QUESTION: I have a 6 month old, large breed dog. I got him when he was 6 weeks old. I keep him in a Kennel/Crate. He goes to the bathroom in it and I am tired of cleaning this up. I let him out when I am home for awhile in the morning and also in the evening. He also seems to hate his crate now? Why is my dog like this? Should I keep him locked up in the garage instead?

ANSWER: You never conditioned this poor pup to a crate. By placing him in it for only a few minutes, then slowly increasing the time spent. MAX time for such a pup would have been 2 hours at 6 weeks old and even now 4 hours without being let out to the bathroom. 8 hours TOTAL out of a 24 hour day!!!

He was and is simply left to long. And starting away to young!!! NO MORE CRATE FOR THIS POOR PUP!!! NO GARAGE EITHER!!! The following documents from OUR ARCHIVES may or may not pertain to your dog.

DOCUMENT ONE: This is a classic example of a pup left in a kennel to long. During a 24 hour day, no adult dog should be locked in a kennel over 8 hours MAXIMUM a day. So if locked up while your out of the house for work, then that would be approx 9 hours, then locked up at night, another 8 hours, or when company comes or when you go shopping or visiting, approx 3 hours. Pretty soon, when you add up the hours, 9+8+3=20 hours a day,  it was a lot more than just 8 hours a day TOTAL.  The puppy or dog is living a life of sheer misery, in JAIL just so the owners don't have to do any work caring for it, socializing it, house training it or just plain making sure it gets lots of sunlight and outside exercise so it is more relaxed and easier to train.  Just put it in its crate/kennel and walk away.

Correctly done, PUPPIES no more than 4 hours per day, then out for at LEAST 1/2 hour, then only 4 more hours to total 8 hours Max.

Usually people at first deny to themselves just how long the pup or dog was locked in what soon becomes a dreaded jail cell. But when they finally sit down with a pen and paper and add it up, work, shopping, visiting, sleeping, company over, etc. etc. they are shocked at what they have done when it comes to total hours per day.

DOCUMENT TWO: Also, often these dogs/pups are not getting enough outside exercise (preferably FREE, off leash, at least twice DAILY). Dogs need exercise and freedom. And they must be taken out to the bathroom, several times a day.

Dogs also hate being locked in garages or basements. It removes them from the main part of the home and drives them crazy, leading to antisocial behavior and extreme unhappiness. Also if confined to any space in the main part of the home, with Children's Safety Gates only so they can see out. Never close a solid door on a dog, now it is worse than a jail cell, now it is jail but "Solitary Confinement".

DOCUMENT THREE: He maybe is being left in the crate to long. Many dogs cannot handle the crate any more than 4 hours. And of course were taken out to the bathroom before being placed in the crate?
Or perhaps when he was even younger (just a baby pup) he was left in the crate to long, once to often. Once a dog has been forced to mess in its crate because it has no choice, it may continue to do so. A dog does not like being near its own urine/stool but like I said, if he was forced in the past to go potty in his kennel a few times, he may have resigned himself to that fate.

DOCUMENT FOUR: Also, if the crate is to large for the dog/pup, it may attempt to sleep in one end of it and go potty in the other end. And PLEASE, do not holler at him/her or rub it's nose in it. ONLY IF YOU CATCH A PUPPY/DOG IN THE VERY ACT OF DEFECATING OR URINATING OR WITHIN SCANT SECONDS, take it outside or to its designated pottie area and speak firmly to it.  After the fact, any form of discipline and you are just being cruel to the dog. They know you're mad but don't know why.

Since the dog/pup may have been forced to go potty in it's crate before or perhaps it is simply one of those dogs that cannot handle even four hours locked up, then I suggest you put him/her in a room with linoleum while your gone. Put Newspaper down in one corner for the dog to go to the bathroom on if it has to. Put it's toys, food, water and bed across the room from the Newspaper.

Also use children's safety gates to enclose the dog/pup in the room, never close a solid existing door. Because with the safety gate, they can still see out and do not feel trapped, like they do with a door closed solid.

The dog/pup should only have to be confined to this area when the owners are gone and always let out when people are home. Kitchen areas are the best, followed by entrance ways. Downstairs rooms and upstairs room are the worst for causing the dog mental anguish over being confined. So are out buildings such as garages.

DOCUMENT FIVE: Make sure he/she is never in the crate for longer than 8 hours total within the 24 hour day. Lots of exercise also means they will sleep longer in their crate. Plus chew bones to help a dog/pup to settle down in the crate. As they gets older, they will be able to hold their bladder longer and longer. For a large breed, expect them to be a minimum 6 months old before they can hold it for 8 hours and longer.

DOCUMENT SIX: The plain and simple truth is not all dogs like this crate training business. In fact, some absolutely hate it and may have emotional scars their entire lives from being forced to stay in a crate. My recommendation is to block off a room with linoleum, such as the kitchen and continue to take a dog/pup outside on a regular schedule. The room must be a room that is a main center of family activity and must never be a garage or basement room or anywhere where the poor dog is locked away from the family which a dog craves to be with. Same goes with the crate, it must be in a room where the family usually hangs out.

DOCUMENT SEVEN: Dogs, especially puppies need vast amounts of exercise and play time. Especially outdoor exercise. We tend to put them in the crate far to much and far to long. They are in there all night long. They are in there when we go to work or shopping, etc. Some are stuck in there when company comes. God Forbid, but many people punish the dog when it does something wrong but sticking it back in the crate. The crate soon becomes a jail cell that they either must suffer quietly in or learn to hate. Not enough exercise and play time drives many dogs right around the bend, mentally, causing all sorts of behavioral problems.

DOCUMENT EIGHT: Although dogs are naturally clean animals what happens is when they are young or first introduced to the crate, the crate is to big so they attempt to urinate on one side and lay on the other. "Or they are left in it for to long forcing them to relieve themselves whether they want to or not". Soon it becomes a habit as they get used to laying in or next to their own urine. Removing them from the crate now is the only solution.
Using safety gates, for a big dog, one installed on top of another for height, place the dog/pup in a room without carpeting. Put lots of newspaper down at one end of the room for them. Never close the door on an animal as they then are in a prison where they cannot see out, thus the safety gates.

DOCUMENT NINE: You bought books and talked to people and CRATE TRAINING is the best way to go. WRONG. It is the easiest way for the puppies owner but definitely not for the puppy. WHY? Because what starts out as a good idea with less house training accidents and less chewed up shoes and stuff, soon becomes a nightmare for the dog. "I am not saying always" but far to high of a percentage of time that crate becomes a prison cell for the dog. I consider in these cases that the basically "can't be bothered to put any effort into training the dog" type of person is the one most guilty of this life of pure hell for the puppy/dog.

DOCUMENT TEN: I'm going to simply give you some basic math here. There is 24 hours in a day. If you work outside your home: You are gone approx. 9 hours a day, often longer with stopping at the grocery store, bank, etc. So lets make it 10 that the puppy is locked up in its prison cell. That leaves 14 hours left in the day. You prepare to sleep, sleep and get up from sleeping, approx. 8 hours and the puppy is locked up in its prison cell. That leaves 6 hours in a day. You have company over and don't want the annoying puppy around or while eating don't want to be annoyed by the puppy or have to take a quick trip somewhere or are busy punishing the puppy FOR SOMETHING by locking it up for another approximately 4 hours per day all total. THAT LEAVES TWO HOURS A DAY THAT POOR CREATURE IS ACTUALLY NOT LOCKED UP IN IT'S PRISON CELL.

Oh I know, many of these suffering creatures run to their crate and voluntarily enter it. So they must love it? WRONG!!! It is a "Learned Behavior" by a creature that doesn't know the wonder and glory of freedom. They don't love it, it is simply all they are used to. And the dogs that hate it? It must be a stupid dog. WRONG!!!

As you, the reader may have quickly guessed. I am dead set against Crate Training unless the dogs owner realizes that no dog should be locked in a crate for more than 8 hours TOTAL in a 24 hour period at any time for any reason.

And for the people who say that the crate/kennel is the domesticated puppy or dogs "DEN" because fox, coyotes, wolves, etc. prefer a den as a safe place to go to, these people have never studied any of these wild relatives to the domesticated dog.  As soon as the pups are old enough to leave the den and go with their mother, the den is abandoned and the mother does not return to it. 

Wild Canines do choose to sleep with their backs protected from attack against fallen logs, banks of earth, etc.  They do seek out heavy timber or brush or any type of natural cover to future protect themselves against danger.  They DO NOT run all over the country side seeking out enclosed "Dens"!!!

Dogs and Puppies often love having a crate/kennel to instinctively sleep in as protection.  But with the door to it open so they can come and go as they wish.

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