I just got a 3-4 year old Lab/Greyhound mix from the local SPCA yesterday, and he is incredible!
I do have some concerns with crate training however. Currently (and I've only had him for two days), he is sleeping in his crate (7-8 hours) at night, and he's also being crated during the weekday work ours (8-5). That's essentially 15-16 hours a day in a crate, and I'm fighting with my wife that it is way too long.
So far, I'm not overly concerned with him having accidents, and he doesn't appear to have the desire to chew anything, so I don't think separation anxiety appears to be an issue at the moment. He willingly went into his crate both times, did not put up a fight, and I didn't hear any whimpering or crying from him. I haven't yet been home today after our first full day away, but I felt terrible all day knowing that has been crated. We make sure to take him outside multiple times in the morning and get a good 5-10 minute walk in, and he will get plenty of exercise when we get home.
Is it unreasonable for him to be crated this long at this point? I understand that the obvious desire is for any dog to not be crated, but I don't feel like we have any other choice for the interim. His behavior seems to be fine in the first two days, and I'm hoping he can graduate to having a room to himself and then the house to himself, but isn't it too soon for him to earn that?
The last thing we want is to give him free reigns and then come home to a disaster zone or him constantly having accidents in the house (though he seems to be well trained thus far). We don't think we have the money to hire a dog walker, nor can either of us afford the costs/time of coming home at lunch everyday.
Any opinions on our current situation?
Congrats on the new addition firstly, and thanks for supporting shelter dogs!
We recently got a lab cross, she's only a pup though so she's not happy to stay put at all! I think that it's great you're so concerned about doing the best for your dog, and you're right that it's not the ideal situation, but you're doing the best you can. As long as he's happy getting in the crate, and that you're giving him as much exercise as possible most importantly, I don't see why it should cause any problems. When he gets more used to his new home and surroundings then you'll probably be able to let him roam around one room at least. But don't rush it, he's probably getting used to you guys too!
Whatever you do, don't fight with your wife about it, dogs bring happiness!
I also think you should work up to it. Better chance of success all around that way. Congratulations on your new family member!