Crating your dog?

Recently someone sent me a link to an article about crating dogs.  The article was against crating dogs for any reason and said it was cruel.  Let me say this right up front, I believe that a crate is a very useful tool.  But like any tool it can be misused.

I have heard people say that they will never use a crate.  I have heard that it is wrong to crate a dog.  I have heard that if you are a good dog owner then you should not have to crate your dog.  That you should be able to train them so they don’t need a crate.  Well I believe that most of these comments have come from people with very limited dog experience.  If you have owned two or three well behaved dogs in your life then maybe you have never needed to crate your dog.  But some of us have owned “special” dogs and have needed to crate them.  When I say needed to crate them I mean that literally, for their own safety.  I have owned multiple dogs in my life.  I have had some that “needed” to be crated at different times in their lives.

I was given a GSD when she was about 1 year old.  She had grown up outside in someone’s fenced in yard.  She had no idea what the house was all about.  She had no house training.  If she needed to go potty she would just squat and go.  Now would anyone in their right mind just leave this dog loose in their house while they go to work or the store??  I am a pratical person, I can put a dog on a feeding schedule and have a good idea of when they need to go to the bathroom.  But I cannot predict what that same dog will do when left to her own devices.  Eat a pillow?  Chew through  a wall? Tear up an entire room of carpet.  Smash through a window to get a squirrel?  Open the fridge and eat the entire contents?  Anyone of these scenerios is perfectly plausable and some I know have happened to people.  So yes for the safety of the dog I crated her when I was gone.  Often she would come to work with me and stay in a crate and I would walk her when I had a break and on lunch.  The point being that it was not cruel to crate her for her own safety.

Now the article I read mentioned having a pet sitter/walker come to your house if you were going to be gone for an extended amount of time.  I am guessing this would be an average 8 hour workday. Well guess how long it takes a dog to eat a couch pillow??  Not long.  So you leave the house and within 10 min your dog has done something that could potentially harm or kill it and you have the dog walker scheduled to show up 3-4 hours later.  Turns out they could show up and find your dog in serious pain from eating something they shoud not have.

The GSD that was given to me has come a long way, today she is laying on the couch with me sleeping soundly.  She is obedience trained and off leash trained.  She loves running in the yard and playing with other dogs. She has gotten to the point where  I will leave her loose in the house if I am going to be gone less than an hour, but she still has a propensity to put things in her mouth.  She seems to just be investigating her surroundings but still she could pick up something that might harm her if swallowed.  So when I am gone for a while out grocery shopping or something she is either crated or in a kennel.  To me it is a perfect way to manage her and make sure she stays safe.

When she was given to me it was a “you take her or she is going to the pound” situation.  So the alternative to having to crate her is much worse in my opinion.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. inaradog
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 00:31:03

    Inara loves her crate and actually gets anxious if I leave and DON’T lock her in it. And it’s an invaluable lesson for them to know if they ever need to be boarded or stay at the vet.

    Reply

  2. Dee
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 01:21:18

    @ out of 3 of my dogs are crated when no one is home and they love it !!! Please continue to educate the public. Crates are used to create a “den” where your pet feels safe. They are not/should NEVER be used as a punishment. Crates keep dogs OUT of shelters and pounds and make your dog feel secure when used correctly !!!

    Reply

  3. Dee
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 01:22:04

    Lol….I meant “2 out of 3”

    Reply

  4. Kelly Scarbrough
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 05:42:35

    I agree whole heartedly! Have just dealt with a foster who for her own safety had to be created. She would have eaten something like a pillow or the carpet, or my spot bot and that could have killed her. I am lucky that my personal dog doesn’t have to be, but like I said I think that’s more luck than anything. I am all for crate training.Thanks for the great blog!

    Reply

  5. Melissa
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 18:31:01

    Luckily, more and more people are coming to accept that crates are not cruel. At the shelter i work at, 9 out 10 adopters opt to crate train their dog once they hear why we suggest it. It’s just the smart, safe thing to do.

    Reply

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