Is Crate Training Cruel?

Some people swear by crate training and others think that it’s a cruel practice. However, it has been proven very effective in training your dog in a wide variety of ways. But, even though it works, should crate training be considered as cruel? The answer depends on how it is used and how your dog perceives the crate training.

Crate training is a great tool when used correctly.


When your pet has a proper sized crate and is trained using positive reinforcement, it can actually turn into one of his or her favorite places. It would only be cruel if it was overused (leaving the dog locked up for almost days at a time) and strictly used as punishment. However, when crate training is done correctly it can be a source of security for your dog and sanity for you.


There are a number of benefits to crate training:

  • It helps housebreak puppies and even adult dogs: Since dogs have a natural instinct to not go potty where they sleep the crate helps them learn how to control their bladder and bowel movements. This makes house training so much easier for them to grasp.
  • It prevents destructive behavior: When your dog is in the crate when you are unable to supervise them they won’t be able to chew on your shoes or remote controls (or on my 2 year old’s Troll or Minions figurines). You can have peace of mind when your dog is left at home alone. There won’t be any messes to pick up or ruined furniture.
  • Helps them learn to relax: Crate training actually nods to your dog’s natural desire for a den. Their crate serves as a place they can find privacy and security. If they are tired, overwhelmed, or feeling anxious your dog can retreat to the solace of their den. We leave our dog’s crate open whenever he isn’t in it, and he has run to it to escape our “mean” cat, and often brings treats we give him or our 2-year-old’s toys in there when we aren’t looking!
  • It’s a safe way to travel: Since the crate keeps your dog calm, it also serves as a safe and easy way to travel with your dog. You can anchor the crate in your car and take it to hotels to keep your pet safe and comfortable.

It’s important to keep in mind some key safety tips:

  • Make sure the crate is the correct size. Your dog should be able to comfortably stand up, turn all the way around, and then also lie down with their legs outstretched.
  • Don’t put the crate in direct sunlight or on a heating or cooling vent.
  • Remove their collars before crating for long periods of time. The tags could get caught in the bars which could lead to injury.
  • Watch what you put on or around you dog’s crate. Make sure he or she can’t somehow pull in any curtains, surrounding blankets/throws, or “crate coverings”
  • Don’t use the crate as a punishment. You don’t want your dog to have any negative feelings about their crate.
  • If your dog is scared of the crate, do not force them to use it.

There no doubt that crate training is a great way to help your dog learn desired behavior. As long as it is used properly with positive reinforcement and with your dog’s best interest at heart then your dog will be just fine!