A visitor berated me last week because I use dog crates for both my dogs and my cat at night. I listened and decided to challenge her in my column instead of verbally arguing with her.
The visitor felt that confining animals in crates is equivalent to putting a human behind bars. I beg to differ. Pets are not human, no matter how we treat them. Actually instead of a jail cell, dogs and cats usually consider crates as their private bedrooms. Dogs are quite comfortable eating and sleeping in a crate that is large enough for them to stand up in, turn around and stretch out while sleeping. In a correctly sized crate, a dog will relax and gnaw on a chew toy while waiting for its owner to return.
But don't take my word for it. In 1972, Nicki Meyer conducted a research project and survey titled "Dog Crates as Aids to Pet Owners." Meyer had the same attitude as my visitor as she wrote: "Because I really still considered the crate a "necessary evil," I was quite unprepared for the puppy's immediate acceptance of it and for the way it made life so much easier for me by solving all the usual housebreaking, chewing and travel problems."