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The PETA article was wrong because it was full of absolute statements without a shred of evidence. It's not really worth debating with you Sunflower because you lack enough of an understanding of dog behavior to discuss this objectively. You wrote

"“A good sign that your dog is loving the crate is that he offers to go in again”.
Ehhm.. I mean, you do understand that the dog goes in there because he wants the treat and not because he loves the crate. If I taught a dog to stand on its hind legs and then they start doing it on their own, it doesn’t mean they love standing on its hind legs but that they understand what they have to do to get the treat."

That is the very basis of R+ training, to increase behavior - to increase the dog's desire to perform a behavior. Whereas if the crate was punishing, or induced a state of shut down stress, the dog would not choose to go in it as frequently or stay in it as long. I KNOW that a dog going in willingly does not equate a dog being locked in. But how a dog behaves when not locked can inform how the dog feels when locked in, because the same stimulus is being used on the dog. Also, because you keep referencing learned helplessness... There is a vast different between "calm behavior" and absence of behavior/shut down. You can tell if a dog is shut down in a crate, versus performing natural and calm behavior. I have seen both.

In contrast, the studies you keep referencing are valid but you are using them to make correlations. And that is simply not how it works.

You brought up the idea that maybe folks in the country haven't asked the question of 'why crates' enough. I think that's a very interesting idea! So interesting that I emailed two canine researchers and posted the question on a FB group centered around canine behavior analysis. But here's the flipside... How much has Sweden asked the question 'why not crates'? It is worthy to consider that too!

Someone provided me this link: https://cratesinsweden.wixsite.com/crates/crates-in-sweden
And here's what I've found so far:
This article mentions "There's been studies showing that dogs stored in crates get abnormal behaviors. (Suzanne Hetts et. al. 1991, Robert C. Hubrecht et al 1992; Bonnie Beerda et al 1999)."

Suzanne Hetts, 1992 "Influence of housing conditions on beagle behavior" http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download... Done in a laboratory setting. Her 1991 is https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2053257/. I can't see the full article but it is not focused on crates/companion dogs.

Robert Hubrecht 1992 "Correlates of pen size and housing conditions on the behaviour of kennelled dogs"
https://www.sciencedirect.com/.../abs/pii/S0168159105800966
Study done on dogs in animal shelters and labs

Bonnie Beerda et all 1999 "Chronic stress in dogs subjected to social and spatial restriction. I. Behavioral responses". https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10336149/
Again, I can't access the full article but this is the first sentence in the abstract "Six weeks of social and spatial restriction were used as a model to induce chronic stress in Beagles."

Sunflower, believe it or not I am looking for hard evidence to validate YOUR viewpoint. Because I am open to it. But like I said, you don't seem open at all to seeing my (our?) viewpoint. I have objective information on how dogs behave in crates but me being American and a professional with thousands of hours means nothing to you. So 🤷‍♀️ . I will take this debate to other professionals who may be able to find me the answers I'm looking for.
 

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I don’t know why you’re focusing on me not having hands on experience with crate training in the states. Like I’ve said previously, I base my opinion on the facts around dogs behavior and needs. Being confined into a small space for hours and hours, everyday, immensely interferes with a dogs natural behavior, habits and needs. But you’re welcome to prove me otherwise.
So this poster is stance is entirely based on "my opinion on the facts" and not experience. That would be like me reading books on dog training and then claiming I am a dog trainer.

Are you saying that there are not cases where the use of a crate itself is the reason for a problem? Or what is it I have been misinformed about through my internet conversations? Does this not happen do you mean?
Not at all. I've said many times I've seen horrible situations surrounding dogs and crates.

To be fair I don’t think you can assume that it’s not harmful because the lack of research on the subject. On the other hand I think you should be required to be able to proof that the way you care for a dog is not harmful or abusive. Not the other way around. With that argument you’re claiming that you should be allowed to care or handle your dog in whatever way you want unless you have a study that proofs it to be wrong. Not to apply all the science and facts about dogs to different situation to determine if it’s harmful or not.
I am not saying you should be allowed to care or handle dogs in whatever way unless a study claims otherwise. But there ARE studies that support the obvious (ex, don't hit your dog). However, your first sentence is very interesting. Because when laws are created in an absence of studies to support it, there can be consequences. So far, Sweden's ban on crates (which I don't dislike!) holds as much water as BSL.


“A stimulus-poor environment that prevents the dog from performing its natural behavior is a common reason for stereotypes to develop (Schipper et al., 2008).”
Study done on dogs confined to yards. What this study could inform - the welfare of dogs kept in yards.

“In a bachelor's thesis, Olby (2017) conducted a survey with owners of 75 dogs in convalescence after orthopedic surgery, as the dog has a lower activity level and limited areas to move on, and found that both the incidence of stereotypical and misplaced behaviors increased.“
Study done on dogs that have undergone orthopedic surgery. What this study could inform - best practices for housing dogs recovering from orthopedic surgery.

“Stress can be triggered if the dog's movement possibilities are limited, for example if it is tied up or stays in a kennel or cage for longer periods, but also if it is allowed to be in the garden without being allowed to go out and walk.”
Wherever this citation is... it is a general statement. It would be similar to if someone wrote "obesity can be triggered if a person snacks too much on processed sugars and potato chips" and then a law was enacted to ban all sodas. Obviously there are detriments to dogs being caged for long periods with limited movement. But it doesn't mean there aren't positive outcomes too.

“Situations that can contribute to the dog learning helplessness are if it is subjected to one or more shocks, or if it is trapped in a cage, resting yard or is chained or tied up for longer than short periods.”
(same as above)
 

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The PETA article was wrong because it was full of absolute statements without a shred of evidence.
You can’t say that it’s flat out wrong just because it doesn’t provide evidence. However you might not consider it to be a credible source then, but that’s different. The article you linked on crate training made a lot of statements without a shred of evidence as well.. They also claimed things that are straight up false, which have been disproved.

It's not really worth debating with you Sunflower because you lack enough of an understanding of dog behavior to discuss this objectively.
Haha oh please tell me how you come to that conclusion. Intrigued to hear your reasoning behind this.

Was it just because I claimed that the dog went into the crate for the treat and not because they loved the actual crate? That comment was directed at the clip in the video where you can see that the dog starts understanding what she wants him to do and therefore goes back in the crate. Then she made the comment that this was showing that the dog loved the crate.

I’m perfectly aware on how positive reinforcements, positive association and conditioning works and have used this methods a lot when training. But please, explain how I lack understanding in dog behavior. I know I lack understanding in dog behavior, we all do, there’s always more to learn. But tell me more specifically what I’m lacking.

My opinion is that you obviously lack full understanding of dogs behavior and needs since you don’t think crates have a negative effect on dogs. But I won’t claim that it’s not worth debating with you because of it..

You brought up the idea that maybe folks in the country haven't asked the question of 'why crates' enough. I think that's a very interesting idea! So interesting that I emailed two canine researchers and posted the question on a FB group centered around canine behavior analysis. But here's the flipside... How much has Sweden asked the question 'why not crates'? It is worthy to consider that too!
To be fair I don’t think we have to question it since it’s not we who are risking abusing our dogs. However I of course wish there would be more studies on this subject. For me the knowledge and studies of dogs behavior is enough to understand the negative effects of cages. I mean we have no need to question it but of course it would be good.
 

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Well, I was trying to stay out of this, but I do feel I have a little bit of insight as an American living in Scandinavia. I think there's a bit of culture clash going on here, because in my experience (which is, to be clear, with Norway) Scandinavian dog culture is very different from my experience (again, mostly urban and suburban New England) US dog culture.

1: Many, many more people in the US rent. This means smaller living spaces for everyone, and small apartments can be incredibly difficult to puppy-proof, especially studios with very few actual enclosed rooms. It also means that minor damage that wouldn't be a big deal to the dog owner - scratches in the door, some puppy tooth marks in the baseboard, stains on the carpet - can become a big deal if the landlord objects. It can also be incredibly difficult to find dog-friendly housing in some regions, especially if you have a dog over 20lbs/9kgs or a 'notorious' breed, so the threat of having to choose between your dog and a roof over your head can be very real. Saying nobody who rents can responsibly own a dog is a vast oversimplification and flatly not true.

2: US work culture sucks. Not for everyone, but in general. Calling off sick is highly frowned upon. Vacation time is scarce, especially if you have to work multiple part-time jobs due to the tanked economy. It's certainly not normal to get 2+ solid weeks off every summer, as it is in much of Europe. And losing your job means losing your health insurance in many cases (yes, Medicare exists - for now - but it's rife with issues). Flexible hours, working from home (until recently), and/or a dog-friendly workplace are rare commodities. Taking time off for a new puppy is a wonderful thing to try to do, but it's just not always feasible in the American work culture, and again, it's simply not realistic to say nobody should own a dog unless they're retired, a homemaker, or have the luxury of lots of time off stored up.

3: The US is much less dog-friendly. Tying into the above, you just can't bring your dog a lot of places compared to what I've experienced in Norway. I suspect some of it has to do with how litigious US culture is - for example, many workplaces ban dogs to avoid the risk of being held liable if someone gets bitten. Many landlords ban dogs because it raises the insurance premiums for their properties (since that insurance is what would cover a bite or major property damage). Taking a dog that has a SRP (separation related problem) or is just a teething puppy with you is just not possible many places.

4: Dogs are incredibly easy to get in the US. That's not something I see as a good thing, btw. But irresponsible pet stores, retail rescue, puppy mills and brokers, and legions of backyard breeders mean that many more dogs seem to be impulse purchased in the US than in Norway. No, I don't have statistics on that, it's just the impression I get. And yes, Norway at least still does have irresponsible breeding going on, but nowhere near the volume the US experiences. This means that many people ARE unprepared for a dog when they get one, which sucks, but we can't realistically tell them just to give the dog back. We can educate and educate until we turn blue but right now we don't have a good solution here, and many commercial dog breeders learn how to talk a good game to avoid sounding like the mills they are.

5: The homeless dog population. Whoa boy, the homeless dog population. When someone DOES wind up with a dog that they're not prepared for, or one with an unexpected SRP or way more energy/drive than the home was prepared for, they can TRY to rehome. But very often, especially in the case of socialization/separation issues, there are precious few homes willing to take on problem dogs. While I greatly dislike the idea that you should NEVER EVER rehome a dog for ANY REASON, Americans still need to understand the reality where, if these dogs go into the shelter system, the chance that they'll make it out alive is slim to none. And in some cases, they can languish for years in kennels waiting for someone willing to take on their worsening behavior problems. Keeping the dog in the home they have is important in these cases, even if that means using less than ideal management to work through issues, when the alternative is a life wholly in high-stress kennel environments or euth.

I'll be honest. I crate very little. Tried with our older dog, and found that he was much more comfortable (and less distressed) being left out, first confined in our bedroom (which was relatively dog-proofed at the time), then the apartment. Now, he was my first dog ever and my wife's first dog as an adult, so the training there was lacking. Our youngest got crated at night for a while, and now rides in a car crate, but we went the pen route for his day-to-day confinement. We had the luxury of having an apartment that, while not feasible to puppy-proof, did have space to squeeze a pen in. It did require me to be willing and able to do several things that wouldn't be an option for everyone, including screwing the pen into the wall so the puppy couldn't shove it all around the apartment and get at things that weren't safe for him (almost all of the apartments I lived in in the US frowned greatly upon putting holes in the walls for any reason). Which he did even after a good month I had at home with him doing pen/separation training before I had to start attending school in person again.

But that was my choice, for my situation. I can't really judge someone for going with a crate instead. I do believe that the goal with crate training should ALWAYS be to reduce the time spent inside as soon as safely and feasibly possible, but understand that this is much more difficult with some dogs than others.

We do a lot of things that impact dogs' natural behavior and can negatively impact them in the name of keeping them safe. Collars can cause damage to the trachea, thyroid, or even neck vertebrae. Harnesses, although responsible for fewer acute issues than collars, do restrict the dog's natural movement and full extension of their shoulders. Leashes are entirely unnatural and cause many dogs issues when greeting other dogs because they can't express natural body language.

Perhaps more pointedly, we no longer just let our dogs out the front door to run loose in the morning and let them back in at dinnertime. Many trainers who were active in the 70s when this was popular (at least in the US) report that dogs then had many fewer issues with understimulation, lack of exercise and related issues (eg obesity), and dog-dog social skills. That doesn't mean that confining them to fenced areas, leashes, and long lines is cruel, but it does mean we have to consciously change how we interact with our dogs and ensure their needs are met. I personally feel the same about crates. They can be used cruelly, but with appropriate mental and physical stimulation, the downsides can be balanced. Like Canyx, I want to reach a place where they're not needed, and pens (at least) are more popular and more accessible, but we're not there yet.

I'd also - and not trying to be snarky here, this is genuine - really want to know how you would manage a dog with genuine separation anxiety that requires both pharmaceutical intervention and training, who will seriously injure themselves if not restrained, during the period it takes for the medication to on-board and then the training to be effective (which can quite literally take months), if you have to work outside the home to afford the dog's treatment? This is one of those 'no good solutions' scenarios that always bothers me, so I'd love to hear what your take on it is.

Oh, and about the PETA thing. It doesn't matter if the article has good information. By citing them you imply that you find them a generally good source of information (whether or not you do) and agree with their overall mission (which is to end the keeping of all animals, domestic or otherwise, including euthanizing those that can't survive in the wild), and their practices (like financially supporting domestic terrorist groups like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front - here if you're interested). It undermines your credibility in a debate, even if the article is technically factual. It'd be kind of like if I said "Cesar Milan says it's important to exercise dogs" - the natural assumption is that I'm citing him because I generally agree with his training methods and philosophy, which I do not, even if this is one case where he's generally correct.
 

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Well said, Daysleepers.

I'd also - and not trying to be snarky here, this is genuine - really want to know how you would manage a dog with genuine separation anxiety that requires both pharmaceutical intervention and training, who will seriously injure themselves if not restrained, during the period it takes for the medication to on-board and then the training to be effective (which can quite literally take months), if you have to work outside the home to afford the dog's treatment? This is one of those 'no good solutions' scenarios that always bothers me, so I'd love to hear what your take on it is.
I want to talk about this point briefly. I started as very pro-crate for separation issues IF the dog is already conditioned to enjoy their crate. But I've had some really interesting talks with Malena DeMartini and she pretty much never uses crates in treating severe separation anxiety. Her words during our conversation were something like 'I cannot think of a case where a crate was part of the solution'. I am still wrapping my head around the idea and to be fair Malena did not say that crates can never be part of the solution. Just that they often times are unnecessary and that they do sometimes inhibit progress. I think the treatment process for SA is very, very meticulous. Prescribed desensitization, behavior meds, and then literally putting resources into never leaving the dog alone (daycare, sitter, stay with a friend, etc). I've presented the idea of adding some operant training to help with the process (ex. Chirag's bucket-game style training to teach the dog to 'start' separation training, shaping calm behaviors on a mat, etc.). Malena entertained my ideas but said that pure DS was, in general and in her experience, the fastest way to progress.
 

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Thank you, DaySleepers, for inserting some logic, insight and a somewhat unique perspective into an increasingly divisive topic.

There is sometimes a fine line between presenting an opinion that one is passionate about and berating anyone who does not share that opinion. Moderators have the inenviable responsibility of deciding when a topic has crossed that line.

This one is getting close.
 

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Thank you for that clarification @Canyx. I know I've heard of people using heavy-duty crates for dogs who will, for example, break through windows or otherwise risk extreme injury in their anxiety, but as I've never worked with a genuine separation anxiety dog, I couldn't really speak to whether crating was common or not as an overall strategy.

I did see a talk by a veterinary behaviorist on pharmaceutical intervention recently, and she mentioned that in extreme cases she's worked with she'll prescribe a sedative as well as an anxiety medication, essentially practicing chemical restraint on a dog that's an extreme danger to itself. I'm not sure how I feel about chemical vs. physical restraint in that case, and suspect it'd depend heavily on the individual dog and situation.
 

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Didn't know I can @ people @DaySleepers! Yeah, I've heard of situations where people pretty much sedate the dog to prevent harm. But I'd like to imagine that it is a last resort scenario, as it pretty much functions like a bandaid over the problem. A lot of this tips over into discussions of quality of life and owners of SA dogs are constantly making hard decisions, evaluating numerous pros and cons. But I've had some pretty hard discussions along the lines of - the person needs to make a living to support themselves and their dog, the dog cannot be left alone, what is the dog's quality of life when it is drugged to the point of sedation so that the owner can go out and make a living, no resources for alternatives, is euthanasia more humane. It truly is a horrible challenge to deal with. The other crazy thing is I've seen many instances where the maximum safe dosage of a drug or cocktail or drugs does not sedate a dog enough. Really heartbreaking for all parties involved. Many shelters that are limited intake do not place dogs with severe SA. I can't speak for the whole country, but I am relieved that in my area incidences of truly severe SA are rare.
 

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This is a bit off topic from crating, so I apologize if this is inappropriate for this sub (and please feel free to delete).

But I was so tickled by this thread and I want to share that discourse on this forum has led to some pretty tangible outcomes for me in real life. As I mentioned, I reached out to some scientists about this topic. I am now in the middle of discussions with two separate canine behavior researchers about the possibility of doing canine welfare studies at my shelter. I was also talking to a someone with a PhD in behavior analysis whose done a lot of canine research, and was encouraged to pursue a Masters in applied animal welfare and behavior. Zoom meeting scheduled to learn more. Full disclaimer - none of this is to say that things will come to fruition. But the point is, I appreciate debate, different perspective, and opportunities to ask hard questions.

PS. No one I contacted had any studies answering the crate question. I asked a LOT of people, from researchers to certified professional trainers. There is a really interesting study on beagles in a lab setting, and findings implied quality of space matters more than quantity of space (Hetts, 1992 - "Influence of housing conditions on beagle behavior"). But lab setting, small sample size of 18 beagles. Someone needs to do a crate study on owned dogs!
 
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