For 38 years as an animal trainer, I have never used a dog cage. And that’s why.
Who said dogs are burrows? Norse animals are foxes, moles, raccoons, bears, and lynxes. Dogs are not normal animals!
If they were normal, why would we have to accustom them to the cage? The answer is simple – in fact, they are not.
Although dogs sometimes like to find a place away from the hustle and bustle, it’s not at all the same as having an instinctive need in the hole. They are just looking for a peaceful place to rest, just as I do, when I am among a large crowd of people, it gets too noisy, and I go outside for fresh air and silence.
Methods and methods of training dogs are continually evolving. But what develops without a critical assessment can go awry.
Cage training may be a useful tool for training, but it should not become a way of life. A cage can be a traumatic experience for a puppy or an adult dog if it is not taught to the cage in the right way.
In his book "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training» Steven Lindsay (Steven R. Lindsay) writes that:
The role of locking dogs in a cage in the etiology of behavioral problems has not been scientifically established [.] empirical impressions, and logic suggest that this most likely plays an important role in the development or aggravation of adaptation problems.
He claims that:
The widespread practice of constantly closing a dog in a cage for the night and day, so that the dog spends in the cage for 16-18 hours is a bad practice that cannot be encouraged. Because it is the basis of many problems, including aggression.
According to him, the goal of finding a dog in a cage:
. should be to release it from there as soon as possible and use the cell as rarely as possible.
When did we conclude that locking dogs in cages is normal? When I was growing up, I had never heard of this method of raising dogs. We used door partitions to restrict the puppy’s movement to certain specific rooms, gradually opening up access to the entire house as it grows up.
Let’s talk about how the paradigm about training to the cell has changed. Schooling to the cage began when both parents started to work, and at home, there was no one left who could raise a puppy. Today, when the family wants to have a puppy, but nobody is at home all day, what is going on? Does the family refuse to house dogs? Most often, not. At the same time, improper use of the cage is terrible for many dogs, causing problems for the whole family, including those when the “problem dog” ends up living in an orphanage or is rebuilt again and again or just put to sleep. How can a puppy learn to behave correctly in a house if it is locked in a cage whenever a family sits down to have dinner or guests come to the house?
Dog parks, dog daytime jugglings, dog walkers, and even a dog trainer – they are all on the rise now because of this one monumental shift in the culture of raising domestic dogs. Fortunately, these new opportunities allowed dogs to get out of their cages, because deep down inside we know that dogs cannot be happy by spending whole days in cages.
The correct and non-durable use of the cage can be a handy tool in training until the dog’s entire life begins to pass in the cage. The mental and physical health of the dog suffers while the dog is locked up, and the whole family enjoys spending time together. Dogs are social animals. After all, aren’t we having dogs not to be part of our families?
I have never used a cage for training. Never in my 38 years as a dog trainer. I used a dog cage when I moved to France in the mid-70s. Before that, he had never seen a cage, but he had to be in it all the flight in the plane. A month before departure, I taught him to be in a cage. No problem. He made a flight in it, and we didn’t see this cell anymore – it seems I even left it at the airport.
I often hear the argument for using the cage, saying that dogs feel protected in the cage like wolves in a den. But wolves do not live in caves. They use burrows for giving birth and raising puppies. But they live in open spaces, starting at about ten weeks of age. And we at this age begin to lock puppies in cages.
Although I understand and accept the argument about the need for dogs to feel protected, at the same time, I know that they can realize this need on the couch and in another room under the table and their seating area. They can feel safe and out of the cage. I want to express my opinion once again: since dogs are not normal animals, training for a cage is not synonymous with raising a puppy — schooling to the cage – not a mandatory step in the education of the dog.
Another argument that I often hear is that the dog should feel comfortable in a cage in case of emergency. Well, here an emergency happened, you put your whole family in the car, take some necessary basic things will there be a place under the cage? And if the vehicle is not available (the tree fell on it), and you need to get out under its power? Well, I think you get my point. The properly grown puppy will feel comfortable next to you, and not in a cage, no matter what situations occur.
If you give your puppy enough exercise and raise him, then you you can teach the dog to stay at home alone and not to destroy it to the ground.
I know that this article will cause a lot of controversy. So I want to say that all this text is not to convict someone of their choice, it’s just critical thinking about using the cage when raising puppies. There are other ways to raise a dog, and you can choose.