The Great Crate Debate... Again. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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The Great Crate Debate... Again.

I'm confused. I have raised several dogs from puppies over the years, (all different breeds) and my training has never involved a crate... and really, back in the day I cannot recall ever hearing of anyone doing the whole crate training thing. It seems it has only been in recent years that there has been a pretty abrupt shift to crate training; now EVERYONE is swearing by it, with many even scolding those who don't do it, going so far as to say they ought to know better. I might be more apt to get on the bandwagon myself, if I didn't have a perfect track record to date. You see, I have never had any problems potty training my puppies, and it was always accomplished in very short order. Without a crate. So you can see my confusion. It kinda reminds me of how some folks insist that you are ruining your pet by letting them sleep in your bed. (for the record, that is just not true, in my experience)

Anyway, I guess my question is this... if a crate is all so important in the training of your puppy, then why did most of us only really start using this method in recent years? Did all dogs from decades past all turn out so bad? Or, were they much slower to catch on? Or...?

Like I said at the top, I'm a little confused by this whole delemma, and now I am beginning to wonder if I am simply a dinosaur not willing to change with the times. But I'm not so far gone that I don't realize that all of our dogs turned out great... with no crate. Hmmm... Anyway, I am still leaning toward doing things the way I always have, when we get our little Sheba in two weeks time. Simply install a gate or two to keep her confined to a smaller portion of the house, keep a constant eye on her with plenty of companionship, and of course praise her up every time she does her very frequent business outdoors. Works well for me. So am I the only "non- crater" left in existence?

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 09:35 PM
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I had also never heard of crating dogs until I was doing my research about getting my current puppy. But it did seem like a good plan and now at 11 months we still use it for him to sleep in at night. It made potty training and sleeping at night and keeping my house in tact much easier. I would recommend others to use one, it saves your sanity but I wouldn't frown upon you if you decided not to either... each to their own.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 09:50 PM
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Do what works for you. Have you ever raised a working line (or other line) GSD puppy? I think crate training is the EASIEST way to potty train a puppy. It affords you the ability to put the dog away if you want to. Gives them a "den" to go into. Keeps them safe by restricting access to the rest of the house. They act up or are in a bad mood, you can put them in the crate and have them calm down. I can't imagine raising a puppy without crate training. Can it be done? Sure. You are living proof of that. Is it harder...probably.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 10:56 PM
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Anyway, I guess my question is this... if a crate is all so important in the training of your puppy, then why did most of us only really start using this method in recent years? Did all dogs from decades past all turn out so bad?
My first dog as an adult was Sneaker, who we got at 20 weeks old. So she already had a more mature bladder and bowel than an 8 week old puppy. And this was 1986 and I'd never heard of crate training a dog, so we did not have one. Because she was a bit older she caught on quicker than a baby puppy would have, but we had several accidents on our hardwood floors in the bedroom during the night that could have been avoided if we'd been crate savvy. Still, not so bad.

With Cassidy (16 weeks old), Dena (9 weeks old), Keefer (9 weeks old), and Halo (10 weeks old), we used a crate at night, which was MUCH easier and saved our carpet from many, many potential accidents.

If you've done fine with a crate and don't think you need one, don't use one. It's really as simple as that. But I have crate trained my past 4 dogs and will absolutely crate train any future puppies.

One additional benefit beyond housebreaking is if you need to leave your dog at the vet for the day, if you travel and need to leave your dog in the room when you go out, or if you plan on competing in ANY sport, where your dog will be crated when its not in the ring, then it's a huge convenience to have a dog that will hang out calmly because they've been habituated to a crate and views it as their den, a place to chill.
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Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thank-you for the very informative replies, everyone. I really appreciate the advice I am receiving on this fine forum. I will discuss the crate issue again with the Missus when she returns home from work this evening, to decide how best to proceed with raising our latest little one. I still don't quite get how we all did so well at raising our little critters for all these years the old-fashioned (crate-less) way, if it was in fact as ineffective as so many of the new trend of internet-informed people are now calling it. I really want to believe that the new method is actually a quicker, better way, and actually a real benefit to the dog itself, rather than just the latest "viral trend' that everyone leaped into, in the belief (or hope?) that it may be just less of an "inconvenience" to the dog's owner.

I just realized that I had failed to mention earlier on that I retired quite young, (am disabled, as a result of a bad fall in the workplace years ago) and thus am always at home... 24/7. So yes, it would definitely be much easier for ever-present me to train a puppy, than one who's owners are so often away at work. I think it has been this continuous puppy/master bond which has made our training processes so quick and painless in the past. I strongly doubt things would work out as well if I too were away from home 30-50% of the time. (I should also add that even with my unfortunately permanent spinal injury, I am quite capable of walking, excercising, playing with Sheba daily, and my wife can do even more strenuous excercise/games with her also)

Thanks again for your kind advice; very much appreciated! 16 more days until we see our baby!

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 12:52 PM
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I see crating as a life skill. At the vet, at the groomer, at training, at trials, while traveling, in a situation where "crate and rotate" is needed for safety - she might need to be in a crate. I nearly never crate my dog now, because she doesn't need to be, but she can handle it if she must. I don't have any judgment for people who crate more than I do, or who don't crate at all; people do what works for them. But in my house, it is a nonnegotiable life skill in order to live here.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by camperbc View Post
I really want to believe that the new method is actually a quicker, better way, and actually a real benefit to the dog itself, rather than just the latest "viral trend' that everyone leaped into, in the belief (or hope?) that it may be just less of an "inconvenience" to the dog's owner.
To be honest, I think it's both to the benefit of the dog AND a convenience to the owner, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I raced my dog Halo in flyball for 5 years. At practice and tournaments, all dogs that are not on the field must be in crates. Many tournaments are out of town, requiring spending a weekend in a hotel. Most hotels specify that you are not to leave dogs unattended in your room, but wouldn't have a problem with someone leaving crated dogs for a couple of hours to go out for dinner.

We took 8 month old Dena on a road trip up to Oregon to visit my husband's aunt and uncle years ago. We spent a night at a hotel on the drive up and the drive back, and while we were there we spent a night at their very nice home, and then a few days at their beach house with Tom's cousins. There's simply no way we could have made that trip if she weren't crate trained, even as well behaved as she was.

Cassidy was the first dog we crate trained, and at one point we tried to get rid of the crate since it was in our bedroom, and large. She certainly didn't need it, but she liked to sleep in it. We ended up keeping it, but took the door off since we never closed it anyway. She slept there every night for her entire life. I suppose we could have removed the crate and put a bed on the floor instead, but her crate WAS her bed.

Even at nearly 9 (Halo) and 12 years old (Keefer), our dogs sleep in their crates in the bedroom every night. They go in on their own and wait for me to come close the door. They will both also go in for a nap during the day sometimes, so it's obviously a place they feel safe and secure, a place of their own to retire to and not be bothered. I see that as a benefit to the dog. I also see the fact that I can take my dogs places and do things with them that I couldn't otherwise do if they weren't accustomed to a crate as a benefit to the dog, although it's also a convenience to us. To me, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
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-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 01:52 PM
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Look at it this way. If your dog is ever injured or ill it may need to do time in a clinic where it will be crated. Is that really an optimal time to discover that you have a dog that freaks at the idea of being confined?
What if you need to fly your dog somewhere? No foster has ever left my house without crate training because crap happens and I believe in being prepared.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks again to those who have added to this thread. IF we were to try the crate method, are we best to buy a crate large enough to also accommodate her later as an adult dog, or just get something smaller to start? Just curious, as I would tend to think that a crate that is too large starting out, may defeat the purpose of giving her the feeling and security of a "den" for a puppy of 8+ weeks. As always, any/all advice is appreciated and welcomed!

We are expecting to receive some new photos of our baby from the breeder this weekend, so I'll be sure to post them here as soon as we get 'em! This is how she looked last weekend, at 5 weeks old.

Thanks,
Glen
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 05:44 PM
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Very cute puppy!

I am also old enough to have raised many puppies without ever using a crate. Most of my dog's, or more accurately my family's dogs, were never put into a crate or kennel their entire lives. And I recently brought home a 12-wk old GSD puppy, who is now 9 months old, and I didn't restrict her in the house at all with gates or crates or anything...mostly because it never crossed my mind to even consider a crate. Would I recommend to someone else to do that, NO! I got very lucky because my puppy seemed to instantly understand what was hers to chew on and what was not hers. She stole our tv remote at one point, but just carried it up and placed it on her bed - as if to show us she could have. At another time she stole my son's football cleat shoe, and basically did the same, placed it prominently in front of the stairway leading to the second floor, then laid down a few feet away gloating. Other than those two times, she pretty much restricts her chewing to her own things, toys, bones etc. Again, we got lucky!

On crate size, I obviously have no personal experience, but I've heard in other threads that people have had problems potty training if the puppy's crate is too large. In those threads people put dividers in, the point being that the puppy won't want to spoil their bed, so it helps to teach them to hold it better. Congratulations on the new pup!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim

Last edited by tim_s_adams; 09-22-2017 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Typo
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