German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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?

Glen
Focus On Newfoundland
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,803 Posts
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,253 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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!

Glen
Focus On Newfoundland
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,408 Posts
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,253 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,733 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
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
Focus On Newfoundland

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,433 Posts
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
Very cute puppy, congrats! Lots of great reasons to crate train already mentioned. I would add, that unless the puppy is never going to be left alone, or unsupervised, the crate is more about house breaking, than potty training. Potty training is the easy part, the hard part is teaching a hyper, teething GSD puppy that everything in the house is not a chew toy. An unsupervised GSD puppy, before they learn what is and what is not acceptable to chew, are likely to destroy furniture, clothing, wall and door moldings, electrical chords, etc. etc. etc. lol. If you can't watch them, a crate can save you a huge amount of frustration and potential trouble.

I would recommend a crate that will accommodate her adult size. Lots of the bigger crates come with a divider so you can resize the crate as the dog grows ... they grow fast, so it's much easier than having to keep buying bigger ones as they grow. Omen likes to sprawl in his crate, so even when he was smaller we let him have the whole big crate and never had an issue. With some dogs, giving them too much space will allow them to use one end as a place to potty, which you obviously don't want...just depends on the dog I suppose, most will not use their crate as a potty unless they absolutely cannot hold it.

Good luck with the new pup!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Woohoo! Just ordered a new crate for our little girl. We went with a large one, (48"L x 32"H x 30"W) as it comes with an adjustable divider, so we can keep her in just part of it at the beginning, to keep things cozy for her. I was quite willing to train her as we had with our others, but this old dinosaur decided he would try something new! We will be posting regular updates of our adventures in puppy training on here soon!

Thanks for all the input, everyone!! What a terrific forum!

Glen
Focus On Newfoundland
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,021 Posts
Back k the day crates were not used. Then my mom decided to use a crate and it worked well. My oldest was never crate trained. When I got my older golden I decided to do the crate thing, he was super good and was potty trained really fast. Then came my female gsd,she threw a fit at first but she also was potty trained pretty quick. Imagine my shock when I got my older male GSD and he escaped out of the crate a few times. He was only in the crate a short time too, but I had to have locks on it. My youngest golden was crated for a while--he would steal any thing could--did not eat it but had a blast dragging everything outside. The greyhound mix has pretty much been crated since I got him, i tried leaving him out and he always gets into something that can hurt him. He is crated for safety. I am in the process of redoing one room so he will no longer be crated, but I have to completely dog proof it--he will be with the younger golden. My youngest male GSD wanted nothing to do with the crate. He would pee and poop in it no matter what. I took the crate down when he was like 5 months old, he never had an accident in the house or chewed anything. Right now I crate and rotate the two male GSDs. Once my hand heals I will not rotate anymore. They do fine together, my son has them together all the time, but I want to be able to break up a fight just in case.

So it all depends on the dog. It helps with potty training, chewing and safety. I got lucky, none of mine really destroyed Anything. Oddly the one most likely to go into an open crate on their own to sleep is my oldest that was never crate trained---go figure!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,483 Posts
I learned about the crate training method in 1985 when I adopted a non housebroken adult dog. ........ I have used it since. I do think it can be an excuse for not properly training some things but.........it is very useful........there is absolutely no great debate in my mind.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,637 Posts
I think the first time I used a crate was back in 1976, when I bought a Shetland Sheepdog puppy from a show breeder. She loaned me a crate until I could buy one. I’ve used them ever since. They’re invaluable. I have three set up in my mudroom currently, ready in case I need to crate any, or all of them. It’s nice for a rainy day bone to chew on, and one of my cats eats in a GSD crate to keep her cat roommate from eating her food. They are fed raw, and it’s measured.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
99 Posts
Growing up as a kid in the 80's my parents bought a cairn terrier puppy. The only time he was ever crated was to go to vets or during travel. My mom worked on getting him used to the crate so he wouldn't freak going to vets or otherwise. Our family of four trained him to potty and not chew on stuff by keeping an eye on him. At that time that's how it was done. No one I knew who had a dog crate trained. Crates were used for traveling. A few years ago before I got my first gsd I was doing research and found crate training was what everyone's doing. I have to say being single and living alone at the time and crate training became a godsend. As he got older he loved his crate to relax or sleep in. I'll be picking up my second gsd pup in three weeks and I will be crate training him, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,877 Posts
I've never crate-trained a puppy or dog. I just put them in the crate when I had the explorer and could crate them in the vehicle, or in the house. I've put crate-halves in pens filled with wood chips, where the puppies would go under the crate halves to rest, hiding from the sun, etc. They get used to them.

And when I take a litter to the vet, I will often put four or five in each crate, but I have also put them in a muck bucket, hip hugger laundry baskets, etc. I even made a wagon/x-pen thing to move a litter of 10 to the vet's.

I've read about how people will put the dog in there with the door open, feeding them treats, and then giving them treats to stay in while the door is shut. I've never done that. If I needed a pup in a crate, I put him in it with no nonsense. If I want an older dog crated for whatever reason, I tell them to go in, and they go in. I shut the gate, and that is that. No fuss. No problem.

I think it is good to have a crate, and the dog accustomed to it, because some day they may have to stay at a groomer, boarder, or vet surgery, and I would have them not nervous simply because they have never been restrained in a crate.

Then, I've never accustomed a dog to a muzzle either, or a leash, or a collar. Or getting their toe nails trimmed. I just do it, and they just let me. I'm the biggest ogre around, and somehow my dogs are not biting people or chewing on themselves or whatever other behavioral issues that so many dogs have these days.

Reasons I use or have used a crate:
Traveling in a vehicle,
Moving bitches around safely,
Letting a group of bitches sleep inside safely together in inclement weather,
Providing an injured dog forced bed-rest.
Separating dogs temporarily so that the tubbier one does not get tubbier yet while the skinnier one gets skinnier.
I've crated youngsters next to my bed at night in the past, more recently, I just baby gate them in the area of my room for the night, and during the day, they have an area that has a dog door, and safe inside and outside. But I wait until they are ready to spend the night loose in the room without eating all my books, clothes, shoes. Ok, I put my important shoes out of reach of Quinnie. She isn't 100% shoe-proof yet. What is it about my shoes anyway???
I put Milla in a crate every day while I am feeding dogs, giving water and cleaning kennels as her area is my walk through area. She spends about half an hour to an hour crated every day, and currently she is crated more than any other dog I have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
When we got our first dog who was a year old, crates were not fashionable and v expensive. Really wished we could have afforded one because we had to come up with inventive ways to stop her destroying the house. Since then, for future pups I have used a crate. They have loved them and I have had peace of mind that they can't chew out electric sockets like our first girl did. On the downside, my pups who have used a crate, have loved them so much, I can't get rid of the crate even though I don't really have room for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top