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Haven't you heard of a crate?


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On a knitting forum I'm on a thread has been started about all the time that dogs have destroyed things. It started with knitting, and has several destroyed knitting stories, but has branched into other stories as well. I'm kind of flabbergasted reading some of them.

 

If your dog has a penchant for chewing and has destroyed multiple <insert object here> while you've been away, and you continue to leave it loose while you're gone that's just owner failure (unless you're dealing with SA or some other special circumstance)

 

I mean, I know that dogs chew stuff and that accidents happen (both Kipp and Kenzi have chewed holes in a handknit socks at one point or sweatshirt pockets trying to get treats that I had in them) but seriously, it not really a badge of honor if your dog eats multiple cell phones or couches....

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Yeah, a lot of people think that crates are cruel. I see that a lot. Though I prefer my dogs not have to spend a lot of time in crates, sometimes it's necessary. It's not just for convenience of the owner, either. It's for the safety of the dog. I nearly lost my youngest dog last year from eating the thread off of a blanket on my couch. A couple of months ago, an agility friend of mine lost her 2-year old dog for the same reason (eating string). She was not as lucky as I was. My dog is now in an x-pen whenever there's no one home because he still (at 1.5 years old) will eat things when left alone. I'm not thrilled that he has to be in an x-pen when we aren't home, but it's more important to me that he doesn't try (inadvertently) to kill himself.

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I have a family member with a new (beagle) puppy. She kept posting to facebook how the puppy kept waking her up, peeing on the carpet, etc, at night. I offered to loan her a crate (yes, I occasionally loan them out, though it is hard to let them go). Her response? "I have a crate".

 

Seriously? Then why is the puppy loose and waking you up and peeing on the floor? That sound you hear is me beating my head against the wall.

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So I mention that perhaps a crate would prevent the issue and apparently I misunderstood some things. For one, apparently service dogs often become anxious when they're away from their person and go into panic mode hence the chewing on random objects. Well, umm wouldn't a crate still work? :huh:

 

You can't make this stuff up...

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Honest to god, we get people in at the shelter who have never even heard of crates. And when you bring it up, some people akin it to locking the dog in a cupboard under the sink or something.

 

We do our best to educate -- But ultimately, I will never understand where all the drama and bad associations with crates started. Probably from those cases that come into the shelter caked in feces & urine from being locked in a crate 24/7....

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You know, I'd love to leave my 14 1/2-year old Willow out to sleep on her favorite rug when I leave the house. I'd love for her to have some sort of soft bedding in her crate. The last time (a couple of years ago) I felt sorry for her and left her gated in the dog room with Boy (and the other dogs in crates), she chewed a hole in a rug that I can't replace. Not to mention that I had to worry about potential blockages caused by rug parts.

 

Same thing with crate bedding. It's destroyed (except when we're in the van on the road, go figure). So she gets crated whenever I leave the house, even if it's "just for a minute." I learned my lesson (many times over, since her taste in chewable items runs to the expensive: prescription glasses, Birkenstock sandals, custom-made orthotic inserts for my running shoes).

 

As for the service dog thing, one would think that a crate could be a very good signal to the dog that it is off duty and therefore no panic needed at separation from the human it helps. And if it's not off duty, then why is it being left behind in the first place?

 

J.

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Yeah, I'm baffled at people who are aghast at the thought of crating their dogs. Our first dog, Lilly, was a terrible youngster. Ruined eyeglasses, furniture, the TV remote, you name it. She eventually got over it, and thank goodness she never caused any serious harm to herself. Our second dog came crate trained, and we've never looked back. Now, all dogs are crated in our house until they prove themselves safe and reliable to be left loose. I'm amazed at the stories of dogs eating medication, household goods, scary stuff, and owners still think the poor dog will be traumatized for life if it's crated. I'd rather have a bored dog who sleeps all day and is alive, than one that ends up killing itself one way or another. :(

 

Not to mention, it's a good idea to have a dog that is crate trained for a couple of other reasons (vet stays, emergency boarding situations, etc).

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Libs is five and still crated--for her own safety. She is an exceedingly well behaved dog, but she loves wooden spoons and has 'killed' several of them. She's also chewed through electrical cords (as a puppy). If I can't supervise her, she's not out of her crate. Of course, I write-from-home, so I am with her almost all the time...Free is kenneled, too. Dogs are den animals--mine will get in their crates and lie there with the doors open.

 

Plus, in the event of emergency or fire, we know exactly where the girl dogs are, and the boy dog sleeps next to our bed in a dog bed (arthritic). If we have to get out fast, we can.

 

I'd think it would be more humane to kennel an animal than have your kid come home from elementary school and find a dead dog because the dog ate something they shouldn't have. Of course, my husband's cousin recently lost their five year old lab when she ate a stick...

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I will freely admit that when the shelter that we got Sammie from suggested a crate while we were at work, we thought it was cruel to keep a dog in a cage all day.

 

Instead, we gave him the 3rd floor of our house while we were at work and the poor dog hated it up there. He tore apart everything he could. He wasn't house trained and leaving him up there while we were at work didn't help. Eventually he became trustworthy and he got run of the house and in the long run it worked out, but looking back, a crate in a normally used room of the house would have been much better.

 

When we got Speedy as a puppy, there was no option but to crate, so I saw firsthand how much better it worked. Things would have been a lot easier for Sammie had I known, but I didn't.

 

I think that to those of us who are used to them and see firsthand that our dogs actually like being in them, it is normal so we don't think anything of it.

 

But to those who have no experience with it, or maybe have only seen a crate used improperly, it makes sense that they balk. At least it does to me. I can remember thinking the same thing.

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When we got Fergie, in March of 1996, we had heard of crate-training only once. But my cousin, the dog behaviorist, told me I should do it - before the Ferg came home. So we got a small crate that fit beside my side of the bed.

 

The only accidents Ferg ever had in the house were when she was sick - or the time she peed on her way to the door the afternoon she was spayed.

 

However, when she was a pup, we let her have the run of the back of the house while we were out - for about 3 hours - trying to arrange work schedules. She ate two vinyl records. Well, not the whole of either, but enough that we had to discard them. Thankfully, one was German language instruction that was unnecessary; the other was a second copy of "The In Crowd". So we kept her. Had she devoured a Dizzy Gillespie or Miles Davis or Pete Seeger, I'm not sure. We crated her for a few weeks - and arranged our schedules. (We live on the edge of Research Triangle Park and did contract work only within 5 miles of the house.) Then we gradually expanded her horizons. And retired.

 

When our daughter and her family got Rosie, the pseudo Rottweiler (She's totally a hound but her puppy colors confused the pound.), they had crates before they went looking.

 

My cousin told me that a crate is a den - and dogs love their dens. It's not a cage - unless you never let the dog out to interact with you. But that's another thing. People think it's OK to do that in a pen, don't they?

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I am like Kristine, I had no clue how a crate worked. When we got our first dog in 1995 the shelter send us home with a crate, well the dog hated the thing and luckily for us she never chewed, or for that matter did anything wrong..... the next two dogs arrived as adults and also did not need a crate, by the time I got a puppy I had fully bought into the idea. Rievaulx had a bed time and day time crate, they worked like a charm and nothing of value was destroyed by those busy little puppy teeth.

 

My goal was always to have a crate free house, despite dogs I am house proud and I think the things are ugly..... but when a foster comes to stay backs comes a crate, today I would never have an unknown dog in my house without one.

 

I also have had conversations with people about using crates and it can be a very hard sell, a girlfriend had some very expensive shoes eaten by her partners dog. They had a crate just did not use it consistently, luckily he has grown into a very nice Aussie and it only cost her now husband 4 digits to replace the shoes, oh and there was his best friends $500.00 glasses.

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When we had Shiro, we somtimes put her in a crate...well, the one of the times (and the last time, I might add) we locked her up in the bathroom while we ran down to the grocery store to get dinner fixings...maybe 30 minutes.

 

The flooring was completely removed and in pieces. The wood sides of the sink/cabinet was shredded. Pretty much the only items not ripped was the ceramic tub and toilet. We were going to redo the oso I guess we moved up the timeline by six months. The bathroom was pretty much totalled.

 

She was crated after that and lesson learned. Howver after she turned six or so, she settled down and wasn't an issue. It was the first three years of hell with her. She was probably the worst/hardest Border Collie to raise..but the bright side, any dog since is easy, no matter what the problem. I do know all of her sibling were put to sleep or turned into the shelter.....(her breeding sciked)...Shiro was seriously the Border Collie from Hell.

 

As for now, Tess and Nan have free rein if we leave. Maid and Rainey get crated...Maid is a countersufer and Rain will pee. Rain is pretty much house trained but if she is crated she will hold it, if loose and you are not home, she will pee in the game room. I had her puppy raised by a friend and later I found out that he let his dogs pee in one room of the house! URGH!!!

 

They all are loose when we are home and sleep loose in the bedroom with us at night.

 

When I bring a pup in the house to raise, they learn about crate training.

 

However if for some reason we are gone more than six hours and any dogs pees in the house, we consider it our fault. If we know we will be gone for that amount of time, I put them in the barn kennels.

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Plus, in the event of emergency or fire, we know exactly where the girl dogs are....

Yes, this. Fires don't always happen to someone else. When I was 15 our house caught on fire. We had a chi at the time and when the firemen came out saying they couldn't find her, my brother went running into the house. He found her downstairs underneath a couch cushion. She was ok but that was still a dangerous thing to do with all the smoke in the house.

 

I never used a crate either until we adopted JJ but his foster mom insisted we use one. I wanted JJ so badly I agreed. Now I will never do without one. JJ often uses one thru out the day. He doesn't care which one as long as it's a crate. Josie sometimes gets upset if he uses hers when she wants it. Jake will only use a crate when it's time to go to bed. He probably prefers sleeping out of it (that's not going to happen because he can't stand anyone touching him when he's sleeping and he likes to sleep in front of my mom's bedroom door) but if I don't go through our bedtime routine every night, he gets upset.

 

Crates also come in handy when you have strangers coming into the house; physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses. I've been told more than once "My goodness, your dogs are so well trained/behaved". Little do they know how excited they get when we have company. :lol:

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DH never believed in crates (or playpens)and for nearly a year everytime I left the house Robin chewed something. I don't think it was separation anxiety; I just think that DH was watching the wrong end....he figured if he had some part of the pup in view, everything was okay. He'd den up in his chair with Brodie and Ladybug and Robin got bored. A "bored" collie pup is a dangerous thing. Robin ate a hole in the arm of the couch, nibbled on the recliner, shredded a cone of yarn and still DH wouldn't listen. "It's cruel to put him in a crate." he said, even as he paid the pricey emergency vet bill for xrays when I was convinced that Robin had a blockage after the yarn cone incident (he didn't.) Soon afterward, I came home and found Robin posing on the couch with a bulb of garlic in his paws..(scarfed off the kitchen counter) DH sighed, looking at him: "Do you try to get me in trouble?" he asked the unrepentant pup

 

Last Christmas DH put up a tree with all of his favorite Santa ornaments on it. Robin nibbled his way up the tree, concluding his feast with a starfish ornament. While I'm frantically dialing the vet to see if my dog is going to die (from the starfish, etc.), DH roared. "THAT'S IT! THAT DOG IS GOING IN A CRATE WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE." Duh!

 

In the intervening year, Robin's noshing has pretty much stopped. Neutering helped. But every now and then you find him casting about for something interesting. A watched pup is never bad.

 

Liz

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In the past, our dogs have always been outside when no one is home unless the weather is bad so a crate was never really necessary (though looking back, it would have been nice to have when Bear was a teething puppy). Meg is the first dog I've ever had a crate for. She really only used it for the first few weeks after we brought her home. She was house trained, but didn't know how to tell us she needed to go out. The crate was also her safe haven. She wasn't used to our house and a lot of things scared her those first couple of weeks so she'd go to her crate and watch from there until she figured things were 'safe'.

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I rember friend of mine, when she got her lab puppy she was comming to me for advice on everything(before she got the pup too) I told her to get a crate, she wanted too, but her BF thought crating was cruel and refused..the pup destoyed everything, my friend would go home on her break to take the pupy out and clean up paper, drywall, rug etc.. but her BF continued to refuse crate the pup...then my friend went away for a week and her BF had to take care of the pup.... when my friend got back there was a great big crate in the living room lol

 

I crate train all my dogs, they love their crates..well Gem is still working on it, she has a major aversion to the crate, breaks them, breaks her teeth, screams non stop etc.. so she is in crate pre-school..I have just the bottom of the crate out with a big comfy quilt, let her get comfortable with that, then I will add the top and same thing..then the door but wont shut it etc.. in the mean time she is just coming with us everywhere lol

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If I had not had my dogs crated during a tornado that tossed a couple of trees into my house, things could have got really ugly.

 

I consider crates part of the decor.

 

That they can be abused (and IMO they can be) does not diminish their importance to those who use them intelligently.

 

 

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For years, we had no clue about crates. What were those things? We had ranch dogs: they were either working or crashed out tired on the floor. ;) And the places we lived didn't have nice carpeting or anything.

 

But nowadays ... I can't imagine having dogs without crates. Our oldest is 13, we got him at 2, and he spent very little time in a crate, but he knows what they are and accepts being put in one at trials or whatever. Plus, sometimes he'll get into one of the house crates just to take a nap.

 

Our pups ALL grow up in crates. One, it controls what they can demolish and two, we can hear when they have to get up and go potty. The pups stay in crates at night until we can thoroughly trust them not to demolish the carpet (or electrical cords or kitchen cleaning supplies or ...) and even then, the crates remain in our bedrooms. Two of the three youngsters still sleep in crates, by choice, with the doors open.

 

And I love having nicely crate-trained dogs for trials, travel, injury or whatever! :)

 

How did we get along without them, for all those years? ;)

 

~ Gloria

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I consider crates part of the decor.

In our house, they're plant holders. DH finally went out and bought some nice looking wood, routered the edges, stained and poly'd them to set them on top for the plants to sit on. Now all 3 crates have the same looking wood. Yep, part of the decor.

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I've never owned a crate, never heard much about them, I may get one in future. But how do you use them?

 

I'd be a little worried about the dog not being able to move when no-one's there. Plus it's useful to have the dogs out around the house at night and when no-one's home, since we've had a would-be burglar or two who desisted on hearing barking at the other side of the door or window. Same goes for foxes- if the dogs can get to the window to see them, at least we know where they are.

 

Having said that I'd use it with a puppy. I have one of those mad labradors who chewed everything. She still does if she's left around the house when we go away, rather than in her room. She's nearing a decade now, and no trips to the shelter.

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I've never owned a crate, never heard much about them, I may get one in future. But how do you use them?

 

New puppies and fosters of any age get crated when not supervised. I have a very "dog-centric" lifestyle and that doesn't amount to a ton of time, but it includes any time I have to leave them, at night when we are sleeping and in the car.

 

If/when a dog proves themselves to be trustworthy I start to test the waters by leaving them out of the crate for extending periods of time. I start with a quick run to the store, increase to half days and then full days. My goal is to not have to use crates eventually, but I'm in no hurry. Most dogs are still using a crate until they are about a year old when I'm gone. I usually graduate them to the bed at night after a few months, once they are able to sleep through the night and know the routine.

 

Fosters are also fed in a crate to prevent any scuttles or fights during meal time. My dogs all have their separate eating areas, but it generally takes a while for new dogs to learn the routine, so the crate is the safest.

 

My dogs will spend entire days in their crates at agility trials, so it is important that crating be a positive, happy experience for all of my dogs. It is never used as punishment. My dogs all love their crates!

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Lol, I am one lucky, lucky B.C. owner hehe! I remember 3 years ago, when I first joined the Boards I had a crate training question about phasing out the use of a crate. And to this day, Eluane has full range of the house. When I was a 3D animator, the hours were crazy and extremely erratic and I wanted to be sure she could freely move and explore and do whatever she felt like doing to stretch out her legs. So I've always approached the crate as a training tool that I would immediately phase out as soon as I could.

 

I'd have to come home at 7:00 p.m., 5:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. there was no telling when, but I always made sure I never ever went back and forth during rush hour, but I'd make as many mult-trips as I could. That was the rule between driving home and going back and forth from downtown. To this day, Eluane has full reign of the house, and she hates her crate even though it's situated right by my bedside. She'd rather sleep in the open in my room or on a little square rug beside my bed. Every dog is unique. Eluane has always had very short times in her crate even when she was a pup. Never chewed shoes in her life! The only thing she's ever done as separation anxiety was eat a chunk out of my Gourmet French cooking book (the spine of the cover, lol!), a tiny corner of one window blind (which you can barely detect) and a tiny nibbled corner of! an Oriental rug that my parents gave me yowwwwwwch. But you'd never notice this nibbled corner, she's that subtle.... But everything else, just a really good princess girl. Oh, I forgot there was one time she pulled out stuffing from her tuggy Octopus toy when I first started to leave her unattended in my house...Eluane's toys are always pristine, and she plays with them constantly, that's how "gentle" she is. I had just recently moved from a single one-bedroom apartment to a house. And that's when I got the three incidents that I mentioned above, plus the Octopus toy. In the apartment, there was never a separation anxiety incident.

 

Ever since I let her have free reign, the door remains open, but not once has she chosen to go back in. Ever. My brother's Diva Dog, Daisy, on the other hand, saw Eluane's crate with the fancy plush pillow in it, and rushed inside and plopped right in. Daisy, obviously considered it a throne, and thought she was Queen of both mine and Eluane's household :lol:

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Jody and Bella are both crate trained. They are the first dogs I ever used crates with and are also the most well behaved and bonded dogs I have ever had. I don't think it is just due to the crate - I am a different kind of dog owner now than I was at 20 or any of the other years between then and now. However, I do believe the crates led to fewer corrections from the very beginning. Less time correcting meant more good play and training time. Really focused time that we all enjoyed. I was relaxed with them rather than constantly being on alert to keep the next bad thing from happening. Consequently, I've ended up with two mellow, laid back dogs. Another benefit is that because they didn't have to be corrected much it is a big deal to them now if I give them the Ah! Ah! It really gets their attention!

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