Everyone says I need to get past the notion that putting Chevy in his crate is the same thing as putting him in a cage. Everyone except that little voice in my head. And, of course, that voice talks to me far more than the average person.
That voice says that Chevy is a dog made for hunting, a dog yearning to travel long distances looking for a tasty mallard. That voice says that Chevy barely gets enough exercise between our walks and throwing the ball around the yard and because of that, confining him into a small space can't be pleasant for him....even if that is just for a few hours at a time.
The other day I decided to undergo a trial run of leaving Chevy alone in the house without putting him into his crate. I wouldn't feel as bad leaving the dog if he didn't have to be stuck in that little crate (cage). I was gone for an hour and a half. The trial was certainly unsuccessful. I came home to broken dishes on the floor, chewed up Star Wars legos, Sydney's lunchbox licked clean, and the remains of boxes strewn about.
So the next day, it was back to the crate for Chevy. I put Chevy in the crate and left to work at Cade's preschool. When I got home after preschool, Scott was home and Chevy was running around. Scott said to me, "if you are going to leave Chevy out of his crate, you ought to make sure there is no food on the counter". "Well", I said, "I didn't leave the dog out of his crate." Apparently Chevy let himself out of the crate...again! That makes 3 times that he has unlatched the top latch of his crate and squeezed himself through the opening.
The next day, Scott put a bungie cord around the crate when we needed to head out. Our hope was that even after Chevy unlatched the crate door, he wouldn't be able to open it. When we got back, Chevy was out. He ate through the bungie cord and let himself out again. The dog is smart and destructive...a fairly lethal combination!
Today I tried a good old twist tie around the latch on his crate. Apparently all the dog's smarts can't make up for the fact that he hasn't fingers to untwist a twist tie. Chevy was still in his crate when I returned home. So for now, it is still the crate for Chevy, accompanied by a twist tie. I still yearn for the day when he can be in the house alone without needing to be in a crate. However, given the constant destruction of the dog of everything he can get his teeth on, he'll be in the crate for some time to come.