Crate vs. freedom

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Mom2Wy, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Mom2Wy

    Mom2Wy Junior Member

    Our Wylie is 9 months old this week, we can't even believe it! He is completely housebroken and is no longer teething so hubby thinks it is time
    to begin eliminating the crate. Wylie's crate is in a spare bedroom which has been puppy-proofed and for the last few nights we've done "kennel-up" with the crate, leaving the crate door open and a baby gate across the door. So far, so good though when hubby gets up in the morning Wylie is in his crate.

    This morning our boy balked about going in the crate and the dog walker says he balked yesterday. I believe the crate is Wylie's "safe place" and he should always have access to it and I am not quite comfortable with leaving him alone in the house uncrated. Hubby thinks he will be fine and expects Wylie to roam the house freely by the time he is a year old.

    All opinions are welcome. What did you do? At what age?

  2. pat_m

    pat_m Senior Member

    Our Byron had full run of the house by 9 months - we had his crate down shortly after that.

    Fergie came to us crate trained (@ 4 years old) but only used it for short time.

    We have space limitations so that is why we pulled the crate. If you have the room I would leave it setup until he is no longer using the crate
  3. Jinx

    Jinx Senior Member

    if you have the room, I'd say leave the crate up because it is their safe space. we just recently put our crates back up, and our dogs are super happy about it.
  4. Cardiguy

    Cardiguy Senior Member

    I think it is time to let Wylie prove his worthiness to have his freedom. Maybe expand his area and give him free reign for an hour or so and see what happens. If this works, gradually expand the time and the area till he has full access. No reason not to leave his crate open during the process and give him the opportunity to go inside if he chooses.
  5. Peggy

    Peggy Senior Member

    Weeeelllll, there is another teething period at around 11 mos. So, my answer is no, do not eliminate the crate.

    IMO, the real answer is never. I agree with your dog walker, it should be a safe place for him. My dogs will often sleep in crates with doors open.

    I would not yet leave him alone uncrated. I think he's too young yet. Even at a year old, maybe not.

    My dogs all have crates. Sometimes some rarely use them but they all know how to go into one and settle down if need be. Learning to be crated and accept a crate helps if the dog ever needs to be hospitalized. He won't feel stressed at being caged.

    And IMO, dogs should be crated when in cars. It's safer for them.

    If you can, I'd leave the crate where it is, even after he no longer needs it.

  6. LaRogue

    LaRogue Senior Member

    I have always kept the crate up. As has already been suggested, I gradually increase the area and amount of time of unsupervised freedom, gradually. One year old seemed to be the bench mark for my dogs to be completely reliable...until Pip. He was a very destructive puppy and while he was sucessful at the start, it lead me to give him too much freedom, too early. Big Mistake! He tore up (3 feet long and the entire widith of a door way) the carpet, padding, netting, metal strip in the door way and all 7 nails, holding the strip down.

    I kept him crated, while I was at work, until he was 2.

    My dogs always seem to view their crate as their safe and quiet place. I have the door fixed open. When I wake up or come home, the dog is usually asleep in the crate. It also gets used for quiet or nap time, even when I'm home.

    A kind of off topic, but cute story... Pip's BFF is a neighbor's RHT corgi girl, who is about 1.5-2 weeks older than Pip. She was crate trained as a pup, but her owners took hers down, because she didn't use it, once she was reliably house trained. When she comes to my house, she makes a beeline straight to Pip's crate, confiscates it for her own, and won't come out for anything, except a yummy treat. Pip tries to join her (it's a pretty big crate), but she growls and snaps at him like STAY AWAY! MINE, MINE, MINE! :lol: It's hilarious, except for poor Pip's perplexment and hurt feelings.
  7. Michael Romanos

    Michael Romanos Active Member Staff Member Moderator

    Your husband is quite correct, Most dogs are capable of using their entire house as their 'kennel' before they are 12 months old and by that time have learnt to keep off furniture (if the owners have insisted as such) and to be responsible residents in all other ways.
    With some dogs though there are the aspect of anxiety,stress and boredom from being left alone and this can result in things like inappropriate tearing and ripping. All my Corgis have had full house access when left alone and no problems have ensued. Generally a dog prefers safe freedom and if it has an indoor-outdoor flow, so much the better.

    There are many ways for a dog to be rendered less anxious and stressed and bored.

    Michael Romanos likes this
  8. luvcorgis

    luvcorgis Senior Member

    At 19 mos, Lucy no longer uses the crate at home. We do have several gates and she is confined to kitchen, dining room, and large family room when we are not home. She has favorite places, under the coffee table, or, under the bed when she wants to be undisturbed. We do have a fabric crate that we use when we travel that she is never reluctant to use.
  9. truman

    truman Senior Member

    My dogs both sleep in their crates at night and sometimes during the day when I will be out for an extended period of time. It isn't a punishment , it's for their own safety and also so I don't hear the click click of little paws in the middle of the night. Also, night time is the only time my cats get to have us to themselves
  10. Finley

    Finley Member

    Finley is 10 months old now. I work from home and he has free reign of the house. If i leave the house, he still has free reign. He chewed up my sliding door blinds one time while I was gone, but thats been about it. He;s pretty good. Usually when I return home he's in his "bed".

    At night I put him in his pen. I have one of those folding metal fences that I hook to his crate, so he isn't stuck in the crate nor does he have free roam, but hes has some room to move around. although he hasn't used his crate in forever. He never really used his crate on his own much.

    The main reason I put him in his pen is because several times I left him have free roam at night, he pooped and peed on the floor. When he's in his pen, he doesn't poop or pee.
  11. Michael Romanos

    Michael Romanos Active Member Staff Member Moderator

    I have never used a crate in the house for any of my own Corgis from day one. But I sometimes crate visiting Corgis if that is what is the best for the safe keeping of my house during the night. However only one owner - a former breeder - actually crates her two Corgis at night among the dozens of Corgis I have had stay with me.

    So crating is not the norm in NZ among Corgi owners. As a preference, most Corgis would wish to sleep away from the constraints of a crate. And to be fully and properly house toilet) trained should be achievable for most Corgis within a few weeks with their new owner as puppies - it is up to the practices of good care and management from the owner. But there are other aspects of behaviour that can preclude trust and these fall into the category of how well adjusted a Corgi is allowed to become.

    Michael Romanos likes this
  12. JJ Panda

    JJ Panda Member

    Yes, I agree totally with Peggy's comment about the 11 month chewing phase. I adopted my first cardi at 11 months. Her original owners were replacing their kitchen flooring........ (Had I had this blog to read many years ago that would have been an ah! ha! moment.) During the three days before I purchased a crate, she chewed a hole resembling the map of England in the kitchen floor and a hole in the arm of a leather recliner!!!!! So watch out for the next chewing phase!

    I have used crates ever since. It might be different if I did not work or worked from home.
  13. mamaseeta

    mamaseeta Junior Member


    My corgi Tye came as a gift after my tackle died suddenly. Tye is now10 weeks old and she sleeps in a cage during the night. I don't know if we got lucky or if corgies are all like this but she sleeps throughout the night and when we get up she is sitting in her cage waiting. I am amazed how quickly she learns. I also believe the cage could serve as her future sleeping area, I have the room, just leave the door open. She has already chosen it as her safe place and that's good for me. I'm looking for a good training book for corgies but because there are so many out there I'm not sure which is truly geared
    for corgies. She is loose when I'm working with her but when I can't supervise her she goes in the cage.
  14. Mom2Wy

    Mom2Wy Junior Member

    Our Wylie is now 20 months old and he no longer uses a crate. He does have a room with a gate where he sleeps since he thinks he needs to "protect" the pack during the night and alerts us to every sound with barking, great alarm system but we like to sleep. ;-) The room has become his safe place and he rarely barks when he is in there. We got a second corgi several months ago and she also has a room and she also has a crate. For the first month we crated her at bedtime and when we weren't home because it was how she'd lived before living with us. Then we started leaving the crate door open at bedtime with a baby gate restricting her to her room, she was a bit anxious in the beginning though has adjusted nicely. For the most part she sleeps in her crate and only occasionally alerts us with barking to sounds in the night. Her name is Harley and she will likely always have her crate, she is 6+ years old and I will not consider eliminating the crate with her.

    We are not yet leaving the dogs alone together when we go to work, there were a few incidents with them in the beginning that made me nervous about leaving them together unsupervised for more than a few minutes. I do think we will eventually be able to leave them alone together but I want to wait and be very comfortable with that scenario before it happens.

    There are many training books out there, I like Patricia McConnell books. Not sure you will find any specifically geared to corgis, pay attention to references to herding breeds in whatever you choose to read. Since getting our second corgi we have discovered there is no "one size fits all" method of training. Wylie is quite stubborn, determined and mulish when he wants to do things his way - I have a much tougher demeanor with him sometimes than I ever would with our girl, Harley. We keep Wylie enrolled in training class most of the time including behavior, out and about(class happens in one of several area parks where there are a lot of distractions and we behavior train through them), we start a tricks class next week. Harley aims to please and pretty quickly understands our expectations except for her barking and poo eating she is a sweetheart and just wants to be a lap dog.

    Good luck with training!
  15. mamaseeta

    mamaseeta Junior Member

    Thank you for your help. I'm inclined to agree with you that one fix does not work for all corgies. I do want to give her every chance to learn how to behave and am teaching her based on what I have learned about corgies on the Internet. She is willing and ready to work with me, so, I told her I would make an effort to learn her language after she learns I shall be looking for Patricia McConnell books, thanks for the tip. I have 4 cats, 2 have unwillingly become helpers in socializingTye and the other 2 are still pouting. Since I live in quebec Canada, the weather is very cold but we take her outside anyway and she's tough but soon enough she will ask for the door. Okay, I'm really hoping she will get the idea quickly. I'm going to tie a bell to the door handle and try teaching her that ringing it means going outside.
    Well thanks Again!

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