So my choco. lab, Gump, just turned 1 y/o today and it had me thinking about progressing with his weening off of the crate while my wife and I are away. We've tried before for small periods of time, but he seemed to exhibit separation anxiety tendencies, and we also chalked it up to still being a puppy.
When we are home, he shows zero interest in chewing things that aren't his toys/bones, but when we left and had him out of the crate a few times for 45 min to an hour, he chewed scent-filled items (remotes, pillows, etc.). He doesn't sleep in the crate and does fine sleeping in our bedroom (with the door open to the rest of the house), and is generally fine in the crate while we are away, but we just wanted to give him more freedom.
I've read that this process is normally done gradually, which we tried & will try again, but are there any other tips? Are there any ways to try to limit the (supposed) anxiety at the same time?
I personally wouldn't do it. I've seen some hillarious posts on this board showing the damage some of our loving pups do when given passes to roam about.
I found my (wet) puppy sitting on my couch last night after I let him have free reign of our tv room for a few minutes. I don't allow him on the couch, but there he was sitting proud as can be.
How long is he in the crate on a day to day basis? What about just giving him a room to start with and putting a gate up. I use a play yard and his crate is inside that and then a small area to eat and flop ont he floor. That is his basic "area", and then there are a couple of gates up if I want to let him out and about the house more as long as we are there to supervise. I put him in the crate for nighttime. No problems there, I just say "time for bed" and in he goes. (with expecations of a treat for bedtime snack).
He spends 8 hours total in the crate while we are at work, but that is broken up by a mid-day visit from our walker. We actually tried using his crate as a blockade of sorts (with the opening still accessible), but he just jumped right over it, so I don't think gates would hold him back anyway. I'm thinking we will need to try just a room where we can close the door?
Some dogs can never be loose in the house unattended. My Hoss, used to be able to be left alone, but since Journey and Flint arrived, I can not. He gets into whatever he can. Only Kodi can be trusted. Instead of crates, I confine my dogs in ex-pens.
Karen and the gang
BBI Kodi's Journey To Anotch (Journey)
BBI Kodi's Blackpowder Striker (Flint)
My previous Lab would randomly chew things when left alone. Maybe a book, tv remote, mail, etc. Until one day I came home and he had destroyed a leather couch and love seat. He was 6 years old. He had never been that destructive but definitely did not like being left home alone. Emma has terrible anxiety and gets herself worked up when left home but a Thunder Shirt has helped her a lot. Maxx is in his crate often, even though we don't shut the door anymore unless we were leaving for any length of time. Other than a few flip flops and his unending fascination with tissues, paper towels, etc he has never chewed anything, I just don't trust him.
The crate often makes them feel very secure and you have someone to walk him mid-day, I would leave well enough alone. Keeping them safe is the most important thing and less anxiety for you too.
Last edited by tammyhuffman; 06-21-2013 at 12:53 PM.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
I've only had one dog that was ok to free roam my house. Even then she has her occasional moments. Unless we can supervise our puppy she will probably always be put in a crate when we are gone. I'd also hesitate, if you are set on giving him more freedom, doing it this early. At one they are still very much puppies, at least in my opinion. I'd be more inclined to wait until 2 or 3.
It definitely depends on the dog. I would do as suggested above and try one gated room, and then expand. Bauer has had free roam since he was about a year old (at night since he was about 10 months old). When we first started leaving him out we gated him into one room, and then eventually gave him more and more freedom (he has had the run of the house since he was 2 or so). His crate is set up in our walk-in closet and that is his "safe zone". I never put him in his crate, but he goes there often on his own.
Debi and Bauer
Some people are like slinkies. Not really good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.
My 1st Lab 'Rocky' was 100% reliable out of crate from about the age of a year or so. My current lab 'Nibbs' is out of the crate but if I leave paper or plastics that he can get at he will destroy them. He hasn't shown interest in chewing things like remotes thankfully. I think the key thing is to make sure you remove temptation items from his reach when he is out of crate. As others have said some dogs just will never be crate free.