When the topic of containment of dogs is raised, it can be a very controversial and ticklish subject. In North America, it is acceptable to crate puppies and dogs. When I was in Georgia at a school for dog trainers, I rented a room in another trainer’s home for the course duration.
Her four dogs, which ranged from two to nine years old, were crated in the house while she was at work eight hours a day, and then again, she was sleeping for another eight hours. I did not see any behavioural issues with her dogs; it simply was a way of life. And let’s face it; the average dog will sleep 12 to 14 hours per day, and puppies, 18 to 20 hours.
Crates are also promoted in North America as a safe place for your dog. My seven-week-old pup injured herself in an airline crate by lodging her lower jaw in between the metal bars of the door, something I thought would have never been possible because the bars were so close together.
In Sweden, crate training is considered cruel and illegal except for transport, hunting, competition, or show, and even then, pet owners have to let them out every two to three hours. If you have a crate in your home, the door must be removed.
Now, many people believe the ideal situation is to have dogs in the house as part of the family and have a fenced-in backyard, so the dog has freedom of movement at all times. I’ve also seen the downfalls to complete freedom — fence fighting with neighbouring dogs, dogs injuring their paws in chain link fencing, dogs poisoned, and the list goes on.
I also have firsthand experience with this. My two dogs, four and eight years of age, live in my house. My backyard is fenced, and I leave the door open because I’m out long hours, so they can go out and relieve themselves when needed. But my four-year-old has now injured two of his digits on his front paw from running outside to bark at monkeys. I came home to find this, and it’s not the first time. So, I’ve had to make the decision to keep him in the bathroom while I’m out to prevent further injury. The bathroom is the coolest part of the house at any given time of the day.
In the Caribbean, tying a dog is a common containment system used. If tying your dog is your choice, then I’m here to offer you some tips.
• If you tie your dog in an open area, you can put your dog at risk. They cannot escape from roaming and potentially aggressive dogs.
• Make sure they have access to a shady area to sleep as well as access to water.
• Do not tie your dog 24/7.
Certified dog educator/ trainer with 23 years of international experience
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