YOYO Blog - Is crating a dog cruel?

Crating a dog has various advantages, but only when practicing crate training SAFELY and RESPONSIBLY.

published: 07/Nov/2019 | author: renaye
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“Crate training provides a number of benefits to owners. A crate that is sized properly encourages a dog's instinct not to mess where he sleeps, helping to teach the dog bladder and bowel control. This tendency to view the crate as a clean place is a huge benefit house training a new rescue dog or puppy, of course!

Using a crate prevents a dog or pup from getting into trouble when you can't supervise directly. Those times might include at night, when you are at work (provided the work day is not too long and the dog gets exercise before and after), when you are busy cooking, or any other time when your attention is elsewhere than directly on your dog.

Crate training also teaches puppies and excitable dogs to expect and enjoy some downtime, and conditions relaxed behavior. Dogs and pups can be put into a crate with a yummy and safe chew or stuffed Kong to keep them secure, relaxed, and out of mischief for periods of time.”[1]

But all these advantages can only be achieved when crate training is done safely and responsibly. Proponents of crate training argue that dogs are den animals and that the crate acts as a substitute for a den. While this is a widely held belief, there is little evidence to support it. [2]

In Sweden, regulations forbid keeping dogs in cages or other enclosures below a certain size. Exceptions are made for some situations, such as during travels or at dog shows/trials. Even then, the dogs have to be walked every two hours or three hours. The size required for an enclosure to be exempt from such regulations starts at 2 m2 (22 sq ft)—about the area of a single/twin mattress—for a small dog and up to 5.5 m2 (59 sq ft) for a large dog. Similar regulations exist in Finland.[2]

Just because there is currently no legislation in South Africa regulating the size of crates or the amount of time spent in crates, does not mean it should not be taken seriously. The effects it can have on your pet can be devastating.


  • 1. The crate should never be used as a punishment. (It should always be a place of comfort and joy for your pet.)
  • 2. The crate should never be a substitute to supervision. (The crate is not taking over your shift to watch the dog).
  • 3. Your pet must never be in the crate for more than 2-3 hours consecutively. (Taking your pet for regular potty breaks and walks is very important.)
  • 4. Your pet must never be ignored or disregarded when in the crate. (Lots of positive reinforcement and love should be given.)

When you practice any of the above statements, it is a serious problem that is defined as animal cruelty or abuse. Dogs are loyal animals and always want to please the human (alpha). So after a while of crating, they might stop showing distress when in the crate. But please take note - this behavioral effect has been compared to Stockholm syndrome (a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity). [2] Just because they are becoming calmer in the crate, does not mean you are practicing safe and responsible crating and definitely does not give you the go-ahead to increase the crate stay to longer periods (more than 3 hours at a time).

ALWAYS be safe and responsible when crate training, then you and your pet will enjoy all the advantages a crate can give. For more tips on crate training visit: https://www.yoyocrates.co.za/tips.aspx

For any queries or questions regarding crate training, contact YOYO crates.
[email protected]

[1] https://www.clickertraining.com/to-crate-or-not-to-crate
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crate_training
[3] https://familypet.com/the-dos-and-donts-of-crate-training/

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