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Craters, now's your chance to convince me

3982 Views 23 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Abbylynn
Full disclosure, I've never been comfortable with crating. I don't believe for a moment that any living creature likes being in a cage. I also feel that it's too easily abused; I've seen people crating because they have multiple dogs and it's convenient to keep them crated when they don't feel like dealing with them, or they are at work for many hours including commute time and they crate the whole time. I've had two dogs as an adult and numerous under my parents' roof, and crating was never necessary as long as you kept their living area fairly clean/dog-proofed.

However. I have adopted a wonderful 16-week-old puppy with many delightful qualities, but she has clearly only been kenneled in her short life and has not the first clue about house living. Adding to that, this time around I'm not just a dog mama, I'm a mama to a human as well, so I'm less tolerant of 1:00am poo cleanup than I once was. I'm going to give her fair time to prove herself...maybe she'll housetrain quickly, and maybe leaving her for short periods of time will not translate to a destroyed home (I don't anticipate leaving her alone for more than a couple hours at a time). But, given that even in the most puppy-proofed room she will chew a wall corner right in front of me, I can only imagine what she will do when she's entirely alone. So...is it time to put a big ugly cage in my living room and crate her at night and when we're gone? Will it actually prevent her from defecating or will I wake up in the morning to a puppy who needs a bath? She's a sensitive, intelligent breed and I need to know that the benefits outweigh the negatives, which to my mind include losing access to me at night (not being able to come tell me she needs to go out) and losing her ability to patrol the house as she gets older. Can I phase out crate training once she's full grown and can be trusted regarding chewing/peeing?

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Our means of dog confinement range from a crate, to an expen, to two baby gates. Overnight he's in his crate. I like having him crate trained because he needs to be crated in the car, if he ever had to be boarded or stay overnight at the vet, etc... It's a safe, small, quiet place that he's comfortable in. However, I don't want him crated the ENTIRE time we can't supervise him because my husband and I work full time jobs, so when we're at work, he's in an expen. In fact, he started with the crate in the expen, then we kept making it smaller, then transitioned him to just the crate, and have the expen just for day time. Then starts the baby gates -- there's one keeping him JUST in the family room, which we can swing in the other direction and put up the second baby gate and he's confined to the family room and kitchen. He only has (supervised) free run of downstairs a little bit every day, and only after he's just gone potty outside. If he is going to be unsupervised for more than a couple minutes (like running downstairs to change over the laundry, or running upstairs to grab something), he gets put in his expen.

Our pup is 5 months old now and has been doing great with housetraining. He just started consistently asking to go out about two weeks ago, and can hold it overnight in his crate with no accidents. I still feel a little weird by having an animal in a cage (even part time) because I've always had cats, but it keeps him safe, and keeps my house from getting destroyed when we can't watch him!
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