Crating… It’s Just Not For Us

For many, the topic of crate training is not only acceptable, it is considered a given.  I understand that a lot of people believe that all dogs should be crate-trained.

And I’m not here to argue with that.  I think that it is very helpful for dogs to be comfortable going into a crate for temporary periods of time in case you need to use one for travel, if your dog is ill or injured, if you need to separate multiple dogs during chewy time, etc.

However, I have to admit that it boggles my mind that so many people crate their dogs all day when they are at work and all night for sleeping at night.  I know I may be attacked for this, but I just can’t abide by that.  I would not want to live two thirds of my life in a cage… not even one third.

Okay, let’s be honest here:  I don’t want to live a single minute of my life in a cage and that is why I do not force my dogs to do so either.

Austin - Giving "The Eyes"

What?? Crate me? Just look at these eyes. You wouldn’t!

I know what you might be thinking… “But dogs are den animals and they like having a safe place to go, such as a crate.”  Well, this is half-true.  Wolves and wild dogs do dig/build dens to birth and nurse their young.  The pups usually stay in the den for 6-8 weeks, then are moved by their mother to the first in a series of rendezvous/nursery areas.  However, adult wolves/wolves that are not nursing most often sleep out in the open.  Domesticated dogs are certainly different, with some preferring to sleep in the open, such as sunning themselves in front of a window; or the semi-open, like under our desks while we work :).  Or on the couch.  Or the bed.  Or just wherever their super-comfy (and sometimes super expensive) dog beds happen to be situated.

“But my dog goes to his crate on his own – I don’t have to force him in there.”  And that’s fine… that’s totally fine!  I’m happy with dogs sleeping anywhere they’re comfortable sleeping… and if they want to sleep in a crate, that’s fine.  Some dogs like to chew their chewies and stuffies in their crates, and that’s fine too.  Many people simply leave the crate door open and let their dogs come and go as they please.  Terrific!  I’m square with that.

What I have a problem with is leaving a dog in a locked crate for hours on end.  As mentioned above, some people keep their dogs in crates while they are at work.  Some people keep them in crates at night.  Some people do both.  If you do both, please consider that are making your beloved family member live in a cage for at least two thirds of the day, which would equate to two thirds of their lifetime if you are always crating them at these times.

At night, our two sleep in their dog beds that are right near our bed.  We used to let them sleep in our bed, but after Lil Girl’s disc herniation with subsequent back surgery (in January 2012), letting them sleep in the “big bed” is just too dangerous.  Our bed is pretty high and we just can’t risk them jumping off during the night.  But they are happy and content to sleep in their beds, and they are free to get up and go get a drink of water during the night, which they often do.

Li'l Girl in Crate After Surgery

Photo from 01/09/12 – The day after my back surgery.  I was only in this crate briefly until I upgraded to a pen Daddy built for me out of baby gates.

Li'l Girl in Recovery Pen

Oops… my recovery pen was a mess this day – it had some old towels and old toys in it at the time. My good fleece stuff was getting washed. I just chose this picture ‘cuz I look super cute in it.
I was much happier here than in the crate.
Mom says not to be fooled by the “Oh, woe is me” eyes… whatever that means.

Li’l Girl recovered very successfully from her back surgery and hasn’t been in a crate or pen since then.

So back to talking about crating in general.  The wieners are rarely left alone, but when they are, they get free run of the house. 

Although they are both avid chewers, they only chew toys and have never chewed anything that isn’t a given to them as a toy.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  We cannot buy the small, cheap donut/bagel style beds – Li’l Girl will destroy them.  Any other kind of bed, she doesn’t even attempt to chew.  But those bagel beds, those must be TERMINATED.  But no, we really never have to worry about coming home to destruction… they don’t chew furniture or shoes or anything like that.

The house is dachshund-proofed, so to speak, so that Li’l Girl cannot jump on and off of any furniture on her own.  Certain doors are closed when we are gone, and the couch and loveseat get piled with pillows, making them too high for her to even consider jumping.  When we had LittleBear, this worked for him as well.  Austin is a different story… he has very tall legs and his jumping skills have outwitted all our obstacles.  For now, we have to just let it be.  He is very sturdy, and we just have to hope that his different body type means that he is less prone to having IVDD or other back issues.

I understand that some people crate due to housetraining issues.  We are very fortunate that the wieners are very good in this regard.  We let them out often and they take care of business outside.  They always go out for the last time right before bed, so they are generally always fine for the overnight hours as well.  Since we don’t leave them for long periods of time, they never have accidents in the house while we’re gone either.

The point is, we don’t have any worries about them being free in the house while we’re not home.  I would truthfully worry more if they were crated, and I’ll tell you why.

Some of you know that I suffer with pretty severe anxiety, and it has multiple triggers.  One of the triggers is leaving the dogs alone – not because I worry about what they will DO, but rather what might happen to them.

For example, I worry that we will be burglarized and that the burglars will harm the dogs or simply let them out, never to be seen again.  This could happen whether they are crated or not.

Even more worrisome is the fear that there will be a fire while we are not home.  Is a fire likely?  No.  But it is possible, and that’s enough to fuel my worry machine.  What does this have to do with crating?  Well, if there was a fire, and my dogs were free in the house, they could try to run to an area of the house that isn’t on fire (or isn’t on fire yet).  From reading stories following wildfires, grass fires, etc., it seems that dogs instinctively know to run away from fire.  But if they were crated, they would be trapped and possibly forced to burn alive.  I hate to speak of such horrific things… things that should be… well, unspeakable… but these are the fears that I have.

So, between the fact that I just don’t like seeing living beings caged, let alone my own family members… and the fear that something may happen to them while crated, we just don’t do it.  The dogdad doesn’t believe in it either.

When I was growing up, we didn’t crate our dogs; and looking back, I can’t think of anyone else who did either.  I can only guess that crating is a modern convention.

There used to be a time when upon finding out that someone crated their dogs, people might say, “Oh, that’s so cruel!”  Now, the tables have turned.  People judge you pretty harshly if you don’t crate your dogs.  I have experienced this judgment personally.  I wrote this post not to “stir the pot”, so to speak, but rather to let others who don’t crate know that they are not alone.

The wieners are truly our children… and since we would not cage human children, we choose not to do so with our dog children either.  It’s a personal choice.  Just as all parents raise their children a little differently, all dog parents take care of their dogs a little differently.  As long as the dogs are happy and healthy, that is what matters most.  I think we can all agree on that.

This post has been included in the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop,
hosted by Two Little Cavaliers, Life With Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume
Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

37 Responses to Crating… It’s Just Not For Us

  1. GizmoGeodog says:

    What can I say…I don’t even own a crate these days…Gizmo has the run of the house and has since I brought him home as a puppy…It’s never caused problems and he’s never destroyed anything … Crates are a good solution for some, but I just don’t have a need for them
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Are You Feeding the Right Amount of Dog Food?My Profile

  2. Bren says:

    Well said! I don’t believe in crating unless it absolutely necessary. When I rescued my boy, crating wasn’t even thought off. As you, as a child, we never crated a dog. They had full run of the house. My boy has full run of the house. He has several beds throughout the house but can sleep wherever he chooses. Some people are a firm believer in crating, however, I’m just not a fan of caging my furchild up. I’m glad I stumbled upon this in my Triberr feed. Good for you for sharing your thoughts!
    Bren recently posted…P&M Tech: How To Make Twitter Sharing More UsefulMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      Thank you so much for your comments! I was really so afraid that I would get a lot of flack for my position, so it’s very comforting to know that there are others out there who feel the same way I do.
      P.S. I went to check out your latest post, but I see you’re down for maintenance. I’ll check back later!

      • Bren says:

        Absolutely gf! Stand up for what you believe in regardless what others think. You’re not alone on this one by far. Oh sorry about that. I’m doing a site/theme upgrade. 😉

  3. I crate Nola and my other 3 when I leave for short periods of time (3 hours or less). I do it for a few reasons, one being that Nola and Boston (my other female) sometimes get into spats, and I don’t want one to happen when I’m not there. 2 I think it is very important my dogs are comfortable in their crates in case (god forbid) of a back issue. 3, Nola likes to throw herself off of high furniture, and again I want to avoid the risk of back issues.
    Dachshund Nola recently posted…Charlotte SaturdayMy Profile

  4. And also, with crate training you don’t just shove your dog into a crate and leave. 😉 You spend a long time acclimating them to one, making it a great place to be. Crates for my dogs are a treat, as they get high value treats they never get unless crated. It’s not cruel, inhumane, ect. It’s what works for us. 🙂
    Dachshund Nola recently posted…Charlotte SaturdayMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      Thank you for your comments, Nola. This is what I mean. Crate training is good and having your dogs acclimated to one is a good thing. I tried to express as best as I could that crating is totally useful and that I think it’s great for dogs to be comfortable with being crated.
      The only crating I expressed a problem with was what I consider to be constant crating… where dogs are in crates more than they out of them.
      I have read tons and tons regarding how to initially crate train a dog, in other words, how to get them to be okay with going into the crate and being settled/relaxed while they are in there, and of course everything always mentions to use treats… however, I’ve never read anything that suggested ONLY giving them high-value treats in their crates so that they know they only get the good stuff in there. Why just associate the crate with good when you can associate it with awesome? Great tip!

      • I don’t agree with nearly 24/7 crating, either. People who work 9-5 jobs with their dogs crated (unless under special circumstances like Morgan’s below) and then crate them at night…I don’t agree with that. I don’t have a typical job with long hours, and Nola’s usually only crated 1-3 times a week for 3ish hours or less each time. She’s loose all the time otherwise, including at night.

        That high value treat trick is a godsend! I use frozen, yogurt/PB/pumpkin stuffed Kongs, bully sticks, kangaroo tendons, hooves, ect. I just ordered some Himalayan Dog Chews, and I’m excited to see how the Weens like em!
        Dachshund Nola recently posted…Charlotte SaturdayMy Profile

        • Yeah, another comment. 😀 I need to learn to finish before I post!

          I wanted to comment on your reply to Houndstooth. I don’t think you should take this post down! As bloggers, I think it’s good we open up some controversy and make people think about their decisions/choices every once in a while. I’ve done it my self several times with posting against negative based training, limiting vaccines, not feeding commercial dog food, having collars on my dogs 24/7 (except when crated or getting a bath) for ID purposes, being pro positive breeder/stating all my dogs have come from breeders…the list goes on!
          Dachshund Nola recently posted…Charlotte SaturdayMy Profile

          • Pam says:

            Sounds like I need to dig around in your blog! I’d probably agree with most of your posts, and if I came across something I didn’t agree with, I’d still be happy to read it because there’s a 99.9% chance that I’d at least learn something :).
            My response to Houndstooth was what it was because I am an extremely sensitive person. I could tell her comment had emotion behind it and it really, really bothers me that my post upset her. If she was a total stranger, my response would likely have been different. But she has always been very nice to me, and I do love her dogs and her blog. I’d like to be able to go back there and read and comment, but at this point, I would feel unwelcome. I hope that she comes back and reads my reply/explanation/apology.

  5. houndstooth says:

    I have a dog who will go through a plate glass window if she sees people outside our house and I’m not there to call her off and redirect her, she won’t stop until she gets through. If you’re telling me that letting her jump through a plate glass window after people and rabbits is safer for her, then I think you need to rethink that. Not all of us have perfect dogs that get along perfectly with everyone else in the world. I wish we did, but that’s not the hand we were dealt. Morgan came to us the way she came, and we’re working with what we’ve got. Unfortunately, we both have to go to work and buy her food, along with our other dogs.
    houndstooth recently posted…A Philanthropic HoundMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      Of course not! I never said that… in fact, I tried to make it totally clear that I was completely okay with people crating their dogs, because there are so many reasons you might need to.
      My dogs are the farthest from perfect they could possibly be… they go absolutely apesh*t when other dogs, cats, or people go by outside the window. But they are not big enough to throw themselves through a window like a large dog could.
      I really, really, really thought that I expressed that I was okay with crating… it just wasn’t something that we personally do. I did say that I had a problem with crating a dog for two thirds of its life, but if that is something you need to do for Morgan’s safety, then it’s obviously a special circumstance.
      I am still pretty new to blogging and I still don’t quite understand the etiquette of posting stuff that’s too personal or controversial or what. It took a lot of courage for me to post this because I know that many people crate their dogs and people who don’t crate are becoming the minority. I thought I would receive flack for admitting openly that I don’t crate, and I was ready to take that flack. I didn’t think that anyone would be offended because they need to or choose to crate.
      The whole point of the post was that some people do and that some people don’t, but because the majority of people seem to be crating now… I felt so alone in not crating and I wanted others who don’t crate (for whatever reason) to not feel alone.
      I’m so sorry if it came across any other way. My heart is beating so fast and tears are pouring down my face as I type this. I love your blog SO, SO, SO much and it hurts me that I have posted something that made you upset.
      I guess I might consider taking this post down. It’s difficult to stop crying. If you were a total stranger, perhaps it would be different. But you’re not. I don’t know you personally, only through blogging… but you’re someone that I respect and admire… your blog is amazing… your dogs are amazing… I just… don’t know what else to say. I hate that I’ve upset you. I’ve been debating even continuing doing this for a while… and maybe I’m not just not cut out for it. Again, I’m so sorry.

      • houndstooth says:

        Don’t ever be upset for being genuine and saying how you feel. I really enjoy your blog and I don’t want you to be upset. YOU are entitled to feel the way you want to.

        The truth is that it’s just a tough subject for me. I wish that it were different at my house. I wish that Morgan could be out all the time without us worrying about her hurting our other dogs with her hyper vigilance. I never thought that I would be a person who would be crating her dogs beyond the initial settling in stage. But honestly, I can’t imagine us ever being to the point where we can trust her enough to not crate her when we’re here.

        There are a lot of opinions that float around out in the blogosphere about what you should and shouldn’t do for training your dog, and using a crate is a tool. It’s often hard not to feel defeated when you hear about everyone else’s successes with their dogs and you are struggling just to get your dog to some of the most basic things. It’s really easy to get discouraged when you’re trying, with the best of intentions, to make progress that just doesn’t come. It’s hard sometimes to read about how everyone else thinks you should be doing something, if that makes sense. The truth is that nobody will ever be in your shoes with the dog that you have besides you. The conversation still comes up at our house about whether we’re the right people for Morgan. I feel like there are people out there who are a lot more capable of dealing with her issues than we are, and that sometimes I’m doing her a disservice by trying to stick it out.

        Sometimes I hear the crate discussion come up and I think that maybe people don’t realize other points of view about it. And just because I feel differently about it doesn’t mean that I’m right or that you’re wrong. It means that we have different experiences in life that have led us to different places. I should have just let my feelings roll off my back, and not said anything, but I guess I’m a little raw about the situation right now and I let that get the better of me without really thinking through my reply. I apologize if my reply hurt you. That wasn’t my intention at all. Just know that sometimes when you write a blog, you’ll get replies that you didn’t expect and have people disagree with your opinions sometimes. Just let it roll off and keep writing. You have a wonderful, sincere and witty voice and I enjoy reading what you have to say!
        houndstooth recently posted…A Philanthropic HoundMy Profile

        • Pam says:

          I feel a little better. A little. I still feel bad because I know your comment came from a tender place. I remember reading about Morgan’s difficulties… the first post I happened to catch was Better Living Through Chemistry. Reading it, I felt heartbroken not just for you guys, but for her. Something was going on in her sweet fuzzy brain that was causing her to be hyper-reactive to everything, and to challenge her own packmates for reasons you couldn’t possibly know. When you said that it had gotten so bad that your husband considered putting her down, my jaw dropped. How defeated you guys must’ve felt to even have such a thought. How it meant that he felt she was beyond control, beyond hope. I was so relieved when you decided to consider every possible avenue of working with her, including meds. Then I was more relieved to read Becoming a Better Shepherd where you talked about the progress you were making with her. There were/are still a lot of bumps in the road, of course, but I’m so glad that you’re seeing improvements. I know that losing Blueberry was devastating, and having to go through that in the midst of difficulties with Morgan must’ve been… well, words aren’t really adequate. I’m so sorry for what a trying time you’ve had recently.
          It also made me think about my own dogs. They can be extremely overreactive to things outside. Not just barking, but barking wildly and lunging at the window. If they were bigger, I’d have the same worries that you have with Morgan… that they might just launch themselves through it… or hurt themselves very badly trying. It’s mostly Li’l Girl who is like this regarding the window. On walks, Austin will pull so hard to get to cats and to check under every parked vehicle for a possible cat. It feels like he is a much, much bigger dog when he is pulling. What would he do if he got to one? To be honest, we don’t know. They aren’t very socialized to other dogs, either… and that’s OUR fault, or at least our fault for the time that they’ve been with us. Oh, and did I mention they don’t like strangers and that we basically never have houseguests, not even family? They aren’t perfect. Frankly, in a word… they’re neurotic. If they were bigger, I don’t know what we’d do. So being in a world of dog blogs where everyone seems to have these perfect, well-adjusted, well-socialized, perfectly behaved, well-trained dogs… dogs so great they’re therapy dogs… makes me feel really bad about us. I don’t blog about our “issues” because when I started doing this, I was so naive that it never occurred to me that blogger readership is primarily other bloggers. I thought just regular folks with dogs might happen upon my little site. I didn’t know about blog hops or any of that stuff. I didn’t even know that there were kajillions of dog blogs out there. But there are. And everyone’s dogs seem so perfect. It made me not want to write about ours.
          Even Morgan, even with the certain issues that she has, she is still amazing. I read about how awesome she is with obedience. I think about my two and how obedience would be a foreign word… a fully foreign language to them.
          So yeah, even though crating is not really necessary for us… doesn’t mean our dogs don’t have issues. Right now, you might have to crate Morgan more than you’d like for her safety, as well as the safety of the rest of the pack. She is making a lot of progress, so with time that may change. Or it may not. Either way, it is what it is. I don’t judge it AT ALL. We do what is necessary for the health and safety of our dogs. I didn’t want my post to come off all judgey-judgey… because in fact, it always feels the other way around. Like I said, I feel so judged for NOT crating. Like we are just lunatics because we don’t crate. I guess I just wanted to have the courage to speak up for the minority.
          Now that this has become a post all unto itself, I’m just glad that you stopped back by. You have such a beautiful blog with beautiful dogs, and your writing just blows me away. One post can sour us on a person forever, and I didn’t want you to dislike me to a point where I couldn’t feel comfortable visiting/commenting there anymore.

  6. HilyBee says:

    I completely agree with you. 🙂 We crate trained Yosuke, but only for the basic reasons – on rare occasion we could need it, just enough to get them use to it, and he is given a chewy treat each time. I want him to know if I put him in the crate, it’s not because he was bad it’s because he needs to be extra safe and secure. When we took him to a non-local vet once in his crate (it’s a carrier crate for traveling), he did really well.

    I remember growing up and my parents doing the same thing. Training our dogs to like the crate just in case it was needed (medical reasons, traveling, etc.) and only for short periods of time (no longer than 5 hours). However, my grandmother always put her dog in a crate. She would put it in there to leave her house, at bed time, when she was bad… it was used for EVERYTHING. I hated it, but her dog was a terrible little thing too… so probably necessary the more I think about it.

    There are definitely some circumstances crating is good for. We typically go crate free though. 🙂
    HilyBee recently posted…Trilogy Alert!!My Profile

    • Pam says:

      Absolutely. There are all kinds of reasons why people might need to crate their dogs, whether it is something that is necessary only on occasion, or whether they need to do it every day.
      When Li’l Girl had her surgery, she would have dealt with being in a crate for her recovery. But she seemed unhappy, and that made us unhappy. She was used to crating at her foster home, but she had never been crated with us… so she was kind of “out of touch” with it, so to speak. So we chose to do her recovery period in an open-top pen, and she did really well in it. She knew it was her “safe place”. However, this would not work for a larger dog. A larger dog could just climb right out of an open-top pen. A crate would be absolutely necessary, and the more used to being in one prior to their illness/injury, the better.
      It’s good that you crate-trained Yosuke for those times when you need to use one. Be smarter than us and keep him used to it. We had a new adoption in December, and I don’t think he’s ever been crated… ever. We wanted to let him settle in here before even attempting training. I think the time has come, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy. He has particular issues and I think that he is going to feel very panicked when we first attempt it. Hopefully with enough chewy time in there, he’ll feel like, “Hey, this isn’t so bad!” But I don’t know. It’s definitely going to take work with him.

      • HilyBee says:

        It’s not easy that’s for sure. Yosuke did not like his crate at first. He would get soooo nervous, which made me nervous to leave him in it. We would crate him while we were home with a chewy bone just long enough for him to finish it (or 20 minutes max. whichever came first) to help him get use to it. Once he was okay with it, we started crating him when we took quick trips to the grocery store. He now just goes into his crate whenever he gets tired and he can’t get comfy on my lap. lol We leave it open as an option for him so he knows it is still a safe place.

        I wish you luck with training your new fur baby! Give him a stuffed Kong or a good chewy bone and he should figure it out pretty quick that crates aren’t scary. 🙂
        HilyBee recently posted…Yosuke’s Review: Red HarnessMy Profile

  7. emma says:

    Thank you! I have read your posts on and off on triberr before sharing but today I decided I have to follow you! I am of your opinion exactly! Yes I own crates but they were for traveling by airplane over the Atlantic. As puppies I used a baby gate to keep them “locked up” if I needed to be gone. Both dogs did fine with poddy training without a crate – their bed was on the floor next to my bed and I got up every time they did to let them out. I am not a crate hater but I don’t see the need for one. My girls have free reign of the house at all times and we have no issues. You are brave for posting this but I support you 100%. You can have a well behaved, well adjusted dog that is not crated!
    emma recently posted…Tail Chasing Busy | GBGV | Follow Up FridayMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      I really appreciate the support. And… geez… you summed up my whole post in one sentence: “I am not a crate hater, but I don’t see the need for one.” I’m just too verbose. Many words to convey a simple thought… it’s a weakness… or a sickness perhaps, lol.
      But truthfully, I do understand that there is a time, a place, and a need for crates depending on situation. If people feel that their dogs are more safe in crates while they are gone, then I absolutely want them to do what they need to do for safety. Many, many people with dachshunds crate their dogs when they are not home because we have to be ever-vigilant about spinal injury. No jumping on and off of furniture, etc. So other dachshund parents especially are somewhat aghast when I tell them we don’t crate. But we have just arranged things to remove the dangers. But then there are the people who let their dachshunds fly full-throttle off of furniture all the time and I am aghast at them… so I guess we all judge each other.
      Our two are not exactly well-behaved/well-adjusted ;). But, we do know them… and we know their behavior inside the house: what they are capable of, what they will/won’t do, can/can’t do. And I think that’s the key. If you know that your dog would be safer in a crate at certain times, then you crate them accordingly. If you fully trust your dog to have free run, then that’s okay too. I just wanted to speak for the other side… the non-craters, if you will.
      Although, maybe I should just follow the lead of many other blogs and keep things all-positive, no controversy.

  8. emma says:

    One more thing, I work from home mostly these days but I have had jobs where I was gone 10 or so hours a day and the girls were left free to do what they pleased at home and never had an issue. My youngest has chewed some throw rugs, but who cares, no harm done. They always get plenty of exercise, so frankly, when I am gone they just sleep most of the time wherever they choose. Dogs are not allowed on furniture and they never go on furniture even when I am gone. Believe me, with shedding, etc, I would know if they did. They have their own beds around the house to sleep on.
    emma recently posted…Tail Chasing Busy | GBGV | Follow Up FridayMy Profile

  9. Last comment, I promise. 😉 :p One of the biggest reason I crate train is so Nola is comfortable and calm being confined. I travel a lot, and I’m going to do quite a bit of flying in the next two years (both domestic and international). Nola is, of course, coming with me, and she needs to be comfortable in her carrier below the seat (I’d only fly her in cabin).
    Dachshund Nola recently posted…Black and White Sunday: The Definition of BeautifulMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      Oh Nola… or Nola’s mom rather… you can comment all you want! 😉 Ooooh, travel! Domestic and international? Hopefully some of it’s for pleasure and not just business. We’ve never traveled with dogs before, but we know that if we ever took them on a plane, they would most definitely go in the cabin. Although… like you say… they would have to be accustomed to being confined for that to happen. So no flights for us in the near future, or probably even not-so-near future.

  10. PepperPom says:

    Well, I do use a crate, but it is for the extremely rare occasion Pep is left home alone. Maybe a few times a year. I do it so that I don’t worry about her breaking a leg or choking on something when I’m not there to rush her to a vet. She isn’t a jumper, but what if………. She doesn’t eat non-food items, but what if…………… She HAS tried to bark at things when eating, and gagged, so I don’t even leave kibble in the crate. She has developed separation anxiety from always being with me, so now she doesn’t like a closed crate door. She knows that means I am going without her. Before her work, she was fine in a crate. She naps in it all the time. It is usually where she is when I can’t find her. The last time she was crated was last October – at daycare for BarkWorld. Pep has dog to dog fear issues, so I told them to keep her crated for her own safety. She is the type to snap when she feels cornered by a pack of strange dogs. She is a Pom, so any pack issue is not in her favor. Best for her to be kept apart in a safe cage for the hour it takes her to calm down (be quiet) enough to attend meetings with me. I guess I use a crate when it is for her own safety, but not a regular basis. I leave it out so she can be used to it, and use it for a hidey hole. It is mostly for my peace of mind on the rare occasion we are apart for an hour or so. I totally understand that some dogs need to be crated when they are not supervised – the wall/toy/sofa eaters, mischief makers, window jumpers, potty issues etc. But I also understand that it isn’t necessary for every dog, or every situation. It’s a personal choice, like feeding kibble vs feeding raw. I guess I straddle the fence, a leg on each side. LOL!
    Pepper’s Mom
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    • Pam says:

      Hi Pepper’s Mom! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, you sound much like me. My two also have separation anxiety from having someone home nearly all the time, and they also have fear issues when it comes to other dogs… especially larger dogs. We have to be very careful when we’re at the vet’s office. We don’t leave them alone very often, and when we do, we try to just make it for a short period of time. But still… I do definitely worry about the what-ifs.

      “But I also understand that it isn’t necessary for every dog, or every situation. It’s a personal choice, like feeding kibble vs feeding raw.”

      Yes… this… exactly! I think so many commenters are putting things better than I could/did.
      But you’ve given me something to think about. I have my what-ifs (like about fire), but I also have the same what-ifs you mentioned. So we really may try to integrate using a crate occasionally for them. I know that a lot of dogs see their crate as their safe place or their “hidey hole”, and like I mentioned in my post (and you mentioned), leaving the door open so they can go in and out when they want to would be ideal. If I can get over my fire paranoia, I might even consider actually crating them while we’re gone. Maybe. Might. Heh… still don’t know if I actually could.
      Thank you again for stopping by and giving your perspective… it was nice and balanced. A true diplomat, you are! 😉

  11. We don’t crate Rita either. (We never have with any of our dogs.) Rita supposedly came to us crate-trained, so I thought, “Okay, if she likes it great. We’ll leave the door open and she can feel safe and cozy in there.” I’d put treats in,etc. but she never once chose to go in there on her own. Luckily she rarely needs to be alone in the house. Also luckily, she is fine with the run of the house. Her foster mom said she “ate an ottoman” while in her care, but I think she must have taken the blame for another dog’s destruction, because she’s never chewed stuff that isn’t hers here. She rarely even tears up her own toys.

    I totally understand that some folks do have legit reasons (like with Morgan) for needing to crate their pup – but I’m sure folks like Morgan’s mom also compesate for the crate time with exercise and interaction. But, in general, if the pup is okay with it, I think it’s better to let them have the run of the house – or at least the run of a room.
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    • Pam says:

      Our dogs have all been rescues, but all came from different places. One of them (Li’l Girl) came to us crate-trained, but at the time, we didn’t even own a crate, so we didn’t continue it. We didn’t have any problems not crating her, and I’m sure she was happy with it as well.
      Rita? Eating an ottoman? Yeah, I highly doubt it as well. I mean, I only know Rita through the blog, but she just doesn’t seem the destructive sort. I believe you when you say that she rarely even tears up her own toys. She just seems to have a gentle nature.
      And yes, there are definitely legitimate reasons for needing to crate. Re-reading my post, I realize that it did come off as a bit judgmental towards people who crate a lot. But it wasn’t meant towards families like Houndstooth’s who just happen to have a special situation that they’re working with. I’m certain that Morgan gets tons of interaction and exercise outside the crate. She has some of the best dogparents in the whole world!
      My judgment was more towards people who abuse use of a crate. Like how some people throw their dogs in the backyard and forget about them… some people abuse crates the same way, and I just hate to see that.

  12. Ann Staub says:

    I am typically fine whether people want to crate or not. It’s their choice, so who am I to judge. You make some great points though! I think it’s nice training for puppies, but most of the time I think dogs grow out of needing to be crated and gain manners and whatnot. I’ve known people who crated their dog ALL the time… they were even in the crate when they were at home which I didn’t really understand. I’ve also seen some people need to crate their severely anxious dogs before too. I was never able to crate Shiner… I gave into her whining and crying the first night I had her 🙂
    Ann Staub recently posted…Social Pet Saturday: Thanks!My Profile

    • Pam says:

      You did? Awww! Being a vet tech, I figure you would be used to dealing with pets in crates/cages since at the vet’s office, animals are usually kept in cages between treatments/surgeries, etc. But Shiner broke you down, didn’t she? 🙂

  13. Agnes says:

    We have a crate that gets used if we have a behaviorist problem to sort out quickly- other than that the dachsies have the run of the house!
    Agnes recently posted…Auction update!My Profile

    • Pam says:

      That sounds good to us! I think we might need to break out one of our crates and maybe get Li’l Girl back in the habit of being in one… just in case we NEED her to be at some point. She was crate-trained when she initially came to us from foster care (she’s DRNA alumni too!). Austin… I’m pretty sure he’s never seen the inside of a crate… and I think it might be a tough sell for him, but who knows? Our LittleBear, rest his sweet soul, was never crate-trained… and thankfully, we never needed to crate him.

  14. […] 5. Crating…It’s Just Not For Us – by Words with Weiners […]

  15. I’m a big fan of crating, for my current dog (she sleeps in one before moving up to the bed around 4 a.m.). But previous dogs would have hated it.

    That said, crating a dog for an entire day is abuse, pure and simple. Even when I’m fostering a dog who needs house training, I use a baby gate or an exercise pen to restrict a dog or puppy’s movement around the house. And never for more than 2-3 hours at a time.

    If you can’t trust your dog outside a crate for more than a short while, you need to spend more time with your dog, training him. Not less, while he’s crated.

    Nicely put word–for wieners or any dogs. 🙂
    Pamela | Something Wagging recently posted…Top 10 Traits of a Pet Sitter Who Won’t Kill Your DogMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      Right! Honey is happy to sleep in her crate, but then has the freedom to move to the bed, and that’s awesome!
      And I’m all for using exercise pens or baby gates when you need to. Maybe even a Pack ‘n’ Play-type thing for a puppy or very small dog.
      This was a personal post for me. I have claustrophobia, as many people do… and forced confinement is a scary, uncomfortable, unnatural thing to me. I tend to be extremely empathetic, to animals as well as humans, and so for any situation I consider for my dogs, I think… “Would I be okay with this? How would I feel in this situation?” And because I would have such a hard time being crated, I have a hard time crating them. And I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t do that. Maybe I shouldn’t project. I’m not a dog, after all. But I really can’t help it. The empathy factor takes over.

  16. Came over from Human Rescue Dog blog. Boy you sure started a discussion. 🙂

    We crate our dogs when we are not home. We have 2 intact males and an intact female. They will never ever be left alone together. We will have our female spayed after hunting season and probably our older male too, but still they will never ever be left out alone together. We do not want a dog fight. We crate our dogs when we travel in the car. It is safer for them and us. They are very used to their crates. But we have working dogs so they also do a good deal of exercising so they have no issues being crated and I dare say look forward to Monday when they can snooze. But we also have outside kennels for them, weather permitting. They love those the best.

    But I understand that crates are not for everyone or every dog. The Golden we had before our Chessies was never crate trained. We got him when he was 14 months old. It wasn’t a problem with him being loose until one year he ate the glass ornaments off the Christmas tree. Don’t know why, he just did. After that we had to crate him when the tree was up, but that was the only time and he really hated it. As he aged, we just segregated him from the tree, until one year he ate some candles, wicks and all. Don’t know what he had against Christmas decorations….lol. After that he stayed in our bedroom. 🙂

    • Pam says:

      I sure did, and I didn’t even mean to! 🙂
      I *totally* understand crating intact dogs. Completely understandable (and responsible!) And if crating them even after they’re fixed is the smart/safe thing to do for them, then by all means do it. I’m familiar with your blog and I know your dogs are working dogs… I know they get TONS(!) of exercise. I have no doubt that they look forward to their rest!
      Crating larger dogs for transport is a good idea, especially if they’re already used to their crates. You guys must have an SUV or van, though. We used to, but not anymore. It would be really hard to crate any dog (large or small) in my car now.
      That’s so funny about your Golden! He clearly had something against Christmas – or at least the decorations! Maybe you should’ve gotten him more gifts ;).

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