A crate helps with potty training, teaching manners, keeping the puppy safe and giving the owner a break.
But what about crating an adult dog?
Is it cruel to crate an adult dog?
No, it’s not cruel.
In general, it’s completely fine if you want to leave your well-behaved adult dog in a crate when you’re not home.
But of course, it depends on the dog.
I can understand why using a crate is helpful for some adult dogs:
1. Some dogs appreciate the crate routine when they’re home alone. It’s what they’re used to. It helps them feel calm and secure. They become anxious without the crate.
2. Some dogs will always get into things on occasion such as the trash, food on the counter or whatever it might be. Crating the dog removes those opportunities.
3. Some dogs bark out the windows or scratch at the doors and windows on occasion. Crating them removes those opportunities.
4. The majority of dogs sleep the whole time their owners are gone anyway. It’s simply not a big deal to crate them.
5. If you have multiple dogs, sometimes it’s safer to crate one or both dogs while you’re away to prevent fights or other mischief.
6. Some people have enough stress in their day with work or kids or whatever. Crating the dog removes the added stress of worrying about what the dog might be doing. Totally worth it.
7. Finally, most dogs don’t really mind their crates if they’ve been crate trained. They’re dogs. They adapt to whatever we decide for them.
I prefer to leave my dogs loose … once they’ve earned it
I view the crate as a tool to help a dog earn future freedom.
I have a 10-year-old Lab mix named Ace and an 11-month old weimaraner named Remy. You can probably guess that Ace is left loose and Remy is crated when they’re home alone.
I used a kennel with Ace until he was about 18 months old. The kennel helped him learn the proper routine of relaxing when home alone vs. getting into things.
Ideally, I’ll be able to leave Remy loose at some point too, but we’re nowhere near that point yet! In the meantime, I do not feel one bit guilty about using a crate for him.
How to make the crate more enjoyable
To help make the crate more enjoyable for Remy, I often give him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or other treats when he’s in his crate. If I’m going to be gone awhile, I make two of these and freeze them beforehand so they last longer.
Plenty of exercise beforehand
I also make sure he gets a lot of exercise, play, interaction and training every day. If he’s going to be left alone for several hours, then I make sure to exercise him before I leave and again when I get home.
Gentle Leader vs prong collar vs Easy Walk harness
Which one is best?
In case you haven’t figured it out, no tool is perfect.
Truth is, my puppy pulls no matter what and it’s a work in progress, always.
Limiting a dog’s pulling takes time. It’s really about patience, training, consistency and finding whatever tool helps you MANGAGE your dog while keeping everyone safe.
I can only tell you which collars are best for my particular dogs.
So which collar is best for Remy?
I actually like the Gentle Leader best for the largest variety of dogs (I’m a dog walker and rescue volunteer).
That being said, the Gentle Leader is the worst of the three tools for Remy. For him, it’s a tie between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness. I haven’t decided which is best so I rotate between them depending on what we’re doing. See below.
The Gentle Leader
I love the Gentle Leader but it does not work well for my dog Remy.
The Gentle Leader fits over the dog’s muzzle (similar to a horse halter). When the dog pulls, the collar is designed to gently pull the dog’s muzzle and head to the side.
The Gentle Leaderworks so well for a lot of dogs and it’s my top recommendation. I’ve used it on probably 100 dogs by now.
However, it’s not so good for Remy.
Remy closes his mouth (avoids panting), puts his head low and to the side and pulls HARD against it the entire walk. This causes the fabric to rub under his eyes, making the skin raw and his eyes bug out. It hurts him. And after a half-hour he’s nearly having a heat stroke from not panting.
When we pass people, he paws at his muzzle frantically and stands on his hind legs causing people to stop and other dogs to react.
It frustrates and embarrasses me, and Remy is also frustrated.
So, not a good fit.
I keep trying it hoping it will get better, but it’s usually pretty frustrating.
The prong collar
A prong collar is a chain collar with flat “prongs” around it that put gentle pressure on the dog’s neck when he pulls. The prong collar is limited in how far it can tighten. (It’s a martingale collar.)
People really tend to panic when I even mention the word prong collar, leaving my blog in a huff. (So, please don’t do that.)
So I have to ask, do people think prong collars are “spiked” or sharp on the ends?Because they’re FLAT.
I switched Remy to the prong collar when he was 5 months old, so we’ve been using it on and off for about 8 months.
It’s like night and day.
He’s so much happier with it and he no longer “bucks” or paws at his face. I have the most control over him than any other tool, and it’s important to have control over a boisterous, adolescent weimaraner. He’s only going to get larger and stronger.
But the prong collar is not perfect.
Remy still pulls while wearing it, and I don’t like that there’s almost constant pressure on his neck.
So that’s why I tried the Easy Walk harness …
Easy Walk no-pull harness
The Easy Walk harness is a nylon harness that limits the effects of a dog’s pulling because the leash clips to the chest and tightens the harness around the dog’s chest and shoulders when he pulls. It gently pulls him to the side and makes pulling uncomfortable.
I bought a large, so Remy’s was still a little loose on him in these pictures, but not for long!
The Easy Walk harness seems to work pretty well for Remy. I like that it takes all the pressure off his neck. (Although, it does rub his skin raw under his arms. Sigh.)
He still pulls while wearing it (of course), but it does make our walks more enjoyable and he seems happier too. The Easy Walk harness is more effective with Remy than I expected. There’s a reason you see so many people using them. They work!
My main problem with the harness is it still allows Remy the freedom to jump on people. He’s able to really LAUNCH HIMSELF at people while wearing it. Like, it seems to help him get AIR! Have you ever seen anything like it? Ha!
The prong collar works better for controlling him when he tries to jump.
Because of this, I tend to use the prong collar when I’m walking both my dogs together by myself because it gives me more control. On my longer strolls and hikes with Remy by himself, I tend to use the harness.
Let’s face it, the harness also give me a chance to sort of “check out” from training while still keeping my dog fairly controlled as long as no people are around. This is something we all need at times, adding to the popularity of this harness.
So what’s the verdict?
Well, I use the Gentle Leader for my Lab mix Ace. It works the best for him.
For Remy, I rotate between the prong collar and the Easy Walk harness AND the Gentle Leader. They all work … sort of.
There is no tool that works best for every dog in every situation!
I use three tools every day between my two dogs.
For quick potty breaks in our apartment, the prong collar works best for Remy because I can keep him under control around other dogs. I can stop him from jumping and wiggling around.
For longer walks around the neighborhood or hiking, the Easy Walk harness is best because if Remy’s going to be pulling it takes the pressure of his neck.
And for the walks where I take both dogs by myself, I prefer to have Remy on the prong collar.
It is challenging to wrangle two large dogs, pick up poop, carry the poop bags and maneuver around other residents.
It’s the worst when I’m obviously picking up poop and someone barges over with her dogs. “CAN WE SAY HI!”
Um … hi? No?
But still, I need to be able to control my dogs even if other people are being idiots. So, prong collar it is at times. Please don’t hate me.
No collar is perfect. No dog is perfect. I’m certainly not perfect!
What tool do you currently use the most for walking your dog?
Do you have any comments to add about any of these collars?
Note: This review is sponsored by Organicfuls and Pipeline Pet Products.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a bag of Organicfuls dog treats. There will be 10 winners. Click here.
What are Organicfuls?
Organicfuls are organic dog biscuits made in the USA. They are perfect for rewarding your dog or stuffing into a Kong or puzzle toy.
Organicfuls dog treats review
The bottom line:
My dogs really like Organicfuls, and I can use the treats for training and motivating them. Organicfuls are not soft treats, but you can still break them up into smaller pieces if you’d like. I use them to stuff into Kong toys.
I like that the Organicfuls treats are made with high-quality, USDA organic ingredients so I don’t have to worry about what my dogs are really eating.
Flavors include: blueberry, apple, pumpkin, coconut and strawberry.
The treats are grain free and made with USDA organic ingredients. They contain buckwheat flour, which is a grain-free flour.
They also contain a proprietary fish roe ingredient that delivers unique nutrients found only in fish eggs such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to Organicfuls. The fish roe is non-GMO and 100% organic.
The company’s proprietary flax is the only flax fortified with all three omega 3’s (ALA, DHA & EPA), according to Organicfuls.
Pros of Orangicfuls dog treats:
My senior dog and my puppy (and my cat) love the treats!
USDA Organic & made in USA
Grain free and soy free
Affordable price ($4.99 per 4-ounce bag)
Source of omega 3’s
They are dry biscuits so they’re crumbly if you prefer to break them into smaller goodies
Would I buy this product?
Yes, I would buy these treats for my dogs. I don’t have to buy dog treats because as a blogger I receive a lot of samples for my dogs, but this would definitely be a product I would purchase for them if needed.
Would I recommend Organicfuls to others?
Yes, as long as you are looking for a dry, biscuit-type treat these are a high-quality, healthy treat that my dogs both love. You can order Organicfuls HERE.
Giveaway – Win a bag of Organicfuls for your dog – 10 winners
*This giveaway has ended.
Organicfuls is giving away a bag of treats to 10 readers of That Mutt.
To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below that indicates your dog would like to try some new goodies! Would you use the treats for training or just because you love your dog?
I’ll choose 10 winners at random on Friday Aug. 5.Must have a U.S. mailing address to win, or you can choose to have them sent to a friend within the U.S.
Note: My dog Ace was very sick for about 8 months. My dog had multiple drain tracts, wounds and infections on his body that would not heal, but we finally found a way to help him.
First, let me say that today my senior mutt Ace is doing really well!
We think he’s feeling more energetic than he’s felt in over a year.
We finally figured out his health issues after working closely with a dermatologist since February.
Ace’s final diagnosis is panniculitis, which is a rare condition where a dog’s fatty tissue under the skin becomes inflamed, causing “nodules” that can break open and drain an oily, bloody liquid.
The cause is usually unknown.
More details, for those interested
It took several months and three specialists to finally diagnose Ace with panniculitis.
Because Ace originally had only a single wound and drain tract for several months, all the vets we worked with kept saying he most likely had a “foreign body” such as a foxtail.
The poor guy had surgery in December with our general veterinarian to remove the “foreign body” and needless to say, the surgery did not help. (I don’t blame our vet. He is a good vet.)
In February, we had a second surgery scheduled with a specialist because we were still thinking “foreign body” at that time. But literally hours before that surgery was scheduled, a second drain tract and wound burst open on another area of Ace’s body.
As awful as it was to see multiple wounds and drain tracts appearing on my dog (he would eventually have six), this is what led us to meet with a dermatologist instead of a surgeon.
Over the next few months, the dermatologists helped Ace get rid of multiple secondary infections that had developed, and then once those were under control we started him on an immunosuppressant medication called Atopica (cyclosporine) to finally treat the panniculitis.
This medication helped Ace feel better and heal almost immediately.
I’m thankful I still have my dog
I had truly reached my financial and emotional limits, and I had accepted that Ace was going to die from whatever disease was causing so many lesions on his body. I didn’t know what he had at the time; no one seemed to be able to help us.
And then … finally … he got better with the right medication.
Not only has Ace’s body healed, but his playfulness, goofiness and energy are back!
He’s still old and has arthritis, but he can walk 1.5 miles at a trot, play fetch, do tricks, joke around. His face is expressive again. He “laughs,” makes eye contact, follows me around, does all the things that a normal Ace would do.
It took us over 30 minutes to walk a half-mile in February. Today he trots a mile and a half in the same amount of time.
He must’ve been feeling so sick for such a long time. I didn’t quite realize how sick he actually was feeling. I thought a lot of it was just his age.
So thank you for all your positive thoughts in the last year. It really meant a lot to me to hear from so many dog lovers.
I know I’m lucky to have my old dog around for awhile yet.
Go and hug yours.
You can read about our issues in these posts if you’d like:
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Blogger Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
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