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Alternative to crates - new puppy(24 Posts)
We are due to bring home our new spaniel puppy in a few weeks and all the advice from fellow dog owners seems to be pointing towards getting a crate. Our situation is she will be at home or in the office (once she's fully trained!) with me most of the time and my partner will work from home on days I need to travel for meetings on site. She'll only ever be alone for 1-2 hrs max at a time when we need to do swimming lessons etc and at night could have free run of the kitchen.
Are there any definite pros to buying a crate or any better alternatives?
We crate trained. The alternative is puppy chewing through a wall when you leave her so you can have a wee. True story.
BUT it takes time. You can’t just shut them in. You need to start by leaving the door open and making the crate a lovely place to be. FB group dog training advice and support has some great advice.
As my dog got older (and lost the taste for walls!) we stopped using a crate. She’s in a large whelping pen at night but that’s mainly to keep the cats away from her!
We started with a crate covered in a blanket to make it cave-like as it’s supposed to feel safer for them in there. Though we quickly moved to his crate open, within a play pen type setup (got it second hand as wasn’t sure how much we would use it). It was great. We didn’t feel so bad leaving him as he could have his bed, drink and some toys in there.
As pp said - it’s hard to even nip for a shower or wee without something inappropriate being chewed or eaten, so it was easy to put pup in there, for his own safety.
Only when he got to about 11 months did we start leaving him with the run of downstairs. He couldn’t really be trusted till then, and he wasn’t a chewer at all. But I worried he would eat something he shouldn’t or get stuck somewhere. I felt much better knowing he had room, but it was safe.
We just use a small room (crucially tiled!) it depends on your house really
We started with a very large puppy pen , then a fenced off part of the room , then when he was reliably house trained he went free range , he now sleeps upstairs on a double bed in what is ds room but ds is only here a couple of days a month ( or less) so it is really the dogs bedroom . I’m personally not a fan of cages as I think they are generally too small when people buy the size recommended and I don’t think dogs should be kept in cages at all . There are other ways of keeping them safe .
We used a crate but an XXL one for a small cocker spaniel. It was massive so he had lots of room but it did mean that we had a safe space where it was impossible for him to eat or chew anything he shouldn't have when we couldn't actively supervise.
We no longer use a crate but he is now an adult and we can leave things lying about without them being chewed.
The key is to have a puppy proofed safe space, crate or not, to reduce the risk of damage and more importantly them ingesting things that can cause them harm. It's impossible to watch them 24/7 at the beginning especially if you plan to work at home whilst they are young.
Crating is a life skill that I feel is important to teach a dog.
Crating gives a dog a safe quiet comforting place they can retreat to
Crating shows a dog how to relax = vital for overwrought puppies
Crating helps with impulse control
Most dogs will be crated at a vets and if this is already a relaxing experience the dog will be less stressed
Crating is by far the best way to travel with a dog in the car
Crating a dog allows a dog to be happy in any situation away from home.
Crating will keep a puppy safe
We never used a crate, Eric never destroyed anything, he had the kitchen until he was house trained (only took ten days) and the run of the downstairs afterwards.
He goes in a crate at the groomers with no complaints (every six weeks) and I imagine he'd be the same at the vets. We take his bed on holiday with us.
I think it's too easy to use the crate too much and didn't want to use one.
Bella is a rescue, I've no idea whether she was crate trained, I imagine that if she was it would have been over used because she wasn't treated well. She doesn't have a crate here she has the run of the downstairs as well. She goes in a crate at the vets and groomers without complaint.
My dog is quite happy in a cage at the groomers and the vets , it doesn’t mean he needs to be in one at home .
The pro for me with more recent dogs is that if used correctly they genuinely love it. It's their own safe space. Mine often head off to the crates and sometimes squash in together.
I also had a large puppy pen which they loved. Sometimes the door would be open and they stayed inside. Other times they would climb out! But it contained them for short periods.
Crate training is brilliant.
We've converted our undeetsirs storage into a doggy room and we've attached the crate onto the doorway, so now the dog goes into the cage but has plenty of room under the stairs.. complete with doggy sofa and lots of toys!
We used a crate from day one. We only use it at night. Pup used to sleep next to our bed in his crate but could see me.
Now he is over a year and his crate is in another room. He still loves it and heads in on his own when he wants his own space.
We had a bad experience when our lab chewed up the kitchen one night so wanted this pup in a crate.
When pup decides he is no longer keen on the crate we will get rid of it. His crate is massive so I'm looking forward to that day!
We have a puppy of a high energy breed and she’s the type who needs to be told ‘it’s time for a nap’ or she just becomes horrible. Before we used s crate we just had hours in the evening of constant biting, tipping the water over repeatedly, winding up our other dog, no matter how many times you’re redirected her. Now when she gets like this I put her in the crate for a nap and it’s worked wonders honestly. She wouldn’t go to sleep without basically being forced to settle so I’m not sure how we’d have done this without a crate, as obviously she settles better being in the room with us.
We got a crate for our pup, who hated it. We did everything suggested - blanket on top, encouraging with treats, build up to closing the door...he hated it. Then we got another smaller one, as had some advice that maybe it wasn't cosy enough. Same result. Now pup has the lounge free to him when we're out, and we're hugely vigilant about what we leave in his reach. We really tried with crate training, but it won't work for every dog!
Too many dogs are left far too long shut in cages.
A cage is okay for a hamster, not for a family member. However, you have to have somewhere safe to leave puppies at the chewing everything stage.
I’ve crate trained 3 dogs and it’s the best and easiest way. They learn fast. None of my dogs disliked the crate. No complaints from them. I made sure to wear a T-shirt to the breeders and hold the siblings so their smell would be on the shirt. And I put the shirt in the crate at night, covered w a blanket. And obviously made sure she was exercised and stimulated before putting her in, have a treat as well.
Forgot to add. That I’m home all day so during the day she is rarely not in crate. Except during the puppy training stages last summer. Once she was trained to pee/poo outside she was allowed to roam the house. She learned fast, thanks to crate training. We now just use it at night bc if she sleeps out of the crate she becomes a guard dog at night and barks at nosies she hears outside (we live in London). So it wakes us. In her crate she sleeps well and not a peep.
Jouska is spot on.
All our dogs have been crated its much safer for the dog, friend at work wont crate his and they have destroyed the kitchen, luckily they are ok but could have easily eaten something they shouldn't, ours can open kitchen draws!
Crate is best
My dog was crated as a puppy and it’s hugely backfired. I don’t think it was used appropriately. He is now really afraid of enclosed spaces but luckily he is an absolute dream having the downstairs if we are out. Never chews a thing or wees (upstairs is a different matter) and sits on his little bed looking out of the patio doors.
But it was well intentioned to be used appropriately. I don’t think people understand how damaging it can be when it’s done in the wrong way or how some dogs just do not cope with it well. Sometimes the best intentions can still be the worst idea especially if you think you are doing the dog a favour.
Make sure your dog isn’t unhappy and that you aren’t tempted to use it as discipline all the time, especially if your dog is very over excitable instead of managing it with training people often put them into the crate. This doesn’t teach the dog the right things
Used correctly crates are a great training tool but are not something I have used for our new puppy 🙂 maybe I have been lucky but she's good to be left with my other dog and sleeps in our room at night. Yes she chews stuff but we redirect on chews and toys.
You can teach a dog to settle without using crates, theirs some good you tube videos on this if needed.
If you do go down the crate training route then crate training games on you tube is very interesting to watch, helps pup get used to the crate.
I’ve heard that new puppies shouldn’t be left in crates overnight because they can’t hold their toilet for that long and they don’t like messing in their crates. We never locked ours in a crate overnight (only for smaller stunts during the day such as showering like PP said). He had the crate open in a tiled room with newspaper overnight. Worked fine 👌
You can split the crate in two, sleeping and toilet area, or use a whelping pen, they soon get the hang of it. All working professional dogs are crated, its about understanding how best to use the crate.Some people like them some don't