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Spacemom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:43 PM
Original message
Please educate me about Dog Crating
I've never owned a large breed dog before. Our newest family member Shadow is going to be a BIG dog. He's 18 weeks and already over 30 pounds. He's a black lab. He gets plenty of outside play time. But there are times during the day when it's just not possible for me to supervise him. So far he's destroyed 2 TV remotes and a several of my kids toys. He has plenty of chew toys.

I just really don't know if crating is an option. Is it humane? Do they feel sad being locked up? On the other hand do they like having their own special little "den" to sleep/rest in?

Also, at 18 weeks, is it too late to start crating him?

Thanks for any and all opinions/info.
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. As long as you don't use it as a punishment, crating is fine
We crated Mick, until he could be trusted, and Beag gets crated when I go to work and overnight.

Mine don't mind it at all, and will run in if I say, "kennel up." In fact, they listen better to that command than any other. Even when the crate is open, they'll often go into their crates to nap or play.

Just keep him crated for short periods of time at first, and make sure he has a couple toys to keep him occupied. A kong or hollow bone filled with some frozen peanut butter is a good way to keep them occupied.

I don't think 18 weeks is too late to start crating him. He's still just a baby.
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Spacemom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 06:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thanks for the advice
I wouldn't dream of using it as punishment. My hope is that he'd come to think of it as a safe and protected place.

I think we'll go to petsmart this weekend and check out the crates.
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Felix Mala Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
21. But all the dog books say crating is the best punishment...
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 10:22 AM by Felix Mala
better than smacking them or rubbing their nose in it. My doggie tends to get too rowdy or sometimes a little too aggressive when he wants to play and the threat of getting locked up is the only thing that settles him down. He also throws a fit by crawling under the bed and barking when he doesn't get as much play as he feels he deserves. I've checked several sources and they all say use the crate to modify this kind of behavior problem. What should I be doing? A remote shock collar is probably the next step.

By the way, he enjoys his crate with the door open throughout the day to chew on bones or chill during dinner. He knows it's his space and protects it. Woe be to any of the other pets who try to visit his crate. He just hates to be in trouble and hates have the door slammed shut on him.

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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. Yeah, but they're talking about sticking them in there for 10 minutes as chill out time
Not locking them up for hours for acting like a puppy.

I don't agree with remote shock collars most of the time. If you do get one, use it with a professional dog trainer. We had to put in an invisible fence to qualify to adopt a dog awhile back. Mick, normally a "hard" dog was so terrified by the shock that he would hide for hours, even hearing the microwave beep. Needless to say, it was a waste of a couple hundred bucks and a day's hard labor putting it in.

I'd suggest making sure that you get the dog tired out enough, both mentally and physically. Mick goes fucking insane when he doesn't get to do a herding lesson every week. That, and a half hour or so at the dog park can go a long way.
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InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. I do use crating as "punishment" too...
...when a dog has really gotten into trouble (pulled up the carpet, eaten the couch, won't stop pestering another pack member). I've found it a lot better to dispassionately put a troublemaker in their crate (without the treat), than to make a scene like a madwoman and yell and scold them. First of all, I don't like to yell and scold, and second, my dogs pretty much ignore that anyway. :) It's not really "punishment" so much as it's a "time-out" - like sending a kid to their room. It doesn't make them hate their room/crate, but it gives them the opportunity to calm down and relax, while still knowing that they did something they shouldn't have.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. It's quite humane, and they come to enjoy it.
Make sure there's a water bowl and toys, and something comfy to lie on. Make sure it's BIG enough for him to grow into.
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Spacemom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Big enough?
Since we're thinking he's going to be at least 80 pounds, do we get a big one now? Or a mid size one and then something larger when he's larger?

Thanks for the advice. :D
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. There are "adjustable" crates
Basically a big crate with a divider you can put in and take out. Too much space and it doesn't do the "ahh, my cave!" trick.

That said, the crates that take a divider are often as expensive as two crates.

Something soft to lay down on is key; same said something can be switched between crates with little fuss, as it will carry his scent.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
19. Get a big one that has "dividers"
Check out what size you want, and see if Fosters & Smith online has it cheaper -- they probably will, and they ship quick.
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InvisibleTouch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. I always recommend crate training.
Especially for those situations as you describe - when you just don't have time to be over his shoulder every minute, and he's still in a chewing phase, or you're out of the house and can't supervise him. It's for the dog's safety as well as for your peace of mind. Give him a treat every time he goes in the crate, and he'll come to love it. He'll know that's his safe and quiet spot. My guys all know the command "In the crate," and they dart right in, expecting their goodie. One of mine even knows how to open his crate from the outside, and will unlock it himself if I'm too slow for his tastes. (Fortunately he hasn't learned to open it from the inside yet. :) Though as a pup he briefly used a crate that he could open from the inside - and when he got in the mood he'd go around and let all the others out as well!)
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Spacemom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Smart dog!
Thanks for the advice. I think we'll go price some crates this weekend. :D
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LibertyLover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. Humane and a great way to provide the dog with a safe place
We have crated our 2 greyhounds and one of our 2 whippets and it's worked very well. We never used it as a punishment, but a place for the dogs to feel safe. It also helped with housebreaking. We would leave dog toys in the crates for them. The dogs liked the crates and when we first introduced them into the house, having a crate made them feel safe. Greyhounds live in their crates when they are on the track and when you bring them home after they retire, it gives them a feeling of safety and security. When we got into housebreaking mode with the whippet puppy, the crate helped. We kept him in our room in the crate so that he got used to being with us, wasn't afraid but because dogs don't like to mess where they sleep unless it's unavoidable, it made housebreaking much easier. 18 weeks shouldn't be too old to start, but be prepared for howling and crying initially as he might perceive it as punishment. We always made sure to give our guys a treat when we put them in the crates and to praise them. We also never made a big deal about leaving - just put the dogs in the crates, gave them the treats, praised them and walked away. When we came home we would do something first, nothing too involved, maybe just going in to the kitchen for a moment, before we would release the dogs. We found that doing that worked into the not a punishment thing. That the dogs being in their crates was normal. After a few months, we discontinued crating when they had learned manners and/or were housebroken. Now a friend of mine continues to crate her dogs when she leaves the house even after having one of her dogs 6 or 7 years. So, if you want to continue crating, it's entirely up to you.
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Spacemom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Help with housebreaking would be wonderful
that's another reason I'm thinking about it. Shadow does great at night, but tends to have accidents if I leave for a bit during the day. I'm thinking crating would help with that.

Thanks for the advice. :D
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:23 AM
Response to Original message
10. My new puppy voluntarily goes into her crate when we have to leave her; the door is wide open the
entire time but she feels very secure there while we are gone.

I thought as you did, but her trainer convinced us that it's worth it and it very much is worth it; not cruel at all if done the correct way.

No destruction, no barking or whining--she just goes there and sleeps; then gives us an enthusiatic welcome home when we return!

I strongly advise crate-training; it's great for the dog and even better for you!
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:37 AM
Response to Original message
11. I recommend crate training.
Dogs are den animals and see the crate as a den ... as long as you don't use the crate as punishment.

Our Golden Retriever LOVED his crate and would go in there even if we didn't need to confine him. It was especially good during thunder storms. He would get very nervous and pace around the house crying unless he was in his crate.

No, it's not too late. Good luck and keep us updated! :toast:

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ogneopasno Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:55 AM
Response to Original message
12. I'm going to piggyback and ask about crate training for dogs who are already one or two years old...
is that a possibility? We have two dogs that get into crap when we're gone, and I'm tired of it. Is crate training a possibility for them, d'you think?
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. For a dog that age, it's trickier.
You have to make the crate a more positive experience than you would if you were starting with a puppy. My advice is to buy the crates, make sure they're in a public part of the house, and put lots of toys/treats/etc. inside the crates. The dog only gets the extra fun and treats if he/she is in the crate. Leave the doors open the first week; you might get lucky, and your dogs might decide to "adopt" the crate as a den on their own, in which case it will be much easier to transition from crate-as-fun-time to crate-as-den. If they object strongly, you could sit in front of the open door (they can't get out, but you can reach in) and snuggle, pet, speak soothingly until the dog calms down.

Once you're ready to try closing the door, get some special, human-food treats (like small cubes of cheese.) Close the crate door. If the dog whines/complains, firmly say "No!" If the dog stays quiet, give the treats and lots of praise after a minute, and then open the door back up. Repeat over the course of a week, slowly replacing food-reward with voice/petting-reward, and lengthening the intervals in which the door is closed. After a week, try a test run: leave the house and listen quietly outside to see if the dog complains. Come back after 15 minutes or so, and praise effusively. Work your way up to being outside for longer periods of time. Eventually, you should have a happy, content dog who's fine spending time in his crate while you're at work.

Note: smaller dogs have a harder time being crated for more than a couple of hours, as their bladders are not nearly as large. They can't "hold it" as long as a big dog can. If your dogs are small, you might have to come home and give them a relief break every couple of hours or so.
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ogneopasno Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thanks for the ideas. I work at home, and they're OK at night, so any crating we do would really
happen fairly seldom. Sometimes I like a lunch out or run errands, and if I know they're in a crate for 2-3 hours that would certainly keep my mind at ease. I'll look into trying this. Thanks.
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:03 AM
Response to Original message
13. My 90-lb Golden Retriever loves his crate.
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 08:05 AM by Lyric
He goes in while we're gone (although I leave the door unlatched in case of emergency--he knows how to open it.)

He also goes in whenever we have company, because we *do* allow him on the furniture, and I don't want him climbing up to snuggle with a guest who might not enjoy having a 90-lb dog in their lap, lol.

I will say that we have a rule: for every hour he spends in the crate during the day, he gets at least 30 minutes outside on his run, so he can stretch, jump, play, run, etc. We break it up, but that's our house rule for Toby, unless the weather precludes him being outside longer than it takes to go potty.

Edit: Oh, and we bought him a big, thick-wired crate right from the beginning. When he was younger, we used the divider that came with it. It really helped with housetraining--Toby hasn't had a single "accident" in the house since he was 10 weeks old.

:hi:
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av8rdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
16. Done properly, crating is a GREAT way of training
Of course, I've only trained small dogs (Bichons) with the crate, but it has always worked out really well. Guiness, my oldest, has been here three years. At night, he sleeps in the bedroom. During the day when he wants to nap, he still goes to the crate. It's still there for him - of course, now the door is always open. I think he feels comfortable and secure there. Done properly, there is nothing inhumane about it at all.

It's a great way to shorten the housebreaking time. Even though it's not used as a punishment, when he did something wrong, all you had to do was say "shame on you." The dog would hang his head, go immediately to his crate, and come out later when he figured all was right with the world again.

I have some friends who have trained large dogs the same way and have been happy with the results.
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Rambis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
17. Our golden used it
it as a shelter from the kids sometimes. We never had to worry if we were gone that he was eating something that could kill him or having accidents. It is not a punishment tool.
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dropkickpa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
18. Agatha loves her "house"
She is crated during the day when I am at work since, at 20 months she still has instances of puppy-ish chewing here and there, but is loose at night. Every morning, though, she is back in her crate of her own volition when we get up even though she started out the night on the couch. She doesn't mind her "house" at all (what we call it), she snuggles up with her blankets and favorite stuffy carcass and snoozes away happily. Done correctly, it's a life saver. Should she ever need to spend time at a vet, crate size confinement won't be a stressor to her and they will be able to easily work with her to get her in and out (she's about 65-70lbs).
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
20. creating is the only way to go, esp if you must leave you dog alone for any period of time.
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 09:59 AM by KG
Jet was almost 2 when he showed up in my life. i dont know if he was crated before but he took to it right away. i never leave him alone uncreated and and he sleeps most nights there. he gets a treat for going in and the first thing when i get home, even if i've only been gone 20 mins., is we go 'outside' so he relieve himself and to get into the habit.

also, a got a portable folding fabric house to use when i'm visiting. it comes in handy.

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SoxFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
22. Just don't listen to Mitt Romney
:P
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DeepBlueC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
23. A dog might "go" into a den; if he's "put" there it's a cell
Just my opinion. Sounds like puppy behavior and the only thing for that is supervision, keeping small stuff out of his reach. It's like toddler-proofing. But not foolproof either.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
24. We leave our crates open and when the dogs get tired or want some peace they go in and lay down
It's their special place.

The key is to start them young. I have a thirteen year old cattle dog who hates to be crated because he's had the run of the house his whole life. The dogs we started as pups don't mind at all.
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