I know a lot of behaviourists who will swear by crate training (more of them in the US then UK) and I have recommended confining dogs in crates myself at times.
So why do I feel unease about recommending this behaviour training tool?
Because confining a dog to a crate solves nothing on its’ own. It’s not the crate I am concerned about, it what happens outside the crate that’s all important. I am talking of course about training. Whatever the problem that the crate is meant to help solve, the solution is the training, socialisation and other behaviour modification tools which come with the crate, not the crate itself.
I don’t like the term ‘crate training’ because it implies that putting a dog in a box is in itself some kind of ‘training’ – it’s not.
Too many times I have seen dogs left alone for long hours stuck in small space with no concurrent effort to resolve the behaviour problem. And when I asked the owner what is being done about the problem, the answer would inevitably be – ‘Crate training, of course. Everyone says it works.’
So by all means, do use the crate judiciously in combination with expert advice and other behaviour modification tools. But don’t go deluding yourself that by locking the dog up in a box you are somehow fixing the problem.