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Old 27.10.2008, 15:53
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Keeping a dog in a dog crate - illegal ?

The title of this thread is a bit provocative, so please read the whole post first.

We are American. We are big time dog lovers.

We have an Entlebucher (on the small size) who we have trained to stay in a standard dog crate while we are away from the home. He never stays in there for more than few hours, and only when we cannot take him with us. He is very healthy, and gets regular walks and exercise. We trained him to use a dog crate because every book on dogs we have read, and every tip we have been given (including those found on the American Humane Society website) recommend training a dog to stay in a clean, appropriately sized crate is both good for the dog's mental condition and safer for him. (check the Dog Whisperer, the Monks of New Skete, etc.). They talk about how a dog's natural instinct is to stay in a small den where they feel safe and protected. Our dog is never forced into the crate, never put into the crate as a punishment and in fact, goes there on his own for quiet time.

Unfortunately, our neighbor is now telling us that she feels that this is cruel to our dog...and has even said that it is illegal in Switzerland. She's even suggested that the police would have a BIG problem if they found out!

While we do not want to break any rules, we don't want to remove his crate for those times when we are away for a couple of hours.

So... Is keeping a dog in a crate illegal in Switzerland? Is the use of a dog crate considered cruel by most Swiss? What are your thoughts?


Your advice is much appreciated.

kind regards,

Confused and Concerned dog lover
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:00
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

I think your neighbour is just a bit nosy. I am sure the police will not be interested, we have a crate for our dog, loads of people I know also have them and if it were illegal they would not be sold.

Tell her to take a running jump.

Welcome to the Forum BTW!

Last edited by grumpygrapefruit; 27.10.2008 at 16:01. Reason: welcome added
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:04
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

I have no idea as to the legality of crating a dog or not in Switzerland. If what you are saying is true regarding the amount of time that he spends in the crate and he is getting plenty of exercise then I don't see any problem with it. We leave our dogs in the wintergarten with access to the back yard and their crates open. 98% of the time, they are hanging out inside their crates.

Where do you keep your crate? Does your neighbor see it or is your dog barking inside it constantly?
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:29
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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Unfortunately, our neighbor is now telling us that she feels that this is cruel to our dog...and has even said that it is illegal in Switzerland. She's even suggested that the police would have a BIG problem if they found out!
Ask her for the exact Article number of which law it is you're breaking so you can then rectify the problem and bring yourself inline with Swiss laws regarding such matters (and be sincere ).

That should keep her busy and off your back for a while..
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:32
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

There is of course nothing wrong with the crate, and I have asks dog owning friends who don't know any law against it.

Tell her to get back in her box.
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:36
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

Indeed. Tell her that the Police would do better to go straight to the source and plan a dawn raid on Qualipet and other pet shops, after all, these are the dealers of such illegal goods.
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Old 27.10.2008, 16:49
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

tell her to mind her own business, or better, ignore her.
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Old 27.10.2008, 21:29
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

I suspect your neighbor is thinking of/ misunderstanding some of the provisions in the new animal protection law (Tierschutzgesetz), which addresses the care/living conditions of both pet animals and livestock. The full text of the law can be found here:

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/4/455.1.de.pdf

Under Article 71, a dog must be given a chance for free movement, and may not be tied up the entire day.

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/tsp/02222/0...x.html?lang=de

Dogs must have a miminum of 5 hours free (untied) movement. If a dog is chained, it must be able to move in an area of a minimum of 20 square meters while on line. (This generally addresses chaining a dog outside.)

If a dog is kept in a kennel, article 72 applies:

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/tsp/02222/0...x.html?lang=de

Depending on the size of the dog, the kennel must be at least 4, 8 or 10 square meters. Specifics are given as to how a kennel must be built.

*None of that applies to the use of a crate for short periods of time.*

A crate is a piece of equipment, nothing more or less. Used wisely, it can be a very good thing for your dog. Used poorly, it can be problematic.

Most dogs do indeed find a 'den' of some sort comforting. A crate can offer a dog a quiet place to rest, quiet time, or a comforting safety zone away from the bustle of the household. Used in this way, crates can be very beneficial.

As we travel, all of my dogs have been acclimatized to their crates, and do indeed see them as a comfort zone. I leave the crates up, doors taken off - the dogs may go in and out of them as they please. One of mine was terrified of storms; upon the first drop in air pressure, he'd quickly, of his own volition, head for his 'den', staying there until the storm passed.

A crate can be a godsend when a dog is recuperating from surgery and needs to be kept on restricted activity, or when used carefully to address specific training issues. (I have used one with my mutt who had extreme separation anxiety. It can take months to overcome SA; while we were working on solving the behavioral problem I of course needed to leave the house for short periods now and again. In order to keep my dog from injuring himself in his panic over the separation, he stayed in his crate while I was gone.)

That said, a crate should not be used as a prison or punishment, nor used for a long period of time.

But as everyone points out - no, they are not illegal.


---
One other thing...

May I respectfully suggest a few alternatives to 'The Monks of New Skete'? While back in the day they were indeed pioneers in promoting the need for training, much of what they advocate is adversive/punishment based. There are kinder, and far more effective ways to train a dog. In fact, the authors have issued a retraction to much of the punishment based methods they promoted in their earlier books.

Likewise, I am not a fan of CM. Although he does promote some good ideas, IMHO he too uses too much punishment and flooding. I would urge one to watch the program with the sound turned off. You will catch a fair amount of punishment that goes unnoticed while you are listening to his very charismatic spiel - and if you watch the dog's body language without the distraction of the narration, you may see a very different story to the one he tells... Much of what he calls 'calm submission' I would call shut down.

I would suggest Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Clarissa von Reinhart, Karen Pryor, Emma Parsons, Leslie McDevitt, Sarah Fisher,Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, Brenda Aloff - to name a few excellent trainers using positive, reward based, adversive free methods.

(Stepping off soap box now... )

----

Invite the neighbor over, and while sharing a coffee or glass of wine, gently point out that she is mistaken - and that your dog is well loved and cared for.
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Old 27.10.2008, 22:03
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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Hunde dürfen nicht den ganzen Tag angebunden werden. Sie müssen sich während des Tages mindestens 5 Stunden frei bewegen können. In der übrigen Zeit müssen sie sich in einem Bereich von mindestens 20 Quadratmeter an einer Laufleine bewegen können.
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Under Article 71, a dog must be given a chance for free movement, and may not be tied up the entire day.

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/tsp/02222/0...x.html?lang=de

Dogs must have a miminum of 5 hours free (untied) movement. If a dog is chained, it must be able to move in an area of a minimum of 20 square meters while on line. (This generally addresses chaining a dog outside.)
Depending on the size of the dog 20 sq. meters can be a lot of space, even I've rented rooms smaller than that to live it..!! I have 2 neighbors that keep a dog all day on their balcony (2m x 3.5m) and nobody seems to be hurting about it. Yes I do see them taking the dog out for regular walks but I'd be surprised if that law like that would ever be enforced. Will the police post an officer on the premisses 24/7 to monitor exactly how many hours a day the dog was allowed out..? I think not.
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Old 27.10.2008, 23:32
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

Why do some of the Swiss behave this way

I've used crates for dog training and transport for many years and they, used properly, are just fantastic. I'm not to hot on Swiss law on the subject, but bet a small fortune that MC does, so sounds like your pretty safe.

I would encourage your neighbour call the fuzz, but remind her that the police would probably not take to kindly to having their time wasted.

Sometimes these busybodies just need to be faced up to.
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Old 28.10.2008, 16:59
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

A big thanks to everyone!

I've since spoken with our vet who says she is not aware of any law. She simply says that the Swiss frown on the practice. So it's a matter of preference.

I'll have a friendly, firm chat with my neighbor and reassure her that we're not abusing our dog, nor would we ever. I'll suggest she does some research to see the other side of the argument. Hopefully, that will work.

And a special thanks to meloncollie for the great insight and resources!

cheers!
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Old 28.10.2008, 17:17
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

May I suggest reading "Merle's Door" by Ted Kerasote?
He has a different and interesting take on dog life, training and the amount of freedom we give our dogs.

May I respectfully suggest this: How about leaving the crate door open, so your dog has a choice of being inside the crate or not? If your dog is as well behaved and socialised as you imply, it shouldn't be a problem for it to wander around the living room or family den. I had a mongrel living with me for 12 years and she was perfectly fine with 'patrolling' the run of the house.

I know this sounds a bit provocative, but oftentimes we human beings justify and rationalise how we treat our animals based on what a few experts say and how convenient it is for our living standards. Forget about your neighbour. Look into our hearts for the answer. Put yourself in the paws of a dog and think about how you'd regard it if you were crated for more than an hour or two.
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Old 28.10.2008, 17:39
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

I don't think the OP ever writes that the crate door was shut. Seems that the dog can come and go as it pleases. Maybe I have misread...

fduvall

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May I suggest reading "Merle's Door" by Ted Kerasote?
He has a different and interesting take on dog life, training and the amount of freedom we give our dogs.

May I respectfully suggest this: How about leaving the crate door open, so your dog has a choice of being inside the crate or not? If your dog is as well behaved and socialised as you imply, it shouldn't be a problem for it to wander around the living room or family den. I had a mongrel living with me for 12 years and she was perfectly fine with 'patrolling' the run of the house.

I know this sounds a bit provocative, but oftentimes we human beings justify and rationalise how we treat our animals based on what a few experts say and how convenient it is for our living standards. Forget about your neighbour. Look into our hearts for the answer. Put yourself in the paws of a dog and think about how you'd regard it if you were crated for more than an hour or two.
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Old 28.10.2008, 17:49
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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I don't think the OP ever writes that the crate door was shut. Seems that the dog can come and go as it pleases. Maybe I have misread...

fduvall

It wouldn't have been an issue with the neighbour if the door wasn't shut.
It's a question of whether the dog has a choice. There is a big difference between whether a dog is resigned to being crated (as it was trained to be) or loves being there.

Sure wolves like a small den when they sleep at night, but they also like to come and go especially in the daytime. The doggie equivalent would be to change places, walk around and look at passersby out the window or balcony door, peruse The Canine Times, etc.

Last edited by argus; 28.10.2008 at 17:50. Reason: :)
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Old 28.10.2008, 17:58
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

While you may be correct, I still do not see where the OP has said that the door is closed. I would be even more concerned to find out that my neighbor was peeking through my windows to see how my dog's crate was set up...

fduvall

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It wouldn't have been an issue with the neighbour if the door wasn't shut.
It's a question of whether the dog has a choice. There is a big difference between whether a dog is resigned to being crated (as it was trained to be) or loves being there.

Sure wolves like a small den when they sleep at night, but they also like to come and go especially in the daytime. The doggie equivalent would be to change places, walk around and look at passersby out the window or balcony door, peruse The Canine Times, etc.
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Old 28.10.2008, 18:12
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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While you may be correct, I still do not see where the OP has said that the door is closed. I would be even more concerned to find out that my neighbor was peeking through my windows to see how my dog's crate was set up...

fduvall
'Keeping a dog in a dog crate' is a euphemism for 'I lock my dog in a crate made for dogs'. If the OP doesn't mention the door is closed or locked (how about "for a few hours"?), it might reflect a degree of guilt associated with the act. Then it is further food for thought, don't you think?
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Old 25.11.2008, 14:47
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

Sorry to come to this late but maybe the OP could clarify how long is a 'few hours'??

I do know of people who consider it ok to leave a dog in a crate for up to 9 hours while they are at work which is totally unacceptable. To me, any more than 3 hours is just wrong.

Crates may be frowned upon in Switzerland and they are too by many people in the UK.

People must see the difference between the door being left open so producing a 'den' and a door being locked shut making it a 'cage' and the animal being trapped.

Why does your dog need to be crated while you are out? What would he do if he were not crated??

Edited to add that my own personal view on crates is that they only have a place in the home for housetraining puppies if someone is home all day (though my dog never needed one), travel and with the door open as a 'den'. I personally could not put my dog in a cage while I went out - I just find it very odd.
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:05
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

wow! thanks for the exhaustive answer, I am myself a multiple Boston terrier mom and own dog crates...
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:16
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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wow! thanks for the exhaustive answer, I am myself a multiple Boston terrier mom and own dog crates...
meaning what?
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Old 25.11.2008, 15:25
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Re: Keeping a dog in a dog crate

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meaning what?
she eats puppies.
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