Caged Dog Syndrome

If your dog is spending more time in his crate, showing weird behavior, or avoiding you then it might cause a problem for you. The latter shows that maybe your pet is suffering from caged dog syndrome. Sometimes it is hard for the dog owner to understand this disease completely. Don’t worry as today we will share everything about Caged Dog Syndrome.

caged dog syndrome

What is Caged Dog Syndrome?

Caged Dog Syndrome is known as crate syndrome or kennel syndrome is a behavioral disorder caused by prolonged crating in dogs. Dogs with kennel syndrome show weird behaviors which pet owners find difficult to manage. Some common signs of this syndrome include emotional shutdown, cage fighting, cage chewing, and spinning.

Also, dogs with crate syndrome have destructive behaviors and they tend to act aggressively when owners serve them food. That’s why it is a common condition among shelter dogs and dogs living inside puppy mills. However, it can occur in dogs of any breed that are living in healthy environments due to prolonged crating.

Once you have understood the basics of Caged Dog Syndrome, it’s important to learn the signs of this disease in detail.

Emotional shutdown among dogs

If your dog is having extreme or weird emotions such as shying away from you or getting scared under normal circumstances then it is showing you the signs of the emotional shutdown. Moreover, dogs with emotional shutdown have hunched postures, they keep their tails between paws, stay in the corners without any reason, and freeze or hide when approached by strangers.

That’s why your dog needs re-socialization to get out of this state. Expose your dog to new surroundings such as new people, sounds, and experiences. Your dog might shy away at the start but being present in new conditions will help your dog to initiate the healing process of re-socialization.

Cage fighting in dogs

Cage fighting is common among dogs with caged dog syndrome. Moreover, shelter dogs regularly present this behavior but cage fighting doesn’t include physical violence only. Any aggressive action such as barking or growling comes under cage fighting.

In addition, cage fighting is most likely to develop in territorial dogs. Especially when a territorial dog comes in contact with other dogs it naturally starts to express aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, if your dog shows aggressive acts in front of a calmer dog. Then this problem is increasing and can cause potential damage if not treated properly.

Cage chewing in pet dogs

Cage chewing is among the main signs of kennel syndrome. Moreover, the habit of cage chewing makes it obvious that your dog wants to get out of the crate or cage. Also, cage chewing can hurt your dog’s teeth and jaw permanently. This behavior forces your dog to outbreak from the cage which can cause injuries if not stopped on time.

In addition, cage chewing does develop in dogs who spend most of their time inside of their cages in place of punishment. Most dogs like to sit inside of their crates or dens. But if you have punished your dog to go to his crate then it will hurt your dog instincts.

Furthermore, your dog will try to escape from its cage. Also, your dog will assume its cage is a threatening place which will disturb its cage-related experience.

Spinning in dogs

Spinning in dogs is a high-energy behavior that occurs in response to abnormal mental and physical stimulation. Furthermore, working dog breeds and hyperactive dogs are more likely to do spinning.

Dogs with crate syndrome show spinning by walking in circles around the cage. The latter sometimes triggers dogs to do jumping and bouncing on cage walls. Moreover, spinning can cause compulsive and obsessive patterns in your dog. That’s why spinning needs proper treatment otherwise it won’t resolve quickly.

Food Aggression in dogs

Food Aggression is among the main symptoms of caged dog syndrome. However, cage fighting is more prominent among shelter dogs than pets due to the minimum food sources. That’s why if your dog is devoid of food then it may show aggression over it. Thereby, you must feed your dog on time to limit its aggressive behavior.

Destructive behavior in Caged Dog Syndrome

What happens if someone keeps you inside a locked room for hours? You will feel exhausted and after finding freedom, you’ll overreact. The same thing happens to a dog who lives many hours a day in a cage. That’s why they show hyperactive and destructive behavior when suffering from caged dog syndrome.

Moreover, your dog’s destructive behavior can cause damage to your furniture and it can provoke self-harm. Some common destructive behaviors in dogs include scratching sofas, scraping walls, and extreme paw chewing and licking.

That’s why if you suspect any of the patterns discussed above in your dog then it is suffering from caged dog syndrome. Book an appointment with a vet or canine trainer to limit these behaviors.

Is caging your dog all day bad?

Dogs find it difficult to spend more than 12 hours in a cage even when they are sleeping. However, caging a dog all day makes you a cruel and irresponsible owner. There are several reasons why caging a dog all day is bad for its mental and physical health.

For instance, if you can cage a dog for 12 hours straight then it can go to pee. Even dogs can’t hold their urge to pee for very long but if your dog is holding urine then it can affect its kidneys. Moreover, keeping your dog in a crate for a longer period triggers behavioral issues such as Littermate syndrome or Kennel syndrome.

The role of the crate in Caged Dog Syndrome

Dog parents talk a lot about crates. Moreover, some people favor them due to their crucial role in training dogs and others disapprove of crates due to their bad influence on their dog nature. However, both views are right in different situations. For instance, if you use crates in a responsible way such as for sleeping and resting purposes of your dog then they can help you while training.

But if you are putting your dog in a crate for longer hours then your dog might assume your behavior as a punishment. And the latter can cause caged dog syndrome in your dog. That’s why the crate serves both pros and cons to a dog owner.

Does caging cause Kennel cough?

Caging creates various problems in your dogs. But among its most adverse effects is kennel cough. The latter is caused by many viruses and bacteria present within your crate. Furthermore, kennel cough threatens your dog’s immunity and can inflame your dog’s larynx and trachea. Thus, provoke a kennel cough infection in your pet.

The common signs and symptoms of kennel cough in dogs are:

  • Forceful cough which can persist for weeks
  • Throat irritation with post-nasal drip
  • Goose honk like sound on coughing
  • Low energy level
  • Loss of appetite with eye discharge and running nose

If your dog shows these symptoms, remove it from the crate and contact a veterinarian for proper treatment.

Thereby, the disadvantages of caging overweight its benefits. Also, they are the primary cause behind the development of caged dog syndrome. That’s why instead of caging you have different methods to train your dog.

How to replace crates in dogs with caged dog syndrome?

Dogs and their owners did live together before the invention of crates and cages. Also, you can easily bring a well-mannered dog without using caging. All you need to do is to provide proper training to your pet.

Moreover, you can increase the training time of your time which will automatically reduce its caging period. This parenting technique will help you to prevent caged dog syndrome within your puppy. However, not all dog owners can become expert trainers. That’s why you need to appoint a dog trainer for your pet.

These dog trainers will aid you to bring your dog without the usage of the cage. Furthermore, some canine trainers will teach you how to use the cage positively. Also, train your dogs with gradual obedience training to manage their anger or hyperactivity rather than locking them up in crates. These simple modifications will surely change your dog’s aggressive behaviors and will treat it against kennel syndrome.

When to contact a canine trainer in caged dog syndrome?

Some dogs develop kennel stress after suffering caged dog syndrome. Dog kennel stress occurs mostly in shelter dogs or puppy mills but any breed of dogs can be affected by it. However, some social situations such as overcrowding, noises, bullying by dogs, lack of food and water, and isolation can trigger kennel stress in your dog.

This condition can be worrisome for you and your dog if not treated properly. That’s why I always seek advice from a dog or canine trainer while facing this problem. Also, a canine trainer will help your dog to remove its distress and will teach your dog better strategies to cope with kennel stress.

Dog crate in bedroom/living room or with metal cage chewing or peeing in crate need special care.

The Bottom Line

Many veterinarians, trainers, and owners have contradictory reviews on crate training. However, the latter causes caged dog syndrome among many dogs. That’s why it is better to avoid caging and adopt all the above-mentioned alternatives to prevent your dog from kennel syndrome.

In the end, we have discussed everything about caged dog syndrome with you. So observe your dog’s behavior keenly and reach out to a personal trainer to seek expert advice.

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