Thursday, April 19, 2012

DoggyStyle: Letting go of the Crate

Back in our bachelorette days, Miss M used to be that wild, unpredictable roommate: always wanting to party and 'borrow' my stuff. She had a habit of using my favorite shoes as chew toys, deconstructing our decorative fuzzy rug, and prowling around for my food (though is that something that happens with all roommates?). Enter the crate. Our new best friend for keeping Miss M safely contained and out of trouble.
We've always loved having crates as safe retreat for the pooches, and they're especially important for adding new dogs and foster dogs into the mix, allowing us to feed all of our dogs separately (no need for resource guarding!) and providing separate spaces as they get to know each other. We also know it's important to separate pooches while we're not home. Extra bonus: it's so much easier to have a friend watch a crated dog for those quick trips out of town.
Though the benefit of Elderbull-dom has allowed our pooches to mature. Much like the graduating college seniors, they are fine being left home alone with little chance of 'throwing those parties'. Her crate has still become a popular place where the pooches play pitbull clown car seeing how they can squeeze their massive 75 pound bodies into one single crate together. Even touching jowls.
Which has led us to this question. Does Miss M still need her crate? We know she can be ok without it, and even in the 'dog bedroom' area of our living space, it is pretty big and an eyesore.
Or is it something that we should always have around? The pooches do like to sit in it together, and maybe we could get something like this or this to put over it?
What does everyone else think; is there a time when your pooches will grow out of their crate? Or should we just work on making it more attractive?

PS. For all of you wondering, the full story of why Mr. B lives in a tepee here.

29 comments:

Kerri said...

I just had this same debate. I'm keeping my crate - even though it is a bit ugly. We just went out of town for a week, and my friend who watched the dog for us really appreciated having the crate. Plus I think it gave the dog a familiar place to relax in a new house.

Since I do quite a bit of road tripping in the summers, I think it's good for the dog to have his own little home away from home.

Amber said...

Crates are useful, but for many dogs they don't need to be forever. It depends on the individual. I'd never get rid of a crate, but store it or put it away? Sure. They're useful for out-of-town trips, travel, or if a dog needs surgery and has to be kept quiet. They're good in emergencies (House burns down, dog has a safe place to be while you sort that out, etc)

Rebelwerewolf said...

My friend suggested that I do a DIY project where a crate is integrated into a small table. I don't DIY, but maybe you guys do?

Luv My Rosie said...

I abandoned the crate when Rosie was about 2. She kept getting out of it and was greeting me at the door when I came home. I didn't want her to hurt herself (plus she destroyed her crate by trying to get out)so now she has full roaming range at my house. She usually just curls up in her bed and sleeps. Guess it just depends on the dog. Good luck!

Claudia said...

I don't see Lola ever outgrowing her crate. She goes into it willingly when we're home, and still gets anxious when left out if I'm away. We are able to keep it in a low-traffic room so guests don't see the giant monstrosity, and it does make traveling with her easier - her crate is her home no matter where we take her.

kasia077 said...

Max has never been crated but he loves his crate. When I got him he was so scared and unsure of everything, it provided a safe retreat for him. He spends most of spring's thunderstorms in his crate and uses it heavily around the fourth of July. It's also proven helpful when I need a maintenance person to come up or when something is getting moved in or out of the apartment. Max stays in his safe place and no one trips over the dog.

Heids said...

Chops willingly goes into his crate when I leave. He hardly ever goes in there when I'm home - once in a while if he knows he's been bad or if he just doesn't want to deal with me at the moment. I thought about breaking him of crate training when I'm gone, but it's been 2 years now and he seems fine with it, and it means I don't have to worry about him destroying that apartment when I'm gone, so I think I'll keep it. I do love the idea about making the top a table!

LibbyD said...

We tried to store Courage's crate. She was most unhappy because her den was gone. She never partied while home alone. That is until we stored the crate. We have crafty friends who helped us build a table to go over the crate. Now it looks like furniture and Courage couldn't be any happier.

ohmelvin.com said...

When I first got Melvin, the crate was about giving my resident elder dog space and not giving Melvin too much room for trouble. My hope from the beginning was to train him to be a responsible 'home alone' material so that he could have free roam. While not easy or as quick as I'd hoped, we finally got there and I celebrated the day we could put the ugly crate in the basement. There are plenty of dogs I know that prefer the crate. I think you just have to define the crates roll and decide if's still fulfilling a purpose.

Brenda Mitchell said...

I think being that your pooches rely on it as a safe and cozy part of their lives, you should definitely keep the crates around. I still have ours up and open 24/7 and found space for it in door-less closet. The ideas you have found to pretty them up are great, I say go for it! Definitely can't hurt. Unless of course someone is a talented chewer..

SherBear said...

I stopped crating Nala and soon I knew she'd be fine by herself when I wasn't home - the most destructive she's ever been is occassionally taking a kleenex out of the trash can or tearing a corner off a piece of paper on the floor. I grew up in a household where we never crated our dogs so I had a lot of guilt putting her in one. But Miss M seems to really enjoy hers, I see nothing wrong with leaving it for her comfort! (bc we all know that is the most important thing in her life). Those covers are super cute, I wonder if you could perhaps put a board on top, the the cover and make it into a table as well? Can you take the door off so she can have an open cave?

harrispen said...

First I have to say that the last picture is the best crate smush I think I have seen of those two and the visual of calling it a clown car cracked me up. We started with all our dogs using crates, but by the time they were about 2 years old the crates went to the basement to wait for the next one who needed it. We have a large house compared to your apartment and I didn't really like having big crates squeezed into corners every where.

Cindy

Sophie said...

Sprocket has been out of a crate for quiet a while, it takes space in my closet now, waiting to maybe one day hosting another pooch... He never really liked his crate anyways and has never been distructive. I know some dogs feel really safe and happy in their "den" and for those, there is new generation of crates combining them with a pretty stylish side table, check DenHaus out to find a sleek modern haven for your canine buddy.

Sarah said...

We keep ours. For a bazillion reasons. What is there's an emergency of some sort and we need to transport them? What if one of them gets hurt and needs to be kept inactive? What if my crazy husband brings home another puppy and we need to crate train all over again? But most of all, because they all enjoy hanging out in their kennels and I like for them to have a special place where they feel safe.

Molly Mutt now makes crate covers. You should check them out!

misselleaneous said...

I don't use a crate for my pup. He gets the run of the house but typically snoozes on "his" couch (the only one he is allowed on without invitation).

He hates crates and starts shaking when he sees one -- so far he has never given me a reason to use one!

Julia said...

We kept ours because Lily's separation anxiety comes back in full force if she can't find "her spot." We built a little table, like Zoe's family, and covered it with black fabric and foam. Not the prettiest table, but it works well!

We also ended up getting a baby gate a few months ago and working on leaving Lily gated in the kitchen. So far it works if we "crate" her with the door open and leave treat-fille kongs to be found!

Kiira said...

When I got Monkey, he loved his crate, but didn't need it, so I converted an unused closet into a den for him (keeping the door open). When Petey came along, he busted out of his crate and ended up hurting himself his first night with us, so his crate went into storage. I was extremely fortunate that M&P got along so well and were non-destructive. Over time, M lost his closet to an overflow of my stuff that needed storing/hiding. And for 12 months, I thought the boys were happy roaming the 3 rooms accessible to them and sleeping on the many available comfy beds. Then our first foster, Olive, came to stay, and the crate came out from the basement. When little Olive was adopted, I was slow to put the crate away, and within a few days, that crate became the number one place for me to find M&P. It is still their bed/den of choice, so even though it stays open all day and doesn't actually perform the intended duties of a crate, the boys say that it is staying.
I say let Miss M make the call :)

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

We have officially retired ours. The girls never used one & Pauley destroyed his & injured himself in the process. We still have 2 crates stored just in case we need one, but oh what a joy it was to remove them from the house. We have been lucky that our current fosters are okay without them too.

aheartbeatatmyfeet said...

Oscar doesn't need his anymore, but he still goes inside willingly when we travel or leave him with friends when we go out of town. I love the idea of building the crate into a table, and I LUST over those Molly Mutt crate covers!

K-Koira said...

I say keep the crate and just find a way to make it blend into the room more. At the very least, the crate is something you would need in the case of an emergency, to confine your dogs if you needed to move to an emergency shelter or to stay with a not-so-dog-friendly friend or relative. However, you could, of course, keep the crate in easily-accessed storage for the same reason.

Corbin said...

I still have my crate and before my ouchies, my mom thought about putting it away and trusting me out in the house. But, now I have to be in it while my 'rents are away per the doctor... so we're holding off on my cratefree life! But I do love my crate, and it's always been a safe place for me if something is going on that makes me nervous. I think it just depends on the dog!
-Corbin

adorabully said...

We really do love our kennels as much room as the take up. It give them each "their" space. Plus I feel safer having them contained while we're gone. I would feel horrible if I came home and they had gotten into a fight or something that you just can't expect. Plus we have doorbell issues and they go nuts. I'd rather them controlled in their kennels then our causing trouble. We do rotate who gets to stay out during the day. They all have really good house behavior so don't have to worry about them distroying anything. Well except that chinese menu once, but I think it smelled like chicken.

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Like many others, I've been debating this too. I have 3 crates that we keep folded up for when dogs stay with us. The largest wire crate is so darn handy in some ways, but so darn ugly at the same time. I've been eying the Molly Mutt crate cover for a while now. Neither of my dogs enjoy the crate the same way yours do, but I like having it on hand.

Short answer- I wish I knew! Good luck!

Tucker The Crestie said...

I have one smallish crate that I use when we travel - just because it's useful for staying in the homes of friends or family. But it lives in the closet most of the time - they never use it anymore. Tucker earned liberation from the crate at about a year old, Phoebe was maybe a year and a half or so.

Two French Bulldogs said...

we know so many furry ones who were crate trained. Many Vets agree it is the best method cause feel safe. We know you didn't do all that stuff M
Benny & Lily

Annie & Paul's Mom said...

at one point in time, we had the crates in the dog room with the crate doors open. Paul has always hated his (i'd have to drag him into it). Annie's original family would put her into her crate in bad weather and ignore her, so she'd act like it was punishment. Now the crates are folded up and in the laundry hallway and Annie and Paul have full run of the dog bedroom (aka, our guest room)

waldobungie said...

I second Married with Dawgs' suggestion - get a Molly Mutt crate cover (then tell me how they are because I want one too!)

Emily said...

I don't worry about our pups "throwing parties" (cute way to put it,) but I am just a worrier all around and I always think what if, what if, so we have played it on the safe side with crating for now. They are 3 1/2 though, and I think the day will definitely come that I will relax and let them be loose. I think there's definitely a time for graduating and you know when it's right.

2 Punk Dogs said...

We stopped using crates last summer after Maggie decided that she didn't like her crate while on vacation. She and Duke loved to use her XL airline crate as a dog fort all the time, and slept in separate crates at night. We moved her kuranda bed into the same spot as her crate. ordered another one for Duke and have had no problems. They've become more social now without their dog fort. Miss M & Mr.B don't seem to have that issue!
Of course, they are kept in the kitchen while we are out as they are still super shredders.

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