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To cage train or not to cage train a puppy

(38 Posts)
Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 07:48:27

We are due to welcome in to our home a male King Charles puppy at the end of May. The dog will be our grown up daughters but for the next few years will be I imagine "our" family (three adults) pet.
We are all excited about this new addition to our family but we are little light on puppy (and dog) experience so are gathering as much information as we can before he arrives.
As my heading suggests we have no idea wether a cage is a good thing or not. My daughter I think is a little anti cage but the rest of us have not formed an opinion.
Advise and help please, thank you

Camsie30 Sat 11-Apr-15 08:14:36

First of all, don't think of it as a cage. You're not imprisoning your dog, in fact the total opposite. Your dog's crate is his safe place, somewhere quiet and calm where he can sleep and feel safe. I got my rescue dog at 6 months and crate training was brilliant.

Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 08:26:21

Sorry, should have said crate. Although now I think about it I prefer dogs house.

Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 08:29:15

Just before my original post I had been looking on Amazon and the word cage is often used and it just stuck in my head.

pocketsized Sat 11-Apr-15 08:30:12

We have a cocker spaniel and crate training him was the best bit of training we ever did. He loves it in there and often takes himself in if he wants a bit of peace and quiet. He's nearly 4 now, and we don't often shut the door but it's a godsend having somewhere he can be kept safe when necessary. We also take it with us when we go away and it makes it much easier to take him to stay with friends etc as he still feels safe and secure and we know he will be safe and not get up to mischief while we sleep!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 11-Apr-15 08:55:44

We have an 11 month old border collie who is crate trained and she too views it as her space. The door is open at all times (unless she's in it because we are out then we close her in as she has had a tendency to chew wires when unsupervised in the past), if she knows we are going out without her she runs into her crate because she knows she gets a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter and cheese while we are gone. She even tidies all her favourite socks toys away into it. She is a raw fed dog so often has bones which she takes in there to chew. I was a bit unsure about using a crate for her but it was one of the best things we did.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Apr-15 10:59:36

I'm quite anti crate because I think that they are open to abuse . When our pup first arrived we used a large cat pen that my mum had ( cat had had an op at some point) to contain him overnight and once he was more reliably clean overnight took it away . He has a bed ( pile of blankets on a memory foam mat) in an alcove in our largish hall and sleeps there overnight and goes there during the day if we have to leave him .

BertieBotts Sat 11-Apr-15 11:04:57

This video is good, sort of a nice overview/introduction to crate training. He does advertise a particular brand towards the beginning but that's how he basically gets sponsoring to make free videos, it doesn't encroach over the rest of the content.

insanityscatching Sat 11-Apr-15 11:44:12

We've never had a crate, like Floral we had a pen when Eric was a tiny puppy but we soon took that down when he was reliably house trained so within a month. He has a couple of baskets that he retreats to when he wants some peace (which is rare tbh) and he sleeps in one or the other or on the sofa overnight.
We have no small children so Eric has never needed to find a place to retreat to and he's never been a chewer so I don't feel we have ever needed to have a crate and really Eric is such a diva who thrives on being in the midst of everything I can't imagine him ever choosing to use a crate tbh.

Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 11:45:48

Hello florianomd,
When you say a crate is open to abuse, was that by you or the dog. Or is it when other people come in the home.

Buttholelane Sat 11-Apr-15 11:45:57

I wouldn't even consider having a dog without a crate.

My dog loves hers and goes in very happily by herself when it's all a bit loud and busy downstairs.

She sleeps in there and goes in there if I am popping out for a bit.

It's useful for confining her after a bath to dry off too.
I had the funniest video showing what she does after a bath but seems you can't upload videos sad

Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 11:46:23

Sorry, that was to floralnomad.

Buttholelane Sat 11-Apr-15 11:52:40

Yes I know, I was just giving my opinion on crates.

Gfplux Sat 11-Apr-15 11:55:51

That a very good point buttholeane. How often do you bath your dog.

Buttholelane Sat 11-Apr-15 12:00:22

Very rarely, maybe once or twice a year.
I will also bath her if she has rolled in something stinky but not if its just mud she is covered in, for plain mud I lock her in the kitchen with a bone then comb it all out when it's dried in.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Apr-15 12:06:24

what I mean is that there are people who get pups and crates and then the pup is shut in the crate when the person goes out / overnight etc and I think that there are probably lots of dogs that spend a majority of there time enclosed in what is in effect a cage . There was a post on here a few months ago and the dog was spending 14/15 hours a day in a crate. It's purely a personal opinion but if a dog has a bed in a room at least they can get up a walk about if they want -there was also a post on here in the last couple of days about leaving water in a crate overnight and a few people were saying that their dogs don't have access to water overnight ,IMO that's a basic necessity . I do appreciate that there are lots of people who just use a crate as a bed and claim never to shut the door but if that's the case why not just use a bed ? I have quite a large house but our pen was quite intrusive and I was very happy to see the back of it and my dog prefers to sit on the setee anyway .

Floralnomad Sat 11-Apr-15 12:09:00

As for the containing them when wet my dog goes to the groomers for a bath every 3 weeks and has his hair cut every 6 weeks - if he is wet / muddy / washed in between at home ( daily event in the winter) he goes in his dog bag when he comes home and lays inside it for 20/30 minutes until he is dry .

tabulahrasa Sat 11-Apr-15 12:17:17

The plan with my current dog was that he'd be crated as a puppy until he'd finished teething and then I'd get rid of it as it's huge and takes up loads of room...

However, he's a chewer, he would if left to his own devices shove furniture out of the way to chew electrical cables, he has a fetish for small metal objects including pulling screws out of walls to get them. It just isn't possible to dog proof a room short of building him one out of cement...and even then I'd worry he'd damage himself with that.

He's also had two operations requiring vet stays and cage rest - I'd hate to think how stressful it would have been to introduce him to a crate while ill or recovering from an operation, for that reason I'd recommend everyone makes sure their dog is comfortable with a crate even if it's not in regular use.

His illnesses have left him with issues and he has to be kept away from strangers as he's unpredictable, because his crate is somewhere he's happy to be, that's easier as well.

Mostly though, he just likes it. It's where he chooses to sleep, even when we're here, it's where he runs to with his stolen hauls (socks, batteries, whatever he's decided is the object of the day) and if you take the actual bed out to clean or do anything he lies miserably on the metal floor rather than on the spare cushion on the other side of the room.

Yes they can be misused, but so can anything - as long as they're being used to keep a dog/puppy safe and secure when you can't supervise them and not for long periods of time, they're great.

Buttholelane Sat 11-Apr-15 12:22:38

Well, I am quite sure that there are people who do leave their dogs in crates all day which is abusive.

But then I am also quite sure that lots of people allow their dogs to pull, gagging and coughing the entire duration of a walk on a flat collar, slip or chain which is also abusive.

Lots of people leave their dogs (free in the house or garden) all day and/or night to howl in distress which is abusive also.

Lots of people overfeed their dogs until they are obese or neglect to give them proper dental care until their guns or so inflamed and their teeth so rotted the dog can't eat properly which is also abusive.

I think anything, even basic things like food or exercise have the potential to be abused and unfortunately you will always get poor owners but that doesn't make the product itself cruel, just the person who is using it.

My dog must be confined somewhere if wet or muddy.
My options are to pop her in the crate upstairs or the kitchen downstairs.

If it's after a bath it has to be the crate because otherwise she will shake and rub herself all over the walls, my carpet, my bed, the kids beds...

If it's after a walk she needs to go in the kitchen because otherwise she will either a) run upstairs to her crate smearing crap all over my stairs on the way or b) run and jump onto my sofa and then rub herself all along it.

KatharineClifton Sat 11-Apr-15 14:38:53

Absolutely. You're just setting a pup up to fail if you don't have a safe space for him to go. There's just no point in giving a pup access to a whole house to chew. Plus they like them.

The advice generally says, when they are first home then take the crate up to beside your bed when you go to bed. Then you hear when they stir and need taking out for a wee. Also, it's just plain horrible to leave a baby on it's own at that stage. Then when they are more settled move the crate further and further away i.e. further from the bed, landing, then downstairs.

I planned to do all this but took leave of my senses and got two pups. First couple of days they were in the same one, but soon went into their own crates. They have all their toys etc. in there and their meals and are in and out all the time, and like it very much. We shut the doors when they are sleeping.

KatharineClifton Sat 11-Apr-15 14:41:08

I've ordered a playpen too for them. Hadn't planned on that but it seems to make sense. Actually counting down the minutes until it arrives as obviously the pups have to be supervised every minute they aren't in their crates for chewing/weeing/whatever else they may find to do.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 11-Apr-15 14:58:42

We used a crate for our lab and it really helped early on with overnight toilet training and keeping him safe. He was fine with the crate from day 1 and always settled straight away when in it.

When he was teething he chewed anything and everything and when we had a few attempts of leaving the crate open at 7 months (he happily slept in it when the door was open) he started wandering during the night and eating soft furnishings (including a sofa seat cushion which needed a trip to the vets) and destroyed a carpet (several inches off the edge).

He stopped chewing at around 16 months and then the crate door was always left open day and night. He had a bed in the hall upstairs, but usually chose the crate.

He was 2 this week and we took the crate down (42" so was huge and I'm glad to get the space back!) and he seems to miss it a little, but he will get used to it not being there and use his other beds.

As they are not especially expensive I would get one which you can use open as a bed and means you can close the door if and when you do need it. Vet bed is a great/comfy washable liner for the bottom of the crate, we get the Bronte Glen one and cut to size to use it in his crate, around the house and to line the boot of the car.

cashewnutty Sat 11-Apr-15 22:21:06

Our lab loves her crate and goes off to it when she wants quiet time. If we go out during the day we leave it open. We close it at night and cover it. This is one because, by trial and error, we realised she prefers to be shut in at night. I would say you need to be led by your dog.

reikizen Sun 12-Apr-15 17:20:53

I got one for our lab & it was sort of useful when she was tiny but we don't have one now as they are massive and ugly and i genuinely don't know what we would need it for! I am a bit hhhmmn about them as the dog owning public managed perfectly well without them till a few years ago but loads of people rave about them so they must work for some people. What I realised (especially on here i'm afraid) is that owning a dog is like having kids in that everyone is convinced their way is best and they will tell you where you are going wrong in no u certain terms! you can easily feel inadequate or that you are doing something wrong if you don't fall into line with the current thinking.

Humansatnav Sun 12-Apr-15 17:30:07

Our 15 week old Springadore loves his crate, its HIS space, his safe place to chill/ sleep/ eat a treat.

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