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?

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 13:17:26

When it is done properly, the dog sees it as his sanctuary. If it gets too loud in the house, if my DD has friends over, he takes himself off to his crate for some 'me' time. Everyone respects that it is his space and no one is allowed to disturb him in there.

Also, in dogs that like to chew, they are better off being left safely in their crate with suitable chew toys, than left to electrocute themselves on cables, or end up with perforated bowels due to shredding skirting boards.

The same as Lilcamper. We put our lab puppy in a crate at night from the word go - and it helped her to become house trained much more quickly, because she didn't want to soil her bed, so would wait until the morning, then go when we let her out.

And it became her safe place - she would go in there whenever she wanted to (we left the door open all the time, except at night), and she clearly found it a comfortable and safe place to be.

It also meant she was safe if we had to go out and leave her home alone, when she was still in the chewing everything phase.

She is in a proper bed now, but it is in the same place as the cage was (under the stairs) to maintain that safe place feeling.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 13:20:38

I'm keen to hear the response too because from my many successful years of dog breeding, training, owning, my common sense and my logic all go against the idea of crating.

My theory is that it's an American practice that's come over here in the past 10 years, probably because of web forums and the availability of American written training books online. From American books and forums they seem to use less reward based training and more dominance - generally speaking. I'm not comfortable with this.

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 13:27:51

I am completely against outdated dominance theory. Totally force free positive training here. His crate was initially to keep him safe as a pup, also a Labrador that was liable to chew anything, last theming we wanted was for him to be able to hurt himself.

he house trained really quickly too.

He is out of the chewing phase now so the door to the crate is always left open.

If anything were to happen where he needed an op and complete rest a.he wouldn't panic on waking from an anaesthetic in the vets and finding himself in a crate because he is used to it and b. if he had an injury that required him to rest, he would happily while away his time in his crate, because he is used to it.

pigsDOfly Fri 03-May-13 13:40:02

My dog loved her crate when she was small, and if I had to leave her to go shopping I knew she was safe and couldn't do anything to hurt herself. When she decided she no longer wanted to have that space to herself I put it away.

It's only cruel if it's used as a punishment or the dog is shut in when it doesn't want to be or for a long time. Otherwise it's no different from having the dog's bed anywhere else in the house.

My dog's mother gave birth in a crate in the breeder's living room because that's where she felt safe.

When my daughter's dog was a puppy if anything scared her while she was playing in the garden, such as a long bang or car door slamming, she'd rush back into the house and straight into her crate.

Obviously if the dog doesn't like it then yes it is cruel, but otherwise, if used properly, excellent.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 03-May-13 13:44:45

In our family we have been using crates since 1971 when the first croft ones became avaliable. My Dad shows so very useful for transporting several dogs safely to shows. When at home the crates are in his office with the doors open all day. You will often find at least one dog asleep in a crate even though they have access to multiple beds in the breakfast room and conservatory in a wide variety of places.
Use correctly they are an excellent sanctuary for dogs which they freely use of their own volition.
So definitely not recent arrival.

cq Fri 03-May-13 13:48:21

Yep, my two love their crate. They take themselves off for naps at all times of day, both curl up together in one big crate quite happily. They've always associated it with peace, safety and treats, so it's just their sanctuary. Door is left open and they come and go as they like.

It's really useful now to be able to shut them away when needed, for example when workmen are in the house and the doors & garden gates are open. They don't mind a bit, just sleep until I open the door again. Also useful in thunderstorms, and presently I shut them in at night as they have taken to waking up early and barking at pigeons through the french doors.

As long as they are properly introduced to it and not left in it for the majority of time, I see no problem.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 13:49:56

Mine is crated - it is where he goes to hide if something scares him, it's where he goes when he's stolen something and he chooses to sleep in there about half the amount of time when he has free choice.

He's only shut in there for about 6 hours overnight and when I have to go do something where he can't go. I don't work, so it's an hour or so every few days. He goes in there willingly and is always asleep when I get back.

The plan was to use it till he was housetrained and finished teething, but, he's still chewing everything, I can tell him to stop when I'm here... But god only knows what he'd eat if he was loose when there's no-one here.

So yes, a bed would do what he wants to use it for, but I'm happier knowing he's safe when I can't watch him.

HormonalHousewife Fri 03-May-13 13:51:39

My dog is not locked in hers. She used to be as a pup for an hour or two and night.

She chooses it rather than her rug in the kitchen.

lurcherlover Fri 03-May-13 13:53:33

Don't forget a dog doesn't understand the notion of a cage or the connotations. Done properly, it's a den, pure and simple.

Agree that there is potential for abuse though if people use them as cages and leave dogs in there for hours on end.

Imsosorryalan Fri 03-May-13 13:54:46

Some dogs, like mine cannot cope with having the run of the house. She did initially but has a very nervous character. So any noise outdoors and she was on her guard, never relaxed.
The crate is covered on top and sides and she loves the cosyness of it.
Also, she tends to follow me from room to room, even if she's busy with a toy/ treat. You can almost see her sigh with relief when she goes in and I shut the door. grin

I think a lot of dogs like 'caves'. We don't have a crate but my dogs will often curl up behind the sofa.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 14:01:48

House training is easy enough and must be less stressful for the dog if its done not through the fear and discomfort of pooing in its own bed.

Just saying, there are other options to how you train your dog.

It's not cruel, it's like a secure place for them to go. My dog trainer thoroughly recommends them - all his are crated for large parts of the day.

My eldest dog wasn't used to the crate, and never really took to it even when he was younger - used to sratch like billy-o to get out. We've had several issue with where he sleeps - for a while it was on the couch, but then he started peeing in the house again (he's 6), so we couldn't let him have the full run of the house. So now he sleeps in the kitchen with the door closed (though he scratches and scrapes at it too.)

Little dog was crated from an early age, and is very content to go into her "house". She sleeps there, goes in there while I'm having a shower, shows every sign that she is keen to go there.

So no, it's not cruel. Can be very benficial for both dog and owner if used properly from a young age.

Lilcamper Fri 03-May-13 14:05:01

Mine was in his crate next to my bed and was taken out to the garden every time he stirred in the night, no fear or discomfort there, right next to Mum and Dad's bed, knowing we were there and no chance of chewing on bedside light cables or anything else.

nemno Fri 03-May-13 14:09:26

Crating isn't something I've done with my own dogs and I was a bit concerned when my parents started it with a new dog (based on advice from my SIL a veterinary nurse). I now have no problem with it as long as it is done the way my folks have, the dog loves her crate and goes in it whenever she wants (often). It is now left open at all times.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 14:12:45

I have 2 dogs, one is crated when I go out and doesn't mind (we introduced him to the crate slowly and he now will get in there on his own and will chose to sleep in there), we tried a crate for my other dog when she was a pup and she didn't like it at all so we don't crate her. I have to crate my other dog as I don't trust my other dog alone with him when i'm not at home. The only time he is crated now is when I go out (which is only the school run and when I do food shop) and when the dd's are eating, though he is getting better at not grabbing food so doesn't always need to be crated now.

I don't think its cruel if used correctly, I would not leave my dog in a crate if he was distressed and didn't like it in their.

It has also helped with toilet training and he's now fully house trained.

cathpip Fri 03-May-13 14:21:37

We have a large crate that we got from when our youngest dog was a pup, purely as we have an open plan house and unattended at night would not have been safe. The door used to be locked (at night) but is now always open, its our pups safe place were he knows he can get some peace from the kids (they are not allowed to touch dog when he is in his crate) Funnily enough we also have a 6 year old rescue who we knew little about before rehoming and he is always in the crate, they both love it, if they didn't they would not go in there voluntarily

CalamityKate Fri 03-May-13 14:29:02

It's not complicated really.

Dogs are den animals. They naturally LIKE to snuggle in cosy places. My older dog likes to squeeze in the gap between two chairs and they both like it under the table.

To my dogs the crate is their own cosy space where they are never disturbed. They are out of the way and can't get stepped on accidentally. It's a place where they quite often get extra special things like raw bones or filled kongs.

Of course if they were confined to their crate for hours on end it would stop being a good place to be but any tool can be misused.

Frettchen Fri 03-May-13 14:30:25

I, and my family, have had dogs for 10-15 years now, and I was very anti-crating until quite recently. My cousin recently got a puppy, and has found the crate really handy for managing the dog, and giving her a place to go.

I think I'd still be a bit hesitant about using one in the house myself, but I have just got one to be used in the car as my older dog doesn't travel well in the new car, and I think a crate would make travelling easier and safer. If I were to get a new dog I wouldn't be getting a puppy, so would probably expect to only crate in the car.

tabulahrasa Fri 03-May-13 14:31:43

I didn't housetrain mine through fear and discomfort of pooing in his bed. hmm

I did it by standing outside with him for what felt like weeks like everyone else with a puppy. But if he had an accident while I wasn't there to watch him then I knew where to look, lol.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 15:47:51

My dog has not got a fear of pooing in his own bed hmm, he actually pooed in there the other day smile, its not a fear of pooing in there (why would there be any fear, its just common sense to most animals not to shit in their own bed. Don't you think we still had to stand outside with him every half an hour, praising him? hmm of course we did.

My dog is happy in a crate for an hour or so when I go out, its either that or he gets beaten up by my other dog so surely he is safer asleep with door on his cage closed whilst I am out?

I was against crating until I got my 2nd pup, with my first dog I bought a crate to use in the car, she hated being in at and would chew at the bars so I felt it was cruel to use one but now with pup 2 it is a god send and he is happy to sleep in there, most of his day consists of lying on the sofa or running around the garden so he's not shut in a cage all day (just when I pop out).

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 03-May-13 15:53:01

When feral dogs like to create a 'den' to sleep in, somewhere safe, such as a disused shed, in deep thickets, old boxes etc. The crate, effectively is a den, where the dog feels safe and secure.

Only one of my dogs has a crate, the one we have had from a pup, she loves her crate, it is her sanctuary and the place she will retire to if she is scared/wants to be left alone. When she had a larger crate the other dogs would voluntarily go in there for some peace and quiet.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 03-May-13 15:59:56

My little dog has a very big crate but I do not agree with crate training.
I truly believe in a few years time trends will reverse and everyone will be shock and deny they ever did it.... <ducks>....

I do believe they have their uses though.As I said,mine small dog has a large dog crate as his bed. It is mainly so that if we stay somewhere else or go camping he has a safe place he can be put and where he feels secure.

He is only ever shut in there if we are somewhere else or if we have children round to play who are worried by dogs. He doesn't mind at all being shut in,but I would only do it for a reason and not as a matter of course.

Willowisp Fri 03-May-13 16:00:20

My dog has a crate...probably because it seemed the 'must have acessory' & we have a cat & I was afraid our new dog (a rescue) might eat or attack over night.

I think from about 6 mths of having her i left the door open & sometimes she sleeps in it, some time she sleeps in the lounge in another bed or on the sofa.

I wonder if people crate their dog because they don't have enough control or their dog isn't walked or exercised enough ? I realize I'm not a dog, but I'd hate to be confirmed to a small space for a number of hrs. Our dog is always moving from one 'resting' place to another.

Bunnylion Fri 03-May-13 16:33:26

verysmallsqueak agreed, 10 years time it'll be seen as archaic.

I hear all the "dogs naturally like dens/caves/small hiding places" but none of these have locking doors that they have no control over.

Ill loose a few friends here but IMHO, if I crated a toddler every day he'd eventually get used to it and I'm sure he would also see it as his "safe place" eventually.

toboldlygo Fri 03-May-13 16:35:12

Crates have the potential for abuse, certainly, but so do many other tools used in the dog world. I could write a ranty essay on the use of headcollars, for example.

Used well I think they are an invaluable tool. They are essentially a dog bed but with a more physical presence that means they can't be invaded by other dogs, marauding children, visiting strangers etc. and represent a safe, den-like, relaxing space.

I don't approve of dogs being locked in for long periods and indeed the door on our crate hasn't been shut in years. It's just useful for those rare times when we have a workman in or an unexpected visitor who may not appreciate loose dogs being around (again, doesn't happen often but for example the last person who came to read our gas meter was an asian chap who was clearly very scared of dogs.) Otherwise it's just a big comfy dog bed.

One of mine had orthopaedic surgery recently and I was so glad that she was used to spending time in a crate. It meant that she felt secure and relaxed when recovering at the vets and when we brought her home she made a beeline for her crate and stayed there of her own volition, door open. It made the recovery period so much easier.

We travel a lot for the dog sport stuff we do and again it's invaluable to be able to pop them in the crate in the car and know that wherever we are they will chill out and recharge despite all the crazy stuff going on around them because the crate automatically = quiet safe restful sleep time.

Locking dogs in a crate because you work full time, the dog isn't getting enough exercise and trashes the house while you're out? Not so much.

moosemama Fri 03-May-13 16:45:37

Our boy had a crate as a pup, purely because that's what he'd been used to in his foster home. We never shut it, it was just his den/bed/safe place.

All three dogs used to compete to get in there first and we'd often find at least two, if not three of them all squished in together.

Eventually I got fed up of snagging my jumpers etc on the corner of it every time I tried to get past into the laundry and replaced it with a big comfy bed. He was mightily unimpressed.

He likes his bed well enough, but when we got the crate out to use when one of our other dogs needed to be immobilised after an operation he spent the whole time trying to work out wily ways of ousting her and getting in there himself.

We have two dog beds in the kitchen, one just in the corner and the other under the table, surrounded by chairs. All our dogs have preferred the one under the table, I assume because it feels more den-line, just like the crate.

We still have his crate. but just use it in the car these days and he always jumps in really enthusiastically. We also have a collapsible crate to take on holiday with us and despite the family dogs having their own 'doggie sofa' he still chooses to sleep in the crate.

I think it's like many things relating to dog care. If used correctly it can be a useful and positive thing for both dog and owner - dog feels safe and owner knows they have somewhere safe to put the dog if/when the need arises. However, it is very easy to either misunderstand appropriate and positive use and/or to abuse it's usage, either of which are likely to be detrimental to the dog.

moosemama Fri 03-May-13 16:48:18

Crossposted with toboldygo.

LegoAcupuncture Fri 03-May-13 16:53:09

Our pup has a crate, we leave the door open for her during the day when we are in and she happily goes in and out of it. Sometimes she will sleep there, sometimes she will sleep on the sofa. She has never messed in there and I like to keep her safe when we are out or in bed.

Hoping that when she is older we won't need to crate her and she will have free roam of the house. But for now while she is still chewing, crate it is.

A big enough crate is no different to shutting a dog on it's own somewhere that he/ she can't get into trouble when they have to be left alone.
We tried to crate our lurcher but she hated it and we eventually gave up. Our 9 month old GSD loved his from the get go and puts himself away when we are getting ready to go on the school run, or last thing at night.
He never cries to get out and is only ever shut in for an hour or so after a good walk, with a stuffed kong to amuse him.
I think most dogs take to crating given the chance when young, but there will always be some it doesn't suit.

I can only go by the results with ddog1 - not a huge statistical sample (though she is a labrador, so would like to be a huge statistical sample, if we fed her as much as she wants) - and she has grown up into a loving, happy, well adjusted, friendly dog.

She doesn't seem to have any fear around the area where the cage used to be, or over elimination, and if crate training is so pernicious and evil, she seems somehow to have avoided being harmed by it.

littlewhitebag Fri 03-May-13 17:28:14

We have crate trained our lab pup (she is almost one now). She loves her crate and we hardly ever need to lock it. Only if i really need to keep her contained for her own safety. I still shut it at night and she seems perfectly happy with that. She is slumbering in it right now of her own volition. I am going to do the school run in a few minutes so i will lock the door for the 30 minutes i am away. I can guarantee when i return she will hardly stir even when i unlock it.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 03-May-13 17:50:57

One benefit of crate training is that if your dog is really unwell and has to be hospitalised they will cope much better in the vets if they are used to a crate. Whilst our kennels are bigger than crates they are not massive as when the dog is on a drip they need to be confined to stop them from pulling out.
Interestingly though actually often it is the owners who struggle most with this. We had a very sick dog the other week whose owners whenever they visited griped about the fact he needed to be caged. However, he settled really well and seemed to enjoy watching all that went on around him.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 17:51:01

I only really understand the use of a crate if the dog happily goes in voluntarily and the door is left unlocked, or there is no door. ie the crate (what is the difference between a crate and a cage?) confused is no more than a dog basket with roof.

I don't see why dogs have to be locked in at night? Why lock them in? What will they do if they aren't locked in? confused Why do they need containing for their own safety?

It feels like the dogs are being "tidied away". instead of being allowed to be living creatures who should deserve to get up and walk whenever they want. I don't remember people having a massive problem with dogs before crates came along. I don't think crates have solved problems, just made dogs more like ornaments to be put away. which isn't what having a dog is about, part and parcel is the fact they will want to walk and move around.

mrslaughan Fri 03-May-13 17:52:37

We use a crate and see it as the modern equivalent of a kennel.
Giant dog, sleeps in it at night - would he prefer his bed in the kitchen - yes. But given his penchant for eating unsuitable things while un- supervised....well it is the safest thing for him.
During the day, he is only in it about once a fortnight as I manage to organise myself so he he is with me.

ExcuseTypos Fri 03-May-13 18:02:56

I don't use one.

I know 3 people who do and they all lock their dogs in them, I think that's cruel.

Two do it over night, my next door neighbour also does it when she goes out during the day.

She once asked me to go round and let the dog out for a wee as she was going out all day. The poor dog didn't have any water in the cage-angry and the dog was in a very hot kitchen(due to Aga)

Do I just know stupid people are do most owners lock their dogs in?

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 18:03:46

Lonecat in my experience, when animals are sick they don't generally care where they are. When they are recovering they might be a bit fed up if they are in a cage at the vet's but that's as much to do with not being at home as being confined, and unless they have a terrible injury, it's short term. Also I can't see that years of crate "training" (use) is justified simply in the event that the dog might need to be contained in a cage at the vets one day. (Not having a go, just saying).

FiveHoursSleep (love the name btw!) why do you shut your dog in after a good walk? why does he need shutting in? I understand if he wants a lie down and a nice treat but why have a door on the crate which makes it a locked cage instead of a no-door crate which makes it a covered dog bed that he could leave at will? (also not having a go, just curious)

Well - we used it as a stage in ddog1's life - mainly whilst she was growing out of the chewing phase, and to keep her safe when we went out leaving her home alone (which didn't happen often or for long periods).

She's now more mature (as mature as a brown lab gets), and is fine in a bed rather than the crate. We do still shut the dogs (we also have a lab cross, but as she was an adult when we got her, we didnt use the cage) out of some parts of the house when we are out or at night, mainly because we don't want them sleeping on the couches when we are not there - they are allowed on them when they are with a person, but not on their own, and we are sure ddog2 in particular, believes the front room and the best couch are hers, so we shut them out to show her that they aren't.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 18:11:39

bunnylion - so you wouldn't crate a baby/toddler? what about when you put a child in a playpen or in a cot?

I crate my pup to keep him safe, the same as I put my child in a playpen to keep them safe smile.

toboldlygo Fri 03-May-13 18:14:08

I don't necessarily agree with dogs being locked in overnight either, with the exception of puppies undergoing house training (and with the understanding that they'd be taken out at regular intervals throughout the night in order to go to the loo) and a few other similar issues.

And yes, the way we use it as as a dog basket with a roof. The crate door is handy if we ever have visitors or tradesmen in that mean that the house doors might be left open for a while, or the visitors are of a kind that it would not be appropriate to cover in dog hair (letting agent, gas man, plumber etc.)

The problem is that dogs don't just want to move and walk around, they want to run around the house chewing things that are valuable to the human or harmful to the dog, peeing on the carpet, eating a hole in the sofa and raiding the kitchen cupboards for bleach bottles to gnaw. For the vast majority this is a transient phase that can be hugely eased by using a crate for short periods when the dog cannot be supervised. This may be overnight for puppies and rescue dogs who may react unpredictably in a new home. Many dogs don't have this stage at all, some have a bloody horrible phase that I dare say could only be managed by crating/kennelling (thinking high drive working bred dogs).

And cage/crate are of course interchangeable terms. We actually refer to it as the dog box, the command to go to their bed is 'inyerbox'. grin

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 18:15:30

SDTG I totally understand limiting the rooms in a house that the dog has access to at night. If they have one room of the house that's fine. As long as they can get up and walk around a space should they choose to. That's where I struggle to feel that crates are justified - that a dog is physically restrained from walking. I feel claustrophobic just picturing that.

WishIdbeenatigermum Fri 03-May-13 18:19:16

I'd never thought if them as dens before. Pointy hound was hyper vigilant and stressed when we first got her. I'd put her on the crate when I went out and she'd 'switch off'- often not noticing when I got home. Never used it over night and not used it for years now, she's calmed down a lot with age.

Cloverer Fri 03-May-13 18:22:50

Surely people do crate their toddlers every day? They put them in a cot overnight and for nap times, often they put them in a cot or playpen if they have to answer the door or have a shower. I know lots of people who would crate playpen/cot either the baby or toddler when they left the room so the toddler couldn't maul the baby grin

I also don't see a huge difference between a crate with a bed in it or a utility room with a bed in it, which seems to be a common place to leave a dog overnight or while the owner is out.

LtEveDallas Fri 03-May-13 18:33:30

I don't see why dogs have to be locked in at night? Why lock them in? What will they do if they aren't locked in? Why do they need containing for their own safety?

MuttDog has never been crated, but did have a soft 'travel crate' as a pup to keep her safe in the car - she liked it (until she ate it hmm)

However, the night that she electrocuted herself by chewing the wires of the plugged in bedside lamp, necessitating a midnight rush to the vets and a near fire when DH discovered (after I'd left) that the wires had burned a hole in the carpet as well as almost killing Mutt - I wished I had crated her sad.

3 years on from then and I looked after my friends pup overnight whilst she was out. 2 days later I discovered that HeinzPup had chewed through my hair dryer wires - but thankfully courtesy of our near disaster I'm now anal about unplugging things.

I've come to think that crates overnight are a very good idea at the puppy stage and will probably do it if/when we get our new pup.

I am crating our puppy at night as he is sleeping in the same room as our older dog. Crated, I know that the dogs are both safe while I can't supervise them. He's also absolutely tiny, and adventurous. I crate him if I have to pop out, or upstairs, just to be sure he doesn't kill himself. He is quite happy in there with his cheese filled kong for 15 minutes, and settles to sleep in there voluntarily at around 10pm.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 18:37:54

Cloverer it's not a comparison IMO.

Young toddlers could seriously injure themselves or die if they are able to get out of their beds at night before they have the balance to walk safely, or the sense not to go to the bathroom and turn the hot taps on/try to climb the furniture that could fall and kill them etc. So cots (and some limited playpen use) is truly is for their own safety whereas most dog crating is for the owner's convenience (so they don't chew the sofa or make puddles).

Cloverer Fri 03-May-13 18:44:49

Someone just posted about their dog electrocuting themselves Dala.

If my toddler was likely to chew the sofa I would crate him too.

Marne Fri 03-May-13 18:51:17

exactly, a puppy could chew wires or eat something that could harm it so its safer to be crated surely?

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'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

Booboostoo Fri 03-May-13 22:21:04

I think the crate sounds like a bad idea if you think like a human. For humans crates are restrictive, small spaces, you get shut in. For a properly crate trained dog, crates are familiar, reasuring, personal spaces that you chose to go into. Crates are supposed to mimic natural dog living conditions, i.e. a small den full of the smells of home. Many human homes are far too large for puppies to feel secure in, leading to toilet soiling related anxiety or separation anxiety. Crates can help anxious dogs feel more secure.

As for locking dogs in them that again depends on whether you bother to train your dog or not. A dog should never be shut in a crate before it is ready. The crate should be made as inviting as possible and the dog should be rewarded everytime it choses to go in it. The door should not be shut until the dog is ready to accept it and the dog should not be left in the crate for longer than he is ready to tolerate at that stage in his development.

If you properly crate train a dog there are brilliant for moving house, taking with you on holiday, providing extra reassurance during stressful times, etc. as well as keeping new dogs separate from your other dogs when not supervised, allowing everyone to eat in peace, saving your house from being chewed, giving the dog a chance to escape unwanted attention from children...the list of benefits is huge.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 22:46:08

Booboostoo I get everything about the crates you say. The only thing I don't get is locking a dog in a crate. That turns it from a safe space into a prison. I just can't equalise with that. A unlocked crate is a safe dog-bed with a roof. Totally fine with that. A locked crate is a cage.

All these points you make "crates... brilliant for moving house, taking with you on holiday, providing extra reassurance during stressful times, etc. as well as keeping new dogs separate from your other dogs when not supervised, allowing everyone to eat in peace, saving your house from being chewed, giving the dog a chance to escape unwanted attention from children".... are fantastic benefits if the dog is free to leave the cage at any time.

I take puppies out of the equation here because puppies have different needs and we have discussed the safety elements of a crate for a puppy who is vulnerable. There may be times where a puppy is safer in a crate on a very short term temporary basis. I accept that. But grown dogs.... I don't get locking them into a cage. I don't and never will and I haven't heard anything here about locking a dog in a cage that is necessary and beneficial to the dog. Giving the dog the option to stay in their open doored crate is different to shutting the door after it.

Cloverer Fri 03-May-13 22:53:02

Dogs aren't free to do/go wherever they want though - I'm not seeing the huge distinction between shutting the door of a crate and shutting the door of a room. Sometimes dogs are even tied up and paraded around on a rope!

Obviously, shutting a dog in a cage for hours so you can work or go out for the day is a bad thing. Shutting a dog in a cage overnight, or while you eat, or while you kids have a friend over isn't.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 22:59:03

The distinction (in my eyes) is that leaving a dog in a room is recognising (and respecting) the fact the dog has a right to walk around, if it wants to, whereas a crate takes that right away.

Cloverer Fri 03-May-13 23:01:12

I don't consider that dogs have a fundamental right to walk about whenever they want tbh. Staying in your bed all night isn't cruelty as I understand it (for dogs or toddlers).

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 23:09:39

You don't think a dog has a fundamental right to walk about? shock

We are not talking about walking wherever they want - some areas will be off limits and that's fine - but dogs should not be seen as such a nuisance on a regular basis that they are denied the right to walk whenever the owner deems it necessary, even denied the space to take a few steps -

Seriously that is bad.

HoneyDragon Fri 03-May-13 23:13:19

How new is crating though? It's certainly not a trend. I'm well into my 30s and my parents have a dog crate in the background of some of my baby photos.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 23:16:54

I'm well into my 40s Honey and the first I knew of someone having a dog crate in a domestic environment was in 2007. I have been around a lot of dogs and dog owners too. maybe your parents were ahead of the times.

RandallPinkFloyd Fri 03-May-13 23:20:32

My rescue dog had massive anxiety issues.

Apart from absolutely trashing my whole house she almost killed herself several times. Once having to be operated on to remove a huge length of fabric that had twisted around her bowels.

Also one memorable time she ate a razor blade.

Shutting doors made no difference because she would literally throw herself against the door until either the door gave way or she hurt herself too much to continue.

As soon as I took the vet's advice and bought her a crate she was a different dog. She took to it from day one, I didn't "crate train" her at all. She would walk in to it and curl up to happily then stay perfectly calm until I got back.

You can disapprove as much as you want to. My dog is safe and happy. If it wasn't for the crate I honestly doubt she would still be alive.

You look after your dog and I'll look after mine.

HoneyDragon Fri 03-May-13 23:26:38

Well I had a crate with the lab I got in 2001, for the usual reasons. Transport, and safety whilst she was a Puppy. Particularly as she came to work with me.

It was used for a year I think.

Current dog still has a pen (no roof) in the kitchen. She chills in her corner of the kitchen with a big meaty bone when we have guests, as she is still learning to meet and greet.

I've read stuff from PETA and other anti craters before.

I can't speak for everyone but my own opinion of crates is that they are too easy to abuse.

But the pro craters don't abuse them, they use them positively. The people who lock them up in a crate unnecessarily would lock the up somewhere else.

I favour any methods with a dog as long as they are positive and done with the happiness wellbeing and safety of the dog as paramount.

RandallPinkFloyd Fri 03-May-13 23:31:10

I favour any methods with a dog as long as they are positive and done with the happiness wellbeing and safety of the dog as paramount.

Sums it up perfectly smile

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 23:35:47

Randall do you know, I was enjoying reading your post and thinking how sensible you sounded, until the last two sentences. Not that you should care. just thought you should know.

Honey think you hit the nail on the head - crates are too easy to abuse. That's my fear. I just hate the thought of miserable animals that are trapped in such a confined space for hours and hours. It really makes me sad. But like you say, those who lock them up a crate unnecessarily would probably lock them up somewhere else too. It depends on the dog owner. Like the poster's neighbour upthread who was asked to pop in to the dog left in a crate all day - it had no water. It might not have had access to water even if it wasn't in a crate.

DalaHorse Fri 03-May-13 23:40:36

and Randall, you took professional advice on a method to help rescue dog with existing behavioural issues. That is commendable and you have judged the results to have helped your dog which is great. There is a world of difference betweeny you and someone who shoves a dog in a crate with no water all day. It's a shame as a loving dog owner you can't note there's a difference and are snotty with me who quite clearly cares deeply about dogs.

RandallPinkFloyd Fri 03-May-13 23:53:36

Lacing a dog without water is a completely separate issue and nothing to do with crates.

I've read the whole thread and all they way through you have generalised about crate using owners being lazy and cruel. You ignored everyone who gave you good reasons as to why they use them. Don't try and back track now.

I find the things you've said deeply offensive and attempting to patronise me isn't helping.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 00:05:58

Thinking about this more. If they were that unusual pre 2007 wouldn't I have had to search for one?

As opposed to walking into my nearest pet shop and choosing one from the selection they had.

I'd say crating has always been used. Particularly in working animal communities.

But the advent of the Internet has been good for dog lovers. Advice is exchanged. Methods a novice dog owner would never learn are shared.

People don't fret about healthy happy horses been put in stables at nigh or when they are vulnerable.

They do if they are locked permanently with no water or clean bedding.

It's the same for ALL animals.

Its not a case that dogs shouldn't have crates.

It's that some PEOPLE shouldn't have dogs.

Cloverer Sat 04-May-13 00:11:08

Yes, I dont believe a dog has a fundamental right to walk around whenever they want. Sometimes they have to stay in their bed.

I don't think anyone has argued for leaving dogs in crates for hours without water or while the owner is at work, have they? Crates might be open to abuse, but they are not cruel in themselves. They're just a tool, that can be used well or badly.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 00:22:48

Honey I didn't say they were unusual pre 2007! I said, they was the first I was aware of them. By then they were common. I doubt they were common in 1980 though.

People are obviously free to do what they want to do re crates. I personally still can't see that they are truly necessary for the benefit of the dog unless in the case of a disturbed dog who clearly feels safer in one at times, or a puppy who is in danger of injuring itself.

Randall you seem to be spoiling for a fight, so I won't respond to anything more you say.

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 04-May-13 00:32:08

I'm hugely offended by what you've said and even more so by how dismissive you've been of everyone who has give you their reasons for using crates.

I simply telling you so.

If you want to call that "spoiling for a fight" feel free. I call it disagreeing.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 00:35:18

If anyone else thinks I've been hugely offensive, please report the specific posts.

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 04-May-13 00:52:02

You asked if people could explain how crating dogs isn't cruel. A perfectly legitimate question if a crate is not something you've ever used and if using them is not something you understand.

Plenty of people answered you, but instead of listening and taking in their reasoning you dismissed their posts and maintained that crates are a lazy and cruel option.

I take huge exception to being told I am a lazy and selfish dog owner.

Cruel and selfish dog owners are cruel and selfish, that has nothing to do with whether they use crates or not. The two things are not connected.

All dogs are different as are all people, the vast majority of dog owners are just doing what is best for them and their dog. Making sweeping generalisations is not helpful and yes, it is offensive.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 04-May-13 01:06:15

Well, I'm a vet and got my first dog cage in 1995, after my pup chewed through the telephone wires and nearly gave himself a nasty obstruction. Before then I was worried it was "cruel" but he took to it like a duck to water and became far less anxious as a result. Later on we got rid of the cages, and he wasn't impressed!

I have seen dogs injured and ill in numerous ways that would have been prevented by using the cage, especially overnight. Of course owners watch their puppies pretty much all the time, just like parents do toddlers, but for that 5 minutes when you answer the door/ nip to the loo they are as invaluable as the playpen was for my toddlers. Can't understand why you can't see the similarilities in that comparison, tbh. Awake toddler requires constant supervision or playpen if supervision not possible. Awake puppy the same. Sleeping toddler in cot = sleeping puppy in crate.

My aunt had a real problem with her dog with fireworks. He was so distressed trying to get into small spaces (eg under the tv/ sofa) that he was at real risk of hurting himself, and she tried everything. I suggested dusting off his puppy crate, and he settled immediately, after months of sedatives/ behaviour therapy/ you name it. Just reinforced to me that dogs in distress seek a safe sanctuary- their cage. Any time my own dogs were upset or unwell they headed straight for the cage.

Yes they can be abused, but most people who go to the bother and expense of buying a crate have researched and are responsible. People do far worse things to dogs, believe me sad A lot of chewing puppies seem to end up on the street or on effin Gumtree, where they get through 3 or more feckless owners in their first year. IMO, the clients who come in with a new puppy who have a crate and have researched it are also the ones who have researched having a pup, and are far more likely to be responsible owners than the eejits who bought a pup because it was cute, but come in complaining to me that it "pees everywhere!" at 10 wks old hmm and chews all their stuff. Most people who crate their dogs while they pop out are acutely aware that their dog is in the crate and only leave it for short periods. Others seem to think because it's "got the run of the house" it will be happy on its own for 8 hours a day. It's really not as black and white as you would like to paint it.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:15:15

Nope.. still can't see any hugely offensive posts from myself. I can however see my own opinion which, the last time I checked, I was entitled to have.

Still can't see how saying : "Perhaps for some people, crates are a lazy option and they would rather put the puppy in the crate than spend time puppy-proofing" is telling crate owners they are all lazy and selfish.

Still can't see how "I take puppies out of the equation here because puppies have different needs and we have discussed the safety elements of a crate for a puppy who is vulnerable. There may be times where a puppy is safer in a crate on a very short term temporary basis. I accept that". is not listening and taking in reasoning.

Still can't see how "you took professional advice on a method to help rescue dog with existing behavioural issues. That is commendable and you have judged the results to have helped your dog which is great." is telling someone they are a lazy and selfish dog owner and deeply offensive. hmm I mean really? deeply offensive?

But like I said, anyone else who finds my posts deeply offensive please go ahead and report the relevant posts. I'm sure Mumsnet HQ will be pleased to delete anything inappropriate, as I would too, if it existed.

RandallPinkFloyd Sat 04-May-13 01:21:12

Yeah. As I said, being patronised isn't my thing.

I gave you my opinion which, as you said, I am entitled to have.

I'll leave you to it.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 04-May-13 01:22:08

I think what people are taking offence at (although I personally don't find your posts offensive, just a little ignorant and anthropomorphic) is your idea that those of us who know and love dogs and have used crates/ cages for years are somehow just buying into a "new trend"! Just because you only became aware of crates a few years ago doesn't mean that vets/ breeders/ behaviouralists and other doggy people haven't been using them for years! And there are good reasons for that- being "lazy" ain't one of them!

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:22:22

ThePlatypus I'll cut and paste the bits you have somehow not read in my posts.

"I take puppies out of the equation here because puppies have different needs and we have discussed the safety elements of a crate for a puppy who is vulnerable. There may be times where a puppy is safer in a crate on a very short term temporary basis. I accept that"

(Crates are) "....truly the case of a disturbed dog who clearly feels safer in one at times, or a puppy who is in danger of injuring itself."

...think you hit the nail on the head - crates are too easy to abuse. That's my fear. I just hate the thought of miserable animals that are trapped in such a confined space for hours and hours. It really makes me sad. But like you say, those who lock them up a crate unnecessarily would probably lock them up somewhere else too. It depends on the dog owner."

I think that pretty much agrees with 90% of the content of your post.

How is the above painting it as black and white?

Bunnylion Sat 04-May-13 01:25:44

I can't see anything offensive.

And I've read the entire thread and have yet to see a valid reason to crate that doesn't have alternatives that would be better for the dog.

You can dog proof a room allowing the dog to walk around if it wants to stretch its legs at night, when you're out or at work.

You can toilet train without a crate.

You can keep it calm without a crate.

You can stop destructive chewing without a crate.

You can give it a safe warm place to sleep without a crate.

If someone comes to the door you can shut it in a dog proofed room.

I still don't see any valid reason for using a crate for the benefit of the dog and not just the owner.

And I find it uncomfortable how defensive people get when the op doesn't agree with others. We all have a right to our own opinion, not everyone will agree with you so no need to get angry about it!

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 04-May-13 01:26:36

"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?"

I was responding to this, your OP. And to your suggestion that it is "laziness" on the owner's part.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:27:29

I am also entitled to have my opinion. Certain people seem to have overlooked that. I take huge offense at being:

- Mis-quoted
- Misrepresented
- Being told that I am hugely offensive when I have actually been mis-quoted and misrepresented
- Being told that I am dismissive of everyone when there is plenty of written evidence to show that I have not been

Like I said, Mumsnet HQ would be very interested in my HUGELY OFFENSIVE POSTS if you can find them.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 04-May-13 01:27:36

Just out of interest, how do you dog-proof a room?

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:33:39

ThePlatypus, there has been five pages of posts since the OP, so if you had read them, like I said you would find I agree with 90% of your post. There was no mention of laziness in the OP either. If you haven't got time to read five pages, that's fine, but I don't think that accusing me of things that have been discussed or addressed since the OP is fine. It's not.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:34:10

You tell me, you're the vet!

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 01:34:55

Thank you, Bunnylion.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 04-May-13 01:40:43

er, I'm not accusing you of anything! I have read the thread, thanks, and you did mention "laziness", but although you have conceded that there might be some cases where cages/ crates could be beneficial, you obviously still think as you did in your OP.

Tbh, I don't actually care whether you crate your dog or not. And I won't go to bed crying if you think all people who crate theirs are monsters. But you asked the question, and I gave my reply!

And I can't tell you how to dog-proof a room because I don't believe it can be done (for some dogs!)

CoolStoryBro Sat 04-May-13 02:11:16

I'm going to just ignore the fight going on and say, if it wasn't for the crate, I don't think my dog would be alive today.

He is a small, fear aggressive dog. He was also the first dog I ever owned. I have spent so much money on trainers and I accept he will never be "fixed". But that didn't mean we had to give up on him.

He is the happiest little man most of the time, but he hates it when new people come to the house. So, I crate him. And then, after he's heard their voices for a while, I bring him out on leash. And my teens know, if I'm not home by then, to go in the house first and let him go into the garden before all their friends charge in.

He has free run of the house and gardens 95% of the time. I genuinely doubt that crating him, for his own safety, is cruel.

And to really piss people off, both my dogs sleep at the end of our extremely large bed.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 05:37:56

I always have a suspicion on a thread when people claim they just want to know something.

I like to play Mumsnet Bingo as soon as someone mentions people being defensive.

And more importantly, for reasons I can't articulate properly right now it disturbs me that someone who I'd vehemently opposed to cages sees them as necessary for what they referrer to as 'disturbed' dogs.

A number of people on this thread or either professionals in their field and amazing people who have devoted their lives and resources to all dogs without prejudice. They've simply answered why crates are used and for what. No one has said the op is not allowed to dislike them. Not once.

I wouldn't have bothered responding to this thread myself if I had realised it was not intended as a discussion, but as a vehicle for self indulgence.

Bunlion, I think your points are true. There are always ways to to address the points you have made without crating.

But I prefer a crate as in my case my dog needed to travel. It is far easier to have a crate when your dog regularly goes to a factory, travels on boats, goes camping at festivals and shows. Because I may miss something in dog proofing. My dog has always had the freedom she needs in all those places but we had the crate to keep her safe from others smile

In regards to locking her in a dog proof room when visitors arrive. For me that is not an option. I'm trying to train her to socialise properly and learn boundaries and interaction.
In her pen she can safely watch and observe, rather than be lovked in another room, and I can work on her Settle command. This is done with clicker training too. The door is more open than shut during this process, it is open for longer as she learns to behave better around new folk.

The pen also out lines her space in a very clear boundary for my pre-schooler. It's as much for keeping small humans out as keeping a dog in wink

I'm not being defensive as I don't need to be. But the above reasons are why I like to have a crate or similar, and find them useful for my dogs welfare.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 08:21:08

DalaHorse in response to your questions:

The dog has to be trained to see the closed crate as a positive experience, so one cannot just shut the door. This happens over a period of weeks and the owner needs to be able to spend the time to help the dog learn, just like with every other activity.

The right to walk: I think dogs have a right to exercise appropriate to their age, breed and individual needs, not a right to walk 24/7 (indeed if in some perverse universe I decided to help my dog exercise its right to walk 24/7 I would be seriously harming my dog!). The wild ancestor of the dog roamed over hundreds of miles, domesticated dogs have adapted their needs to those of their humans, which is exactly why they make good pets. Dogs need to learn to travel in cars, be confined by leads, return to recall, stay in kennels at the vets/while the owner is on holiday, not jump into next door's garden, go settle on their beds, not jump on sofas, etc. all of which are at odds with a 'right to walk'.

Having said that of course dogs must be properly exercised and stimulated as well as expecting them to spend some quiet time and crates must be large enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around and lie flat out comfortably.

If people can do their dog training without a crate that's perfectly fine, there is no obligation to use one. It's just a useful tool, one of many and there is no obligation to use all available (positive) training methods with every dog. Chosing not to use a crate because other methods work is not the same as thinking there is something wrong with a crate.

LeBFG Sat 04-May-13 08:57:01

The only person I ever knew with a crate was a hunter with an expensive hunting dog. He was crated indoors (oddly for a hunt dog) 'for convenience'. I found this cruel so my opinion on crates is tainted. I've never liked kennels either. Reading through these posts though I can see, maybe, crates aren't really cruel when used humanely.

But some points/questions spring to mind:

1. Some people on here seem to be using the crates to solve problems: my dog poos/chews/nips so I crate. I would prefer to see them solving more of these problems rather than 'crate 'em'.

2. Young puppies, like young children, have to learn how to behave in a house. They can't do this when crated. There have always been wires etc for them to chew. They have to learn/be trained not to chew them. Plus, any puppy problems are quickly resolved (in good houses) as they grow and are trained. It's a phase that passes very quickly.

3. My biggest potential fear would be creating a space just for the dog which may encourage territorial behaviour in the dog. What happens if the toddler is in the crate one day? I firmly believe that when you invite a dog to share your house you should trust them fully wherever and whenever they are. There are always quiet places to hide - 'caves' love the idea! My cavedog loves going under beds - but he knows these are not HIS spaces and trots off quite happily if I want to evict him. I'm not so sure this would be the case if he had his own crate.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 09:49:48


On reading your post I looked around for Hully

She's currently here grin
She currently can go anywhere in the house at this present time.

She's not crated when I go out. And that pen extends out a further foot, foot and a half on the odd occasions she is shut in.

I am not unduly worried about her right to roam or her interaction with my children either as a result of the crate grin

And crates can be abused. My mother and I had direct experience of this when my Grandmother moved in with us. Our Labs crate was used as her bed. To the point we'd kind of forgotten it was a crate.

We'd return home regularly to find her locked in her crate. Because

"The doorbell rang"
"She nearly knocked me over"
"She tried to get through my door"

My GM had a annexe. The only shared part of the house was the kitchen, and none of the behaviours that warranted the dog being locked away were displayed by our dog angry

Solution? We moved the dogs crate and banned GM from the rest of the house barring the kitchen grin dog had two lounges, the Utility room and a hallway as her own personal domain when were out. She used to just have the hall and dining room ... Lucky dog.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 10:04:02

LeNFG crates are a way of solving the problems you mention and part of a greater training schedule. So for example, for toilet training I use a number of training 'tools':
- I let the puppy out frequently,
- I reward any toilet outside
- I ignore and clean up accidents inside
- I supervise the puppy all the time for any signs of toilet
- if unable to supervise I pop the puppy in the crate where she is unlikely to soil

Similarly with chewing, the crate alone won't teach the puppy what to chew but will be part of a training routine that teaches it a safe place to chew things you giver her.

Of course young puppies have to learn how to behave in a house (as long as you intend to keep them in a house) but that doesn't mean that you can devote 24/7 of your time to that task. For the moments when you cannot supervise and help avoid unwanted behaviour and reward wanted behaviour, you have the crate. Merely placing a dog in a crate will not teach them anything, but then again no one on this thread is advocating that. There are strict guidelines for how long you can leave a puppy in a crate, i.e. no more than 8 hours overnight (with toilet breaks if needed), no more than 4 hours in the day.

As for resource guarding you need to distinguish between:
- a dog that has this behavioural issue who is likely to guard all sorts of things like his food, the sofa, his bed, and may include the crate in the list of things he guards
- and the idea that using a crate will make the dog resource guard.

The second is unlikely to happen and as unlikely to happen as thinking that by giving the dog its own feed bowl, or its own bed or its own leash, it will learn to guard all these things. Just because you give a dog something it does not mean that it will guard it. Dogs should, of course, be taught a leave it command, which can be adapted to asking them to walk out the crate (as you ask them to get off the sofa. Just because you allow a dog on the sofa does not mean that the dog won't allow anyone else on the sofa, or that it won't get off the sofa when asked to).

The first is a behavioural problem which needs to be addressed with respect to the underlying issue (usually anxiety and stress) and it may be that such a dog is not suitable for a home with toddlers.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 10:06:03

For what it's worth I was introduced to crates 17 years ago when I got my first dog and have since to come across a trainer who does not recommend them (all the trainers I have trained with have used positive reward methods).

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 10:26:09

I think crates are like head collars. If you view them as a solution you shouldn't use them. If you use them as a necessary device whilst you are putting the hard work in they are worth their weight in gold.

I get much angrier about people who buy Haltis, stick them on their dog and never bother to teach them to walk to heel.

YY HoneyDragon. Teaching Jas to walk to heel is an ongoing training issue, not helped by the fact that most of our walks are off lead while he thunders through the woods and dives in ponds. The canny collar has helped enormously in getting him to pay attention to me so that we can practice heel walking. He now mostly walks on a loose lead on road walks, although still ahs an issue with cats <rubs sore shoulder> We will use the crate to keep Stanley safe until I know that both dogs can be together without incident, and I'll probably still crate Stanley if I have to go out for a while after that just in case. I hope to be able to retire the crate by the time he's a year old.

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 10:44:11

My puppy knows drop, leave and has plenty of things appropriate to chew...but that doesn't stop him trying other things and it definitely wouldn't stop him if I'm not there.

I've no idea what would happen if a toddler went in his crate, he doesn't stay in it if there are toddlers visiting...toddlers are his favourite, they're perfect licking height. hmm

We don't go and disturb him if he's in his crate - because if he's gone in there, then he's sleeping and of course he can't be fallen on by accident by a toddler, which is a good thing. But I suspect if he was asleep in there and a toddler climbed in they'd get sleepy licking, lol. That's what happens if he's disturbed while sleeping elsewhere and I'm at his crate a fair bit anyway, changing water, taking back the DC's shoes that they left lying about and he stole, washing the cover on his bed...stuff like that, he doesn't care. He lets the cats go in it without seeming to care.

I don't think a crate is any more likely to make them guard a space than any other kind of bed.

LeBFG Sat 04-May-13 10:45:35

I am inclined to agree with your last post Honey (love Hully btw, she looks terribly neglected grin) and I suppose, if crates are not negative (even positive for crate-advocates) I can see with their increased popularity they are immensely easy to facilitate lazy parenting dog keeping. Just like head collars, electric shock collars etc. I would personally still see crates as different from other dog only things simply by the nature of the cave effect. Like bones. It links into a primeval thing (but everyone has their own ideas on this). Good dog owners of course would tackle this issue head on. I think I read on another thread about someone using a crate because they had a nippy dog. I felt this was as easy op-out of training.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 10:54:47

'I still don't see any valid reason for using a crate for the benefit of the dog and not just the owner'

Safe travel in cars.

A safe, secure place to leave the dog if you like to go camping with them, or to dog friendly hotels which have no dog proof rooms. When I went away with Devil Dog I'd have been in a mess if he wasn't crate trained because he wasn't allowed to be left alone in the room unless he was crated, he also wasn't allowed in the dining or common room and there was no eating allowed in the rooms, so I'd have starved for three days otherwise.

Vets use crates, if your dog is crate trained it makes operations and vet treatments where they might need to be kept in much more comfortable for them.

If your dog is crate trained it can be an essential tool when the dog is recovering from surgery, especially if the dog is young and likely to aggravate his injuries by bouncing about or if you have more than one dog.

I use them a lot if we take in emergency fosters who might not get on with 'the pack' it means my dogs can be crated safely while I work with the new dog or while I am moving the new dog from room to room and my dogs cannot be safely contained.

Whilst only whippy uses a crate regularly, Devil Dog is also crate trained and any long term foster I might take in begins crate training.

FWIW Whippy will howl all night if her crate door is not closed. If she becomes close with a foster dog, she might accept sleeping outside the crate with the new dog, otherwise she loves her crate and needs it locking to feel secure.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 11:12:00

More dog centric benefits I have just thought of....

In a multi dog household giving high value treats could start fights, if the dogs are crated separately they can still receive their high value treats whilst remaining safe from aggression from other dogs. Yes, arguably you could train for this and I have with my two, but when we bring in a new dog, crating them is the safest way for them all to enjoy their raw bones.

If I get a foster dog who has separation anxiety and doesn't like to sleep alone in the dining room, I will bring up the spare crate and set it up by my bed. This allows the dog to feel comfortable knowing I am close by and for me to have it in my room without me teaching it it can sleep on the people bed, which would greatly reduce it's chance of finding a successful forever home. Lots of potential adopters do not want to share their bed with large, snoring, farting greyhounds. I am then able to slowly move the crate out of my room and back downstairs without stressing the dog or the neighbours out.

merrymouse Sat 04-May-13 11:20:49

Our dog sleeps in a crate - he runs to it every night after being let out before bedtime. Keeping him in a crate at night means that we can visit other people without dog proofing the room he sleeps in; and prevents him from scrabbling on the door to be let out at 5am (the time we usually get up).

During the day he tends to sleep on top of it.

If he were shut in the crate against his wishes he would soon make it known that he wanted to get out. It would be very distressing and I really don't think it would be a solution for somebody looking for an easy option. Much more pleasant and straightforward just to train him.

In other words, most dogs have to be trained to use a crate, so I don't think its an option for people who don't want to train their dog. (Unless they enjoy having a barking distressed dog in the house, and really want to annoy the neighbours, which is not really on the same level of bad pet ownership as "can't be bothered to dog proof the house").

MrsDeVere Sat 04-May-13 11:30:20

I have never done it and its not something I have considered.
I know that it CAN be done safely and kindly.
I also understand that dogs have to have their own place and the crate can be this place. I would rather see a crate in a house rather than a dog having no space of its own.

BUT I think its all gone a bit bonkers. Some people seem to buy a dog and a crate at the same time rather than wait and see if its necessary.

We have a lot of people buying dogs because they like the idea of having a certain breed, rather than wanting a pet. A crate is a handy way of dispensing with some of the boring bits about having a dog without having to put the work in.

A crate can be a handy tool for training, a safe space for a dog and a way of keeping a dog with lots of issues in a home whilst sorting them out.

I think anyone who thinks that these things are not misused on a fairly wide scale is being a bit naive tbh.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 11:37:14

I think anyone who thinks that these things are not misused on a fairly wide scale is being a bit naive tbh

Agree wholeheartedly

Also with your sentiments about buying a crate with puppy. A family member did exactly this as they were told to but had no idea how to use it.

idirdog Sat 04-May-13 11:58:15

Ignorance over dog ownership, training and behaviour is epidemic not just in connection with crates.

Dogs are still being trained in appalling ways, fed on inappropriate diets, walked on pain inducing leads and collars why stop at crates. Pet dogs are living boring restricted lives because owners do not know how to train and mentally stimulate them.

Just read the bastard dog thread on here and see how all the behaviours the owners are whining about are down to the owners inability to understand/ train their dogs correctly

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 12:10:01

Well, I know I've not got the best dog in the world. And I learnt through making some epic mistakes along the way smile

Most of my dogs bad behaviours occur when I've been focusing on other aspects of good training <<long sigh>>

And as long as dogs generate profit, company's will spin any old shit to get cash out of new owners, hence what used to be referred to training aids are now marketed as magic solutions to stop barking, pulling, chewing etc.

If a crate is used by a cruel or neglectful owner, it will be cruel - but then if the owner is cruel and neglectful, then probably most of what they do with the dog is cruel and/or neglectful.

They are one useful training device amongst many - they aren't compulsory, so if you don't like them, don't use them - there are plenty of other options available. Frankly, if you are the sort of owner who is giving serious consideration to training methods and whether you think they are cruel or not, then you are going to be a good owner, imo, because you clearly care about the dog and its welfare and happiness.

It would be nice if the OP and others on this thread accepted that those of us who have, in the same loving and caring way, chosen to use crates with our dogs, are equally likely to be good, caring owners who will put their dogs' welfare first. I am sure that any of us who use crates would say that, if the dog had been unhappy in the crate, we would have looked for other methods. We certainly wouldn't be leaving an unhappy dog in a crate.

Regarding dogproofing a room - as I have said, ddog1 is a labrador, and they chew absolutely everything. I would have had to empty a room completely, in order to dog-proof it, and there isn't a single room in the house going spare in that way. Plus, I know of two labradors who ate their way through the wall of the room they were left in, so even bare walls is not entirely dogproof!

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 13:17:31

Ok whopping post coming up, but I have been musing on this point overnight and have come back and read the posts after I posted last night and would like to contribute again if I may?

Two of HoneyDragon's points hit the right note for me:

"Its not a case that dogs shouldn't have crates. It's that some PEOPLE shouldn't have dogs."


"And as long as dogs generate profit, company's will spin any old shit to get cash out of new owners, hence what used to be referred to training aids are now marketed as magic solutions to stop barking, pulling, chewing etc."

In my early days of having dogs (late 80s, early 90s) crates were around, but only available from specialist suppliers, the ones that supplied to breeders etc, usually by mail order, so most pet dog owners weren't aware of them and if they were, were less likely to be able to get hold of one, unless they were the type of owner who was doing tonnes of research and giving lots of consideration to taking on a pup/dog and how they were going to take care of and train it etc.

I was very keen to learn as much as I could and do things right for my dog, so was registered on some of the early online dog forums, which in the main, back then were mostly dominated by Amercian posters. I left after getting into a fight with an American breeder, who bred small breeds and was apparently regarded as top of her breed. The fight was because she was not only keeping her dogs in stacked cages for the lion's share of the day, she was also advocating and in fact instructing new pup owners (of any breed) that it was fine to get a pup, cage it and then go to work all day every day. In one spectacularly memorable fight, I was rounded on and attacked by large numbers of posters because I had the audacity to suggest to an owner that it wasn't ok for him to crate his young dog for 8 hours a day while he went to work and then never let if off the lead during the only walk it got every evening. Apparently I was clearly bonkers, knew nothing about dogs and was suggesting he should endanger his dog by leaving it loose in the house (I wasn't actually, I said that I had no clue why he had a dog, as he crated it for 8 hours a day, then gave it a short lead walk and frequently crated it again while he went out for the evening. angry) and that I was stupid if I thought dogs should be allowed off the lead for exercise, as they could get lost or hit by a car. hmm No matter what I said, I was repeatedly and nastily attacked (no moderation on that forum) and it was clear that my words had hit a nerve with a large number of dog owners. There were, iirc, only two people who attempted to agree with me and they were soon shot down in flames. angry

By the mid 90s, crates were available on the internet, again from specialist shops and you probably wouldn't know about them, unless you were heavily involved in dogs in some way, iyswim.

In 1998, when we got our first (and only) pedigree/non-rescue dog, they were becoming more common and I think some of the larger pet superstores that were springing up had started to stock them. (I know we saw some when we were buying everything we needed for our pup, but we didn't even consider them at the time, having never had or needed one with any of our previous dogs.) The problem with that was that they didn't come with any advice or instructions on how to use them and as they were readily available, anyone could buy one - although they were £££s.

Since then, their availability and use has increased dramatically - they are sold, as HoneyDragon's quote above explains, not as dog beds or training aids, but as solutions, to stop chewing, soiling, 'anti-social behaviour' etc and people tend not to think about it any further than that.

When I was younger I used to keep pet rats. They had huge great big cages with lots of things to do, they were healthy and seemed happy. I thought I was doing right by them and as long as I did everything the books recommended for their care all was well. These days, I wouldn't contemplate keeping a caged animal of any sort. I now don't think we have the right to restrict any animal's freedom to that extent. I have grown up, thought about, contemplated and researched things and I no longer think the way I used to about animals.

As with other matters of ethics etc, I am still not quite there and probably never will be, as I hope to continue to grow and develop for the whole of my life. As a result, not everything I believe to be right/wrong is all sewn up in a nice neat logical package. So I don't keep small furries, but I do keep dogs and I sometimes find myself wriggling uncomfortably, when I hear/use the words 'dog owner' because, although technically true, I am not quite at peace with the idea of 'owning' another living creature - it doesn't sit well, yet I really can't bear the thought of not having a dog in my life. For me, my dogs are part of the family - but if I'm honest and stop fooling myself for a minute - I own them ... and don't get me started on how confused I am with regard to my right to 'train' and 'modify' behaviours to suit myself/society, rather than the needs of the dog. I clearly still have a great deal work to do on this, but in the meantime, I can't contemplate my having a life without dogs in it, so all I can do is my best.

My point is, we could extend the argument against crating onwards and upwards until we reach the point where we question keeping dogs at all. Pet ownership is controversial, some would argue that no animal, humans included, has the right to own and dominate another (by controlling their freedoms etc).

I know I've waffled on a bit there, but what I am trying to say is that we are all treading our own paths, all at different levels of learning and understanding etc and I'm pretty sure most of the dog people on here adore their dogs and only want the best for them. What they do comes from a place of love and they probably wouldn't be posting on here for advice if they didn't truly love their dogs.

Debate is good. I think it's important to have these discussions to help people - like me - to think more deeply about their choices in relation to keeping, caring for and training dogs. We need people to question what we do, to help us think about things we might not have considered and confront things we generally prefer to push to the back of our minds.

Yes, there are people who use training aids/tools without considering the whys/hows/wherefores and there are others who will never care enough about the animals in their life to even consider treating them with the care and respect they deserve - and the commercial dog training market feeds off those people. Their interest is not in the dogs, but in their profits and unfortunately, that is never going to change. sad

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 13:18:26

Whoa - that post is big enough to win some sort of enormous post of the year award! Sorry! blush

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 13:48:57

Hi moosemama - your post shares a lot of the feelings I have about pets, "ownership", ethics and the rights of animals who share our space.

Earlier up the thread a pro-crater said "I don't consider that dogs have a fundamental right to walk about whenever they want tbh". (this was referring to crating not simply commanding a dog to sit on the spot).

My response: "You don't think a dog has a fundamental right to walk about? shock

We are not talking about walking wherever they want - some areas will be off limits and that's fine - but dogs should not be seen as such a nuisance on a regular basis that they are denied the right to walk whenever the owner deems it necessary, even denied the space to take a few steps -

Seriously that is bad".

Obviously any responsible dog owner has to train their dogs for their own and everyone else's safety, as we know, dogs are pack animals and the results of untrained dogs who believe they rule the house are well documented, often in the news, sad but that is different to locking a dog up and physically denying it the freedom to take a few steps if it wanted. If you ask a dog to stay or sit, as necessary, that's different because it is still acting out of choice. That is different to physically restraining it.

If you have read the thread I have come under a lot of fire for not changing my opinion that I don't like dog crates and only in certain or extreme circumstances, when beneficial to the dog, could the use be ethically applied. Even typing that sentence is going to bring about another heap of coals from people saying they are deeply offended hmm, but hey <shrugs> I think discussion about this topic is good rather than more people automatically getting a dog = cage = put dog in cage with no real training in how or when.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 14:10:12

Dogs are not pack animals btw.

Crates and crating dogs is not cruel. Misusing a crate is cruel. It can create a lot of issues in dogs. I myself, have dealt with two dogs who were crated for much of their puppyhood. They were bonkers. Utterly untrained and as bouncy as a kangeroo on acid but the kinds of people who misuse crates are the kind of people who without a crate would keep the dog locked in the futility room/bathroom for hours on end or chained in the yard, or kenneled outside permantly and then wonder why the dog cracks up when it's eventually given access to people. The crates are not the problem. People are. As usual.

When used properly a crate can be a valuable training aide, a place of comfort and safety for the dog and can make life with a dog easier.

Lilcamper Sat 04-May-13 14:13:41

Yes, to reiterate, dogs are NOT pack animals

Lilcamper Sat 04-May-13 14:14:13

DalaHorse - I misread your earlier post as stating that dogs have a fundamental right to walk about wherever they want - I now see you said whenever, not wherever. Is it possible that the person who responded to you misread it the same way?

Ddog1's cage was big enough for her to move around in, and she was happy when she was in there - demonstrated by the fact that she would go in there voluntarily for a nap. We replaced her first cage with a bigger one when she grew bigger, and then replaced that with a bed when she was mature enough and had stopped chewing.

I was genuinely worried about the stuff she chewed, and the damage she could do to herself if she swallowed something, and as I said in my earlier post, we simply did not have a spare room that could be emptied completely to be her safe space (and given the amount of chewing she did, and the huge range of things she chewed, I believe that only by emptying a room could we have Coco-proofed it sufficiently) - hence the cage seemed like the sensible option.

Caging is clearly cruel when it is used in the way MooseMama describes - multistory cages, and young dogs being put in them for hours on end, with no exercise or training. But I look at my dog now, and do not see a neglected or mistreated dog - I see a happy, well-adjusted dog, who trusts us completely - and I do not believe she would be that way if we had used her cage in a cruel or neglectful manner.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 14:18:40

Dogs are not pack animals. They are social but not pack animals. They are evolutions freeloaders. They like a happy life and will do just enough to maintain it. wink

Sadly what makes dogs so easy to live with is also what makes them so easily abused.

MrsDeVere Sat 04-May-13 14:28:50

I agree with what you say D0 but I would add that people misusing crates are not always willfully cruel and would otherwise keep their dogs locked up.

I think the predominance (right word?) of these crates, available off the shelf with no guidance and the amount of experts on cable tv using them,

is pretty much giving new owners permission to use them. They can reason they are not misusing them because they are common, they are everywhere and so they must be ok.

I know nice people. They want a dog. They spend ages thinking about what sort to get. Then they go out and buy from a breeder who is probably dodgy and buys a crate from Pets at Home on the way back.

No clue how or why they have it. Dog goes in every time they leave the house. Dog is never given the chance to learn how to behave in the house, dog needs to be kept in the cage every time they go out.....

And why would they think that was wrong if everyone they know does the same thing?

I hope you can see from my posts that I am not blanket anti-crate and I am sure that they can be used for good. So I am not trying to prove that no-one should use them. smile

I was a veterinary nurse in the 80s for a welfare charity (ok, not a popular one on MN but we were all good nurses who cared a lot) and if I was told an owner was using a crate I would have been pretty alarmed.

I am not alarmed at the idea of a crate now but I really do think they are over used and poorly used.

But then I don't think I have ever known a time when so many 'non dog' people have owned dogs.

By that I mean people who don't seem to like dogs much and a few years ago would not have entertained the idea of having one in the house.

<competes for longest post award>

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 14:33:30

stdg yes to Labradors eating/chewing anything. When my lab was younger he demolished a skirting board, half a door frame, a real wood floor, and stripped a plain painted wall down to the bricks. he also liked chewing on his plastic bed, despite having multiple chewy toys.

There would have been no way he or my house would have been safe left out of his crate at night when he was at this stage.
He's not in his crate at night anymore, but he certainly doesn't have free range of the house when he's not supervised.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 14:38:08

Hully has eaten the sofa.

impty Sat 04-May-13 14:41:27

2 dogs. One has never been in a crate and would hate it. Dog 2 hated it at night. 6 months of struggling and little sleep we tried a crate. He loves it.

I too would have thought it cruel but he does feel secure in there.

Dog1 was a stray. Dog2 was bought from a breeder and crated at night. So it's easy to see why each dog has a preference.

I don't feel I chose crating at all just accommodating dog2's needs.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 14:47:08

I refer to one of my earlier comments :

"I take puppies out of the equation here because puppies have different needs and we have discussed the safety elements of a crate for a puppy who is vulnerable. There may be times where a puppy is safer in a crate on a very short term temporary basis. I accept that"

I really do see the benefit for (some not all) puppies.

What you did STDG which pleases me is stop using the crate when the danger period (to the dog) was over and when she was mature enough for a bed. That is all fantastic. The chewy puppy was protected for its own safety and eventuallygraduated to a bed.

Re: the point of whenever versus wherever - it was the other poster who said dogs shouldn't be able to walk whenever they wanted (to paraphrase) not wherever. I was responding to what was written which was "whenever". Perhaps they meant wherever, IDK, that's not what they said (and TBH I do think they meant whenever.

I am NOT blanket anti-crate however I still don't and can't agree to adult dogs, with no behavioural issues, being put in a crate and the door being shut behind them.

And on a final note, and I know this will enrage some people but hey. What is the different between a crate and a cage? In my eyes, the only difference is that crate sounds more palatable than cage. If the word crate was replaced with cage all though this thread, it would all sound much more unpleasant. But if people are "crating" their dogs, that's nicer than "caging", isn't it.

If anyone can tell me the difference between a crate and a cage please do so. I will happily stand down on that point. HAPPILY.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 14:47:36

honeydragon I think I'd cry if frus-dog ate my sofa.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 14:52:34

dala is a crate and a cage not the same thing?

Is it not on the same lines of calling a choke-chain a check-chain? It's still the exact same thing not to be confused with a half-check

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 14:56:30

It is the same thing frustrated but then why is it called a crate?

Cage definition: A structure of bars or wires in which birds or other animals are confined.

Crate definition: A slatted wooden case used for transporting or storing goods.

So why are they called crates when clearly they are cages? Does anyone know?

MrsDeVere Sat 04-May-13 14:57:00

Chokes were all over the place when I was younger. Never gave them a second thought.

Now when I think of them! Arrgh, would never use them.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 15:02:10

Let's hope the same will happen to cages crates, MrsDeVere, or at least, using them only as a last resort not a first resort, as in the case of impty, who let her dogs show her which they preferred and respected their individual choices, which I think was great, or just for puppies as a carefully used safety measure, not for adult dogs.

That's my hope anyway.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 15:02:27

MrsDeVere - no chance, I am the queen of mega posts! grin

Dala, I use the word crate and cage interchangeably. I don't think there is a physical difference between the two. Thinking about it though, I suppose some people would/could say, if you use it responsibly it's a crate, is you misuse/abuse it it then becomes a cage - as in crates are essentially dog beds with doors that are never closed, whereas cages are exactly what people think of when they hear the word.

Waaaay back, when my Boxer x GSD was a youngster, he ate the kitchen skirting boards (as in actually pulled them off and chewed them up) almost a whole kitchen base unit and went in the fridge and freezer (usually consuming large quantities of butter and/or cheese) so frequently that we ended up tying it shut with rope when we weren't actively using it. hmm On each occasion he was only left for less than an hour! shock He also had a penchant for jumping up and turning on all the rings on the gas cooker - which of course were then not lit and filled the kitchen with gas. We used to have to remove the cooker knobs if we were going out without him! He did however grow out of his spectacularly destructive phase and went on to become the nicest calmest boy who never destroyed a thing once he was mature. Which is good, because he was a really big boy and he could probably have eaten most of the house if he'd put his mind to it.

Oh - and I've just remembered that when I popped to the corner shop once, the kitchen door must have sprung open. He let himself into our lodger's bedroom and swung off the curtains until they ripped in half. I know how he did it, because I saw him as I walked (then ran) back from the shop. hmm

(He was never crated. This was the very early 90s.)

merrymouse Sat 04-May-13 15:04:27

I think they also call them indoor kennels in the US. I suppose a crate looks more like a cage than something snoopy would sleep on. However kennels are generally used to confine dogs. Dogs have been confined to kennels by their owners outside long before domestic rates became popular.

Do people regularly shut dogs in crates for no reason? I haven't seen anybody suggesting that a crate should be used unnecessarily. For one thing it would be a bit of a waste of money, they take up space and aren't very attractive.

merrymouse Sat 04-May-13 15:06:04

I have to say, I think my dog is far more comfy sleeping on his crate than snoopy is on his kennel. You'd think he'd fall off.

merrymouse Sat 04-May-13 15:06:59

Domestic crates I mean.

impty Sat 04-May-13 15:07:14

Dala. ... believe me when I tell you dog2 is tried out of his crate/ cage once in a while and he crys, whines pees and poos everywhere. He is 5.
He prefers his crate. It's NOT my first choice. It's his preference. If that makes me cruel in your eyes I am stunned.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 15:08:53

On the internet I am seeing crates for sale which show a dog in them for demonstration purposes. The cage is not high enough for the dog to stand up in or even sit up in, and not long enough for the dog to lie flat in.

The picture is being used as an example of the right size of cage for that size of dog. hmm

How many numpties future crate owners will see that picture and think it's acceptable, because the manufacturers have illustrated it that way?

This is all part of the problem.

I'm sure lots of responsible crate owners have crates that fit better than what I have seen as described above, but it makes my heart sink that there will be a massive number of dogs out there like the dog in the picture.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 15:12:13

AMENDMENT TO LAST POST. Sorry. When I said "numpties" I don't mean ALL future crate owners FGS. I mean specifically future crate owners that don't instantly look at that crate and think "that's too small" but those who look and think "well that dog in the picture is in it, so it "must" be the right size". ie just going by the picture not what is actually appropriate.

I think as has already been suggested, the fault lies with people and not crates.

I used one with my pup. He never complained about going in it but it was only used at night and mainly whilst i did school pick up.
I stopped shutting the door during the day at around 6 months when I felt confident he wasn't going to cause himself mischief. It is still up, mainly because I am using it to prevent him going into the hall way and we have no kitchen door. I intend to buy a gate but haven't got round to it. He does get in his crate by choice sometimes but the door is no longer closed.

I have witnessed crates being misused and puppies being placed in there regularly by owners who can't be arsed to deal with normal puppy behaviour sad but I had no qualms using one as I was confident I never abused it and stopped as soon as I felt puppy was sensible danger wise.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 15:18:28

impty, if you read Dala's post of 15:02:10, she does actually say that she thinks you have used your dog's crate is appropriate and not a problem at all.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 15:21:26

blush interrupted by a child halfway through that sentence. It should have read:

... she thinks the use of your dog's crate is appropriate and and not a problem at all.

And fwiw I agree about sizing. I got a 30" crate for my tiny BT pup which was way bigger than many of the suggested recomendations. He could even now, walk around in it though he is never shut in.

impty Sat 04-May-13 15:31:03

dala and moosemama.....

I apologise I did miss that post.

climbs off high horse red faced

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 15:33:19

They are called crates as one of there primary functions is to be mobile.

Cage or crate. Semantics don't do it for me. Calling it a cage won't stop me using one. Especially on planes trains automobiles and boats.

Calling a fat dog abused doesn't stop people over feeding them shite.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 15:36:50

I use a crate on an issue free adult dog. I initially bought it to aide toilet training and keep her safe from our terrier when I was out at work.

She is locked in over night.

The reason she is locked in over night, is as I mentioned earlier, she will howl all night if she is not. I spent a lot of time working on crate training with her and she loves her crate, she was most upset when it moved to the yard one day and spent the entire day outside in her crate refusing to come inside, luckily it had only been moved to accommodate a craft party and was promptly moved back afterwards.

She does have a 'way out' of her crate if she wants. She is well aware that if she starts howling whilst locked in her crate, either myself, DH or one of the children will get up and let her out, depending upon who she wakes first. She will then either go to the backdoor indicating she needs the loo or stand at the dining room door indicating that something has spooked her and she wishes to sleep in a people bed, which is allowed. With all the high winds lately this has been happening a few times a week, she hates wind, however under normal weather conditions it happens rarely. She sleeps happily in her crate all night.

I don't think this is cruel.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 15:36:57

impty grin

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 15:38:56

I think your situation is similar to impty's D0oin, in that you allow the dog to make her own choice about whether or not she wants to be in the crate - it's therefore, appropriate use and not a problem.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 15:44:16

impty, it has already been said by moosemama but to reiterate, I was complimenting you.... I said: "using them only as a last resort not a first resort, as in the case of impty, who let her dogs show her which they preferred and respected their individual choices, which I think was great". I think totally the opposite that you are being cruel! You did exactly the right thing in my eyes! Unfortunately you misread.

I think I've established that I have conceded during the course of this thread that puppies and certain dogs in certain situations can benefit from crates for their own safety or comfort.

However, I don't feel that crates are suitable for all dogs and all situations but because it's currently the trend, or a common thing to do, some people adopt it as their approach whether or not it is suitable. Not to mention the other element of dog owners who will shut the dog away for convenience. I don't feel anyone who's responded here is anything like that Can I make that clear. But I do think there's a "thoughtless" element of people, out there somewhere, who just "do" what they think is "the done thing" without any real thought or care or consideration for the dog. The sort that gets a crate automatically and doesn't bother reading up on how to use it properly, or tailoring its use to the dog. The sort that continues to lock the dog up whenever they feel it's an inconvenience to have a dog around.
BIG PRINT DISCLAIMER: I am fully fully 200% aware not all crate owners do this and that it's highly highly unlikely to be anyone who has contributed to this thread. I am just making the point that it doesn't have to be neglectful horrible dog-mistreaters who can unwittingly misuse the crates.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 15:44:53

impty x post smile

MothershipG Sat 04-May-13 15:52:26

I think that one of the reasons crates/cages have become more common is that more of us have open plan homes. Previously the dog would have been shut in the kitchen but now very often the kitchen is open to the rest of the house. It is in my house and pretty much everyone else I know.

DDog1's crate only comes out now for fireworks as, like many other dogs on this thread, it's where she wants to be when she's worried.

Like most other items of dog kit, yes, crates/cages can be abused but that's a matter for education not blanket dismissal of them as a useful tool.

In general, I am disappointed at the lack of effort most owners seem to want to put into dog training, hardly any dogs in our local park have decent recall. Mine aren't perfect (especially DDog1) but I am very much alert to it and constantly working to improve it (I can get her back from pretty much anything but a squirrel now. wink) But I don't think this is anything new?

MothershipG Sat 04-May-13 15:56:13

But I don't think this is anything new?
I mean I don't think lack of training is anything new, not squirrel chasing, although that isn't anything new either!

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 16:06:08

The thing is though - the people who are sticking them in the crate because they're inconvenient are people who would have previously left them in the garden or stuck them in a utility room, it's not an inherent fault with crates, it's a fault in some people.

Like the size issue, anyone with half a brain and any consideration for their dog can take one look at a picture of a dog with too little room and judge for themselves that their dog needs to be able to move about a bit and stretch out.

Mine can stretch out on his back with front and back legs extended and still has room for my 13 yr old Dd next to him, lol.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 16:20:53

The crate should never be used as punishment. The sequence of events should not be that the dog chews and then the owner puts it in the crate to teach it not to chew because if it chews something unpleasant happens to it. Rather the crate is a very pleasant place which also happens to save the house from being chewed. You don't use the crate to punish problem behaviour, you use it to avoid problem behaviour (like any problem there are a limited ways of dealing with it; you either put up with it, or you avoid instances where it manifests, or you train incompatible behaviour).

'Time out' is an (appropriate in my mind) aversive technique but it should never be used with the crate. The dogs displays inappropraite behaviour, e.g. attacks another dog, and is taken in silence and placed in a neutral room (a room that is not often used by the dog like a bathroom) and left on his own for a few minutes. He is then released again in silence. It is important to use a neutral room for this and never the crate or outside.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 16:24:00

Can I ask a question about crate/cage size when it comes to using them in the car please?

There is no way we could fit a cage big enough for lurcherboy to walk around in in our car. We could in our VW camper, but we rarely use that.

We do use a cage/crate in the car for him. It's the one he had as a youngster when we first took him in and he loves it (see upthread about him wanting it back when we got it out for a post operative dog) but can really only just stand up, turn around and stretch in it now he's fully grown - if it was any taller we wouldn't be able to close the lid of the boot and we have a decent sized car/boot. The reason we use one in the car is because I too know of someone who was killed by their dog flying from the back and breaking their neck when they were in an accident. I also know of quite a few dogs that had to be pts due to injuries caused by being unsecured in a vehicle when there was an accident. I am also very aware that lurcherboy is a weighty lad and I have 3 dcs seated directly in front of him in the car - if he flew through the car in the event of an accident he would be more likely to kill or severely injure one of my dcs than me, as he would hit them first.

Prior to the dcs, all our dogs had harnesses for travelling and sat happily on the back seat watching the world go by.

What do other people do to fit both dcs and dogs in the car?

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 16:30:13

At the moment I can't fit DC and Dog in the car, he got too I'm having to sell my car and get a bigger one, I'm thinking estate with dog guard and he can have the whole boot with a bed in it.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 16:31:47

moosemama I think you are entirely right to be worried about the danger an unsecured dog could pose to itself and the people in the car in case of an accident. Many car manufacturers do rigid boot dividers that fit specifically in their model cars to keep dogs in safely in the boot. Otherwise you will need to compromise with the crate that fits your car and short journeys.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 16:39:34

I hadn't thought of a boot divider Booboostoo, we used to have one of those for one of our old cars, many moons ago - I'd completely forgotten.

Think I will go and see if I can find a second hand one on ebay. Thank you. smile

We are changing our car soon anyway and will be having a VW type 4 camper van as dh's daily driver, so he can have a mahoosive crate in there.

Dala - anyone using a crate that the dog can't stand up, stretch out or move around in is far worse than a numpty and shouldn't be allowed to have a dog.

Ddog1 was in a cage as an adult sized dog, because she didn't stop chewing u til she was over a year old, but it was big enough for her to move around in.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 19:36:07

sdtg my lab is adult sized, and was crated at night until recently too. His last crate went up in sizes as he grew was massive, size wise it was suitable for a much bigger dog like a St. Bernard.
Same as yours, lab-dog is a big chewer. He went in happily every night, he had his bed in there, and always had a treat and a bowl of water in with him. In the day the door was open and he could go in and out of it as he pleased.

I do think that crates can be misused, and this is where the problem arises. Like if the crate is too small for the dog, or used as a punishment, or to keep the dog in all day. But in the right circumstances and used the correct way, then there isn't a problem with one being used.

In the car lab-dog has a harness that clips into the seatbelt.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 21:06:50

Booboostoo, thank you for your suggestion. I have managed to track down a car specific guard and divider - although dh isn't impressed with the price - so that's my car travel problem sorted. smile

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 21:26:45

SDT I know - I just typed "dog crate" in Google and one of the first images I saw of dogs crates for sale (by a reputable looking company too!) showed a dog half-lying in a crate that was clearly too small for it to stand, sit up or lie down in. I mean if a company who sells them think that's appropriate, and nobody, from the buyers to the photographer to the proof-readers for the company thought that cage was too small and looked wrong then it doesn't exactly lend confidence that would-be purchasers won't follow suit (especially as the smaller the cage, the cheaper).

I have seen other images since though that show a crate with a decent amount of space around the dogs, even bigger dogs like retrievers.

Booboostoo are you in the animal industry, out of interest? you sound very knowledgeable.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 21:46:43

HoneyDragon I pondered over whether or not to respond to your points, and then I thought why the heck not. smile

So: "They are called crates as one of there primary functions is to be mobile." This doesn't make sense? Since when are crates mobile and cages not?

"Calling it a cage won't stop me using one". I didn't suggest it should or would, did I? I am really quite tired of being mis-quoted.

"Calling a fat dog abused doesn't stop people over feeding them shite." Sorry I really don't get this. Abused fat dog being name called? confused An odd analogy, but each to their own.

The above is quite a comparison to some of the very good and informative discourse on this thread lately. You are coming across as somewhat frustrated that the thread has now moved on to a quite positive place and seem to want to bring it back to squabbling level, judging by your recent contribution as highlighted above...

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 22:15:22

I didn't quote you.

A crate, as has been explained is a mobile item. It is for transport and safeguarding. A majority of posters on this thread, including myself have explained our dogs travel. For that a crate is a necessity in many situations and often digs are not allowed to be transported without one.

I was referring to you saying why not call it a cage as that is what they are. For me it really is just semantics, whether its called a crate, cage, or a wankerooni, I will still use it. Especially if I resumed my previous job, and went travelling with my dog.

It's not an odd analogy. A fat overweight dog is an abused animal. Referring to them as abusec has no effect at all on oners who over feed dogs unsuitable foods. They simply refuse to believe they are abusing their animal. Like misuse of crating, slip leads and head harnesses, something being common place does not make it right.

My exasperation in that post was in direct response to your post about the difference between crate and cages.

Why would I be frustrated? My primary concern, has always been for the welfare of my dogs and always will be. The fact that I have repeatedly mentioned crates can be abused and often are abused, and I mentioned I have read the reports such as released by PETA, would show that I have a vested interest in the subject.

I am very sorry for any offence caused in answering the question that you asked if anyone knew the answer too. But that is all I was doing. Answering a question.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 22:18:05

Explanation ....not exasperation.

Clearly a Freudian slip as a result of you misrepresenting my post. grin

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 22:20:09

dala I found that ridiculously small for the size of the dog crate.

It is truely shocking that some companies think this that this type of advertising of their products is acceptable. If crated, that size dog should be in one at least twice the size.

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 22:25:24

Having seen the major pet stores sell and advise on fish tanks I wouldn't trust them on the correct size cage, hutch, coop, tank, crate for ANY living creature.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 22:28:21

After reading Dala's post, I had to google and found that picture as well. shock angry

Shame really as the company concerned sell some fab dog beds, perfect for pointy hounds, but I'm not sure I'd give them my business after seeing that.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 22:31:47

... I was getting fretful because the tips of lurcherboy's ears poke through the top of his crate when he stands up - and we only use the crate for him to travel in. I am genuinely shocked that they think it's ok to suggest that crate is suitable for a dog of that size.

That is appalling - that is the size of cage we used for ddog1 when she was a little puppy - why would anyone think that is an appropriate cage for that dog??

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 22:33:28

OK HD. wink I misrepresented you, no, you misrepresented me but you didn't, then there was a Freudian...Gosh I am getting all confused! Let's leave it there? <offers hand>

I have learnt quite a lot from this. My opinion of crates has definitely altered since I started the thread yesterday. I still don't think I would have one personally, but I have realised that lots of caring and responsible dog owners have them and are able to use them responsibly, for the good of the puppy or dog not for convenience to themselves.

What I am most pleased about is that there has been some good intelligent conversation about it, so someone who could have unwittingly been using crates wrongly, not cruelly but wrongly, thinks twice and maybe goes and finds out how to use them more appropriately, or realises their dog could have moved on from a crates and could easily graduate to a bed but they had overlooked it. Or even that their crate is too small. smile. I don't know. Maybe.

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 22:38:39

That's also the size I had my puppy in and swapped it for his huge one when he was about 4 and a half months old.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 22:42:02

Re the picture, that's not the one I saw, although it was a similar sort of thing.

A happy ending.

Btw - I never asked what sort of dogs you have, Dala. Ddog1 is a choc lab, and ddog2 is a black lab pointer cross (a rescue dog). Ddog1 was my first ever dog - I grew up with cats - but now I am hooked - I can't imagine a life without at least one dog in it.

We almost ended up,with a third dog - dh found a stray staffy in the village, who'd been hit by a car, and brought him home. We had to hand him to the SPCA because he needed vet care, but if his owners hadn't turned up, we would have asked to adopt him. He was lovely - a total gentleman, despite being lost, in pain, and in a totally strange house. And our dogs were nice with him too. But his owners had been looking for him all night, and when I rang the police with the dog's description, they connected that report up with the missing report and he went home that day.

It is frightening that there is more than one picture like this, presumably on more than one site.

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 22:46:41

That is the size I have, though not from there.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 22:52:20

Our crate is not big enough for whippy to stretch her front and back legs out in, but she never ever never sleeps like that. She likes to curl into a ball and squash into corners of things. We could fit at least 6 ball sized whippy's into her crate and she can stand, sit and turn comfortably.

She did used to have a much larger crate but she created a 'toilet corner' and it stunk, so we bought her a smaller crate and spent a week training her to hold it over night.

She currently has in her crate; a waterproof crate mat, a cushioned fleece crate mat, a nest with sides and a sleeping bag, which she likes to be tucked into at night (I wish I was making that last bit up but I am not) and for some reason she has a pepperami wrapper that she reclaims everytime I bin it. She keeps it next to her nest. We do have a water bowl that clips on the side, but unless the weather is really warm I take up all the dog's water dishes overnight to prevent toilet accidents, when the weather is warm they get water down at night.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 22:55:46

dala it is shocking that there are more pics like it.

tab and sgtg it's the picture further down of the travel one, that retriever must have been blue-screened into, as there's no way he could have actually got into it stood up.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 23:00:12

tab that's about the same size as ours.
Lab-dog looks about the same size as that retriever in it, in that he had about the same amount of room to move about.

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 23:00:30

DalaHorse no I am not a dog trainer, but 17 years ago when I got my first dog as an adult my dog training club was looking for help so I took a 6 month trainer's course in clicker training. I then helped out at the club but always as an assistant to the trainer and only dealt with straight forward pet dogs (no aggression or difficult issues!!!). I enjoy reading up on the topic and attending lectures so I try to keep up although since coming to France this has been impossible because they are about 20 years behind the UK.

I've done a bit of everything with my dogs from obedience, to clicker fun to agility but nothing to any amazing level. I also have horses and have used the clicker to solve some problems I have come across with them.

I am glad the thread has been interesting for you. The photos of the crates mentioned are far to small for the dogs shown in them. Using a crate correctly is hardly brain surgery but having seen people fail to understand the behaviour-click-treat sequence after literally weeks of trying to show them, nothing surprises me!

HoneyDragon Sat 04-May-13 23:07:29

This thread keeps challenging my ethics. I think of myself as a very moral, caring and law abiding person.


If the chance ever arises I am going to steal Whippy dog from Dooin and run away, and I won't feel one teeny tiny bit of remorse grin grin

<<disclaimer: I probably would turn back the moment Whippy started missing her mum. But I'd be bitter as Hell about it wink>>

impty Sat 04-May-13 23:08:03

I thought a crate needs to be large enough for a dog to stand up and turn around in?
In my experience people who use crates have ones larger than needed. Obviously that's not everyone though sad

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 23:10:37

impty yes that's my understanding too, but you don't want a crate that is too large either as the dog may use part of it as a toilet. With most breeds you would need more than one size crate, e.g. our old GSD had three different size crates from puppy to adult.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 04-May-13 23:24:44

grin @ Honey.

My Dad tried to actually, properly steal her once. He was convinced she was happier with him after he dog sat her for a week. It took us three days to convince him to return her. He eventually brought her back, but did admit that he just opened the car door and if she didn't get out of her own accord he was going to drive back home with her. Apparently she "shot of the car like shit off a stick" so he started to feel bad about trying to steal her grin

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 23:26:16

D0oin - my DS (he's 17) says the puppy has mastered dog diffusion, he goes from high concentration of dog standing up and spreads out into a larger volume less dense dog when he lies down, lol

I've had dogs that were considerably taller than him and could sleep in half the space he takes up, lol.

That's why the huge crate - he's not fully grown, it's looking like he'll be smaller than breed standard anyway and that's the next size up from what's reccomended for rotties, but I know he likes to sleep on his back with all his legs stretched out, so I got him one that he could do that in.

Lying neatly in a down position he doesn't even half fill it.

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 23:27:16

SDT Our first dog was an elderly rescue collie-cross. Then we had a rescue labrador. They were both wonderful. We are waiting until the DCs are slightly older before getting a new dog, because we want the DCs to be old enough and aware enough to experience it all thoroughly, eg accompanying us to training sessions with the dog. We have a cat too. the cat wasn't very welcoming with the first dog. (spitting and hissing) so we made their introduction very gradual. We put a baby gate on the stairs initially so the cat could leg it upstairs away from the dog if ever it wanted. In time it wasn't needed - the dog and the cat each minded their own business but occasionally they laid down together in front of the fire together smile.

Maybe we were lucky, but both our dogs despite having very different personalities (sparky quick collie cross, and lumbering, sweet natured lab) we got them fitted in quite quickly. We showed them what we expected of them, they were told if they misbehaved, which was rare. They were allowed to move around the house freely, unless for example we had a visitor or a party that they might find noisy or perturbing in some way. Then we would move them upstairs away from the action until after the party was over/visitor had left.

The dogs' bed was under the desk. If it wasn't appropriate for them to be in the lounge or the kitchen on occasion for example, they were directed out of the room and that was that. At night they had run of the hallway and the study where their bed was. Occasionally we would hear them getting up for a drink of water and having a bit of a wander and a stretch of the legs but then flump down back in bed. They were happy.

This is all why I struggle to see the need for a crate for a dog who has clearly adjusted to the household. If they are well behaved and mentally adjusted why would I lock them in a crate at night as opposed to letting them have at least a hallway to stretch their legs in? Not to reopen any closed points. Just I didn't have any reason to. I would actually have felt... I don't know... slightly snidy, like I was only pretending to trust them but really they were not to be trusted. I can't explain it. but like they were so lovely and loyal to me, I would have felt guilty limiting their personal freedom if there was no real reason to.

<I am not casting any aspertions on anyone else here or suggesting people are snidy who do use crates etc etc I am NOT. I am simply reporting how I felt. What worked for me wouldn't work for someone else and all dogs are different.>

Anyway, how lovely that you reconnected the injured staffy with his owners. They must have been so relieved.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 23:28:35

D0oin I do believe you've just instructed honey on the best way to steal her. (Don't open the car door. grin )

tabulahrasa Sat 04-May-13 23:38:45

Dala - I've had older rescue dogs, ranging from 6 months old to about 5 years old when I got them and didn't need to crate them.

This puppy has been a whole different ball game to previous dogs, partly because of having him from a tiny baby, partly just because he is some sort of puppy crossed with a tigger, lol and partly because he has a joint problem that limits exercise.

I think different dogs require different care and mine needs protecting from himself more than any amount of wandering while alone.

I don't trust him, not at all, not when it comes to deciding what is suitable for him to play with and what isn't.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 04-May-13 23:40:30

dala I don't completely trust lab-dog I still half expect to come down one morning to discover he's eaten a table-leg during the night. grin he has so far proved me wrong and hasn't so much as touched a shoe overnight.

I also think he is very loyal to his stomach more so than to me he is fickle in that way. But if he can find something edible he will find a way to eat it.

He is also still quite young, (under 2) and hasn't lost all of his oversized puppy behaviours, but he is getting there.

moosemama Sat 04-May-13 23:51:10

The only thing I don't trust lurcherboy with is the kitchen bin. He seems to think it's his personal nosebag. We've actually moved it out into the back porch and the door is locked at night, but as you have to go through that door to get to the downstairs toilet we frequently find him with his snoot in the bin when the dcs have left the blooming door open - again! hmm

For that reason, anything that might vaguely be dangerous to him if he ate it has to be taken straight outside to the wheelie bin.

I have a cunning plan to change it for a pedal bin to put an end to his bin mooching ways. I can clearly imagine the reproachful looks he's going to give me already! grin

He used to be an expert counter surfer as well, but <<fingers crossed>> seems to have grown out of it these days. Mind you, I think it's second nature to us not to leave any food out these days, so maybe it has more to do with that than his levels of self-control. Bizarrely, he had a thing for baked potato skins and they would guarantee a smash and grab raid on the worksurface if left on a plate. confused Mostly he is a bit meh about any food we have anyway, as he's raw fed and we are vegetarians, so while he does enjoy the odd bit of fruit and veg - in fact he begs for the apple peelings when I'm making the porridge every morning - he clearly believes his raw meaty bones etc are far superior to our rabbit food! grin

DalaHorse Sat 04-May-13 23:58:11

tabulah and frustrated your dogs sound lovely! I know that different dogs, especially younger dogs, do need tailored and appropriate responses, for their own safety. I think most dogs under 3 are still giddy kippers grin and some will be very hard to control - not because they are badly behaved but because they are, er, exhuberant and full of the joys of life!

I read Marley and Me... that dog! He was very destructive when distressed. I think he ate through some concrete too. Certainly he ate a lot of furniture!

DalaHorse Sun 05-May-13 00:04:38

Moosemama our bin was our lab's equivalent of a pick and mix sweet counter smile, he would do anything to get his nose in the bin! He loved greens too, carrots and cabbage especially. Oh he really was a sweetheart. He had been so ignored in his previous life he had no idea how to play. He couldn't grasp the purpose of a squeaky toy or a ball. All he worried about was making sure he had food. He was the most unassuming, gentle dog. If he had had a motto it would have been "I don't mind" or maybe "Thanks for everything". He was so grateful.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 05-May-13 00:16:30

Whippy can be trusted, she's never really chewed anything or displayed any kind of anti social doggy behavior, to be honest I am not wholly convinced she is actually a dog. She may be an oddly shaped cat. That would make sense grin She's only crated because she likes it.

Devil Dog was crate trained because we had a few problems with him including toilet training, cat chasing, snapping and general aggressive behavior. The crate was a place where he could be left when we had small children around who did not know how to properly behave around him and where he would not toilet or attempt to make supper of the cat. He is mainly cured of most issues now and a perfectly friendly, if a little excitable wee terrier, although we have newbie dog who arrived yesterday, so he is currently doing his best impression of the world's most over sexed bi-sexual dog hmm - we are trying to train the dry humping out of him, it is his last remaining anti-social habit.

He didn't take to his crate as well as whippy. He went in it on command happily enough and stayed in quietly as long as we needed him to, however once we got to a point where we were able to leave the door open he opted to sleep outside of his crate so we folded it up and put it away.

We still get it out from time to time to play crate games with it, so he remains comfortable with it because he is the dog we have trouble finding sitters for, so if we ever to go to DH's friend's caravan or weekends away, he is the most likely to come with us and the crate makes that much easier. While I can trust him not to pee all over my house, if we took him somewhere new and left him alone, he almost certainly would leave his mark there and over there and a bit more over there and some in the corner over yonder...

It's also handy if we ever get any short term, emergency fosters who may not be dog friendly. When that happens we operate a kind of double door system, whereby the hallway is a no go area and dogs are kept in separate rooms, with the hallway as a buffer zone in case of escapees. However in order for the front room dogs(s) to get to the loo they must pass through the back room, so the back room dogs(s) get safely crated before the front room dog(s) is allowed out there.

HoneyDragon Sun 05-May-13 00:16:49

I love hearing the 3am wander that dogs do. In our case it's between ransacked chair and digested sofa in the conservatory. So two flumps. Then at 5:30 pm lie on the kitchen floor pretending you were there ALL night.

You Dad is weak DooIn, weak. grin

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 05-May-13 00:51:10

Honey, everyone wants to steal whippy. She comes on the school run with us sometimes by demand of the pupils grin My next door neighbour has more than expressed an interest in purchasing her or borrowing her to take rabbiting (she is scared of rabbits) I regularly get asked if I am willing to put her with X's dog, so people can buy her puppies (she is spayed)

To rub salt in the wounds of all the whippy admirers she is the dog we were never meant to have. At first she was supposed to be a tortoise shell kitten, the story being every time I left my FB open dd1 would jump on and post "Dose anee won hav a kiten i can bi for 5 punds on x rowd?" £5 being her weekly pocket money and x road the only street she was allowed to play in unsupervised. One day someone replied to her and I agreed she could take the kitten. They then messaged me to tell me the kitten had gone, but they knew of a puppy looking for an urgent home. I declined the offer a puppy and received a reply asking if I knew anyone who would be interested because she would be drowned that night if she did not find a home. Of course we took her in. Only ever meaning to keep her a few days until a rescue space was located. As soon as DH saw this tiny, palm sized ball curled up in a bawling teenagers arms he said "Don't call the rescues just yet, wait a while and see how things go" That was three years ago and we still haven't called the rescues grin Lots of people offered to rehome her in the two weeks it took DH to decide she was here forever and was his dog and his dog only, including every vet nurse she ever met.

I often wonder if her potential murderers would have been so hasty in getting rid if they knew how she would turn out. They've certainly missed out on a very loving, calm and funny dog.

tabulahrasa Sun 05-May-13 01:02:38

Exuberant, aye that's one word for him. hmm

Funnily enough, no-one ever offers to steal my boy, lol, I get lots of comments about how friendly and affectionate he is closely followed by words like playful, lively and energetic... I offer him to people on a fairly regular basis, they sort of slowly back away.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 05-May-13 01:07:48

Yes, Devil Dog attracts a lot of comments too, mainly ones that involve the words "live wire" or "full of character" hmm

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sun 05-May-13 07:31:17

dala exhuberent is definately the right word to describe lab-dog. I'm going to start using that word to describe him, grin definately sounds better and isnt as much of a mouthful as bouncing slobbering over-friendly nutter. grin

Ohhh D0oin - that is such a lovely story!!

Our hounds raid the bin whenever they can - they currently have two shredded quiche boxes in their beds.

Ddog2 is part pointer, and she can do the pointer thing of curling up into a teeny tiny ball, even though, when not curled up, she is an enormous collection of long legs and elbows in a bag of fur.

theodorakisses Wed 08-May-13 08:04:25

Worral the MN earless Pitbull still tries to squeeze in his but sometimes gets stuck and walks around like a tortoise with it stuck on his bottom. I never really shut the cage, just gave him a safe place that was his (the other 5 dogs turned their noses up at it). Like anything, misused it is cruel, used properly it gives comfort and security and I think if you have had your ears and tail hacked off and been chucked out of a car window all before you are 10 weeks old, comfort and security is something good, not cruel.

Slavetothechild Sun 12-May-13 20:52:06

Mine use them as dens only our two puppies sleep in them at night as they both chew and climb ! We also use tem at shows and theyvmore happy in crates with blankets over tan sitting and being sniffed . They feel secure and safe we have never used the crate as punishment. I can't see the problem .

Effortless Tue 14-May-13 11:33:32

Shocked?? You should talk to Charlton!!

Here he is... in his crate... where he takes himself for a snooze...



He loves his crate. The door is never closed. And especially when there's loads of kids in the house, he takes to it to get away from incessant cuddles... and nobody is allowed to touch him when he's in there. It's his refuge.

And there is really nothing to be genuinely shocked about ;-)


topknob Wed 15-May-13 21:50:48

Not read whole thread yet but how is a crate any different from a dog bed, a safe place where they are left alone??

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