The Politics of Pet Dogs and Kennel Crates

The Politics of Pet Dogs and Kennel Crates

I thought this an interesting article on how PETA works to further their agenda on not owning pets.

I was more than a little surprised to find that there is an active campaign being pursued to ban the use of kennel crates for dogs. This has resulted in a number of articles in mainstream newspapers and magazines, as well as vigorous lobbying attempts to get the use of kennel crates for dogs classified as a form of animal abuse.

There are some methods of restraining and confining dogs which have problems. Tying out dogs on chains or ropes for excessive amounts of time has been shown to have negative effects. Obviously tying a dog out for long periods without access to adequate shelter from the elements can be harmful to a dog’s health. However there are also psychological problems that result from this practice, the major one being that it increases the level of aggression in dogs. The reason for this is that a dog’s first response to anything that it interprets as a threat is to run away from the situation. Restraining a dog on a short tether prevents him from fleeing, and therefore, the dog self protectively chooses to attack whoever he sees as a potential danger before they get a chance to harm him. This aggressive attack behavior soon becomes habitual—a fact that has been recognized for a long time. There is even a manuscript recovered from the ruins of Pompeii which describes the procedure for turning a dog into an effective guard dog, and its major recommendation is to tether the dog on a short lead near the door of the home or other premise that needs to be protected.

Contrary to the information on the use of tie outs, I knew of no evidence suggesting that the judicious use of kennel crates can cause problems for dogs. In fact, there is a reasonable consensus among dog behaviorists which suggests that the use of a kennel crate is extremely helpful in many ways. …….

Many of the negative attitudes toward the kennel crate seem to arise from people anthropomorphizing. ……. However dogs are not people. The major progenitor of dogs was the wolf, and wolves spend a good deal of their day in a den. Dens are simply small caves, or burrows that the wolf had dug out. These often provide just enough space for the animal to stand up and turn around. The den is viewed by these canines as a place of safety and our domestic dogs seem to have inherited that behavioral predisposition. …….. For this reason I keep a kennel crate in a corner near our living room with its door propped open. At almost any time during the day I am apt to find one or another of my dogs comfortably snoozing away in the crate. ……..

Thinking, perhaps, that I had missed some new scientific data against the advisability of crating dogs I reviewed the current research literature on crating and found nothing negative, however I did encounter what appears to be one of the sources of this new negative attitude toward kennel crates. Apparently, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently began an ad campaign condemning the use of crates for dogs, under any circumstances. Thus a recent half page ad in the Wall Street Journal has the heading “Be an Angel for Animals” and goes on to say “Don’t ever crate or chain them.”

I therefore decided to check the PETA website to see what their arguments against crating were. Instead of finding any data I found only polemics, with statements like “No matter what a pet shop owner or dog trainer might say, a dog crate is just a box with holes in it, and putting dogs in crates is just a way to ignore and warehouse them until you get around to taking care of them properly.”

As I paged through the various articles on their website, it became quite clear to me that PETA is not against the practice of crating, but it is actually against the practice of pet ownership. Thus they state “we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of ‘pet keeping’-i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as ‘pets’-never existed.” They also go on to say, “This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering”.

The crux of their argument against pet keeping seems to be that we are “depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. They are restricted to human homes, where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.” I must admit that I found this to be particularly puzzling and unsatisfying. My wife and I have raised five children, and have nine grandchildren, and when they were young they were taught to obey simple commands and requests as part of their socialization. Our children were only given the opportunity to eat and drink according to our scheduling, and certainly were not allowed to urinate anytime and anywhere that they chose during the period of their toilet training. We certainly did not feel that we were engaging in child abuse by utilizing these basic child-rearing practices. To treat a dog in much the same way that we treat our own children, including providing the love and support that they need, does not appear to me to constitute animal abuse, or an argument against the keeping of pets.

I believe that PETA really has no scientific evidence to support the complete abolishment of the use of the kennel crate. It seems to me that their actual desire for banning crating is that in so doing they would make keeping dogs in the house more difficult and the housebreaking of puppies less reliable. This advances their anti-pet agenda by taking away some of the pleasure of pet keeping and in that way it would further their programme aimed at denying us the companionship of our dogs and cats.

Unfortunately they have been having a modicum of success. Because of such misleading publicity and lobbying campaigns there are a number of venues that have passed laws against tying dogs out. This is sensible if we were dealing with tethering dogs for long periods of time, or without adequate shelter, but some of the legislation has been as extreme as the ad campaigns used by PETA which incorporate words like “don’t ever”. Thus here in my hometown of Vancouver, a woman was recently fined $250 because she tied her dog’s leash to a bicycle rack while she ducked into a grocery store to pick up a couple of items. The dog was tied out for less than 10 minutes, and could easily be seen by its owner through the store’s window. Tying a dog out for a few minutes on a shopping trip does not constitute dog abuse, but legislating against such a common practice could discourage people from having dogs since it would mean they could not take their pets with them when they move around town. This appears to be the kind of thing that PETA really wants to advance— to bring about an end to the keeping of dogs and cats as pets—not the protection of animals.

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Born to Bark, The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome


Sea Kittens? You have GOT to be kidding

PETA is at it again.

Let’s see if we can make something all cute and furry so people stop thinking and just give us money.

Fish are now called Sea Kittens!

PETA has so far only promoted the campaign in North Carolina but plans to take it nationwide, even to Alaska — a state where fishing is both a source of recreation and many families’ livelihoods.

In the small fishing town of Unalaska, population just under 4,000, some people see the campaign differently.

“I don’t see fish as sea kittens; I see them as food,” says 12-year-old Chastity Haskins.

I went to the PETA website..oh boy…get to dress up a fish in clothes!  YEAH.. I get to give it a litter box?  How stupid.

Will people actually fall for this?????

Pet Bills (as in legislation)

Don’t want to use this blog for this purpose but for those interested in heads up on this stuff.

California is proposing a mandatory spay/neuter law for pets.  Bill 1634 or some number like that.  Pros and cons to it.   I can see both sides to it.

Tuscon has an animal welfare group that is proposing a law that will affect the raw feeding crowd.  Link here.  This bill might be worth fighting for change in the wording….no diseased meat as opposed to no raw or diseased meat.   Just feed your dog as best you can…raw OR kibble.   (though for my bet, raw is better)

What is a Title?

What is a title?

Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in the record and in the memory for about as long as anything in the world can remain. And though the dog herself doesn’t know or care that her achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent, adaptable, and good natured. It says your dog loved you enough to do the things that pleased you, however crazy they may have seemed. In addition, a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with her because she was a good dog, and that you believed in her enough to give her yet another chance when she
failed, and in the end your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship, enjoyed by so few, that in a world of disposable creatures. This dog with a title was greatly loved and loved greatly in return. And when that dear, short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind,the best you can give to a deserving friend. Volumes of praise in one small set of initials after the name. An obedience, agility or herding title is nothing less than true love and respect, given and recorded permanently.

Author Unknown


So I went to the site of a commentor,, as I’m a curious soul who likes to check people out.  🙂

Anyways, noticed on their site that they are giving away a free e-book called the Essential Guide  To your Dog.  So I downloaded it (you get the link to it by joining their newsletter list).

It’s not a bad e-book overall.   Everything in it you can get at your local library or by doing some good research on-line. Not a whole lot in it was new to me, but I’m a bit nutsy about dogs so that’s me.  🙂    They go into the histories of various dogs.
I didn’t much care for the editorializing at the end of the book, BUT I am not a UK resident.  I’m Canadian.  I deal with different issues over here (aka breed specific legislation).  YES, I care deeply about animal welfare and think more can be done about it, but I don’t like supporting stuff if I don’t know what their overall end agenda is.  For instance, some pet welfare programs look good, but if one really searches into them, one discovers that their end aim is the elimination of all domestic pet ownership, or mandatory spay/neuter programs etc.  Don’t like that.

Not saying that this is what K9 obedience is into.  Don’t get me wrong on that.  From what I read of them throughout their pages they seem fairly well-balanced.  Their approach seems to be much like mine…take the good in stuff TOSS the bad.  Work for the better end, and try to discourage the not so good stuff.   I just would have preferred a free download to not have the baggage attached to it.

Two Opposing Views on Clicker training

So I was over here at the DogSport Network, reading this article on Clicker training.  He pointed me to these two articles.  Pro Clicker training, and Con Clicker training.

I have to admit, I am on the fence with the whole clicker training and positive only training that seems to be kicking around the dog training fields lately.

I do like with positive only training the whole breaking things down into steps to help the dog understand what you want him to do.  I like that.  Sometimes I think things are broken down too much when with some hands on helps the dog gets smaller steps introduced a bit more quickly, but The whole breaking things down into manageable pieces makes sense to me.

I dislike with clicker training the fact the most people can’t “click” at exactly the right time.   Therefore they are not rewarding what they think they are rewarding.  and that to me is a problem.

I dislike with positive only training that the advocates don’t want any punishment or “negative reinforcement” used at all.  I still remember my dog agility trainer correcting me for saying “ACHH” to my dog when she was about to do something in training class that she wasn’t supposed to.  I kept her (my dog) from making an error in judgment, got her thinking on a different track and she learned.  So I still can’t quite figure why that was so bad to do.

A tap on the nose is wrong, a verbal correction is wrong and dogs take forever it seems sometimes to learn something.

NOW>>>this caveat…some trainers use an excessive amount of “negative reinforcement”.  that to me is also unacceptable.  Ear pinches, hauling a dog up by a leash, tossing a dog across a room, locking a dog up if it doesn’t do what you want when you want it to…. that’s a bit above and beyond.

BUT a push on the dog’s bum to help it learn to sit.  A leash pulled down the ground to encourage the dog to lay down.  A tap on the side to get his attention when he’s following a squirrel and not listening.   Actually putting your dogs feet on top a dog walk plant because he’s scared to approach it (but not forcing him to go over).    What’s wrong with this?  What’s wrong with ACH!!!  or NO! when a dog is making a poor decision?

In a nutshell…I see the good in both and wonder….so just what is so wrong with melding the two together?   Encourage the dog more than punish him.  Break things down into smaller pieces if the dog just isn’t getting the bigger picture.   Tell the dog when it’s made a wrong decision and help it think through what a better decision would be.  Praise, treat, reward, play with your dog.  But use good common sense.

Use what works with your dog, but don’t let your dog be the boss.  It’s your house, you get to make the rules.  It’s your dog sport, you have to enforce what is allowable in your dog sport.  Can’t have a lungey barky dog?  well then either don’t play, or teach your dog better manners.  Can’t have a dog chasing the neighbours cat home…well then teach your dog to stay home OR tie him up.

Train your dog in a manner that doesn’t break his spirit and you will have a good dog companion and if you do dog sports, a dog more willing to work with you.

Head butt or bite?

So….would you prefer to be bitten or head butted?

That it seems is the politically correct question to ask these days.

Check out what the Welsh police department is teaching their canine division these days.

Does seem to lack a bit in common sense.

1. how do they tackle a target running away.

2. are they still able to defend themselves against a determined criminal

3. how do they combat the stupidity factor?  Just seems stupid.  Most criminals aren’t going to be facing you down…they are going to be trying to escape.  Teach the dog to trip them up and hold them down…makes more sense to me….

4. Compensating folks for getting bitten by a police dog>>>what’s with that.  I assume they warn the individual first and then well gee… give it up or get bitten.  Do they compensate people if they get shot by a cop too?

I applaud the thinking outside the box, but at the same time I wonder about overall effectiveness of such a technique in daily life.