Most people don’t realize that animals who are caged for extended periods of time often become aggressive, withdrawn, hyperactive, and/or severely depressed, and they can also develop other problems, such as eating disorders. Crating for extended periods of time prevents dogs from fulfilling some of their most basic needs, including walking around, relieving themselves, and stretching.
There are numerous humane alternatives to crating for people whose schedules force them to leave their canine companions at home during the workday, including humane training, which teaches guardians effective ways to communicate with their animal companions. It is also vital that dogs get plenty of exercise, preferably in the morning (at least 45 minutes for a young dog)—tired dogs want to sleep, not “redecorate” the living room. Dogs should get at least one long walk every day, as well as several shorter walks and vigorous play sessions.
Dogs should not be expected to “hold it” all day while their guardians are at work. If you cannot return home during the day to provide a bathroom break for your dog, we recommend hiring a reputable dog-walking or pet-sitting service or asking a reliable friend or neighbor to take your dog out for a midday walk. A “doggie door” that provides access to a secure, fenced yard can also give dogs a way to relieve themselves and alleviate boredom, which will help prevent neuroses. And doggie daycare centers are popping up all over—they can provide dogs with a fun and safe place to socialize and enjoy their time while their guardians are away.