Den Living

Den Living, Crate Training From Your Dogs Point of View

Hey, as your dog I love living with you, but we really need to talk. You know that crate thing that is sitting over in the corner where you put me when you are mad at me? We really need to come to an understanding on how we should use it. I am going to explain it from my point of view.

First of all, I am a wolf at heart. Well, at least a little piece of my heart. Part of me needs a head wolf to take care if issues and make decisions. As a side note, to be quite honest, you have been a little lax there lately and I have had to pick up the slack. But that’s another issue. You are a human and I don’t know how to break this to you, but quite frankly we do not think alike most of the time. For instance, you love the wide open spaces where you can run and play. I like to stay low and watch a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong. I love to chase the ball and Frisbee and go on walks and stuff. But when it comes to quiet time, I like to hide out. It’s fun. If I had someplace of my own, I could pretend that I am a wolf peering out from my warm cozy den. Which to be quite honest, brings up a couple of points.

That wire crate is really not a den at all. It is open and I feel so exposed. No wonder you think it is a jail – it even looks like one. If you could get one of those plastic solid ones, that would be so cool. Mohawk down the street has one of those and he absolutely loves it. Really. He said his master got it at Wal-Mart and didn’t have to pay that much for it. At least cover up the wire one with a blanket or something. I will try my best not to chew it, but we both know that I am not in a position right now to make any promises in that department.

It shouldn’t be too big, just enough room for me to stand up and turn around. I know that you humans think the bigger the better, but that does not hold true for us wolf types. (By the way that is another example of that thinking differently thing.) We like cozy places that are energy efficient and limit the entrances to something we can watch and control. I can keep it warm all by myself if it isn’t a mansion.

I know that you think of this crate thing like a doggie jail. After all, you put me in it when you are mad at me and that takes all of the fun out of it. All I can think of is that you don’t love me anymore and all I want is to be with you and you will never let me out of it again. And then I get so freaked out, I start yelling for you and asking you to let me out and you get more mad and I get more freaked. We really need to stop this no-win situation. Quite frankly, it is a viscous cycle. If you let me know when you are upset with me, I think that will be good enough. You don’t have to lock me in the crate. Maybe you could after awhile when it really feels like my den or… hey – if you weren’t mad at me, it would be to lock me in it then. I am willing to compromise on this. Just hold off locking me in it to punish me. From my point of view it should be my happy place, kind of like that happy place you go to once in awhile when the kids are screaming and dinner is burning and the phone is ringing. Yes, that’s right – I’ve seen you go there.

And I wouldn’t mind sleeping in it. In fact, I think it would be a good thing. The house is so big it is kind of scary at night. I am not getting much sleep trying to keep track of everything. It is really getting to me. I have a headache until after breakfast most days. But if you were to let me sleep in my den, you could close the door and then I wouldn’t have to worry about what might go bump in the night. Not that I am trying to shirk my duties – I will still listen for strange noises and let you know about them. And in the morning, you could be the head wolf and let me out. Really, between you and me I would rather you had that head wolf job anyway. Like I said it is giving me such a headache. I may complain about being in my den a little at first, but after all, I am a dog. It takes awhile to get used to a new routine. But trust me, it will be OK. I can handle it!

Come to think of it, you could even feed me in it – that would be so cool. I could be a wolf that brought my kill home with me. It would make the crate really be all mine. Which you know, would actually help in turn with my housebreaking. I know you think I have accidents in the house just to bug you, but that is not the case. It’s just hard to remember not to go in such a big house. I mean I get to playing and I just don’t think about it. I just do what comes naturally. After all, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. But I can remember if I am in my den. Who wants to go potty where they eat and sleep? That is really disgusting. I am a dog, not a pig. Plus then you would not have to be upset with me. And if you are not upset with me, we would both be a lot happier.

living in a denAnd think of it. When you need to go somewhere – like on a hunt to get food, I could stay in my den. OK, I admit it. Getting in the trash is downright fun. Plus you can find good things to eat there. I remember the time that old tuna fish made me sooo sick but boy, did it taste good. Anyway, if you would give me a chew toy to have in my den when you go out, that would be almost as good. Not having you be mad at me when you come home would be worth it. And it would help me with that shoe, couch, pillow, remote, chair, kid’s toy, purse, cords, curtains, underwear chewing thing. I admit it, I am not perfect. I have my weaknesses too. But it is really boring when you are gone. I try to be good but then something just snaps in my head. And everything smells like you so it is almost as if you were here. And to be perfectly honest, it is something to do. What would you do if you were here all day without a TV or radio? I get so excited when I hear your footsteps coming home and then to have you grab me and drag me all over the house yelling at me is a real bummer. I think it must be for you too. At least I think that’s what it means when your face gets all red. Just think if when you came home, you could let me out of my den and we could just say hello to each other. It could be a real wolf greeting time. Just me and my head wolf. I know this may be just a dream, but I really think we can make it happen!

Now that we are discussing this, I am thinking of some other things too. This is so cool. We are having one of those brainstorming sessions I hear you talk about. What I mean is – how about the car? I love going with you in the car. But I have always been a little bit concerned. You have seat belts and the baby has a special car seat and I, the dog, have nothing, nadda. What is up with that? What if, God forbid, we got in an accident or you even had to slam on the brakes. I would go flying through the car for crying out loud. I am a dog, not a projectile. Grover said his master was in a really bad accident and Grover got thrown out of the car and it took 3 days for someone to come back and look for him. How do you think that makes a dog feel? I think putting my den in the car is the answer to this situation. I can still see out and be with you, but I don’t have to worry about getting into an accident. I think it would make me a bit calmer. Plus I wouldn’t have to help you drive anymore. You could still give me a french fry or two if you stop for lunch. We don’t need to get crazy here. Better yet, you could go into a restaurant and not have to go in the drive through all of the time. Besides, real restaurants have better treats, not that I am complaining or anything.

Or how about that time we all went on that family vacation and you spent most of the night looking for a hotel where we could all stay? And remember how many hotels you had to go to so you could find one that would let me stay with you? Geez, I can’t count but it seemed like more than the number of toys I have. If my den had been with us, I could have slept in it in the car or better yet, I bet some of those hotels would have been a little more amicable if they knew we had a crate, don’t you think? Then we could all enjoy a nice hotel room instead of that flea bag we had to stay in. Remember the size of that spider? Plus then going somewhere would be better than camping out because I would have MY DEN with me, a little bit of home. Like when you take your pillow with you. Have den will travel – that’s a little dog humor for you.

I could hang out in it when we go to some of those crazy places you take me to, like that dog show. That way you could walk around and look at all of those bizarre dogs, like that one that was so hairy you couldn’t tell which end was which without sniffing. Who could imagine he would be that touchy? Do you think the lady is over her sprained ankle yet? Anyway, back to the subject….

dog crate denThink of when everyone comes to our house. The food is great and it is just sitting there on the table waiting for someone to eat it. And of course, I am always glad to help you out, but so many people and so much noise and all those little kids make me want to just crawl out of my skin. I know they don’t mean any harm, but I am just not used to it. I am afraid one of them is going to come up and scare the bajeezus out of me and I am going to do the Unthinkable and well, you know, put my teeth on one of them. That is the last thing I want to do and it would be an accident, but I know what happens to dogs that do that and it is driving me out of my mind when they all come over. Quite frankly, being in my den in the quiet bedroom is much more relaxing. Plus you can always fix a plate and bring it in for me. And when things settle down, I could come out and say hello – maybe while the kids are playing outside.

Or what if someone comes to visit with an obnoxious dog, one quite unlike myself? Say for instance that yappy little Pomeranian down the street that always gets in my face. What, may I ask you, am I supposed to do when a dog gets in my face in my own house – just sit, stay and take it?? I think not! But if I had a den where I could go, I would not have to put the little rug rat in his place. Plus he would be so jealous – he only has a pillow to sleep on, not a real den. Again a win win situation for the both of us. (By the way, please don’t invite him to my birthday party again. That was such a waste of birthday cake when I knocked it on the floor reminding him of proper manners).

Come to think of it, if I ever get sick – and who doesn’t now and then – it would be a guiet place for me to rest and recover and to be quite frank – it will confine any mishaps I might have. Of course you will need to clean it out, but better my den than your carpet – right? And if I ever got really sick or, God forbid, hit by a car or something and had to go to the vets, you could carry me in my den and I wouldn’t have to climb in and out of the car. That could be quite painful for the dog.

And to be quite honest, even us dogs need a little alone time, no offense. Sometimes a guy just wants a little quiet time to think, chew a rawhide in private or just catch a few ZZs. After all, as I’m sure you know, humans can be very demanding and time consuming. My den could be that kind of place for me.

That is about all I can think of – let us review.

Make my den a safe and happy place for me.
Let me sleep in my den – I love it.
Feed me in my den – I love it.
It will help me remember housebreaking
It will help me remember about chewing.
It is someplace to be while you are gone.
It is someplace to be if we have a big party with a lot of people.
It is someplace to be when obnoxious dogs come over.
It is a safe place in the car for me.
It is a safe place when you take me to crazy places.
It will make traveling with me easier.
It will give me a safe place just to get away and rest.
It can be an emergency stretcher.
I can have howling good time in it. Sorry – couldn’t resist.

Now it doesn’t seem so bad when you think of it like that, does it. Can you get me a blue one if possible? Mohawk will be so jealous. His is just yucky gray. And you thought dogs were colorblind.

There are many aspects to making crate training your puppy successful. For more tips or advice on crate training contact Highland Canine Training, LLC at training@highlandcanine.com or 866.200.2207.

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  1. […] were wolves and wolves live in dens, a crate can represent a den to the modern dog. Read More about how your dog views den living. Crate training is a great way to help with potty training and has many benefits we often times do […]

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