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Thoughts on crating puppies?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was just curious as to what people thought about crating. I had recently got a puppy (guess its been about a month) and we crate him while we are at work. His crate schedule is as follows. 8-11, get let out for two hours (occasionally only 1 hour) 1-4. So he’s in there about 3-4 hours, then a break then another three to four hours.

Of course I brag about my puppy at work and it seems everyone thinks I am cruel for keeping him crated. The majority of people have said or suggested that I should keep him tied up outside all day long… alone… my little 7 month old puppy… That just seems crazy to me! I’m not really one who takes suggestions to heart so I usually tell them there’s no way in hell and they says ok fine, since I don’t think they really care lol.

My boy has a great home, gets fed really good food, gets way too many toys, 2 walks a day, snuggles all the time, has two brothers to hang with, we also just bought him a brand new fence on our large lot so he can run around like a freakazoid, he is overall a happy boy. I really don’t see how me crating him is cruel, IMO I think tying him outside is unsafe, after all, he is only a puppy. Am I just over protective? Just wanted to get your opinions on this. Not on my situation particularly (unless you want to use it as an example) but over all thoughts on this.
post #2 of 17
I've always found crating young dogs to be a good idea. It's FAR better than tying your dog out which is illegal in some places. When I worked with animal rescue, we found that giving dogs their own crate was sort of like giving them their own space. They felt safe there and many dogs would go back to their crates to nap even when all the doors were open and everyone could roam free. It sounds like your dog has a great home with plenty of time to get out and stretch.
post #3 of 17
I think crating is far better IMO, than letting him loose in the house (to get into who knows what), tying him outside (to get tangled in the roap, stolen, etc., or being left outside get stolen or get into who knows what...

I think that as long as he is out of the crate for as long as possible when you're home and awake, there shouldn't be any problems. I haven't had an inside dog as of yet, but my friend, who is a trainer, has a chihuahua mix that she crated while at work...The dog would sleep 100% of the time she was in the crate, then when she got home, she was "ready to go". When she was at home and the dog was out of the crate, she still slept ~75% of the time (the other 25% was spent getting into stuff and harassing the cat).

If you feel bad about boredom, etc. when he's crated, you might want to look into leaving him with a kong toy that has been stuffed w/ kibble, peanut butter, yogurt, etc and then frozen...He would spend at least 20 - 30 minutes trying to get the food out and amuse himself in the process (this will also make crate time a very "good thing" in his mind, as he only gets his special treat kong when going in the crate). You could budget out a certain portion of his kibble to be fed that way, so you don't have to worry about him gaining too much weight.

All of that said, in a perfect world, we'd be home with our dogs all the time (or we'd all have jobs where we could take them with us, etc... BUT crating is far safer than doing any of the other things (leaving alone, tied, etc.). When I eventually get a house w/ yard I am planning on getting a dog, either adult rescue or puppy...and I can tell you that he will be crated while I'm least until he is fully adult and 100% trustworthy with the cats.

Perhaps if all the nay-sayers knew how much easier house breaking was with a crate and how the dogs go into them of their own free will, to nap, they wouldn't have such a negative opinion of crating.

post #4 of 17

Thor has been crated ever since we got him at 10 weeks old in October. He's on amost the exact same schedule your pup is on. Out in the morning out at noon and out by 5pm. It's not the greatest life, but he's still a pup and still learning.

I have been starting to leave him out while we are gone for an hour. It seems to be going well, but I'm still not ready to leave him uncrated all day.
post #5 of 17
People are morons. They see a crate as punishment. I see it as my dogs "den", there 'safety zone'.

Yes, crates are used improperly SO much. But when they are shut in them all day, 24/7, then they are useful for many things.
post #6 of 17
My thoughts.
Crates when used properly are humane for puppies. Dogs are den animals as puppies. They can keep puppy out of trouble so puppy doesn’t eat bad things inside the home while you aren’t there to watch them and die or get hurt badly from that behavior. They can help teach potty training. They encourage puppy to have a safe calm nice place to rest, a place of their own, which is important. They help when puppy has to travel and can be safe and secure in a crate or at the vet or groomers, these people use crates.

Make sure the crate is the right size, give the dog a water pail, and a safe toy or stuffed Kong to occupy their time if they don’t go to sleep right away. Put soft bedding if they won’t eat it and make an impaction. If they do eat it, use a mat that is indestructible so they have something soft to lay on. Many dogs like their crates, teach them to go inside, say a word, like kennel up, toss a special cookie inside. Never use the crate for punishment, never let them out if they act bad like throw a fit (that will just reward their bad behavior), and never leave them in there for more than 4 hours at a time, they need to be let out, played with, potty breaks, stretch, etc. A crate is not to be used for confinement per say in your home, in my case it is for training purposes, it means the dog cannot be trusted yet in the house, and is like using a playpen for a baby to keep the baby out of harms way when you can't 100% watch baby. There will be a time when the crate is no longer needed.

If someone crates their puppy while they are away working all day, they don’t need to have a puppy, or they need to make other arrangements such as doggie daycare or hiring someone to come in to break the day up for the puppy and give them the attention they need and deserve. Leaving a dog in the backyard is a horrible idea for many reasons, they can get stolen, eat something that hurts or kills them, they can get loose over or under the fence and run away and get ran over, they are subject to the weather changes storms and excessive cold or heat, a dog house is not the best form of protection, they can be obnoxious and bored learning to bark and dig and tear up the yard for mental stimulation. It isn’t healthy to get a dog and throw them in the backyard, get a plant if you want something that stays outside that requires little contact. Dogs are pack animals. Dogs should NEVER be tied up and left like that, that is very wrong and one of the worst things to do to a dog for hours IMO. Some states have laws against this form of animal cruelty. Those people are ignorant who tell you this. And in some cases, they are encouraging you do something to your much loved animal that is downright illegal, not to mention unsafe and cruel IMO.
post #7 of 17
I used a crate for my lab when she was a puppy. It helped a great deal with housetraining, and it kept her from chewing up stuff. I stopped using the crate once she was fully mature and housebroken. My lab was never fond of the crate, but many dogs will go and lie in it when the door is open, they see it as a safe place.

My lab will go seek out small dark places to lie. Sometimes my dog will go and lie in the small bathroom on the ground floor of our house; its dark and feels like a den to her, I guess.
post #8 of 17
I agree that when used correctly, crates are wonderful and IMO necessary for puppies. My dog is now 14, but when we got her we crated her - we kinda had to regardless because our kitchen was being re-done at the time and the workers were in there with the doors open during the day... crating worked very well for us and we would leave the crate out and open when we were home and she would often go in to sleep/get away from a then 10-year-old me (my cat's crate is always out as well and he sleeps in it sometimes).... we started weening her of the crate in little bits (can't remember how old she was when this started) like we would go down the street to pizza hut for dinner and leave her out of the crate and see how she did... then we left her out for longer periods until she didn't need the crate anymore

Tying the dog out IMO is NOT even an option! Crates are not cruel - they give the dog a sense of security and a "safe place" to go to.
post #9 of 17
Oh and as for "denning" my 14 year old lab's "den" is now the concrete slab under the deck in the yard haha... she even dug a hole in the dirt in the garden next to the deck under the eaves.... silly thing
post #10 of 17
Lulu's been crated since she was a puppy. It means that she has a safe 'bed' and she obeys very well when told to go to bed or get into her carrier. It means she behaves when we're gone too, since she still does the puppy-destroyer-game.
post #11 of 17
I have 2 friends, one giving the dog away and the other taking the dog. Deb (the one taking the dog) took the dog overnight for a trial run. The dog was understandably nervous and found his safe spot in the crate that he traveled in. Rose, the one giving the dog away, said the dog likes to spend time in the crate. She has 3 youngs boys and the crate is his safe spot at home too. So, in this case, the crate is great, and not cruel at all, as a matter of fact, the dog enjoys being in it!
post #12 of 17
I don't know who would think that's cruel. I mean, think about all the accidents that happen outside. If you leave it tied up, it could struggle so much that it could break its neck. And if it's small enough, other bigger animals could threaten it... AND not to mention the weather, WHEREVER you are these days, is totally unpredictable.

Let's think about a crate. It becomes their "home." They learn not to make themselves uncomfortable in it by pooping or peeing, etc. Most of them find it comforting and cozy to be away from their owner in.

Crates are truly the best way to go if you have to leave puppy behind. It's sad when they whine and such at first, but they must learn somehow. And it's MUCH better than putting them in danger outside, or letting the house be in danger while you're gone.

And, I hate to keep bringing this up, but people recognize that most people with PHds know what they're talking about. My dad is a vet professor. He and all of his colleagues at the vet school agree crate training is extremely humane and helpful.

Hope that helps... don't feel guilty. They MUST learn, and it's safe for them.
post #13 of 17
Well I'd say definitely crating is better than tying a dog outside where people who hate dogs can do all sorts of stuff eg poison your pup/steal it etc.

As long as the crate is a comfy size for your pup and he has something to occupy himself with, I say go for it.

As for dogs treating the crate as their safe place, I don't have a dog, but my cats used to think of their pet carrier as their nap spot sometimes. Cassie would go in there to get away from her rambunctious son Wukong. ( I left the carrier on the floor with the door open so that they wouldn't be threatened by it the next time they needed to be transported).
post #14 of 17
We don't crate our dogs or our new puppy (my parents' new puppy actually) and they think crating is cruel. I honestly do NOT think it's cruel. it saves your dog/puppy from getting into stuff and getting hurt by chewing through wires of a tv or something that is plugged in. It also saves you from cleaning up a whole bunch of paper or what have you clothes, shoes, etc.. it's very safe but you don't have to crate them when you're at home unless you can't watch them like lets say you're in the living room and the dog/pup is somewhere else "investigating" and being curious and getting themselves into mischief like getting tissue out of the bathroom garbage or sanitary napkins or chewing up your favorite pair of shoes or swallowing pennies, thumb tacks, etc.

It is just a very good idea to crate while you're not home especially with a puppy. Most dogs/pups adjust to crates well and LOVE their "den"
post #15 of 17
I don't think it's cruel, but I do think it's overrated and gets misused a lot. There are too many people out there who think it has magical properties that make a dog able to "hold" it for outrageously long times. Also it is also often advised in cases where a dog has separation anxiety when in fact a crate can make things worse not better.
It's like any tool - used properly it's a great help, used improperly it can be harmful.
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
People are morons. They see a crate as punishment. I see it as my dogs "den", there 'safety zone'.
Which is all they were ever intended to be used as. I agree with you - many dogs love their crates when used correctly by their owners. Sounds like the OP is doing it the right way - so sad that there are so many out there, though, who don't use them so responsibly.
post #17 of 17
We have always had dogs and when we got our new Cocker last year we were told we needed to get a crate for him, we really struggled with it as we thought it cruel. I have definitely changed my mind. Our 2 yr. old that we got last year has graduated to whole house privileges and never crated. Our 9 mos. old pup is still crated and being gradually given more privileges. Neither dog objects to the crate and in fact the older one will go in it to sleep. It can be a good thing but I agree there is too much abuse. They should have toys and water if they are going to be in it for long. It is a great help in housebreaking because they will not go in thier living area under normal circumstances.
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