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Hi! I'm new to the forums here and have a question. I have a pack of 4 mini doxies who I LOVE with all my heart. I work full time as a music teacher in the Los Angeles area. My doxies spend a lot of time in a 4' tall wire round pen thats approximately 4'-5' across. This pen has plenty of fluffy cozy blankets (which they love to burrow in!) and also gives them plenty of room to move, cuddle, and sleep. This pen is anchored to a wall in my dining room area downstairs which also has a doggy door I installed in the wall so they can go outside into the large (nearly 1/3 acre, I think) backyard freely throughout the day. The round pen also has a door which I open from inside the house when I am home so they can roam downstairs or cuddle with me on the couch.

Here is my question/concern. The 4 of them are in their pen while I am gone at work during the day from 8am-4pm and during the night. They used to be given free roam of downstairs (with the dog door installed to go outside whenever) during the day and sleep in my room at night...but they only decide to be housetrained when I keep a CLOSE eye on them smile So,keepoing them in the round pen with outside access during the day and at bedtime keeps most of the potties outside and accidents in the house to a minimum.

My question is do you think they spend too much time in the pen? Are they getting enough of my time, even though its only a few hours in the afternoons? They are very happy dogs and the only minor issue I have is they like to bark outside. If it were only a single dog, I might feel worse about their crate time but since the four of them are always together, they seem fine. I ask because my mom has been giving me a hard time (in a nice way) that they are "locked up" too much and that I'm "being mean" to them.

Thoughts? Advice? Input? Anything is appreciated...constructive criticism included! smile
 

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My general opinion is that what really matters is not how much time is spent in the crate (or pen, in your case) but the quality of time spent outside of it. What do they get to do once you're home? Do you play with them together and individually, do they get some training, walks, etc?

Yes, they do spend a lot of time in the crate but many people work and have dogs. If you really feel bad about it you could consider possibly having a dog walker come in mid day to let them out and love on them for 30 or 60 min. You could also do doggy daycare but with 4 dogs a dog walker may be cheaper.
 

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Time outside the pen usually consists of playing tug and fetch with toys and snuggling with me on the couch. They love to curl up on my lap on the couch (although I don't know how I fit 4 doxies on a single lap). I am planning on incorporating structured walks through the neighborhood as part of my New Year's Resolution as well so they get more consistent exercise. They are happy dogs and don't exhibit antisocial, agressive, anxious, destructive or other negative behaviors when they are crated or out. Thanks for your input, I greatly appreciate it! :)
 

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Nope, lots of people have similar schedules and it sounds like you spend plenty of time with them otherwise. Tell your mom (nicely) to back off. :)
 

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My general opinion is that what really matters is not how much time is spent in the crate (or pen, in your case) but the quality of time spent outside of it. What do they get to do once you're home? Do you play with them together and individually, do they get some training, walks, etc?
Ditto this. My dog Tristan spends a fair amount of time in his crate but when he's out, he plays and works hard. I work at a dog grooming/boarding facility that allows me to bring him to work + turn him out with the other dogs. So even though I'm only working part time, he gets what can amount to at least 20+ hours at the dog park a week and oftentimes more. We also go for hour long walks, he comes to the barn with me, frequently plays with my aunt's three dogs, etc. etc. When Trist is in his crate he is literally passed out. The crate is also big enough for him to fully stretch out and move around in, has blankets, his bone, and several toys.

Like you (the OP) though, I've been given a hard time for keeping my dog in a cage or supposedly not spending enough time with him. It actually played a big role in breaking up my recent living arrangements as I was apparently breaking the other person's heart (their actual words) with the way I crated my dog.

I really don't think you have anything to worry about - particularly given that your dogs have access to the yard.
 

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Hold on, something seems inconsistent in the original post -- your mom says they're "locked up," yet they have free access to 1/3 acre? Lucky dogs! They could happily live out their lives without ever seeing the rest of the house. Except the cuddling, they'd miss that.

You didn't say how old they are, but the general tone of your question makes me wonder, are you working with them on obedience training? Walking on leash in the neighborhood? Training and walking are more than just good exercise. They set the tone for your relationship, give you a common vocabulary, expand their world, stimulate their minds, give them a sense of purpose, help them feel they are part of the team. Work with them individually, so they learn to focus on you instead of each other. It's just a thought.

How bout some pics?
 
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