Posted on: November 6, 2022 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0
Service Dog Project photo

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by Carlene White

If your dog is given a clear option of sleeping on the floor or on the sofa, there’s no doubt as to where he would be — on the sofa. Except on a hot day in July, when he is more inclined to sleep on the floor.

That’s not a random decision. The floor will be cooler, so he will on occasion give up the soft sofa.

So now, if you turn that concept around, the short-haired dog in the winter trying to stay warm who has been given a crate to live in … and that crate is on the floor … has no options available at staying warm.  It would be very simple to put the crate up on anything to keep it off the floor.

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I cringe at all the dogs that are given living space on the floor because owners have been told “on the floor” is where dogs belong —or, even worse, a crate in the garage on that same floor (for Saint Bernards, this whole thing is read backwards, substituting air conditioning for heat.)

Heat rises — that’s physics 101. Science works on everyday things that matter.

Have fun experimenting with two thermometers. The laws of physics are laws for which people may not give any “opinion.”

Our dogs do not have crates. We simply have built in sleeping lofts with a short ramp or stairs to give them the option of sleeping on the floor or up in the lofts. Our Danes have never chosen to sleep on the floor — except for maybe those few hot days in July. The rest of the time, they love going up the ramp to where it’s warmer. This doesn’t cost me any more to have them be more comfortable. Their choice.

By allowing our dogs to make choices, we are actually starting their training as service dogs. Our dogs are expected to make decisions, as are most service dogs. They often must make decisions to instantly not follow “commands.”

Just think … A seeing-eye dog is taught to walk a straight line. However, they must be ready to make the decision to go around a hole in the pavement and not duck under an overhanging awning.

Get ‘em young and train ‘em early … to think.

Carlene White is founder and president of the non-profit Service Dog Project on Boxford Road in Ipswich. She trains and raises Great Danes to donate to the mobility impaired. Read more of her columns here.