the end of the crate

From the moment we got her, Sous was confined to her crate whenever we weren’t at home to watch her. All the new-age dog lit claims it’s not a prison but a safe space, a housebreaking aid, and a way to keep your puppy (and your stuff) safe from harm while they’re still young and learning what is and isn’t a chew toy. She slept every night in her crate.

sous in crate

When we moved to the new place in Oakland, we started leaving her free to roam the house when we were gone. An hour, then two hours, then three hours. Then, we set her free at night to sleep where she chose (anywhere, of course, except our bed). When I started work, we arranged to have her walked in the middle of the day. After a while, we started leaving her free in the mornings before the walk, but she’d still return to her crate to wait the 4-5 hours between the end of her walk until we got home.

Yesterday, we eliminated the crate all together. She’s free to roam the house whenever she’s home, and so far there hasn’t been a bit of destruction. As always when I compare her to my previous dogs, her behaviour is a revelation. In high school, dogs alone in my room for any extended period meant destroyed books, exploded chewed-up pens, and the occasional urine stain. In comparison, Sous was at home today with her treat bag full of food at nose level as well as most of a bag of toffee sitting on the coffee table–both left untouched.

I mostly attribute her good behavior to exhaustion–again, the hippie school of dog care traces most misbehavior to lack of exercise–and I’m relieved to find that what we pay in time and money on her exertion is indeed sufficient. Still, it’s another little miracle to me to have a dog I can trust free in our house all day. Thank you, Sous!

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