The crate debate. Should you crate your chihuahua?
Nothing divides opinion like the decision to crate your chihuahua. Some people are all for it and consider it an essential part of dog training and others are dead against it and believe it is cruel.
So, should you crate your chihuahua or will crating eventually be consigned to the past like punitive training?
Arguments for crating:
On the face of it there seems to be some sound reasons to crate your chihuahua.
It gives a nervous dog a place to go when noisy children or workman come to the house. Chihuahuas are very territorial and they are especially agitated when visitors arrive. In some cases, they may be driven to bite. It makes sense to crate your chihuahua so he is secure and can’t get into trouble.
Crating makes your dog feel secure if introduced in a positive way. The idea that they view the crate as a den and a safe space.
Helps with potty training, enthusiast believe that they won’t toilet in their den and will hold it while crated.
Keeps them safe when you are out. If you crate your chihuahua he is not going to trash the house, chew wires and eat none food items.
Keeps them contained if they are sick. If your dog has had an operation and needs bedrest then a crate is going to stop them running about or jumping from sofas.
Useful as a home from home if your travel with your chihuahuas. Your crate will travel so you can take it with you. You can keep your dog crated in the car for safety reasons.
Arguments against crating:
Some feel a crate is a cage regardless of the fancy name and dogs should not be kept in cages. Rescued chis may come from puppy farms and will have been crated 24/7 and being re-introduced to crates causes stress.
Some research suggests that crating leads to under socialized dogs. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on companionship, exercise and interaction. Keeping them isolated in a crate for extended periods of time causes phycological problems. These problems will then manifest themselves in difficult behaviours which leads to more crating.
I’ve heard a few misguided dog owners say that Fido likes to sit in his cage.” He feels secure.” What they are really telling me is that their dog is not secure in the home environment. The dog feels threatened unless he’s caged! Warren Eckstine http://thepetshow.com
Contrary to belief, It does not speed up toilet training, dogs may eat their own faeces rather than to live with it while they are in the crate. If they cannot hold their urine and continually mess in their crate they become depressed and stop caring about keeping clean. It can also cause kidney and bladder problems from holding it in. Both things making toilet training even harder.
Peta (https://www.peta.org) suggests that puppy mill rescues are often harder to toilet train for this reason.
Dogs may damage themselves trying to find a way out by chewing or scraping. Damaging their mouth and paws.
It is true, your dog does need his own space and a place to retreat, a cosy basket under a table or desk or in the mud room will do the trick.
if your chihuahua is stressed by children visiting the children need to be taught to respect that and leave them alone when told. Most chis will take themselves away from the action of their own accord. But if necessary a baby gate can be useful.
Crating is for people
Crating is a new phenomenon designed for the convenience of people rather than the dogs. It causes separation anxiety which chihuahuas are especially prone to as they tend to imprint on one member of the household and want to be with them.
If you are going to be out for more than 4 hours then you need to arrange for a dog walker to visit and take your chi out. Harsh as it sounds, if you find yourself crating your chihuahua or any dog for 8 hours at a stretch then you might need to re-think if it’s the right time in your life to have a dog.
We have never crated our dogs and I am more in the against camp. If your dog is eating the sofa when you are out then you have a different problem that is not going to be solved by putting your chihuahua in a cage for hours at a time.
My feeling used to be that the only time a dog needs to be in a crate is when they are sick or travelling in a car, but I have seen crates provide a safe, cosy den for dogs we have fostered. So I can see in some circumstances they can be useful. But, not longer than a couple of hours unless it’s bed time.
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