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Should I stop crating my dogs while at work?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was talking to another dog owner at work yesterday, and she said I should stop crating my dogs during the day. We've been crating them at night, and while we are at work from the day we got them, and they don't seem to mind.

Here are their ages:
Snickers is almost 2. We got her at 6 wks (I know, too young) and crated her to help with housebreaking and also because she had a BIG chewing problem when she was a pup.

Buttercup is going on 3. The family we got her from didn't crate her and she was used to sleeping with the kids at night, but we figured we couldn't let Buttercup free at night and still crate Snickers (who was only about 4 months old when we got Buttercup).

Brooke is anywhere between 3 and 5 yrs old. She was a rescue and immediately knew which crate was hers and goes to it with no problem (except at night when she doesn't want to go to bed)

Skuttles will be 1 in July, so she's still a puppy at heart. So far with her though, there hasn't been any real chewing problem. She did chew a few places on the carpet but that was because we cook beef bones for them for treats and I think some of the "juice" leaked onto the carpet so it was then "beef flavored" carpet. She didn't chew just for the sake of chewing.

In fact, we have so many bones laying around our house walking around in the dark is like walking through a mine field (stubbing your toe on one of the knuckle bones really hurts!) So they normally just chew on them. Honestly, our house sometimes looks like a graveyard! I pick them up, put them in the basket, and the dogs drag them back out an hour later!

So, I think I could trust them all day without crating them but they would still be crated at night for our own privacy. It's bad enough having cats scratching at the door to get in, I really don't want to add 4 barking dogs.

The main reason I crate them, really, is because of the cats. Especially Monster, who has seizures when she gets stressed. We think she basically has tunnel vision so any strange sound that she can't identify will completely freak her out. Plus, it gives the cats a chance to relax. But, is that fair to the dogs?

What do you think? Is it unfair to crate the dogs during the day now that I "think" they won't destroy the house just to give my cats free roam?

Sorry this is so long. I'll shut up now.
post #2 of 18
I think crates are a wonderful tool when used properly. I don't feel that you are being unfair to your dogs.
Is there anyway to keep the cats and dogs in separate areas of the house while you are away? If that is possible then I'd say you could try to un-crate the dogs for a day and see how it goes. If there is risk to your kitties, I probably wouldn't otherwise. My dog is my life, but there is no way I'd put my cats at risk. My dog is very gentle with the cats, but there are some days when she is just destructive to things in the house so the crate comes out for a quick refresher on house manners.
As long as your dogs get plenty of time out of the crate then being crated during the day shouldn't be an issue. Every household is different with the dog/cat dynamics and just 'cuz it works for your co-worker doesn't mean it will work for you. What you are doing is in the best interest of YOUR fur-family.
post #3 of 18
As long as when you come home they are out of the crates and you let them have a lot of exercise before bedtime, I don't see a problem. Especially since you have cats with medical problems.
post #4 of 18
You are going to get different opinions on this. Personally, I don't believe in crating dogs for long periods of time. Crated all day while you are at work, plus being crated all night IS REALLY a long time for your dogs to be locked up. I know ALOT of people that do it though. If you don't want them to have free run of the house, I think a better solution for daytime is to either put them in the kitchen (or what ever room you want to, I chose the kitchen because there usually isn't any carpeting) with a baby gate (sometimes you need to stack two of them if your dogs can jump or climb them) closing them into the area with beds and whatever else you think they need, such as toys and whatnot, or buying some xpens to put the dogs into with their beds and toys and whatever else. This way, the dogs will have alot more room to move, and will be seperated from the cats, unless the cats jump the gates and get into wherever the dogs are.

I know one of your dogs is a pug, please don't EVER leave her alone with bones or rawhides or greenies or anything of the like. I've read way to many stories about pugs choking to death from these things. I've actually had to use the heimlich with Maddie because she choked on a greenie once. She no longer gets greenies because of her gulping and choking on them, plus they can cause internal blockages as well. You could always get Buttercup (you could do this for all of the dogs, they love them) a kong, and freeze some plain fat free yogurt inside. (the kong stuffin' is pretty high in calories for a pug) She will work on that baby for a long time trying to get the yogurt out.

Anyways, that's just my two cents. My Maddie has free run of the house, but she doesn't chew or fight with Bijou. She just sleeps in her snuggle ball all day long. I know, because I've spied on her through the window when she thought I was gone. Also, Bijou wears soft claws, so I don't have to worry about my pugs delicate eyes. All of this is JMO, so take it with a grain of salt- I know that every household is different, and only you can decide what is right for your animals.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou's Mom View Post
Personally, I don't believe in crating dogs for long periods of time. Crated all day while you are at work, plus being crated all night IS REALLY a long time for your dogs to be locked up. I know ALOT of people that do it though. If you don't want them to have free run of the house, I think a better solution for daytime is to either put them in the kitchen (or what ever room you want to, I chose the kitchen because there usually isn't any carpeting) with a baby gate (sometimes you need to stack two of them if your dogs can jump or climb them) closing them into the area with beds and whatever else you think they need, such as toys and whatnot, or buying some xpens to put the dogs into with their beds and toys and whatever else. This way, the dogs will have alot more room to move, and will be seperated from the cats, unless the cats jump the gates and get into wherever the dogs are.

I know one of your dogs is a pug, please don't EVER leave her alone with bones or rawhides or greenies or anything of the like. I've read way to many stories about pugs choking to death from these things. I've actually had to use the heimlich with Maddie because she choked on a greenie once. She no longer gets greenies because of her gulping and choking on them, plus they can cause internal blockages as well. You could always get Buttercup (you could do this for all of the dogs, they love them) a kong, and freeze some plain fat free yogurt inside. (the kong stuffin' is pretty high in calories for a pug) She will work on that baby for a long time trying to get the yogurt out.

Anyways, that's just my two cents. My Maddie has free run of the house, but she doesn't chew or fight with Bijou. She just sleeps in her snuggle ball all day long. I know, because I've spied on her through the window when she thought I was gone. Also, Bijou wears soft claws, so I don't have to worry about my pugs delicate eyes. All of this is JMO, so take it with a grain of salt- I know that every household is different, and only you can decide what is right for your animals.
I wish closing them in the kitchen would be an option, but our house is mainly open with no doors except for the bedrooms and computer room. We tried putting them in the basement, but I guess they thought if they could move around, pooping on the floor was perfectly acceptable. But, the basement was a new place (and is unfinished with just concrete floors) so maybe they didn't realize they shouldn't do that there. I can't see putting 4 dogs (2 labs, a Samoyeed and a pug) all in one small room, especially since Buttercup and Brooke don't get along that great...they tolerate each other and that is about it. Both are VERY alpha.

We don't feed our dogs rawhides or greenies. The bones we get are real bones from the butcher, or the big coated bones you can get a walmart. And, we do check and make sure they aren't splintering when we gather them up. If they are getting to that point, in the trash they go.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
I wish closing them in the kitchen would be an option, but our house is mainly open with no doors except for the bedrooms and computer room. We tried putting them in the basement, but I guess they thought if they could move around, pooping on the floor was perfectly acceptable. But, the basement was a new place (and is unfinished with just concrete floors) so maybe they didn't realize they shouldn't do that there. I can't see putting 4 dogs (2 labs, a Samoyeed and a pug) all in one small room, especially since Buttercup and Brooke don't get along that great...they tolerate each other and that is about it. Both are VERY alpha.

We don't feed our dogs rawhides or greenies. The bones we get are real bones from the butcher, or the big coated bones you can get a walmart. And, we do check and make sure they aren't splintering when we gather them up. If they are getting to that point, in the trash they go.
I didn't realize that you had large dogs as well. I assumed that they were all small. I was shooting off my mouth without knowing sizes or if they agression issues. You didn't say that two of them are fighting for alpha role. I figured that they all got along..... My mistake

Ok, this changes things. If you have dogs that fight, (or are fighting because they want to assume the alpha role) then the best thing to do is to keep them seperated whenever you aren't around to supervise. If it's a matter of crating them for their own safety, then that's exactly what you should do. It would be horrid for you to come home to a hurt or dead dog.

Just make sure that when you get home, that they are getting plenty of playtime and excersise. I'm sure that you do, but I just have to say it.
post #7 of 18
Personally, I think crating all day and then again at night is too much crate time. Our crate is suitable for a Great Dane, but still not intended for more than a few hours a day.

We have a child gate on one of the bedrooms and this is the safe room for the cats. They have food and water in there. The dogs ignore that room, though I know they could easily get in there if they really wanted to.

We do lock the dogs up in our tiled room off of the kitchen (14 x 8) when we leave for the day as our Golden Retriever has has two bowel obstructions for eating inappropriate things. How he finds them, I have no idea. The rest of the time, they are with us.

FWIW, our dogs weigh in at 105, 88 and 82 lbs. The smaller ones are Old English Sheepdogs.
post #8 of 18
I also don't believe in crating for long periods of time, but I do lock the 3 of ours up in our sunroom, which is about 35x18. The only reason we lock them up is because our youngest is under a year old and we still haven't broken her of chewing, plus she is pretty rowdy and I don't want to leave her alone with the cats. Before we got Lola, we let our 2 boys run loose in the house. They are calm, leave the cats alone and get along great.

If yours don't get along, perhaps kennel one of the trouble makers and give the others a little bigger space?
post #9 of 18
As long as you're giving them adequate exercise before work and before bed then I don't see the problem in it.
post #10 of 18
I skimmed, but my 2 cents is this:

Don't crate them quite so much.
However, leaving 4 dogs loose together in the house will lead to lots of disaster.
Can you baby gate them in a room?
Otherwise rotate who gets out for the day to be loose?
post #11 of 18
I think that is way too long. Crating is supposed to be a tool used to help you housebreak your dogs and for other training. They're not supposed to be used for locking up your dogs for the majority of their time so you don't have to take the time to train them properly or sort out their issues.

When I have clients who restrict their dogs like this I usually either put them in a crate for a couple of hours and see how they like it or ask if they would do it to their children.

It would make more sense to me to restrict the cats' movement at night than to put four large dogs in crates where they have already been all day.

What is your yard like? Or do you live in an apartment?
post #12 of 18
Ok, I really was feeling quite hormonal when I wrote that last post. I just read it and it sounds a little harsh - sorry.

To rephrase, I think that even though dogs do sleep a lot of the time, forced inactivity for that long is not the best way to go. You may find that once they are used to being out of their crates, they may well (and most likely will) just settle down and sleep at night the same as you and the cats do.

I would certainly favour the dogs over the cats at night - I am assuming here that the cats get free reign to roam during the day? - and perhaps you could `crate' the cats at night (or restrict them somehow - I'm sure you'd be able to come up with something better than I could suggest not knowing your house).

Alternatively, if you have a back yard that is fenced in, is there any reason the dogs cannot be allowed outside during the day? With treats and bones and lots of play time?

You say that you are having hierarchy issues with two of your dogs. Are they neutered? They need to be allowed to sort it out - and once they have, you shouldn't have any issues with it anymore. What you are doing by constantly separating them is allowing the `conflict' to continue. With four dogs they need the opportunity to sort out for themselves who is the leader and who else belongs where. You can't do it for them, and you can't know what they're thinking or how they're going to work things out. We, as humans, cannot possibly hope to understand the myriad of ways in which dogs communicate with each other, and certainly we cannot hope to understand the depth of interpretation that goes on with sorting out their pack positions.

Trying to interfere by separating them, or favouring the one you would imagine to be the pack leader, will only confuse them and prolong the issue. It has nothing to do with size or strength or anything. If you had a Chihuahua it would have as much chance of becoming the pack leader as any other dog - they sort these things out for themselves in ways we cannot understand fully - although we may be able to scratch the surface.

But they do need to be supervised while they're sorting this out and it sounds like you don't have a great deal of time to do this. As it is, though, I feel they are spending way too much time in their crates and you need to find another option because the idea behind crating was not to use it the way you are using it, but as a tool to help with certain areas of training, and not much more.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
Ok, I really was feeling quite hormonal when I wrote that last post. I just read it and it sounds a little harsh - sorry.

To rephrase, I think that even though dogs do sleep a lot of the time, forced inactivity for that long is not the best way to go. You may find that once they are used to being out of their crates, they may well (and most likely will) just settle down and sleep at night the same as you and the cats do.

I would certainly favour the dogs over the cats at night - I am assuming here that the cats get free reign to roam during the day? - and perhaps you could `crate' the cats at night (or restrict them somehow - I'm sure you'd be able to come up with something better than I could suggest not knowing your house).

Alternatively, if you have a back yard that is fenced in, is there any reason the dogs cannot be allowed outside during the day? With treats and bones and lots of play time?

You say that you are having hierarchy issues with two of your dogs. Are they neutered? They need to be allowed to sort it out - and once they have, you shouldn't have any issues with it anymore. What you are doing by constantly separating them is allowing the `conflict' to continue. With four dogs they need the opportunity to sort out for themselves who is the leader and who else belongs where. You can't do it for them, and you can't know what they're thinking or how they're going to work things out. We, as humans, cannot possibly hope to understand the myriad of ways in which dogs communicate with each other, and certainly we cannot hope to understand the depth of interpretation that goes on with sorting out their pack positions.

Trying to interfere by separating them, or favouring the one you would imagine to be the pack leader, will only confuse them and prolong the issue. It has nothing to do with size or strength or anything. If you had a Chihuahua it would have as much chance of becoming the pack leader as any other dog - they sort these things out for themselves in ways we cannot understand fully - although we may be able to scratch the surface.

But they do need to be supervised while they're sorting this out and it sounds like you don't have a great deal of time to do this. As it is, though, I feel they are spending way too much time in their crates and you need to find another option because the idea behind crating was not to use it the way you are using it, but as a tool to help with certain areas of training, and not much more.
You have some very good points (and no offense taken at your first post...and BTW, I have tried out the crates. I had to make sure Brooke's new one was big enough )

We actually do have a very big yard. About 1/2 acre fenced in. I was wondering about leaving them outside during the day, but there really isn't much shade after about 4:00pm, and Brooke can't take the heat with her full coat. We are going to take and get her trimmed up for summer so maybe that will help. We are planning on planting some trees for shade but it will be a few years before they actually give enough shade to make a difference. Plus, we live on the edge of the woods, and there are too many big animals that are around, I really don't feel comfortable leaving out there for long periods of time with no one home. That is where they spend most of their time when we get home though, and they do play hard.

And, I don't want it to sound like Brooke and Buttercup are at each other's throats. Like I said, they have learned to "tolerate" each other. The main problem usually is if Buttercup is on the couch with me or DH, and Brooke comes up for lovings. Buttercup will chase her away.That is a jealousy issue I know. There have been a few instances over toys and bones, but nothing has gone past growling and snipping. Most of the time when we're home, Brooke prefers to stay outside and Buttercup is inside so it isn't too much of an issue.

I left everyone out when I went to town yesterday for about 4 hours, and the house was still in one piece, so I may try leaving them out when I go to work tomorrow. I will probably still crate them at night though. I normally don't go to bed until around midnight, and DH gets up at 6:30 am so that isn't too long. Plus they're used to that. Half the time, I find them in their crates already when I'm getting read and have to wake them up to go outside and potty!
post #14 of 18
I personally don't leave dogs loose; atleast for long periods of time...they like their kennels, and are perfectly happy to go into them when we have to leave them.

There are so many things a dog can do in a house all on his own...no matter how good they seem to be otherwise. Mine actually seem to be more stressed out if I let them stay loose, rather than crate them when I leave; they have more room to roam and be anxious...so I crate; rather than come home to scraped up floors, or possibly worse, like chewed cords, freaked out cats (cause dog decided to chase), and other hosts of accidents.

That you have two that only 'tolerate' one another, would be another good reason to leave things as they are; they are safer in their kennels, cause they are safe from one another!!!

But then, I can take them to work with me, so it is only on days that I am off, or when hubby and I go out on a date, or have other 'non doggy' running to do that they have to stay home in their kennels; they are always exercised before locking them up, too, and they get a stuffed Kong, and a bone of some sort to chew on in the crate. One of my dogs is loose at night (though she doesn't even bother to move anywhere) and sleeps next to my side of the bed; our other one has to be crated, because she cannot be trusted fully around our kitties yet. I won't take a chance of her chasing when we are trying to sleep...it's not like the cats don't do enough bumping and crazy zoomies in the night as it is; let alone adding a dog chasing them up the walls!!!!
post #15 of 18
IMO that is WAY too long. So the dogs are crated all day while you are at work AND at night? My 3 dogs have free roam at night and are put in an outdoor kennel when i'm gone. I got a small kennel from home depot and a dog house and keep them in it during the day while i'm gone.
post #16 of 18
Bear only gets crated when I have to leave him alone after dark.
He eats the screen door if left on his own, but only after dark.

When he was still having destructive tendancies all the time, he was crated anytime he was alone, and spent the nights in his crate with the door left open.

I agree though, your dogs should be allowed to firmly establish their place in the pack, then they'll stop the fighting.
post #17 of 18
I would say its not really fair to lock your dogs up for most of the day and then all night as well. If you think they can be trusted, let them have one room while you're at work. We shut ours in our kitchen while we're out. Its fair enough that they're shut up when you need to sleep, but in the day, they need room to play together, especially as they're all young dogs. If you're worried about your cats just let them have free roam of the rest of the house.
Don't forget that in the wild the dogs would be free to roam and play 24/7. Also, do they get plenty of exercise? As in 3 walks per day at least 20 minutes long?
post #18 of 18
My friend with 7 dogs suggests that they be crated when unsupervised for the first 2 years of its life then from there it all depends on personality. Some might be fine uncrated while others need to be crated. But that's with proper exercise at least twice a day, an hour in the morning and an hour at night.
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