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Our puppy is 6 months old and is crated during the day while both DH and I are at work. DH comes home everyday at lunch hour so that he can take the puppy out for potty breaks, play time, etc.

For those of you who leave your labs roaming free when they are left home, how did you know it is time to stop crating them? Is there anything I can do to "train" him so that he does not have to be crated while we are gone?

Thanks!
 

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Bandit is 7 mos and is still crated during the day, he sleeps in my bed at night though. All dogs are different some never have to be crated like my lab I lost abt 6 mos ago and some can never be
"un-crated."
 

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Belle is 8 years old and can not be left uncrated if I am not in the hosue. Hoss was about 8 months, and Kodi was about the same, except she started chewing things and now is crated when I am not there. (All are fine at night though).
 

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I stopped crating my two at 3 years old. But I still block off their access to the upstairs because they get into mischief upstairs. I don't think there is anything you can do as far as training goes but basic obedience is never a bad idea. I think 6 months is probably too young for most dogs. When you think she's ready, try leaving her alone for 5 minutes and see what happens. Then after a week of that and consistently good behavior, try 10 minutes and so on. You'll see how well you can trust her. Moving away from the crate is a process. It is definitely NOT something you just do one day to see what happens (unless you want to see tooth marks on your dining room table and chairs like I did when I left our dogs out at about 18 months).
 

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How is he when he's roaming the house free when you're home? That might give you an indication of how he'd be if left alone.

Ours started being free at night in our bedroom at 6 mos. At about 7 mos., I started leaving him alone in the house....15 minutes, then 30, then an hour. By 9 months old, we put the crate away; we'd quit using it during the day by then....he was fine, and didn't bother anything.
 

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We stopped crating at 22 months old(they're 24 months old now). It was hit in miss at first,I wasn't sure if they were ready. We lost a paper back novel and a roll of TP. I guess they were ready just didn't care for that author.

They have free roam of the house accept for upstairs. I gate the stairway because I am remodeling upstairs and I don't want them getting into anything dangerous. The crates are folded up and in the garage, but they can and will come back in the house if needed.
 

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i just started like everyone said 5mins then 15 and so on. i think the longest i've left my dog by herself was about 45mins and all she did was ripped a tissue up and thats it. but i'm still worried about leaving her out at night. maybe one i will
 

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There is no "right" age as it depends on the individual. 6 months is a little too young for most Labradors to be trustworthy in the house outside of the crate. I know that my boys would have wrecked the house at that age.

Only my two Lab boys were crate trained and both were paroled by 12 and 18 months of age.

How is he when he's roaming the house free when you're home? That might give you an indication of how he'd be if left alone.
I agree. If he roams around causing trouble (chewing things, being a nuisance) he is probably not ready for crate free. However, if he settles down and seems trustworthy by all means start the process of weaning him from the crate.

The best way to start this process is by building up the time you leave him in small segments. 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30, 40, etc., until he is reliable for a few hours. Ease him into the crate free routine by REALLY tiring him out before you leave. You should also limit the number of rooms he is allowed to roam. Start with the smallest room in the house and build from there. My dogs are usually locked in the kitchen or living room while we are gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to you all for your great advice!
 

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Mocha started sleeping out of her crate at night at about 8 months old then about 9 months I started trying her out of her crate. She did fine at first but relapsed when we moved into our house so she was crated again for a few months then we tried again. She's been free to roam all but out bedroom and bathrooms for about a year and a half probably and does great. Now Zeus is about 1 1/2 but since we just got him and he's been outside for a while he will be crated for a while until I'm positive his housebreaking is 100% and that him and Mocha won't destroy our house.
 

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There's no set age... it's when you know your pup will be trustworthy. ;)

Henry started sleeping out of his crate at nights when he was about 2. He only had free roam of the master bedroom.

During the day, if I was outside doing yard work, I always left him out. 5 min here, 20 min there. Then it progressed to short trips to the grocery store. Then gradually longer and longer periods of time. Having said that, he just turned four and just (within the past month or two) has been allowed free roam of the house when I'm at work. He has access to our bedroom, the kitchen, and the family room.
 

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I agree with what djc1249 and Trickster recommended -- go by the good behavior when you're there watching.

Also, something that helps "good behavior" is enough daily, vigorous exercize.

Puff gets an hour long offleash walk every AM in a nature preserve with much retrieving. As a result, she spends the rest of the day dozing until she hears the tinkle of car keys or me changing shoes. Then she's on full alert.

Well, not exactly -- at 2 PM, she wakes up and wants to go out to potty.
 
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