Thursday, May 5, 2011

If Dog Crates work, why are so many dogs abandoned?

I've read and heard all about the wonders of crating and how much dogs love them.  Supposedly the cure all for training, and touted as THE way to keep a dog safe when you're out.

I don't buy it, at least not for as long as it takes to housetrain a dog.  I just read about a dog who actually peed outside his cage when his owner locked him up so she could go out for a run.  What a heartbreaker!  Otto dances with joy EVERY DAY when we get ready for our long walk.  I can't imagine telling him he has to go get in a cage while I go out for fresh air and exercise.  Researching for this post, I see stories of dogs caged for 9 hours or more while the owners are working, then caged at night, averaging 5 hours of uncaged freedom a day.  5 HOURS!  These are dogs, not gerbils!

That goes against their very nature.  Dogs are protectors, even little fluffy fluffs, whose barks are our first alarms.  How can they protect when they are caged.  How boring is it to sit in a cage for 19 hours a day?  They are intelligent animals, they can't even look out the window or bat a ball around the floor.

I don't know who came up with the notion that cages were good for dogs, but it probably was a sales rep for dog crates.  From the dawn of civilization, when dogs were valued for protecting and for keeping living areas clean, dogs have been taught their civilized manners without cages.

When I was a kid, if you had an untrustworthy or young, untrained dog, you confined him to the kitchen or the basement when you went out.  Housetraining was interactive, not a passive training provided by metal bars.  At bedtime, they slept in their to you.  They got a lot of exercise because kids were sent outside to play and adults walked them.  And if they were tired or scared...they walked over to their bed in a quiet place and lay down.  THAT was their "den" that cages are advertised as being.  But they WALKED OVER to it by choice.

And if cages are so wonderful...why are there so many dogs that get abandoned?  So many "bad dogs"?  I think it's because people are getting dogs not to walk beside them...but to be taken out of a box and admired like an expensive jewel, not like the living, breathing, intelligent creature they are. 

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