Crate training does not cause aggression among dogs if not used abusively. This would be the short answer to that question. However, there are some mistakes that you can be doing while crate training your dog that can cause aggression.
So in this article, I will be sharing some tips about how to crate train your dog properly to avoid aggressive behavior. We also going to see some symptoms and signs of aggression that you need to be aware of.
When you are done reading this post you will be able to crate train your dog guilt-free. And let’s start with the most basic question.
How can crate training cause aggression?
Like we said in the introduction when done properly crate training does not cause aggression. However, we need to emphasize the word properly.
What could go so wrong to make a simple training performed by millions of dog owners turn a dog aggressive!
There are plenty of reasons actually, one of which is abusing the crate. Meaning locking the dog for longer than he can tolerate.
When you isolate the dog by crate training him for longer hours than he should. You are making the perfect environment for aggression.
Lonely dogs tend to be more aggressive than social ones that have plenty of interaction with the outside world.
There is also a very common mistake that makes crate training harder and may cause aggression; It’s using the crate for a time out and punishment.
First of all, if you don’t catch your dog in the act there is no reason to punish him; You simply confusing the dog as he does not understand why are you doing it.
And using the crate for punishment makes him reject it and hate being in it which is normal. And then you try to make him stay in it for hours. How do you think he will react!
Using the dog’s crate for other pets or dogs can also trigger aggression; dogs can be very territorial and with crate training, we make them bond even more with the crate. So when you use his personal safe space for another pet you are to expect aggression.
Not exercising enough is also a major factor in causing aggression while crate training. If you get your dog amped up and then lock him in the crate while he is still full of energy; He can’t funnel out his energy and he just suppresses it until something insignificant can trigger it.
What causes dog aggression if it’s not crate training
If crate training is not the cause of aggression what makes a dog aggressive?
Well believe it or not most of the time the dog owner is the one to blame. So what are the causes of aggression?
Not knowing your dog
Yeah, it may seem insignificant but this is the most important cause of dog aggression.
Every dog breed is different and has been designed for a certain job that is expected from it. If you do not know what is expected from your dog is more likely to be aggressive.
Some dogs have specific jobs and when we adopt them we need to provide an outlet. Not doing it will make the dog find a way on his own and turn aggressive maybe destructive or fence barking …etc
So knowing what is expected of your dog breed and giving him an alternative outlet helps a lot avoiding the aggressive behavior.
Ignoring what your dog needs
Every dog owner treats his dog in a different way some will treat them like children others like outdoor animals… But most dog owners actually don’t know what their dogs need.
You have to understand what your dog needs to feel fulfilled every dog breed is different. Some dogs need more outdoor activities than others and some dogs are more energetic.
Separation anxiety when not treated will definitely cause aggressive behavior. The dog gets more and more frustrated if the issue is not dealt with.
crate training is not a remedy to separation anxiety or any type in that matter. It does not cause it but does not help either.
So you really want to address this at early stages and seek professional help as soon as you possibly can before it gets out of hand.
Aggressive dog owners
Dogs are very sensitive animals that bond quickly with their guardians. If you are an angry and aggressive person. Your dog is more likely to pick up on the vibe.
You as a person have other ways to funnel down your anger but if you amp up a dog by acting all aggressive around him; then you leave him on that vibe he will turn aggressive.
Lack of leadership
If the dog is doing what he wants in the house and controlling his environment and his family; he turns very aggressive when denied that later on.
Every dog needs to find leadership in his home so he can follow your commands, not the other way around.
Loneliness and anti-social behavior
Locking your dog away from the outside world, and denying him interact with other pets and humans; can severely damage his behavior.
If your dog is not socializing and kept away from outdoor activities he turns very aggressive especially toward strangers.
What are the signs of aggressive dog behavior?
You really don’t want to leave your dog get more and more aggressive before you decide you need to deal with it.
Dog aggression is better dealt with at early stages; if you leave it to get worse it will be harder and takes way longer to cure.
So what are the symptoms and early signs that you can pick up to realize your dog is getting aggressive?
There are plenty of early-stage aggressive behavior signs like
- Rigid body posture
- Pinned ears
- Showing Teeth when growling
- Biting with low intensity
- Charging at people or dogs
- Lifted tail over the back or between legs
- Fast tail wagging.
- Aggressive barking
These are some of the most common symptoms that could indicate aggressive behavior building up. These are not the only signs any behavior that is new from your dog could be a sign.
Can crate training help with aggression
We’ve established that crate training does not cause aggression, but does it help reduce it?
In some cases yes like if you want to reestablish dominance and leadership by controlling his environment. But in most cases, crate training will only help to keep your guests safe from your aggressive dog.
So if you notice any aggressive behavior you better seek professional help before it gets worse.
Crate training an aggressive dog
Crate training a dog can be challenging especially in an apartment, and training an aggressive dog is not advised for inexperienced dog owners, that’s why it’s best to use a playpen.
Using the crate to establish dominance and controlling the dog’s environment could be a great tool to calm your aggressive dog.
An aggressive dog will need more time to calm down before he can bond with the crate.
You need to take things slow, don’t rush your dog into the crate. The first thing you want to achieve is to calm your dog.
Exercising is a great way to funnel your dog’s energy down and get him ready for training.
Most aggressive dogs are over energetic when you offer outlets you can make sure he is calmer. When you start seeing progress with your dog’s behavior and his temper is going down you want to use the crate to give him an alternative.
The crate could be a safe place where your dog feels safe and calm, and you can use that to make the dog calm around other people and pets.
When you are able to calm your aggressive dog crate training becomes normal as you would train any other dog. You can read this explicit guide for crate training steps and tips.
For more information about dog aggression, you can check this source.