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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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Thanks, particularly to Sibe for the detailed instructions. I like the idea of being able to use it in a limited fashion and then phase it out as she matures. My adult dogs would never have needed such a thing (and had no problem with boarding or vet situations where they had to be caged for periods of time), but the puppy years required diligent puppy-proofing and supervision. I'm sure this pup could also get through its youth without being caged, but...my circumstances are different now. I can guarantee I don't leave socks accessible to the dog, but I can't guarantee my 4-year-old or her babysitter won't be careless one day.
As to whether or not you wake up to a mess? That's likely up to you. Don't leave her in crate longer than she can reasonably be expected to hold it. At 16 weeks, that would be 5 hours, max.
Well, I got up just after midnight, took her outside for awhile, and nothing happened...but by 1:00am, I had mess all over the place (and I was awake and in the next room, she just doesn't know enough to come to me when she needs to go out) so I don't think I can actually guarantee she wouldn't end up with an in-crate mess too...unless she figures out to whine and let me know. I did like the suggestion to keep the crate in the bedroom; I have dark shades in there anyway, so it might also be useful for those brief periods when the sitter takes my daughter out.
Sled dogs! Fascinating! Well, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think you all have convinced me...and believe me, only last week I passed the cages at the pet store and shuddered at the idea of putting any but the most neurotic dog in one. Sheesh, next thing you know I'll be advocating the Cry It Out method for infants instead of cosleeping!

But, the situation does seem to be ideal for it. The pup was raised in a kennel instead of in the house, so it's entirely possible that she *will* perceive the crate as a comfort and a respite from all those strange household sounds. I find her to be skittish compared to the pups I've had that were house-raised, and though I can see crate training as being a bit challenging in the sense that I already have to lure her with treats to get her to go through the door to come in or outside, it might be the familiar feeling place she needs. She may also appreciate having a special place to get away from the 4-year-old. And, to be honest, the chewing and housetraining phase can be done without a crate but it is far from easy, and back then I had the time and money to focus entirely on these challenges (and didn't have anyone else around who might undermine my efforts). I probably could have saved myself a lot of headaches. I still need to think of it as a temporary training tool, though; I really hope I can phase it out once she's matured past this stage.

Do you think a 42" is the right size for a collie? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000OX64P8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
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Thanks! Well, it's worth a shot. If she absolutely hates it then at least I gave it a go. It's hard to see an animal in a cage, but if I find she seems to enjoy it that will help a lot.
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