I am a huge dog crate/kennel and expen fan. I love them and think that they can keep many a family happy when used correctly. Is a crate cruel? Not in any way unless it is overused and/or abused. I have used a crate at night with all of my puppies and an exercise pen during the day. Because my puppies sleep in crates all night when they are young; I don’t like to put them back in the crate during the day for any amount of time. I have the luxury of having a couple of exercise pens so I use them and love them as well.
Over the years I have met many people who are not fans of crates. The common response from them is that they don’t want to cage their dog; that they consider it to be cruel. Okay, I get that very human idea but setting puppies lose in your house is a recipe for disaster. Why? Because puppies get into everything, literally everything.
Another very common reason for not using a crate or expen is the crying, whining and screaming. Yep, it can be pretty bad. In fact Elsa was one of the worst, she was great about going in and sleeping or resting but if she thought it was time to get out then she let us know very loudly. This went on for a good three months, yikes! But I stood strong and stuck to my guns with the crate and expen until she was old enough to be out for good.
Why are crates a good idea? Crates or expens keep puppies safe when you cannot be around to supervise them. They also give us, the k9 guardian…freedom. Yes, freedom, it is a glorious thing. If you have to stay home with your puppy until they can be left alone safely, you are going to go stark raving mad. I love my freedom and being able to go out and enjoy myself for a couple of hours; knowing that my puppy is safe and sound at home is amazing.
There is no way I could ever go out to run errands with any peace of mind if I didn’t know what my puppy was up to. I can’t even imagine what could happen.
I have been called to many homes as a last resort. New guardians are tired of their home being destroyed and are contemplating getting rid of the dog just because of this. It is such an easy solution, containment.
Dogs are den animals; puppies naturally like to sleep in small spaces. Small areas with a cover make them feel safe. Crates are just dens. Once they get accustom to them, they typically love their crate. I have perfected the overnight crate time. The crate goes beside my bed and if there is the smallest peep of concern from the puppy; I place my hand in through the bars of the crate. The puppy sniffs my fingers and is reassured that they are not alone.
Once they get use to their crate and no longer need my physical reassurance; I put the crate in the corner of my room, out of the way. As each puppy is an individual, it really depends on the puppy as far as when they will be ready to be out of their crate for good. Elsa was our youngest at 5.5 months of age. But of course she is an extremely amazing girl. Not that I’m bragging or anything…LOL
As far as the expen goes, that should be set up somewhere in the main living area. Mine is in the kitchen and folded down to about 3x5 and 48” high in dimension. Each time my puppy goes into the the pen I say “pen” and toss in some kibbles. There are special toes in the pen that stay in there; making it a special place to be.
Neither the crate or expen are EVER used as a punishment area. Although if I need a break they are gently put in there for a short time. It is also used for quality nap time as most puppies will continue to follow you around and not nap long enough.
So yes, I’m a huge containment fan. Crates and expens can save a puppies life and most definitely your home. Wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a safe and happy puppy instead of wondering what they’ve destroyed?