Fezziwig says, "Crates Suck!"
... or ...
Store-a-Dog on the Cheap
We camp a lot. When camping, we get a view of what other people do with their dogs. A crate in the back of a pickup is the single most sure sign that the people brought a very bad dog. It shows:
The Does NOT Pertain To ...
These statements do NOT pertain to breeders who have 17 Irish Wolfhounds. Enough said. If you have a lot of dogs, then you have a kennel, not a home. This pertains to the DINKS (Double Income No Kids) and those like them who bought a dog on a whim and now don't have time to deal with her.
First off, the crating of animals is a newer phenomena. A person used to let the dog run all over the house and treat it much like a family member. This didn't start in some primordial cave with a pack of wolves.
Someone, somewhere, for some reason decided they didn't want the dog sleeping on the bed. (Probably Yuppies or Dinks, eh?) They locked the dog away and found it didn't mess its crate. This led to the feeling that crates greatly help with potty training.
Locking the puppy up also helped quite a bit with damage around the house. Teething and puppiness can lead to some serious chewing.
The Next Step
Having now legitimized their locking the puppy up, it didn't take long to decide that the dog should be locked up anytime they're gone, when they don't want to deal with it, after they get bored with the puppy. This led to the puppy being in the cage about 60 percent of its life.
Work this through. If you work from 8 AM to 6 PM for five days, you're going to crate ten hours on five days for a total of 50 hours while at work. If you sleep from 11 PM to 7AM on seven days, you have an additional 48 hours of lock-up. Should you go shopping four hours a week we have a minimum total crate time of 102 hours. There are 168 hours in a week.
Your dog spends 60 percent of its life in a crate.
If you can't feel guilty about that, shooting kids at Columbine shouldn't bother you either.
The experts recommend crating for a puppy so that it can be easily house-trained. It also keeps the puppy from getting into trouble. They don't now and never have recommended placing a puppy into a cage for 60 percent of its life.
Sensory deprivation is the single most damaging thing a puppy could suffer. Crating at unreasonable levels leads to a dog that can not adjust to society or their owners.
What We Do
The first few days we have a puppy we insure someone is home all the time. It only takes a few days to housetrain a dog when someone from your family is "in charge" 24 hours a day. Should we have to leave the dog alone, we place it in a crate for ONLY the amount of time we're gone. The dog comes out as soon as we get home. After a week or two the puppy has become acclimated to its new house and can run free.
We have EVERYTHING we can find that the puppy should NOT chew sprayed HEAVILY with a product called Bitter Apple. Once an item is sprayed you wouldn't want it in your mouth. Neither does the puppy.
The puppy has chew toys EVERYWHERE. There are so many chew toys the dog has to trip over a number of them to get anywhere in the house.
We eventually lose a pair of slippers or a corner of a rug to the puppy. With a LARGE puppy, we lost a windowsill. If you ever had a teething Irish Wolfhound, you'd understand. These costs are trivial compared to the return we get in the trainability and socialization that the puppy has when not caged.
You're Free to Disagree
What we do is driven by what we've been exposed to. Your opinions may differ. We respect that and hope you have all the best success.
People who have responded to newsgroup threads have almost universally favored a crate due to misbehavior. Some responses follow:
One person said:
I guess we all agree. If you use a crate, you have a dog that needs training. I suspect I need not justify the statement that if a dog needs training, there is a chance that the dog might not be the best camping neighbor.