I hate Honey’s crate.
When she first came home with us, it was in front of my dresser. When I wanted clothing, I’d have to move the crate, get what I wanted, and put the crate back in front of the drawers.
Then my husband moved the crate in front of his dresser. Same problem.
Recently we moved it to the foot of the bed.
Now, every time I get out of bed, I have to squeeze through the small space left between the bed, two dressers, and the window.
Shouldn’t this dog be able to sleep on her bed on the floor without the crate? You’d think so. But…
A Dog Needs Limits
We crated Honey from the beginning to help with house training. A puppy is less likely to soil where she sleeps.
It worked. Honey never had an accident in her crate. And she learned quickly to let us know when she needed to go out.
Now we use the crate because it’s a secure place for Honey and to keep her from sleeping on the bed.
But what if we just trained her to sleep on her bed? We could get rid of the crate, right?
Here’s what happens:
- Honey lies down on her bed for three or four minutes.
- She decides she needs a toy so she goes looking for one.
- Once she returns to the bedroom with the toy (usually one that squeaks), Honey looks for someone to play with.
- She finally lies back down on her bed before deciding it’s not the right place to sleep.
- Honey circles the room looking for the perfect place to sleep.
- Finally, she gives up and jumps on the bed.
And then we give up. We put Honey in the crate where she settles right down and falls asleep.
The world is too big for Honey when she’s sleepy. She needs limits so she can settle down and rest.
A Person Needs Limits
I’ve worked some crazy hours in my jobs over the years.
I’ve been in the office past midnight. I’ve counted hookers on the street on my way into work at 5:00 a.m.
And when I work like a fiend, I tell myself, “If only I could get a few days off. I’d finish all those things needing my attention at home.”
But does it happen?
Never. I actually get more done when my schedule is tight than when I have hours of open time.
Here’s what happens when I get some time off:
- I debate with myself whether I should catch up on housework, start a new project, or finish an old one.
- I make a list.
- I do something not on the list.
- I dart back and forth between projects getting none of them done.
- I run out of time and gratefully return to my job where at least I know what I have to do and when.
When I don’t have limits on my time, I’m like a dog who can’t figure out how to settle down and go to bed.
Too much freedom gives me puppy brain.
Gratitude for Limits
I’ve been guilty of wishing my life away at times. If only I had…
- more money
- more time
But when I look at my life, I realize that limits help me. They improve my creativity. They teach me what’s most important and what I need to ignore. They focus my attention.
Honey doesn’t think about limits this way. But her body knows that the limits of the crate make life easy. She has no choices to make about toys or where to bed down. She just goes to sleep.
I need to switch from puppy brain mode to puppy in a crate brain. Limits are my friend. After all, if it’s good for the dog, it’s probably good for me too.
Your Turn: Do you benefit from having limits? Does your dog?