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Crate or Barn?

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  • Crate or Barn?

    So... new doggie's energy level has skyrocketed since the first few weeks, now that we've taken care of all the worming, fleas, and good nutrition. The problem is, DH and I both work full time, and he just hates the crate. I could easily lock him in the barn during the day, he'd have a wholle 22 x 36 area to roam around in with water, etc. The tack room is locked locked up, so I wouldn't have to worry about him chewing up anything.

    I think this is a great solution for him when the weather is nice. DH prefers he get used to the crate. I don't see that happening any time soon. Poor little guy, he hides from me every morning so that he doesn't have to go in there. Probably gives him bad memories of his time in the pound. The yard is a no-go, he easily, (and regularly) sails right over the fence!

    I try to make sure he gets plenty of exercise when we're home. We play fetch in the yard (and house) and I take him on a walk around the neighborhood every evening. He sleeps in the room with us at night, and really sleeps all through the night,then nicely gets up with me in the morning and sticks to me like glue until we go out to feed horses and play for a few minutes.

    So... do you think the barn is a more humane solution for my little guy? DD was home with him up until last week, so his crate time was limited before then. I have a larger crate also, and I think that would be a better solution for him as winter sets in, but it would have to go in the basement. Or is it best, as DH says, to just get him 'used to it'. I know some dogs see their crate as their 'den' but Master Benny doesn't seem to be one of them!

    ETA: He's alone M-F from 9:00 - 4:00.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm

  • #2
    You want him to like his crate and not confine him unless you need to.

    How about putting the bigger crate, door secured open with maybe a treat in there, in the barn and let him roam and he will go rest in the crate and start to like it better?

    You can still let him stay in the crate in the house when you don't want him in the barn.

    All our dogs loved their crates, it was their home and they went in there willingly to sleep at night.
    We had to close the door so the cat would not join them in there.
    We had a crate for the cat also, but the cat didn't claim it, would go sleep in any crate that was handy.

    It is better if dogs are used to their crates, for emergencies, but for every day, you can adjust as it seems best, there is no firm rule that demands we keep dogs in crates.


    • #3
      How old is he? It's hard to say without knowing what your barn is like. Remember that a puppy might start eating stuff - even stuff you don't "care" about that might be left out - and end up hurting himself. So, if you have anything at all that he could get into - halters, lead ropes, extension cords especially, or any type of poison - it might be an issue. It could be a lot of freedom for a young dog.
      Do you have anywhere that you could set up a dog run? I do think that it is important to crate train, but you might find that during the day, you'll have more success if he has a little bigger area.


      • #4
        I like what Bluey suggested. Set the crate up in the barn.

        My 3.5 mo pup has a crate inside of an ex-pen in the breakfast nook by my kitchen (inside the house). The crate is left open and she goes inside and out as she pleases but remains inside the ex-pen. All of this is set up on top of a 6' x 9' scrap of Lineolium in case of accidents. Actually I leave a small bit of newspaper in the ex-pen for just in case I don't get home in time moments. My pup is from a breeder who raised then this way, so she likes the crate. I also have a crate in the bedroom and one in basement. And the back of my car.

        But I'd do lots of positive crate training with your dog, spend 5 min here and there sitting next to open crate, toss goodies in there, let the dog stay inside few seconds and then release. It's exactly like teaching a total greenie to load onto a trailer. Just do little bit at a time, lots of praise for going in the crate. Every time I crate I leave a new extra special treat in there for the pup to find.


        • Original Poster

          He's about a year old. 16 lbs, 13" tall. He looks like a tall, refined JRT, except he's black with white markings. I think he migh be a patterton.. DH bought him a medium size crate, but I also have the large one from our old Akita.

          He likes it out in the barn and there really is nothing he can get into that will hurt him, unless he decides to eat his way through a dump truck load of sawdust. No poisons out there, they are locked in a cabinet in the tack room. Lead ropes are hung up, so he might decide to play tug of war with the tie rings they're attached to, but I doubt he'd strangle himself with one. As long as I keep the Inside stall doors closed, I don't think he can get out. The floor is concrete, and the doors are vert heavy.

          He's chewed through 2 blankets and 2 pillows in the crate already. Did a little better today with the rug I put in there for him. I always give him his chew toy and a milk bone, but I could just as easily feed him in the crate out in the barn when I feed the horses. He has a box of treats out there that he likes the smell of because they're in the same bucket wih the horses apple treats!
          And he likes the horses. He trying desperately to made friends with the cats, but they want nothing to do with him. I'm seriously consideing braving DH's wrath and going to get another one to keep him company. But the next one would be my big ol scary farm dog, something that would keep the local teens from stealing my gas again, LOL!
          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
          Witherun Farm


          • #6
            On work days I put my crate up against the open bathroom door off the kitchen, with the crate door locked open, and I put her water bowl and some newspaper in the bathroom in case she has to go - (she always holds it however). She has a couple of toys in her crate. I have to put newspaper in the crate too because she rips up any kind of mat or pad. I put her bowl of crunchies in the corner of the crate and when it's time to go to work, I put in a nice stuffed Kong and she goes right in. I have to put a baby gate over the top of the crate where it meets the bathroom door so she doesn't crawl out. That way she is really out in the kitchen when she's in her crate and can see everything (including outside through the sliding doors at the end of the living room). I leave the radio on for her too. My other Aussie is loose in the house so she also keeps her company down there. This has worked really well for me. I did it with my other (now 10 y.o.) Aussie too.
            She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


            • #7
              teach him to crate. You never know when something might happen that he will be on long term crate rest or have to be at the vets for treatment.

              Start with the open door crate training at www.shirleychong.com the keepers pages.

              Also start training him not just wearing him out. Excercise is good, mind games are better.

              kongs are good crate toys, stuff them and freeze them. Rollatreats are good too. Feed him in the crate with the door open. Play games that involve the crate.


              • #8
                the crate will keep him safe. i would work on teaching him to like the crate. we feed our dogs in the crate, and they stay there at night and during the day if i have to go anywhere. They know exactly wheat i want if i say "Hop in Bed". They get a treat when they enter the crate.


                • Original Poster

                  The hardest part of training him is he is not food motivated. He loves attention and playing, and I am training him to fetch, sit, heel. But at feeding time, he will leave his food bowl to follow me around the house, so motiviation is all about the praise and attention.
                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                  Witherun Farm


                  • #10
                    does he have food all the time?


                    • #11
                      I like the idea of him getting to like his crate.

                      I adopted an older (not off the track) greyhound. She hated her crate when we got her. We had to shove her into it. It was like moving a Thelwell pony, she would accordian up.

                      Now she loves her crate and runs right into it.


                      • #12
                        I know a way to get a non-food-motivated dog to get used to a crate: let him out. It sounds stupid, but start by if he puts a foot in, you use your Release word and give him a toy, or praise, or whatever it is that motivates that particular dog. Then you start requiring him to put more and more of his body in on your Kennel up command before he gets Released to Play. Then of course you extend the time he has to stay in. You can get any dog to charge happily in on your Kennel up command. Important point though is not to force him in and lock him up during the training process.
                        I think it is vital dogs learn to tolerate being crated, just in case, but um locking a dog up in a tiny cage from 9 am to 4 pm most days? that's rather inhumane; 4 hours is my limit, especially if the dog is also expected to spend all night in a crate. All day all night is 16+ hours unable to really move in a very small space, very bad for their bodies and minds. If he's not trained to behave in the house the barn sounds like a good option, or a dog-proofed room in the house, or an x-pen.


                        • Original Poster

                          He's not locked up at night, only during the day while we are not at home. He is house loose any time we are at home. I tried locking him in the barn this morning, but he managed to push the sliding door open. Those things weight a ton!

                          So I'm not sure if it would be better to put him in the big crate in the barn, or the medium one in the house.

                          Or... maybe I just need to lock him in a doggie proof room. The real issue is he hates to be alone. If I could afford a doggie daycare for him, that would probably be the best solution. I think I'll look into the possibility of paying one of the neighborhood kids to come let him out an play with him after school.
                          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                          Witherun Farm


                          • #14
                            He might just need more, much more, exercise. One daily leash walk and a few games of fetch isn't really any kind of exercise for a very active young dog. Also training of some kind that really works the mind is often more tiring to dogs than exercise.


                            • #15
                              Do you have an empty stall in the barn he could not get out of?
                              Or place in there for a small chain link dog pen, like they sell at most pet stores and hardware and farm stores?


                              • #16
                                When you do crate him, I wouldn't put anything in the bottom. I know it sounds harsh. However, I have a dog who has eaten pieces of fabric, and it can cause serious problems. If he doesn't ingest it, then you might be ok. Most young dogs I've had, though, have eaten or at least torn up anything I put in the crate. When they are young, I don't like to risk them getting an impaction - so I just leave them in the crate with a Kong only.


                                • #17
                                  Do you have a cat or other animal? Is there an animal in your barn like a goat or a pig to keep him company? He may not need another dog, but some other sort of furry friend would be helpful.
                                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry