Many multiple dog homes use a crate a rotate routine; it is also common to find it used in fostering situations. This routine can be
accomplished by using good strong crates or separate rooms. It is not recommended to use gates for separating dogs that don't get along. Gates
are suitable for dogs that get along and used as a precaution when no one is home to supervise, but dogs can go over and through gates if they want to.
It's always a good idea to have your dog comfortable with a crate. A crate should be a happy and safe place for your dog. Do not ever use a crate for punishment. If you have not crate trained your dog, please see crate training.
There are those dogs that get along famously with other dogs. Then there are those dogs that don’t get along with other dogs. Typically, this happens around maturity but can happen anytime during their lifetime. You cannot let them work it out on their own. Sometimes fights start over food or toys; sometimes they happen for no apparent reason, but typically if you have a fight another will follow, and it will worsen the next time. Owners must be diligent in supervising their dogs and pay attention to any aggression happening before a fight does break out.
The reason for a crate and rotate lifestyle is fairly simple. Dogs that reside in the same house but do not get along should not be together.
The dynamic that creates a crate and rotate life necessarily are dogs who react aggressively to one another. This behavior is quite typical amongst Pit Bulls due to their unique heritage as fighting dogs. This behavior also tends to happen more frequently when dogs are of the same sex or the same age. If this happens in your household, a crate and rotate routine can help immensely to stabilize and reduce stress in a home, keep the dogs safe and keep them in the home.
This lifestyle isn't the easiest to maintain, but it can be the best decision and can successfully work when dogs cannot be together. There is no
shame in having a crate and rotate home. If you're not sure how to maintain a crate and rotate routine, and your dogs are not getting along, talk to a trainer with experience in a crate and rotate management and how such an arrangement can be set up for your dogs.
Depending on your household schedule and routine, you will need to develop a plan that fits and works within your own schedule. Itis crucial that everyone in your household is aware, partakes in, and abides by this new crate and rotate schedule, and understands it completely. Once you establish a scheduled routine that works, stick with it. Dogs love routines and will learn the routine much faster if you and the rest of your family are consistent with it.
It may take you a while to come to a routine that works for everyone. Developing a consistent routine can include: identifying which crates you will use for which dogs, identifying where the crates will be located, determining which rooms dogs have access to, creating scheduled times when they will be out, keeping a scheduled feeding time (it’s also a good idea to feed them in their crate or space.) Keep everything on a schedule.
In addition to schedules and to help make maintaining dogs on a crate and rotate routine more manageable, it’s best to include at least the very basics of obedience training and adequate exercise. Dogs trained in obedience can be easier to manage; a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise
burns off excess energy and can help reduce anxiety and tension.
Have patience, and keep in mind that many other families crate and rotate their dogs.
A lot of people look at me like
I’m crazy when I tell them that 2 of my dogs are on a crate rotation
schedule. They’ll often say, “I don’t know how you do it!” Or, “I could
never do that.”
” Or even, “Why don’t you just get friendlier dogs instead?” At the end of the day, this is my pack and none of them are leaving. It’s my job to make sure they stay safe and this is the best solution that I have come across to date.
The fact is, our crate rotation schedule provides me with peace of mind and confidence knowing that I’m not going to have to separate two fighting dogs, deal with any injuries or a possible fatality.
Walk on eggshells all day long waiting for the next fight to happen? Be paying out your ass for stitches and antibiotics and for wounds to be wrapped and cleaned? Feeling on edge 24/7 because the dogs may or may not fight and you’ve got to be ready for when they do? Or, would you rather have a simple system put in place to protect both dogs from getting injured while still being able to enjoy and spend time with both dogs?
Personally, I’ve got enough daily stress in my life. I don’t need to be consumed by the notion that one day my dogs might kill each other. I also don’t think that its fair to the dogs to be putting them in harms way. What type of quality of life are you providing them with if you aren’t mitigating the ability for a fight to break out. Also, living in a constantly stressful environment simply isn’t healthy for anyone.
We rotate the 2 female dogs every 2-4 hours. Does this mean that they might spend time in their crates a little more than your average dog? Perhaps. Does that mean they aren’t regularly exercised and cared for? Not at all. During the 2-4 hours that one dog is out, they are not only exercised, but we do obedience training as well as just relax on the couch. Then we alternate.
I will take one dog outside and leave the other in the house uncrated. So, we are rotating from inside to outside and they aren’t confined to their crate. In addition to being exercised at home, they also both get to go out on separate hikes, trips to the creek as well as to sports (Rally-O, Dock Diving, PSA, Nose Work etc…). When one dog is out at their sport activity, the other is free to be in the house.
We alternate which dog gets to sleep in bed with us.
That I have put in place to ensure that I can continue enjoying both of my dogs without having to worry about any potential fights. It creates a safe, calm and relaxing environment for both of my dogs and I. Despite the stigma attached to crate and rotate schedules, I will continue to
use this method simply because it is what works best in my household. It has become second nature to us, doesn’t take up any additional time out of our lives and gives us the ability to truly enjoy our dogs.