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I think it depends on the dog mental status and the human preference. I can't imagine not having crates available. I still have two crates although I rarely use one of them. My boy though needs a crate not sure how you can enforce proper behavior without being there. But if left loose more then one day a week I get to see how creative my boy can be. :( for me it safer to crate him then to leave him loose.

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But I actually flinched when bcnewe2 said her dogs would get up on her computer desk.

 

HA well me too!

But you aren't taking into account that the window above the computer desk looks right out to where any action might be in the barn or small paddock. You can even see the upper pasture from the desk if you lean over to one side.

They'd leave the food but no way would the not view the action that is taking place outside. Just no way!

 

Put some sheep right out your window and go play with them. Leave the dog in the house with her knowing she can see you and said sheep right out the window. Nope, not gonna happen here.

 

Now if I'm not out there at the barn or haven't taken someone with to go out to said barn then there is no reason to get on the desk and they don't.

 

I don't blame them, it's keenness and perfect a window view.

 

Crates are personal that's all there is to it. Either use one or not. But I blame no one for lack of training if they are using a crate. Don't we preach to everyone on here about the said wonders of crate training? What is it, do as I say and not as I do?

No judgement here if someone uses a crate for the life of their dog. Not from me. just personal prefrence.

 

And if you met my dogs on the street, I'm sure they'd be just as polite as Geonni's Sugarfoot.

Just saying.

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I hate to admit it.....I was out working Nap, left Bree inside. While Nap was halfway out across the field I saw another dog. Yep, she pushed the screen out of the window, jumped out of the house, got through (over!) the gate and was not about to let Nap get the stock. Yes, she got there first, she's wicked fast (and more than keen). I couldn't fuss, I hadn't crated her, figured she's inside.

 

That will *never* happen again. She's crated. And, she's the best guard dog otherwise.... there's no way in he$$ she'll let the couch *move* when I'm at work :);

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Hannah is trustworthy in the house and rarely crated, but I will always keep crates. They were a lifesaver during a storm that threw some trees into my house. Hannah's crate time is self-imposed. She will go into an airline crate to sleep sometimes, even with a monstrosity of a bed laying on the floor next to it. She never goes into the big wire crate on her own, though. It's quite large, so I guess it's not cozy enough. I keep it in case I need it. I gave away another one like it.

 

I do crate the Chi(ish) when I leave [ETA: or put her in an ex-pen]. Hannah likes her and they play nicely together, but because of the size difference between the two dogs, the crate gives me peace of mind. I agree with those who said it is simply personal preference.

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Don't forget the age-gap cultural difference: those of us who grew up before crates were common vs. those who grew up with parents who crated dogs.

 

I got Buddy on a Saturday and went to work on Monday. My 8th grade students said, "He's not in a CRATE!? He's in your house ALONE!!?" They were horrified. I came home from work mid-day to check on him, and all was fine. He's never chewed anything he shouldn't, never knocked anything over, never gotten on the counter or into the covered trash barrel.

 

One dog is different from a number of dogs, sure... and I get the usefulness of a crate in traveling or dealing with injuries. But humans and dogs cohabitated for thousands of years before crates were invented. I guess I just don't get the urgency. ::Shrug::

 

As for nothing being 100%, well, that's true. Humans trip on things and hit their heads, and fall down stairs, and accidentally leave the gas on with no flame. Nothing is 100%, ever, with anything. I guess I just don't feel like I need to crate my (very reliable) dog because some horrific accidental thing might happen. Heck, while we're at it, some horrific accidental thing might happen that could be fatal because my dog was crated.

 

Mary

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depends on the dog, if you dog is fine, I wouldnt worry about it. I have 8 dogs in the house, 4 stay loose and 4 get crated for various reasons but they are all crazt trained. for dogs that dont do anything I dont see the point, unless you have mutiple dogs then there is always a risk of something happening between them.

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I have a policy of never having more dogs in my home than I have crates. Just in case. If there were an emergency of some kind it might be necessary to crate all of them for their own safety.

 

In my home, who gets crated and who doesn't is a matter of how much I know I can trust the individual dog.

 

Kelso, my recently adopted foster dog, was never crated, and has always been reliable in the house. Kit, my female, has never been crated. Jester, my male, was crated when we lived with someone else for the first year, and never was after that until he turned 10 and suddenly decided to start causing mayhem in the house. :blink: Now he is shut in the laundry room when I leave. He likes it in there; hangs out there all the time anyway, so it is no prob for him.

 

The little terrier I have been dogsitting for months now is never crated. All foster dogs get crated at first, and some are always crated when I leave the house. No one is ever crated while I am home unless it is a puppy who still needs constant supervision and time-outs.

 

I love crates, and if introduced properly dogs almost always love them too. I crate train everyone on principle, and of course use them at dog events. But I actually use them at home as little as possible and only for those who need it.

D'Elle

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Julie,

 

Why yes, I can trust most of my dogs loose in the house. Then again, 9 dogs loose in the house vs. 1 dog loose in the house is not quite the same ballgame. FWIW, when I had just one dog, he was never crated. It wasn't necessary.

 

As I said in my first post: “But I no longer do rescue, don't have multiple dogs, and don't find it unreasonable that a dog that I feed, vet, groom, entertain and train should respect my property.”

 

I guess it's a matter of expectations and what's important to you. If I'm going out for some period of time, I don't leave food out and wouldn't do so even if there were no dogs in the house (after all, there's no telling what the cat would do, though perhaps you've trained your cat to leave the ham sandwich alone too). Some things are important to me and some are not. I expect my dogs not to counter surf or get in the trash. But I also don't leave super tempting stuff out within easy reach because I don't see the point (I can leave meat thawing on the sink and not worry about anyone climbing in there to get it, FWIW). It proves nothing to me. That said, if I'm eating something, and I see that the same dam* ewe has gotten through the fence and is heading down the driveway, I can put my plate down on my desk and go take care of that. But I wouldn't leave the plate on my desk and go to the store....

 

Neither would I, but it's nice to know that I can go to the door to accept a package or go out in the yard to move the sprinkler and my dog won't snatch my lunch. I do make a habit of leaving things in easy reach on occasion, just as a "refresher course" in proofing.

 

I think it's a pretty huge leap to assume that those of us who use crates are somehow incapable of teaching our dogs house manners. As I said earlier multiple dogs are a different issue. I've managed as many as 10 (now 9, plus 4 cats, one of whom is ancient) in my house. If you've done that for years without ever using a crate, then I'd be happy to give you credit where it's due.

 

I don't assume that people can't teach their dogs house manners, but I've been around enough dog owners that don't because it's easier to crate. As you pointed out, I only have one dog. It's all I have the money and space for. If I had several dogs (and a lot more space), I would probably have some crates around. I certainly did when I lived in a house and did rescue.

 

Yes, I've had dogs that don't get along, and no, *for me* the answer isn't just to get rid of one. So they get managed. I happen to have very much liked the dogs who didn't get along. To get rid of one so I wouldn't have to use a crate is unfathomable to me. I have a dog who's epileptic. Seizures *can* trigger other dogs in a pack to attack. If she were an only dog, it wouldn't matter if she had a seizure while I was gone, but right now, she'd have a seizure with multiple other dogs to witness it. That's not about manners, it's about pack dynamics and dog behavior and there's no damn way I'm taking a chance with one dog's life because I think crates are unnecessary or that using them is the mark of poor house manners training.

 

If I had two dogs that I couldn't train to get along I would place one. But not because I didn't want to use a crate. I would place one because I, personally couldn't cope with that much potential mayhem. It would make me crazy. I don't have the nerves for it. You have working dogs. I have pets. If I rehome a dog it's because I know what I'm capable of coping with, and/or it would be better for the dog. If you rehome a dog, you may be losing a valuable working partner.

 

As for your dog with epilepsy - of course the crate is logical. It has nothing to do with manners.

 

My old girl is a chewer and always has been. She *never* chews anything when I'm home (where she may be in the house while I'm outside doing chores or whatever), but if I leave her loose in the house while I leave the property, she will chew something. Not quite sure how you proof against that, since it happens only when I leave the property. She's also one who didn't get along with one of my other dogs. So for her own safety, she goes in a crate when I leave. As an aged dog, she could also be vulnerable if the other dogs decided to gang up on her. I don't think they would, because she's still top bitch in the house, but again I'm not willing to put her at risk just to prove that I can leave them all out loose.

 

I don't eschew the use of a crate in my house to prove anything. I don't use a crate because it works for me. I'm at home most of the time so I have the time to spend on proofing house manners exhaustively to begin with, and my dog does not have 8 hours plus at home alone every day like she would if I had a job.

 

Some dogs don't get crated--I have four or five of the nine who are routinely left loose in the house when I leave. A sixth dog is baby gated into the kitchen/sun porch area of the house, separate from the other dogs. This is because she's trustworthy to be loose, but one of the dogs that stays loose in the other part of the house will sometimes harass her. Rather than trust that *dog behavior* won't take over when I'm not around, I choose to separate her from the dog most likely to bother her. The three who are routinely crated are the epileptic, the youngster, and the old dog.

 

So you use a crate as needed, and separate dogs as needed. Sounds fine to me.

 

If that makes me a bad trainer in your opinion, so be it.

 

From what I've read of your posts, Julie, the last thing I would call you is a bad trainer. Nor would I describe you as lazy. Your life is very different from mine - much busier. What I don't understand is people who feel they have to crate their dogs every time they walk away from the house because they will get up to something, or because there's a one-in-a-million chance they might get hurt. A walk in the park offers at least as great a potential for a dog getting hurt too. As someone else said a dog could die in a house fire because it was crated.

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I don't assume that people can't teach their dogs house manners, but I've been around enough dog owners that don't because it's easier to crate.

 

 

There are dogs for whom this is not possible. I had a counter surfing dog I tried for years to fix and never could. Once she got something wonderful, there was no training that would fix it.

 

So, assuming that someone doesn't bother because crating is easier may not be accurate.

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I think there are just some dogs that cannot be trusted home alone no matter how much you have proofed and trained them.

 

My 5yr old Aussie hasn't been in a crate for several years. She doesn't do anything wrong.

 

My 3yr old border collie is put in a crate when we leave even if for 5min....because for some crazy reason she pee's on the furniture or on one of the beds even if we leave for a short amount of time. I have no idea why she does it, she never has accidents in the house when we are there. And I have no idea at this point how to train her not to do it. I am thinking it is a behavioral issue. So in the crate she goes.

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There are dogs for whom this is not possible. I had a counter surfing dog I tried for years to fix and never could. Once she got something wonderful, there was no training that would fix it.

 

So, assuming that someone doesn't bother because crating is easier may not be accurate.

Well, that's certainly true. But in the cases I mentioned, they told me themselves,"Why bother with all that training when I can just crate." Or, "I don't have time to train my dog, the crate is easy."

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Wow! I had no idea this topic would turn into such a discussion!

 

As I mentioned we have a very small house. His kennel is in our bedroom and while it's doable right now, it will be more of a pain if I buy him a bigger kennel that takes up more space. I've always crate trained my dogs. My 9yo GSD still goes in her kennel to rest.

I started out leaving Brock for short trips (1-2hrs) and he was fine and then gradually left him out longer. He's done well. We have a 28mos son so the kitchen is gated off anyway's. I shut all the bedroom doors and leave the bathroom open so he can get to his water. He gets a peanut butter stuffed Kong when I leave every time. Lately though I've been bringing him with me since the barn I board at allows you to bring your dog. So he's been enjoying that :)

 

I think I'll go measure the next size up kennel and see how much more room it will take up and go from there. Thanks for all the opinions :)

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I think it's much easier to train/proof your dog when you have only one dog and one person in the house. Add in more dogs and more people and you have more variables to deal with.

 

For instance -

 

I don't know when someone is going to walk into or out of the house.

 

I don't know when someone is going to leave doors open.

 

I don't know when someone is going to leave a bag of trash with some delectable scent sitting on the floor.

 

I don't know when someone is going to eat something and leave food in reach of my dogs.

 

But I do know when my dogs are crated that the above aren't going to be an issue.

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Geonni says:

OK. Now I'm feeling like a Martian... Are there no other people reading this thread who completely trust their dog(s) to observe house rules when you're gone? I'm not talking about puppies - at least nothing under 18 mos.

 

But I actually flinched when bcnewe2 said her dogs would get up on her computer desk. No dog I ever owned would any more think of getting up on a table than they would think of eating a bus.I'm not a martinet, my dogs are often spoiled (in some ways). But I can go out the front door leaving a ham sandwich on the table, and when I come back it will still be there. Is this so unheard of? This is how our dogs were when I was growing up. This is what I expect. And yes, I put the training and proofing in to achieve it. But...

 

As for dog-proofing my house... The cat's litter box is more or less out of reach. But that's the only dog-proofing I do. I can't believe I've just lucked into a string of the world's best-behaved dogs... I just taught 'em house manners.

 

Geonni

I hate to point this out cause maybe you didn't mean to sound the way you did but I felt the need to come back and defend my training or explain (which I thought I did) about the window in the office looking out to the barn. Like I couldn't trust my dogs to go to the door. whatever, it made it sound like crating is a training or trust issue.

 

Now you've backtracked and said it's a personality issue or a multi dog issue. Not that your dog is trained better or differently.

 

I do trust all my dogs to follow house rules when I make them clear and easy enough to follow. So there are some people out there like you...

 

Just saying

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I've had many dogs that I could leave loose one at a time and never worry. But I've also had one that could open any door and almost any crate. I tend to think of my dogs like two year olds until they prove otherwise and many never do. Some have gained their freedom from the crate to years later needing to be crated again. They are all different and year to year my circumstances change and every couple years pack dynamics change with the addition of new dogs. I never know what I'll be dealing with next.

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Geonni says:

 

 

Geonni

I hate to point this out cause maybe you didn't mean to sound the way you did but I felt the need to come back and defend my training or explain (which I thought I did) about the window in the office looking out to the barn. Like I couldn't trust my dogs to go to the door. whatever, it made it sound like crating is a training or trust issue.

 

Now you've backtracked and said it's a personality issue or a multi dog issue. Not that your dog is trained better or differently.

 

I do trust all my dogs to follow house rules when I make them clear and easy enough to follow. So there are some people out there like you...

 

Just saying

I hear you on all points. But what I did was go back and quote my original post saying I no longer do rescue and I don't have multiple dogs. At that time I had crates, and used them regularly.

 

Of course it's a personality issue (I mean people's personalities) hence the YMMV at the end of my first post. My dog is trained in such a way as meets my needs. Naturally I think she is well-trained. (At least in the regard that she scrupulously observes house rules. It was not my intention to criticize anyone here for using crates. I just personally feel that they are frequently overused.

 

I was also thinking that for stock dogs, where livestock is concerned, it may well be that the drive to work overrides other considerations like normal in-the-house-deportment. That may not be true at all. I simply don't know. I don't have stock or a working stock dog. Your dogs may be models of deportment in the house but for that one situation. (But the picture you drew of the dogs leaping to the top of your computer desk was a rather vivid one! ;) )

 

I think the person who made the point about age differences (in people posting) was right. I'm an old fart who doesn't get the whole crate thing for the average pet dog. I want to apologize to anyone I hurt or offended by anything I said on this thread. I no more expect people to agree with me or feel motivated to change what works for them than I feel obliged to agree with or feel motivated to change what works for me with/because of what someone else here says.

 

But that won't stop me saying what I think. And as this old dog has learned a few new tricks from others being outspoken here about their ideas, I hope others will say what they think too.

 

My main reason for continuing this dialog is that I was/am surprised at the number of folk who crate routinely (as opposed to crating for special reasons like the dog with epilepsy or a many-dog household with compatibility issues.) For me, regarding the average pet dog, training is preferable to confinement. At this point I feel that I've said quite enough on the subject.

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Geonni,

I think the mistake you've made is in assuming that most of us on this forum who advocate crates and/or crate training are somehow the same as the average pet owners who have confessed to you personally that they can't be bothered to train their dogs because it's so easy to just crate them. I use the crate as a tool and not as a substitute for training. You could sit in my house and not even know there are nine dogs here (if you ignored the hair). They settle beautifully in the house while I work, watch TV, cook, whatever. I expect that they mostly sleep when I leave them, though I sometimes hear some barkfests when I pull up to the house.

 

I do crate train all my dogs. Aside from the issues I've described, my dogs need to be able to stay in crates when we travel and also at trials (although I can tie some of them out--it's not like they can be let loose to run at a sheepdog trial, especially if I'm working). It also ensures that being contained in a cage at a vet hospital won't have *added stress* that could occur for dogs who have never been caged.

 

FWIW, I never saw a crate growing up. When I was very young, I remember my mother having some sort of (rarely used) run for the whippets, but there certainly wasn't any sort of confinement in the house. Interestingly, my mother in her later years also came to crate train her dogs and use those crates when she needed them. Both her borzoi and her ex-racing greyhound slept in their (open) crates routinely (by choice). I didn't have a crate with my first dog. Frankly, I don't actually remember buying my first crate, but I'm sure it was after Willow chewed some very high-priced items. So I didn't come from a crate using culture, but when it became necessary to confine a destructive dog, I recognized the value of a crate.

 

Dogs are a denning species; many people don't consider the safety and comfort that a den means for a dog. The guard dogs sleep in houses or under barns. Several of my dogs routinely go in to open crates to sleep. Others find other small spaces (like under the bed) to sleep. I'm sure this has been said before, but I'll say it again: Any tool/equipment can be misused or abused. That doesn't make it an inherently bad thing.

 

All that said, I see nothing wrong with using a crate for the average pet dog, if the dog is comfortable being crated and the human feels better about it. This whole discussion rather reminds me of the discussions about whether it's safer to crate a dog in the car or let it ride loose. It's a matter of preference. I've done both. I think they're safer in crates. At least if I take a cross country trip, say to Sturgis, SD, to go to the national finals, I know my dogs are comfortable and happy in their crates, getting out every few hours to go potty and then hopping back in to sleep some more, while we continue on our way....

 

J.

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Your dogs may be models of deportment in the house but for that one situation. (But the picture you drew of the dogs leaping to the top of your computer desk was a rather vivid one! )

 

I think walking in finding Mick sitting there on the desk cause the rollie chair had rolled out of his reach, waiting for me to come in and rescue him off the desk was the best! He didn't look guilty, he didn't look busted or worried he looked like he was saying, "it's about time, where the heck were you, the action was over a while ago, now get me off here!"

and yes I talk for my dogs. OH that's the other thread where we're confessing isn't it?

If the window was open and it was Faye, she'd be like Liz's dog (I think it was Liz) out that window and helping me do whatever she could! She is my 6ft. fence scaler.

 

OK...enough....crates are what you and your dog make of them.

To the OP, if your dog is trustworthy at 10 months the I say try it. You can always fall back on putting him back in the crate.

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I can't help but wonder how many less dogs would end up in shelters if the average pet owner would utilize crates more? I'm NOT talking about abuse of crating, but proper use of a crate could very well reduce the number of dogs that are turned in for housetraining issues, chewing and household/yard destruction, running away from home, etc. Would it be nice if Joe Public trained his dog better? Of course, but managagement isn't a bad thing if it means keeping dogs in homes and out of the shelter and off the euthanasia table. *shrugs*

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PS. Although my dogs are all loose in the house together now, I am an advocate for crating for many reasons (and no, not to excuse training), I think most already discussed here. Mine were all crated when they were youngsters and I still have a crate in the bedroom that several of them willingly sleep in because they like it. No, I couldn't leave a sandwich out on my coffee table and leave the room, but I really don't give two 'you know whats' about that, either. Yes, I am a crappy dog trainer. :D

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The first dog I really crated was my youngster who was 4 months old when I got him. He had 2 crates one in the bedroom where he became my bedside table and one in the living room. He grew out of the bedroom one by 11 months but had proved when we were home he was trustworthy so I got my real bed side table back, he kept his day crate until he was 18 months when a younger foster came to stay and he got the crate. I am a full convert to crate training but it will always be my goal to be rid of them.

 

I live in a small house and basically do not want crates around, when I foster I do crate the youngsters. My dogs are comfortable in crates, I use soft sided ones at agility trials. I respect peoples choices when it comes to this, but for me my goal will always to be free of crates.

 

We all have different goals, PSmitty wrote "No, I couldn't leave a sandwich out on my coffee table and leave the room, but I really don't give two 'you know whats' about that, either." now this is something I do care about, I leave food on my coffee table and expect it to be there when I come back, but I do not care if my dogs have a nice loose leash dog walk.... as they say each to their own :D

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PS. Although my dogs are all loose in the house together now, I am an advocate for crating for many reasons (and no, not to excuse training), I think most already discussed here.

 

Not to mention that crates can be used well for training a dog to be appropriate when not in the crate.

 

Recently someone came to me, who was having a problem with a dog that they were dogsitting. So, this was not their dog.

 

The dog was apparently getting overly excited and was going beserk from time to time and was starting to damage their things. This was an adolescent, not an aggression problem, just lack of structure.

 

They wanted to know if I had any suggestions because they didn't want to hit the dog!!

 

Yikes! Someone else's dog, this is.

 

So, I suggested that when the dog started to get overly rambunctious, just have her go into her crate to settle for a very short period of time - say 5 minutes. I told them to go ahead and give her treats in the crate, or a toy she could chew on in there. Thankfully, she was used to the crate, although she did not spend a lot of time in it. I suggested that they not consider it a punishment, but a place where the dog could get her brain back together to come back out in her right mind. That idea made sense to them.

 

They came back the next week beaming. It had worked beautifully and by the following week, they were having no problems at all. The dog was spending most of the time out of the crate hanging out and playing appropriately, with occasional breaks in the crate. They were now enjoying their houseguest.

 

It doesn't take a lot of training knowledge to be able to use a crate in ways like this. It was such a simple solution since the dog was already used to a crate.

 

I consider a crate to be just as much a training tool as it is my dog's "home away from home" on vacation and at trials. I could do without crates if I had to, but they have such good and varied uses that I am glad to have crates as an option.

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I grew up never crating dogs. All our dogs were left loose and they were fine. We did crate the last two shelties until they were around a year old then they were trustworthy left loose. They were the first dogs we crated. 5 more dogs after them and they all became pretty trustworthy at around 1-2 years.

 

Then I got my youngest papillon. She is 3 1/2 now and still not trustworthy left alone. At this point I do not believe she ever will be left alone loose. She actually has had much more work and training than any of my other dogs. She's just... a busy mess. Perfect when i'm around. Good most the time I'm gone. About 5% of the time she is in trouble and tears up something. So she's penned up always. Even if I'm just out mowing the lawn. Or showering. (she got my glasses off a table once while I was in the shower and ate them in the span of 10 minutes). We go months without incident then I brave it again and she chews something.

 

Prior to her, I would have said you can teach them to be loose safe. She is teaching me wrong. I really just think it's better to crate some dogs.

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