I have a seven month old puppy who has been great. Hasn't had an accident in probably 3 months and has only destroyed one of my belongings (a shoe left on the ground near his toys- my fault). Recently I have been testing him by leaving him out of his crate while I go out for 5-10 minutes. I come back and he's usually just waiting on his bed or by the door.
Right now I leave him crated during the day while I am at work. I have a dog walker come and walk him for 30-40 minutes midday, but he's in the crate from about 8-5/6 otherwise. He does not seem to mind his crate as he goes in willingly before I leave and often rests in it, but I am starting to feel badly for crating him for so long if he is able to handle free roam of the house.
Others have told me not to let him out until at least 1, maybe 1.5 years old. What worked for you all? Are there telling ways to know my dog is ready?
Thank you for the help!
Is he out of the crate overnight? If not, I would start with that. Once that's going well, maybe you can try mornings and have the dog walker put him up when she or he leaves. Also, I would start with just a part of the house (gate off the rest). Be sure to put away everything you don't want chewed, because that's a long stretch of time for sudden freedom of the house.
Edited to add: I've had some that I could leave out at that age, others that weren't ready until 1-2 years, and some that never could be trusted even in to old age. It just depends on the dog.
Yes, he is out of the crate overnight. He usually falls to sleep in his bed and then gets into mine in the middle of the night. He hasn't been crated overnight in about 4 months. Never had a problem with it.
start SLOOOOLY testing. For a quick trip to the mailbox. for a very quick 15-20 minute errand. Your first tests make sure to really dog proof, put anything potentially dangerous behind a door they can't open or very very high and leave him only after a good burst of exercise.
As they do well, you can slowly increase duration.
Baby steps. Note that it isn't always a one way road, they may do well for 3 hours but plateau there for a few years. Or they may do well for a month or two, then suddenly get in trouble. It took many years of hit and miss before my adult lab become ok and there is still some proofing I need to do (no food on counters, garbage behind latched door.
I have an 8 month old lab puppy and I just adopted a year and a half old little terrier mix this past weekend. Today is the first day at home by themselves with the run of the house and the backyard through a doggy door. I went and checked on them at lunch and I'm pretty sure I woke them up because they are so tired from wrestling so much the past few days. My lab pup, Bo, has been home alone before, but not for the whole day, but he probably would have done fine with it. I may be eating my words later but I'm pretty confident that they'll be fine for a few reasons.
1. They're tired. A tired dog is a good dog.
2. They aren't bored. They have each other to keep things interesting rather than chewing up a shoe or something.
3. They've both had training. I have been training Bo since the day I brought him home at 9 weeks old and Pepper, the terrier mix, was in a program with a prison where prisoners train the dogs. They both still need more training, and are getting more training, but they have the basics down and are both ok with my house rules.
Since you didn't mention another dog, I assume you just have the one, which does leave the possibility of getting bored. I'd start with leaving for shorter periods or limit access like the posters above me said. Be best if the dog is tired. You'll probably be fine, but it does depend on the dog.
Personally I would never leave a new dog loose with another dog that soon. They barely know each other. Fosters are crated and when they earn uncrated time they are separated from my personal dogs until I know them in and out (could be a few months or much longer depending on the relationship). If the new dog was just introduced to the household this weekend it is much too soon to be left loose unsupervised with your other dog.
I would tend to agree that it's a little soon, but these two dogs were instant best friends and their isn't a hint of aggressive behavior in either one of them. And they did wonderfully yesterday. A few months of crating or much longer just isn't going to happen. They play, they nap, they are happy to see me when I get home, and they walk together on a leash coupler like they have been doing it for years. It's really pretty amazing how well these two dogs immediately bonded.
I have had many many many fosters come and go and I have seen how relationships between dogs change in the first few months. I have also been surprised when I did start leaving a dog I trusted loose with my dog and found out by happenstance he was actually stealing my dog's treat when I left the house. So they were separated. They got a long fine no aggression no fighting and had been together over 6 months. I have also seen when a foster dog (or newly adopted dog) feel "safer and at home" they can start challenging some things and doing things they didn't the first few weeks or month.