Crate training is one of the best training methods for housebreaking, but some dogs just seem to really hate their crates. Most crate problems come from dogs being confined for long hours at a time, which is not the right use for a crate. However, if you are using a crate correctly and your dog still refuses to adapt to it, here are some alternatives for you to try.
1. Pet Sitter or Doggy Daycare
If no other alternatives for crates work, it may be time to consider a pet sitter or doggy daycare. The most expensive alternative on the list, this option has great benefits like human interaction and socialization with other dogs. Many dogs need daily exercise and social interaction, so they will greatly benefit from a pet sitter or doggy care.
Pet Sitter vs. Doggy Daycare
The choice between pet sitter and doggy daycare is mostly up to you, but some dogs can become stressed out at daycare with multiple dogs around. Another thing to consider is that pet sitters will have access to your home, which is something you may not want.
2. Block off a Room with a Dog or Baby Gate
A good alternative to crates for dogs who hate them is to block off a room with a dog or baby gate. By blocking off a room with a dog gate, you can give your dog a safe space to enjoy without feeling as confined as it would in a crate. Some dogs may thrive from this, provided they get enough exercise and interaction throughout the day. Make sure the room you designate is completely safe for your dog (no loose wires, cords, etc.), easy to clean in case of any accidents, and easy for you to access in case of any emergencies.
What to Look for in a Dog/Baby Gate
Dog gates and baby gates have the same purpose, which is to keep dogs and babies inside or outside a room. A good gate will be durable enough to handle scratching and biting, but also strong enough to withstand some impact. Some gates have additional features that may be better for you and your companion. Most gates are durable, adjustable for wider entrances, and have a walkthrough door for your convenience. Some gates to require assembly, which may influence your decision.
Why it May NOT Work
This option may not work well if your dog is not properly housebroken. Crate training works by taking away extra space for your dog to relieve in, but a blocked off room gives your dog multiple places to go. Another potential issue is if your dog is athletic or large enough to knock down or jump over the gate, defeating the whole purpose of it. This option is best for housebroken dogs that still need to be confined to smaller areas for safety reasons.
3. Set Up a Playpen
Like blocking off a room, a playpen blocks off your pup from the rest of the house without the confined feeling of a crate. This is also a good option if you don’t have another room to give up solely for your dog. Playpens are usually lightweight, which makes them portable and travel-friendly.
Types of Playpens
Just like crates, there are different types of playpens: wire playpens, canvas playpens, and plastic panel playpens. Each type of playpen has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose a playpen that can handle your dog. Wire playpens are the most popular type on the market, but canvas and panel playpens may be better alternatives for your dog. The Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Playpen has different height options, long-lasting durability and no tools required for assembly.
Why it May NOT Work
A problem with playpens is their height, which agile or large dogs may be able to jump over easily. Unless you spend the extra money getting a playpen meant for big or tall dogs, your dog may see the playpen as a fun new challenge instead. Another major issue is their lightweight structure, making them easy to knock over or moved by dogs as small as 15lbs. This is not a good option if your dog is an escape artist.
4. Try Different Crate Styles
If your dog is rejecting its crate, it could be for reasons that might not make much sense to you. While this may not seem obvious, your dog might not like the type of crate. There are different options available that may work better for your dog. Also, trying a different type of crate still gives you the choice of crate training for housebreaking your puppy or dog.
There are five types of crates most popular on the market: Wire folding crates, soft-sided crates, plastic carrier crates, heavy-duty crates and furniture/fashion crates. Different crate types have different benefits and features, giving you and your dog more options. For example, a soft-sided crate is darker and softer than a wire crate, which may be more soothing for your dog.
Why it May NOT Work
The problem lies in what is causing your dog’s dislike for the crate, which may go beyond the crate itself. If there are other reasons leading to your furry friend to hate its crate, this option will probably not work.
While crate training may be great, sometimes it isn’t an option for your dog. Whether you choose to block off a room or hire your neighborhood pet sitter, it’s always important to keep your dog’s needs in mind. If your dog starts to warm up to one of these alternatives, a crate might be possible in the future.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.