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Where on earth breeders dug that one up is beyond me - but it is an absolutely ludicrous comparison.
Dogs in the wild use dens - but they are family dens - homes where babies snuggle up with their mothers and siblings. How can those loving family homes be compared to a cage which separates a baby puppy away from his family?
The answer is - crates cannot be compared to dens, as a matter of fact, they are the exact opposite of a den:
- A den is where babies snuggle up to their siblings and Mom. This is totally opposite of a crate environment, because a crate SEPARATES a baby from his new Mom and family.
- When puppies in the wild are still babies and in the den, their mother cleans up their urine & feces to keep their sleeping area clean. As soon as their eyes begin to open they begin leaving the den to eliminate. This is totally opposite of a crate environment, where a puppy is forced to sit in his own urine & feces if his little immature muscle can’t “hold it”!
A puppy in a crate is kept isolated from his family - which causes great stress; and a stressed puppy often turns into a sick puppy - see "Coccidia" & "Giardia" on the page "Illnesses & Medications".
“Crates are just like dens” – yeah right - tell that to the puppies who are pitifully crying and whining while locked inside them. Tell that to the owners who come home to find their puppies/dogs have had stress diarrhea and smeared it not only all over themselves, but the crate and wall and everything near it. Tell that to the owners who come home to find their puppies/dogs muzzles and paws bloody from frantically trying to get out. Tell that to the owners who have come home to find their puppies/dogs half-strangled (or dead) because their collars got caught on the bars (yup – friend of mine found her Dane half-dead when she came home. His collar was caught on the crate latch.)
Dogs are social pack animals - they live and find comfort by being part of a family group. YOU are a puppy's family group. An isolated dog feels ostracized. By crating a puppy, or isolating him in a laundry room, or keeping him outside - you are saying "we don't want you around us" and "you are not part of this family."
Crates are used for the owner's convenience - plain and simple. If crate advocates really want to compare a crate with a den - why do they insist that the crate door be closed????? Wouldn’t it make MORE sense to offer the crate as a substitute den by allowing the puppy to come and go as he chose – as he would in a REAL den? If the only purpose was “to provide a comfortable haven” for the puppy – WHY can’t the door come off?
Read my lips - “Dens do not have locked doors!” THAT is the difference between a “Den” and a “Cage” (ie Crate). If pro-crate people REALLY wanted to use a crate as den, they would remove the door. But nooooooo, pro-crate advocates demand the puppy be LOCKED in a crate.
If their only interest was to provide a comfortable place for the puppy – that could just as easily be done without a locking a puppy inside.
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It absolutely ASTOUNDS me that folks cannot comprehend that baby animals (ALL baby animals, including children) do not have the physical ability to completely control their elimination. They fully accept that human babies cannot, but they don’t even consider that baby puppies can’t. That just floors me. Do they think that baby puppies are BORN with the ability to “control” their elimination? When their baby human kid has an accident –it’s perfectly acceptable; but when a baby puppy has an accident he is “bad.”
Puppies do NOT have the muscular control that older dogs have. (Just as a human baby does not have the muscular control that an adult human has.) Also, because puppies’ tummies are so small, they need to eat and drink more often during the day than adult dogs; AND because their bladder and intestines are so small they also need urinate and defecate more frequently than older dogs.
Forcing a puppy to stay in a crate (especially all night) where he has to strain his immature little muscles to "hold it" or else make a mess and have to lay in it, is not only physically unsanitary but horribly stressful. Puppies, indeed most animals, are born with the instinct to keep their bed clean. Our puppies begin moving off their bedding to eliminate as soon as their eyes open. To force a puppy to stay ON his bedding and preventing him from leaving it to eliminate is cruel.
Why are people using crates for housetraining? Simple – they save time and effort.They don't have to watch the puppy for signals that he/she has to go potty and then stop what they are doing to take the puppy outside or to the pee pad. They don’t have to spend time putting down and taking up pee pads and newspapers. They don’t have to keep an eye on the baby when he is on carpeting, and/or they don’t have to prevent the puppy from going into carpeted rooms.
By crating THEY decide "when" the puppy should go potty – and the elimination is at the owner’s convenience, not the puppy’s.
You know what? People have been housetraining puppies for centuries WITHOUT using crates.
As puppies grow older, their natural instinct is to keep their bed area clean, and they get up and move away from it to eliminate. Matter of fact, most begin to do this as soon as their eyes open at 10 - 14 days of age. By 3 and 4 weeks they are getting up and walking OFF their bed to eliminate. Unfortunately, many breeders KEEP their puppies in crates/cages and never allow them the opportunity to follow their natural instinct of getting off their bedding to eliminate.
And many of those puppies are placed in homes where they are kept in cages (crates) where they are STILL not allowed to get off their bedding to go to the bathroom. Is it any wonder that some people say they have a difficult time housetraining these puppies??? The poor puppies have been forced against their natural instinct to keep their area clean - from day 1. They were never allowed to begin the "natural" process of housetraining.
How would YOU like to stay in a small cage and have to hold it until you were let out (either that or make a mess and have to SIT in it). How would YOU like to be forced to spend hours at a time during the day and/or all night in that cage.
I do realize that now some people are creating "divided crates" - ie cages that have an area for a bed and a separate area for a pee pad/elimination. However, it is still a CAGE and still not acceptable for confining a healthy, active puppy.
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There is ANOTHER method of preventing a baby from getting into trouble – it’s called “responsible parenting!” Responsible parenting (or caretaking or ownership) entails puppy-proofing and training. (But, as one puppy owner asked me, most parents nowadays don’t even take the time to train their children, so how can you expect them to train a puppy?)
I think the most recent ridiculous item I read on the net regarding crating was from a breeder who recommended a new puppy owner to crate the puppy. The new owner did not do so. The puppy got into the garbage and ate enough of something to make him very ill. The breeder proclaims triumphantly, “See???? This all happened because you didn’t crate the puppy!”
What the heck kind of backward logic is that? That’s like a clueless Moomee wailing “Little Bratleigh choked on a toy from her McBurger box…..WAAAAH…..It’s ALL THEIR FAULT!”
The REAL fault is that the parent was not supervising her toddler, just like the REAL fault (in the puppy snippet) was that the new puppy owner did not puppy proof the room and did not make sure the garbage was out of the puppy’s reach.
Did the breeder have children, I wonder? And did she cage up her toddlers so they would stay out of trouble? When her toddlers began growing and moving around, did she keep garbage within their reach? No (at least I hope not).
Why are people willing to baby-proof a room, and yet are too lazy to puppy-proof it? (which really amounts to the same thing – simply removing things that could be dangerous).
Can you imagine a mother keeping her toddler locked in a cage all night and forcing the baby to sit in urine & feces if he couldn’t hold it? Can you imagine a mother keeping her toddler locked in a cage during the day, and only letting it out to eat, drink and go potty?
The breeder’s statement was as ridiculous as another that I saw on the net, this one about withholding water from a puppy before bedtime, the asinine statement given, “If I can’t control the liquid going IN, how am I supposed to control the liquid coming OUT.” I hope to goodness she is not a freakin’ parent (!)
“Oh, but that’s DIFFERENT!” pro-crate people proclaim, “you can’t compare a puppy with a human baby!”
If those people would, just for a few minutes, take off their blinders, they would see that raising a puppy is NOT much different than raising a baby. The puppy has much the same needs as any baby – love, comfort, direction, security, a clean & healthy environment, food and water.
And do NOT bring up the argument that “Well, if the puppy is in the crate, he won’t be bothered by the children.” If you have kids that are either too young or too ignorant to learn how to be respectful around a baby puppy – YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE A PUPPY.
Holy mackerel – some of my puppies are placed with 3 & 4 year olds – and they are the sweetest and gentlest kids imaginable because they have been TAUGHT (by their parents) that animals are living, breathing creatures with feelings, that they are NOT toys.
And for goodness sake, DON’T whine that a crate is necessary in case other children come over. Grow a freakin' backbone! Those children are in YOUR house (not theirs) and have to follow YOUR RULES – I don’t care if their parents are with them or not. Explain to the children AND their parents that this is your puppy’s home and visitors have to follow YOUR rules for interacting with the puppy. And if they do not follow your rules, SHOW THEM THE DOOR – both the parents and the kids.
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By sticking the puppy in a crate - it relieves them of 90% of the responsibility and chores of raising a puppy.
- They don’t have to take the puppy outside (or to a peepad when the baby wakes up, finishes eating, finishes playing, etc) – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to put up with a baby following them around wanting to be played with and loved – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to keep an eye on the puppy when he is exploring to make sure that he doesn’t get into trouble – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to make sure that the puppy isn't jumping off furniture (which could cause injury) - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to teach the puppy how to use Puppy Steps or Ramps to ensure his back is not injured by jumping - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to puppy proof a room, making sure that electrical cords and other dangers are out of the puppy’s reach – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to put up babygates to prevent puppies from hurting themselves on stairways, or from going unsupervised into rooms with carpeting - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to make sure that a puppy will not dash out an open door into the yard or street - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to remember that they have a little baby in the house and should keep an eye and ear open and be extra vigilant – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to purchase newspapers or peepads or keep picking them up and replacing them – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to "walk carefully" in the house, making sure that tiny puppies are not inadvertently stepped on - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to instruct family members, particularly children, how to properly interact with the puppy - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to keep an eye on children when they are playing with the puppy - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to make sure that visitors are careful with the puppy - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to supervise the baby with other family dogs - making sure that they are interacting correctly - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to keep an eye on the water and food bowl to make sure that the contents are kept full and fresh for the puppy - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don't have to make sure the baby is set up in a safe area with a comfortable bed, food & water, and pee pads (or newspapers) before leaving the house - hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to comfort the new baby who is alone at night for the first time in his life – hey, time and effort saved!
- They don’t have to spend time to get to know their new baby as an individual, to learn about his personality – hey, time and effort saved!
But a puppy is NOT just some inanimate toy that you can simply “take out of it’s box" whenever it's convenient for you.
Unfortunately….sigh….. pro-craters treat them as such. How very, very sad.
You want a pet you can do that with? Go get a hamster.
You cannot – CANNOT – raise any baby properly if you do NOT expend a LOT of “time and effort.” Babies, 2-legged or 4-legged need a caretaker’s time and effort – minutes, hours, days, weeks and months of it. If you don't have (or don’t want to spend) "time and effort" in abundance, you cannot raise a baby - any baby - properly.
AND crating ALSO takes away 90% of the enjoyment of raising a puppy, of sharing your life with another little being. People who cage their puppies are not only depriving their puppy of his rightful puppyhood, they are depriving themselves of the immeasurably joyful and wonderful experience of raising a puppy.
Is the time and effort saved worth it? You don’t even need to answer that question. Both the people who say “Yes” and the people who say “No” are as far apart as possible for human beings to be. Each of you know who you are.
So, if you use a crate - WHY are you doing so?
1) “because it’s a cozy den for the puppy” – NOPE – see above.
2) “because it’s the best way to housetrain a puppy” – NOPE – see above.
3) “because it’s the best way to keep a puppy safe” – NOPE – see above.
4) “because so-and-so told me to crate” – So you are blindly following an ill-advised suggestion from a person too lazy to properly care for a puppy?
5) ….if there are other reasons, let me know – I sure as heck haven’t heard of any.
So WHY do people use crates? For one reason, and one reason only – pure laziness. Crating is not providing a cozy den, it’s not a good way to housetrain, and it’s not the proper way to keep a puppy safe –it's ONLY purpose is to keep the puppy IMMOBILIZED - saving the owner time and effort.....period.
It can be identically compared to strapping a toddler in a car seat - day and night - and only taking him out for diaper change and feeding; then right back to his car seat. Nice babyhood, huh?
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Lazy folks LOVE crates and try to tell puppy owners that crating is necessary - but that's just part of the "majority mentality." Like "Barfers" (folks that advocate feeding bones and raw meat to dogs) the more converts they have, the more they feel relaxed and justified in their practices.
Those type of people feel threatened if others do not hold the same belief. Knowing deep down inside that their pro-crate arguments are worthless - they are only trying to justify their laziness in raising a puppy, and they try to convert as many people as possible.
And that really ticks me off, because they are not interested in doing what’s best for the puppy - they are just seeking the esteem of converts and other crate-users; they need assurance that what they are doing is right – and everyone else is wrong (ego polishing).
They try to do this by claiming that crates are NECESSARY for housetraining, and for keeping the puppy safe; if you convert - then “their superior” arguments have won; if you don’t convert or refuse to accept their arguments – then you are too foolish to see the truth. Kind of a win-win in their twisted mentality.
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1. Our puppies are raised to be family members. Being separated abruptly from the only home a puppy has ever known and taken away from his Mother and siblings can be extremely traumatic. A new puppy will seek security, and find comfort, in being physically close to his/her new parents for the first few days (if not weeks) and keeping the puppy confined in a crate prevents that.
2. Confining puppies in crates and forcing them to strain their immature muscles to "hold it", causes unnecessary emotional stress. Puppies need to eat and drink much more frequently than adults, and naturally need to eliminate much more often. They can't "hold it" for hours at a time, and it's not reasonable to expect them to be able to - any more than a human baby.
3. Our puppies have never been in a crate in their lives, and to force them into one - especially in their new home when everything is different and scary, and just after they've lost the only home and family they've ever known, is terrible. It's "separating" them from their new family, especially when they need love and comforting the most. For social animals like dogs - being "pushed away" is "alienation" - it's a form of "non-acceptance" from their pack (ie family). For instance, in the wild, if you see a wolf that is pushed away from the pack, forced to spend hours alone and forced to sleep alone - that wolf is not going to live long. Social pack animals need to be accepted - physically and emotionally.
4. If puppies begin eliminating in their crate, it destroys the "get off the bed to go potty" mindset. They become conditioned (through force) that going on cloth material is "okay" - and they can't differentiate the "cloth material" in their crate from carpets, rugs, furniture covering, etc. "cloth material" is "cloth material." Our puppies, who have never even seen a crate and have NEVER had one minute of "housetraining" - run for a newspaper or peepad when they have to go, even if their new homes are wall-to-wall carpet.....because they are accustomed to going potty only on newspaper or pee pads - NOT on "cloth material." That does not mean that they do not have accidents - because babies (human or canine) have to learn to respond to their body's signals that it's "time to go." Often babies (human and canine) will ignore the signals, especially if they are having fun playing, until it is too late and they go where they happen to be standing. It's just part of growing up and learning, for both 2-legged and 4-legged.
5. There are 2 other much more humane ways to "confine" a puppy, for his own safety. A babygate keeping the puppy in an easy-to-clean room (such as a kitchen) and/or a puppy pen**. The puppy pens we have (which are not expensive) can be shaped to any size, and any shape - circle, square, triangle, etc. Even if every room in the house is carpeted, a cheap vinyl shower curtain liner can be placed on a carpet, with a comforter placed over that inside the pen is easy to set up. The pen will be large enough for the baby to play in, and also to contain his bed, toys, food, water, and pee pads/newspaper. It will keep the baby confined AND it will protect the carpeting beneath. **Note - by "Puppy Pen" - I am referring to a puppy "exercise pen" or "x-pen" - not those crates that are being sold as "Puppy Playpens" - which is just another pathetic attempt to put another "comfy" name on a cage (ie crate).
6. Puppies, just like human toddlers, NEED to explore their world. Their little bodies are still developing physically and need abundant movement in order to grow properly. Have you ever seen the physically damaged dogs who were confined to crates as puppies? I have, and it’s heartbreaking, because they suffer from the results for the rest of their lives. Also, their minds are still growing, too – and NEED the stimulation and experience of their big new world – and constantly proper handling and interaction with humans is THE most important part of a baby’s emotional growth. Have you ever seen emotionally crippled dogs who were confined to crates as puppies? I have, and they NEVER recover fully from it.
7. Older dogs are invaluable in teaching puppies manners and how to behave properly. Puppies learn more about manners and proper behavior from older dogs than from humans, and a lot quicker; i.e. not to nip or play too roughly, not to grab food or toys that another dog has, not to pester by constantly barking in another's face, etc. By isolating the puppy from other family dogs, you are denying him this necessary education.
8. Many breeders keep their puppies crowded inside a crate, the puppies become filthy because the breeder cannot possibly be cleaning the crate flooring every 1/2 hour or so during the day. In a small crate, along with the smell and mess, the buildup of bacteria and parasites can occur and the puppies are more likely to become burden with internal parasites like hookworm, giardia and coccidia, and/or suffer from e-coli diarrhea. Also, they are bored beyond belief and become frustrated at being kept cramped in a crate at that age - they want to get out and explore, romp and play.
9. Perhaps the biggest problem with placing a puppy with folks who are used to using crates is that they have become accustomed to the ease of using crates, and the first time they have a problem, they'll stick the puppy in a crate. 40 years ago (before crates were widely used), there was the same concern with placing puppies with folks who kept some of their dogs tied outside. Although the new families swore they would not do it with the new puppy, the first time the puppy had an accident or destroyed something - it was whisked outside to be tied. Folks get so used to easy and simple solutions (whether it was tying a dog up, or crating it) that it becomes too easy to simply do the same thing with a new puppy rather than cope with a problem and try to find a humane solution for it.
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I've had both puppy owners and puppy applicants asking about the new "potty crates" - crates that are separated into 2 compartments, one for sleeping and one for potty. I've told them I think it's a terrible idea - since it's STILL a crate. But an absolutely incredible puppy owner, Alexandra Nemeth, Khalisee's Mom, told me about how she uses one - and I couldn't applaud her idea more!
First, though, I want you to think about something. Other than dogs - what species do humans expect to HOLD their bathroom urges? Not humans - it's considered criminal to keep a human being in a place without bathroom facilities. Not cats - another favorite type of pet. Certainly not birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. WHY do humans think that it's proper to withhold bathroom facilities for dogs, and expect them to "hold it" until it's convenient for owners to "let them out to go potty." It's cruel and unjust.
For folks who think it is the proper way to keep dogs - I would like to tell THEM to pretend they were their own dog for a couple weeks. NO potty at night, no potty during "office hours" during the day - no matter if you are sick, have a digestive upset or are stressed.
Dogs have EVERY right to be able to go to the bathroom WHEN THEY NEED TO - same as us!
Anyway - on to Alex's absolutely BRILLIANT idea!!!!!!
I'll send pictures of what we turned Axel's crate into. When I was planning to get Axel I read a lot on the web on how to "make it easier to potty train with a crate". They had the crate sections into two parts one with his bed and the other side with his puppy pads. I bought the biggest crate I could find and tried to simulate this. The first night we brought him home he fell asleep on a pillow between Mason and I, so I quietly slipped him into his crate.
Not even 5 mins later he woke up to find himself in the crate and cried and cried and it just broke my heart. I even tried to put a blanket over the top, but he still cried. I waited about 20 more mins and said enough is enough, and that night he spent the night sleeping on my pillow right next to my head. Needless to say I never confined him in that crate ever again.
I will take pictures of how we took both ends of the crate off, so he has access to use it as a potty from both sides. Right now we have it hidden behind one of our big love seats so no one can see it from the front. Axel has access to it whenever he wants, and as soon as he uses it (mostly in the middle of the night) I can clean up the pads with ease.
The hardest part of teaching Axel how to use the pads was he would put the front half of his body on the pads and start to go, but didn't realize his back half was not on the pads. So with the potty crate it is lifted about one inch off the ground, and in order for him to use it he has to climb up onto it, no more missing the pads!
It makes me really angry that thinking withholding water from a puppy will help the pup not want to go. I am sure you know that withholding water can lead to all different complications through his life, like kidney and bladder infection, and having many UTI's throughout a pup's life can really damage the organs.
When I was in the process of getting our Dachshund, Axel, my friend had just gotten a Pomeranian puppy and showed me a website that advertised is selling "potty training crates" for puppies. The purpose of this email is to explain to other how these are not a good tool to help puppies learn potty training. Here is a picture of what they looked like:
At the time, if you wanted a "larger" sized crate it was in the upwards of $200, so I set out to make one myself.
I bought the largest crate I could find that came with a divider piece and cut a small hole into it so Axel would have access to both sides of the crate. This is what the final result looked like:
It's a bit harder to see but in the first picture the divider was in the crate, his bed was on one side, and the puppy pads were on the other. I only used this crate no more than a hand full of times, and I NEVER kept Axel in it over night, he always slept on our bed. The only time he was ever put into the crate was when I went to the grocery store, had to leave him alone, or when I went to work.
I only used it fully a few times before I realized that the cons of this crate out weighed it pros - and the only pro was that it prevented a puppy from getting into things he shouldn't. [Jan's note: Yes, it will keep a baby confined and 'out of trouble' - but with GREAT physical and emotional stress. The same objective, of course, can be accomplished with proper "Puppy Proofing."]
1. It was too small. Even after trying to buy one of the bigger crates (2-3 times the size of the ones advertised on those websites) there still was not enough room, even for a small puppy.
2. Axel had no room to play, run, or tire himself, he could really only chew on his toys lying down on his bed. By the time I got home to let him out he was even more restless than before I put him in there.
3. There was no room to put his water or food but on his puppy pads, which is just not sanitary.
4. Axel would pull his bed from his bed area on to his dirty puppy pads. He was trying to make room for himself to play by moving his bed onto the pads, which ended up making a bigger mess for me to clean up.
5. If I made it so he couldn't move his bed, he would play on his pee pads, which is also not sanitary.
6. When I was home and Axel was not in his crate, he would rather pee on the floor than go back into his crate to use his pads.
7. He saw the crate as a punishment, rather than "his space" so he never used it unless I put him in there.
Needless to say that this did not last long before I found a much better use for the crate.
We turned it into his potty area! Axel was struggling with his aim on the pads. He would put his front two paws on the pads and begin to "go", leaving a puddle on the carpet. So we took the back end and front door of the cage and folded it inwards, this gave it a rise off the carpet making it so he feels the need to climb up onto it to go potty, solving the problem of him missing. This is the end result of his crate!
We have it hidden behind a chair so our guests never know its there!
He has access to it from both sides, and normally I keep a blanket over it to keep it even more hidden, but for the purpose of the photos I took it off.
THIS is why we LOVE our puppy owners! They are not only loving and caring parents for our beloved puppies, but they are unbelievably creative!
Way to go, Alex!!!!
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