Deciding to crate train is a personal choice. Some people truely beleive i the benefits and others don’t Join us as we reveal the reasons we decided that crate training was the best option for us.
Let me start off by saying I have never liked the idea of crate training. The thought of my beloved furry family member locked in a cage, alone, makes me sad. Growing up we never crate trained our dogs. It wasn’t a concept I was used to. So when we brought home our first puppy as a married couple and someone suggested we try it, I was against it. My husband researched the subject and found that it was promoted as a faster way to house training. I was all for faster house training but just wasn’t comfortable with locking her is a crate.
Now we found our first puppy Molly at a pet store before we knew anything about puppy mills. Molly was a very hyper little Springer Spaniel puppy who lived in the store for two months before we brought her home.
When we first brought Molly home we tried leaving her gated in our small kitchen. There was nothing in the kitchen except for the usual large appliances, cabinets and a vinyl floor. Just like we did in the old day, we laid out newspaper for her to do her business on and a water bowl. We came home to find the water spilled all over the floor along with her waste and shredded newspapers. It was not a pretty sight.
The next day we left her in the kitchen for a shorter time period. This time we came home to find that she she started chewing the floor molding.
On day three she was put in her crate when we needed to leave the house. Because she had lived in a crate for most of her life she was perfectly happy sleeping there until we came home. It became her safe place that she went to even after she was fully house trained and had full run of the place.
Our new puppy
Fast forward 18 years to our new puppy. Unlike Molly our new pup Bella was not a puppy mill puppy. We don’t know exactly what her sleeping arrangement was at her foster home but she was there with her mom and two sisters until she was adopted. She was clearly not used to sleeping alone in a crate at night.
The first few nights she barked and howled and whimpered throughout the night. No one was getting any sleep. After a few days she got better but still put up a huge fuss that went on for a couple of hours before finally falling asleep.
After about 6 days of this my husband started sleeping in the kitchen with her. It worked. She preferred to sleep on her bed under the table and the rest of us were able to get some sleep. I have to thank her foster parents because Bella house trained really quickly so accidents at night were not an issue.
At around three months we started letting her sleep in the kitchen on her own. This worked fine for a while.
But as she grew she figured out how to jump up on our table and counters. The first time she jumped on the table she ate about 7-8 raisins that were left out overnight. If you don’t know, raisins can be toxic to dogs. She was fine. It turned out she didn’t eat enough raisins to harm her. We weren’t sure how she did it, but guessed that she used the chairs to jump up. So we started to remove the chairs from the kitchen every time she was left alone.
About a week later we came home to find her on our table again. This time she managed to open a closed container that had a store bought chocolate pound cake in it. She ate about half of the cake before we caught her in the act. Chocolate like raisins can be toxic to dogs if they eat enough of it. We don’t know how she managed to get on the counter. The only way up was to jump straight up which was a mighty feat for a puppy that only weighed 14 pounds. She is a rather small dog so it never occurred to us that she could jump more than twice her height.
Deciding to crate train
After that we realized that we just couldn’t trust her. Now whenever we go out or go to bed our little Bella is placed in her crate for her own safety. Remember puppies are not born with an innate understanding of what is safe and what isn’t. They need to learn that from us.
What should you do
Deciding to crate train your pup or not, is a personal thing, but before deciding, ask yourself this question: Can I really ensure my puppy’s safety when I can’t watch them. If the answer is no, then you should crate train them until they are old enough not to get into trouble. To learn more about crate training read Crate Training made Easy
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