Can anyone explain how crating dogs isn't cruel?

(216 Posts)
DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 13:10:35

I am not trying to be controversial. I am genuinely shocked by the crating "trend". I am aware that lots of people do this. But I cannot understand how locking the dog in a crate is at all fair or beneficial to the dog. I can however see how locking the dog in a crate is very beneficial to the owner. Is there any justification in terms of it being beneficial to dogs that I really can't see?

Dalahorse, our pup is 9 months old and loves to chew things. His favourite targets are toilet brushes, sofa cushions, remote controls, electrical cables and the carpet.
His crate is huge ( can fit all 4 of my children in it!) and I do hope that we will be able to leave it open once he is older and more trustworthy but I'm guess that will be some months off.
Our older dog needs to be in the same room as him as she has separation anxiety, and she hates closed internal doors so we are limited to where we can leave her if we don't want to howling the house down.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 18:56:17

Of course I would put my baby in a crib - but it's a baby - totally helpless and unaware of its surroundings.

A dog has an awareness, is mobile and is not in any danger roaming freely, as long as you keep an eye on it when it's a young puppy and keep dangerous things out of reach -just like you would with a human child.

Getting enough exercise will usually prevent any destructive behaviour anyway.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 19:00:04

When crate training, how does a dog become "trustworthy" and learn not to chew things if its in a crate?

LtEveDallas Fri 03-May-13 19:07:39

Getting enough exercise will usually prevent any destructive behaviour anyway

Giving a puppy too much exercise (ie to the point that he is too tired to chew) is actually dangerous for a puppy's long term health. It is easy to damage a puppy's growing joints and tendons by over exercising.

Puppies teethe, they need to chew which is why a good owner ensures that puppy has suitable chew toys. Unfortunately when owner is fast asleep you cannot control what the puppy thinks is suitable grin

I'm not interested in arguing, but I've been there. Mutt nearly died (as it was she lost 3 teeth and burnt her mouth pretty badly) and I wouldn't want anyone to go through that, it was horrible for all of us.

I can understand why people wouldn't want to crate overnight - why do you think I didn't do it? But honestly, I've come to realise that actually it's probably a very good idea for a pup in the early days. It's not cruel or just 'for the owners convenience', it is a safety measure that I wish I'd thought of before.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 19:28:48

What did people do in the past before crates though? They would have been more thorough to put away electrical wires maybe? confused

The reason being, unless you are to crate the puppy 24/7, there will be occasion that they are are freely moving around. And unless you are watching them every second of every minute, then they will have chance to do something when you aren't looking.

So basically they have opportunity to chew through wires during their non-crated time too. If you aren't crating 24/7 then what do you do about wires when the puppy is allowed to move freely? Surely better to puppy-proof the house full stop than crate and hope for the best the rest of the time? accidents can happen in the non-crated times too!

And to be honest, part of welcoming a puppy is puppy-proofing a house, just as it is toddler-proofing for a toddler. If you can't do it or don't want to then why have a puppy? It's part of the general notion that to some people, dogs are accessories and the more unpopular parts of their natural behaviour (puddles, chewing) can be eliminated by putting them in a crate and saying it's for their own good.

This still doesn't explain crating for older dogs who don't chew either.

Also, the difference between a utility room with a bed in it and a crate with a bed in it is the ability to walk more than two feet (depending on the size of the utility room - if its square footage left due to washer/dryer etc is no bigger than a crate, then it's no better than a crate!

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 19:30:39

Mine is only 9 months old as well - I don't have an empty room and he'll chew walls and doors anyway. I can't take him to my bedroom like I did with previous dogs his age because he's not allowed to do stairs. Like I said my plan was to stop using it once he'd finished teething, I hadn't counted on him still being this chewy. It's not even that I'm particularly houseproud...it's that he's a numpty, I regularly have to tell him to drop coins or leave wires, it is exactly like having a toddler, lol.

I know of people (not close friends) who stick dogs in crates because their perfectly normal dog behaviour is annoying or shut them in all day while they work full time - that is cruel and purely for convenience IMO.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 19:32:32

Last post was not to you specifically LtEve, it was a crossed post made as general observation. I understand your experience must have been horrific.

I don't think that exercise solves destructive behaviour in a puppy. What we call destructive, they call exploring. Destructive behaviour is different in an older dog. They destruct because they are distressed.

LtEveDallas Fri 03-May-13 19:37:05

What did people do in the past before crates though? They would have been more thorough to put away electrical wires maybe

Wow. Ok, now we know what kind of person you are. I'll leave you to it, you obviously have years more experience and training than me (by the way - almost all rescues crate train puppies before they to to their new homes, it has cut returns drastically. But I'm sure you know better)

cleoowen Fri 03-May-13 19:41:20

Our dog loves her crate and goes in it through choice when she wants some quiet time.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 19:47:24

I don't know what you mean by knowing what kind of person I am LtEve but I know I am a very nice person who cares greatly about animal welfare, as it happens, as I'm sure you care too. I am sure you are a very caring dog owner, you certainly sound like it. And I know accidents happen. And what happened to your dog was an awful accident.

But I can't see that crates solve the chewing through wires problem!!!!!! The wires are still there when the puppy is out of the crate!

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 19:49:03

cleoown do you close the door behind her, out of interest?

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 19:49:41

cleoowen mis-spellled, apologies.

LtEveDallas Fri 03-May-13 19:57:13

But I can't see that crates solve the chewing through wires problem!!!!!! The wires are still there when the puppy is out of the crate

But the puppy ISN'T. Or the puppy is being watched by it's now awake owner. Bit hard to watch the puppy when you are asleep - and how many people actually unplug their bedside lamps at the wall when they go to bed?

Putting puppies in crates overnight is NOT cruel. It keeps them safe. Your OP asks for any justification or benefit for dogs. I gave you one, but instead of saying "Oh, I didn't think of that" and accepting it, you were sarcastic about 'being more thorough'. That's what I mean about knowing what kind of person you are.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 20:29:03

ltevedallas you're being unnecessarily defensive. No ones "arguing" with you, just expressing a different opinion on the use of crates, as is the purpose of this forum.

I think what pp was just saying that dog proofing an area or room is easy enough and will allow the dog to move freely - which some people would see as very important but as crate training is now so commonplace clearly not everyone does.

When I mentioned providing a dog with sufficient exercise to avoid destructive behaviour, I wasn't for a minute suggesting over excessing a puppy - which all dog experienced owners know isn't a good thing. I just know a couple of crated dogs who spend hours locked in there, when they are let out they go hyperactive and over excited and could probably just do with a longer walk to help calm them down.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 20:35:16

We let our puppy have free run of the living room the first few nights we had him and he chewed through the broadband wire (luckily I was the broadband and not the tv or the computer). We tried crating him at night when he was tiny which was ok for a while, now he sleeps in his basket, sometimes he choses to sleep in the crate with the door open (we don't shut him in at night), hopefully in time we wont need to crate him at all but at the moment he jumps all over my other dog and then she gets fed up with him (I cant trust her 100% to be alone with him).

I think its up to the owner and depends on their life style and house set up to weather they use a crate, puppy pen or stair gates, for us the crate works well for when I need to pop out (to do the school run), he's never left for long, I we go out for the day then I would get someone to look after him.

idirdog Fri 03-May-13 20:37:02

Most people do not need to crate older dogs, although crate dogs would be devastated if you take away their crate smile

Crates are not to stop puppies chewing just to keep puppies safe for short periods of time. They are also great for teaching a dog to relax, puppies will keep going get over stimulated and tired. However pop them in the crate they relax and get much needed sleep.

No one is making you use a crate so don'.t if you don't want to but do think of some of the advantages

1. Your puppy will be safe
2. Your puppy learns to relax
3. If introduced correctly dogs lurrrrrrrrvee their crates
4. Dogs feel secure
5. Prepares dogs if they ever have to be hospitalised
6. Crate save lives if used in cars (close friend died being in a car accident and GSD came flying through the car and broke her neck instantly. Dog had to be put down as well) - that alone is a good enough reason to teach a dog to like a crate for me
7.Dogs can find house training easier
8. Dogs can be taught impulse control, waits etc using a crate very easily
9. If you ever stay in another house, etc your dog will be 100% comfortable if he has his crate
10.Any dog involved in dogs sports will be used to relaxing in a crate which can be essential if competing
11. Play Susan Garrett Crate Games with your puppy great fun for both you and your dog - they will love them. Great training and bonding.
12. There are more but if you do not have an open mind I doubt you have got this far

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 20:41:38

I wasn't being sarcastic. I was being genuine. Perhaps for some people, crates are a lazy option and they would rather put the puppy in the crate than spend time puppy-proofing. Back in the day when there weren't crates, perhaps people did turn more attention to wires because of this problem. If you re-read my sentence without the sarcastic filter, it is a genuine query-observation. I don't do sarcastic by the way, I really loathe it.

The fact you feel so strongly is actually good to hear because your concern for your dogs welfare is really coming across rather than someone who might not care enough to bother posting or explaining why they use the crate facility.

I can see the logic behind puppies in crates but I am worried that it breeds lazy dog-crating for the future. That's why I can't hand on heart accept it as a good thing as an alternative to puppy-proofing, because I feel it's so open to misuse.

I love dogs just as much as you do . We are on the same page. honestly. smile

Keeping the puppy safe has always swung it for me. Safe from unwanted attention, safe from other animals, safe from being stood on, safe from having stuff dropped on them...Yep, love the crate. My older dog stopped being crated at 6 months when he naturally out grew it. However, when I brought the crate back in for the younger dog, the elder one got straight in it and got wedged grin.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 20:50:05

Do you have the same number of wires now that you did, 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago? I don't, I have hundreds of the stupid things, I'm pretty sure they breed.

I also have a puppy that can reach up to five feet off the ground and jaws strong enough to break lamb bones with one bite.

Exactly how do I puppyproof a house short of emptying a room I don't have and shutting him in that instead of a crate?

Willowisp Fri 03-May-13 20:55:23

Hmmm...well my dog has a seat belt attachment to her harness

She sleeps in her bed at night

She sleeps at night

She only chews her chews of which she has a selection always on the go.

She isn't lonely because there is usually someone home with her.

She's learnt impulse control via waiting for treats

We tell young visitors to leave her alone.

If she gets ill, I don't have any worries about her being crated at the vets <<at all>>

I say no to crates...although they are do seem good for storing stuff on grin

idirdog Fri 03-May-13 21:03:44

Whats this with all the wires? confused

Crates have been around for years they are not new 83 years by guide dogs for the blind smile - they are not building a lazy lot of dog owners far from it - look at crate games for example smile

However it is your choice some people use paper to house train (waste of time and energy) but if you want to do it your choice

If you want to puppy proof your house (Never needed to myself as my dogs are well stimulated and supervised) it is up to you

If you want to use a crate do so your choice

Impulse control with treats is just the tip of the iceberg! use a crate and see what fun you can have with your dog rather than just boringly make them wait before they can eat

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 21:04:40

tabularasa good point re number of wires probably increasing in recent years. However looking around the room I can't see any because I have toddlers and I don't want them to get to the wires any more than a puppy. I am not being facetious, it is the truth. I don't want my 2yo to get my hairdryer any more than a puppy, so I unplug it and put it out of reach after use.

Thinking all around the house - there are no loose or dangling wires in the kitchen, in the lounge or dining room or hallway (all are in cable tidies or behind furniture including the internet and phone wires).

The bedroom I do have bedside tables with lamps but they are tucked behind the headboard and I don't leave toddler in my room unattended anyway. If I had a puppy I would probably put a baby gate on the bedroom door.

In the childrens rooms there are no lamps - just an overhead light and a childs night light (battery operated) all the plug sockets have socket covers on.

In fact you would be hard pushed to see a single wire in my house excepting for the toaster and kettle and they are on the kitchen worksurface (pushed out of reach behind the appliances plus they are the very short kinds anyway).

So in short it is possible to safety-cable the house.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 21:15:37

I have teenagers, the wires increase at a daily rate, I fully expect to wake up unable to get out of bed one morning because there's no longer room for me with all the cables...

Mine aren't hanging about loose in any room he has access to - they're behind furniture, he can get behind furniture, anything I can move, he can.

If I had a littler dog it maybe wouldn't be an issue, but there really isn't anywhere he couldn't get to if I wasn't there to stop him and he's still silly enough to try. His crate is huge and takes up loads of my room, so I'd really rather not have one - but I don't want to get up one morning to find him electrocuted or choked on sofa stuffing.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 21:44:42

Good point about teenagers. At the moment DH and I can control the wires but there will come a point where we can't!

So, so true, tabulahrasa! And teens tend to be less careful, even though they know the dog's safety is vital.

Perhaps the best thing would be to cage train the teenager! grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now