It seems there’s a huge fight about crate training these days. Some seem to think it’s cruel and done just to temporarily “get rid of” a dog when the owner feels lazy. Huh? First it’s the “food fights” people get in an uproar about, then it’s the choice of leash or training equipment that sets off WW3. Now it’s crates?
It’s amazing to me how wild-eyed hateful dog people can get. Really. If it was our dogs fighting about food or territory, we’d be all over the problem; not to worsen it, but solve it and re-establish a respectful, harmonious relationship. Right? But for some reason we seem to think it’s okay for dog owners to be aggressive to each other, to snarl and bite at each other.
So here’s my thoughts: there is more than one “right” way to raise a child, cook a turkey, treat an injury, and feed a dog. So the heck what if someone chooses a food that has grains in it or decides to feed raw. What gives you or me any right to jump them for it? What difference does it make to me what you feed or what you do with your dog when you have to leave them alone?
One of the things I’ve discovered having service dogs, and I hear it all the time from other SD owners, is that humans seem to think dogs are public property. Some folks go so far as to get miffed and fussy if they aren’t allowed to pet your service dog. It seems they also get miffed if they aren’t allowed to tell you what to feed and how to train your dog. I will try to tell you why a food or training technique is potentially unsafe, but it’s not my right to demand you feed a specific diet or I’ll take a chunk outta ya.
As for crate training, the complaints against it run along the lines of “it’s not comforting, it’s prison”, or “they develop behavior problems from the un-enriched environment”, or the “owner is too selfish”. All of those have the underlying assumption that the dog is left in a crate for extended periods. And another assumption that I totally reject is that the owner who crates doesn’t ever provide an enriched environment, exercise, and interaction to counter the effects of extended crating.
Are there some people who don’t provide play, exercise, and interaction after uncrating the dog? Sure. There are still people who put their dogs permanently on a chain in the backyard too. There are puppy mills. There are animal abusers without question in the world. Does that mean everyone that doesn’t do what you do is abusing their dog? Of course not.
First, some people work. Not everyone can afford doggie day care or ask their mother in law to keep the dog during the day. Second, a dog that is trained to go in a crate to sleep, to have down time, and to have a little private space is not being punished or imprisoned. Third, some dogs will be destructive if left uncrated when alone, doing potentially life threatening things like eating garbage or medicine.
Someone else’s dog is not yours to dictate about, and we have desperately skewed what is abuse and what isn’t. We humans of late have also greatly exaggerated the importance and expertise of our own opinions in just about everything. So I am hoping that doggie people, all people really (ever talk politics?) just calm down and try to regain a reasonable perspective. And remember that dogs are not public property.