Crating a Dog While at Work – Should You Do it and How?
We’re all leading busy lives which demand our complete attention for 8, 10 and even more hours a day with a minimum of 5 days/week.
While humans are coping with this situation as best they can, the same needn’t be true for their best friend – the dog.
Dogs’ characters vary almost as much as people’s do; some are temperamental and energetic, while others are docile and introverted. They all need their freedom though, and at least some kind of meaningful interaction every day.
So, what is a working person who can’t trust their dog to not run amuck among grandma’s china collection or who is just dog-sitting and doesn’t know how the animal will behave to do?
Having a cage for the dog to call their own can certainly help, but it can also have negative side effects both on the dog’s psyche and development, so the pros and cons of crating a dog while at work should be weighed before you make the decision to purchase that crate, or the dog for that matter. This article strives to provide guidance and will hopefully make your decision easier.
The Case Against Crating
What would you feel like if you were constrained to a small space for half the waking day or more without a soul to interact with and spend your days like that indefinitely? If you work in a cubicle or are engaged in similar employment, you probably already know the answer, and it isn’t a pretty one. Did you also know that similar circumstances can much more severely affect your dog?
Dogs are social, active beings who thrive on attention and enjoy their freedom, so no wonder that stripping these away can leave your dog a mess. At its basic level, being confined inside a crate you barely have room to stand and turn around in is excruciatingly boring.
Boredom leads to listlessness and lack of energy, making your dog both miserable and much less fun to be around. Then there’s the equally important physical aspect – dogs need exercise, which they can’t get inside a small box like that. Out-of-shape dogs are much more prone to diseases and other health risks, not to mention weaker and at risk of becoming overweight.
The dog may start to loathe the crate too – the incessant inactivity can make it come to see the crate as a cell rather than a personal space, making its use more difficult at times where the crate would really come in handy, like when you’re having guests that are unfamiliar over, getting a new dog or having a baby etc.
Your dog longs for you to return home, and in more extreme cases when separation anxiety starts to develop, placing it in a confined space will only exacerbate the issue. More often than not the dog will start to wet its little bed inside the crate, causing it even more stress and discomfort.
When and How to Crate
Of course, we’re living in the “real world” where a dog’s needs aren’t high on the priority list and crating them is a necessity no matter how opposed you are to the idea. The dog may need to stay in its crate, but there are ways you can make its stay more bearable.
The best way would be to give it some company – hire a dog walker to break its routine up and give it some much-needed exercise. If that’s too expensive, ask family members or neighbors to check in on the dog at least once a day to see if it needs anything and let it stretch its legs.
If other people aren’t an option, what you can do is make sure that you give the dog a lot of positive attention and enough time to do its business while getting exercise before leaving to and after returning from work. Reassuring your dog and giving them the breathing room which they need will go a long way in hindering the development of emotional problems down the line.
Balancing your dog’s well-being with the requirements of modern life is no cakewalk, especially if you live by yourself, and your dog has no other human company to fall back on.
Deciding whether or not to crate the dog may be a tough call to make, but in the end, it all comes down to whether or not your dog is well-behaved enough to wander your home alone and how much effort you’re willing to put into maintaining a healthy relationship with them.
Provided you’re willing to commit to the little extra care placing your pet inside a the best dog crate for long periods entails, you’ll both find that the experience doesn’t need to be unpleasant or traumatizing.