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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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My family has always crated our dogs until we felt they were old enough not to destroy the house and we've had no problems with any of them. Basically, we crate them (or pen them in a small area) until they are 1-2 years old. At that age, we remove the crate. Typically by that time they have their 'special spot' in our family room and that becomes their place when the crate is gone. With the crate gone they get almost the full run of the house (no upstairs and the dining room/living room have doors, so they can't get in).
Actually, I wasn't planning on getting a crate. I let Oscar sleep on the couch, and he was free in the house when I was away. That last situation wasn't a problem, but it was too much freedom for him in the nights and in the morning. He would decide when it was time for us to get up and come whining and scratching at our bedroom door. I got him the crate, and the only time he's in it, is in the night when he is sleeping, though he might rest in it throughout the day (with the door open). This has considerably improved his behaviour: he stays nice and quiet until we come and get him in the morning.
A crate isn't a "cage" or a dog prison... many people crate their children and they turn great. I'm not saying crating is perfect (I never crated any dog) but it's far from abusive and I recommend crating when people ask me about it. Of course, like with anything else, there are people against it, ie "obviously, your dogs suffer from a severe Stockholm syndrome." - IMO yet another cheap philosophy for petty life issues by people who think way too much.
I have never owned a crate in my entire 57 years ... until last year. It is the most wonderful tool I have ever invested in. My dogs have learned that it is a safe place and all good things are in there and happen in there and when I leave I am coming home to let them out. ( except Abbylynn??? ) It is also a great potty training aid! It sure beats cardboard boxes we used in the stone ages. Lol! :)
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