate
among many others...
COME UP WITH A SOLUTION TO WORK ON ISSUES, SETTING THE CRATE ASIDE
Check with your trainer if he/she can train your dog in all of these things WITHOUT using a crate at all. At All Ears, we train how one dog trains another dog, and in their natural environment, dogs don't keep each other in confinement to train them. Instead, they guide each other in practicing ideal behavior. When we help our dogs understand what is acceptable and what is not around the house, there won't be a need for the crate anymore. Even if you would like to offer a space for your dog as his 'home', it need not be an enclosure, it could be as simple as a comfortable bed or a corner of the room with all his belongings kept close. If you watch any documentaries or research on how dogs live in the wild or observe how stray dogs spend their lives on the streets, you would notice how they like sit around each other and at nights, cozy up against one's body to share the warmth and feel safe.
SO WE'RE SAYING...
As a pet parent, if we can teach our dogs what is acceptable and what is not around the house, or even help them in staying alone without being destructive, won't this work as a better solution for them? When we opt for a crate than training them holistically, what is that we are saying to our dogs? It sounds something like, hey buddy! I love you but I don't trust you to take the right decision and understand your boundaries, I am sure if I can fully believe in you...
What if we change that narrative to saying, hey buddy, I love you and I trust you 100% to know what you are free to do and what I wouldn't want you to do. You have all the freedom in the world and I believe that you will not misuse it. I understand your needs and have provided you with alternatives that can help you, take care and have fun! (example: leaving a t-shirt that smells like you or his favourite toy to play with while you're away to work on separation anxiety)
Our dogs love spending time with us and being around us, we're sure these feelings are mutual when it comes to us wanting to spend all our time with our pets by our side, so why not take a decision which makes them happy too? After all, happy pets lead to happier homes!