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Leaving in the Living Room vs. Crating


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Nitro, my 8 month old puppy, is allowed to be out in the living room during the day when my husband and I are gone at work. Well for the morning anyways, then after my husband leaves from lunch, he goes in a kennel. Nitro has been doing extremely well with not eating the couch or destroying things other then the empty cardboard boxes he is given to play with. (I think cardboard boxes just might be his favorite toy!) So today he has decided to eat the couch... :o He has eaten a gigantic hole into the arm of the couch... I do not like to keep him crated all day, especially since my Heeler is allowed to have roam of the house, but I don't want things destroyed either... Sigh! Does anyone have any suggestions on where to get a cheap but durable Exercise Pen? Our kitchen is the perfect place to keep Nitro so he has more room then a kennel, but the opening is too big for a baby gate, and I need something quite tall as he tends to jump out of everything...

 

Thanks!

 

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He could probably jump an X-pen or baby gate too, but just FYI if you look in pet supply catalogs many of them have gates especially designed for large openings, so you probably could find one to fit the doorway. I'd be afraid that with an X-pen he would simply be able to move it around (perhaps while trying to get out of it--and I've had dogs jump and climb out of X-pens) since there would be nothing anchoring it to anything. And in the kitchen he could always chew the cabinets.

 

I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep him in a crate, have hubby let him out while he's home for lunch, and then put him back in his crate when he leaves again. Lots of dogs spend the day that way without any problems. And it would save your furniture and fixtures from damage....

 

Nitro's not likely to sit in a crate and think "Hey, no fair! The heeler's wandering around; why can't I?"

 

J.

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Absolutely crate him while you're gone. I'm an advocate for crating. It keeps the dogs safe and it keeps the house safe. No more chewed up couches.

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My Robin is 19 months old...he's been a chewer and a shredder right from the get go. At an impressionable age, under the careless watch of DH, he was allowed to play with a legion of stuffed animals and discovered from Ladybug the joys of shredding fluffy things with sinful abandon. She, however, leaves things like the couch alone. He does not, especially when he is bored and has gone without proper exercise for a day or two - he likes the arm of the couch too. I keep a shock mat draped over the arm (it doesn't have to be on -- they are wary of it because it is "different."

 

Find your pup new things to chew like a Kong, or a bone, or anything else that he can't swallow and doesn't teach him bad habits...and use a crate. That keeps everyone safe.

 

Liz

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I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep him in a crate, have hubby let him out while he's home for lunch, and then put him back in his crate when he leaves again. Lots of dogs spend the day that way without any problems. And it would save your furniture and fixtures from damage....

 

Nitro's not likely to sit in a crate and think "Hey, no fair! The heeler's wandering around; why can't I?"

 

J.

 

Yes, this.

 

Our first dog was not crated. She ate the couch, the door, eye glasses, remotes, etc. Second dog came crated trained and we never looked back. Every new dog is crated at least until they're a year old and/or reliable to be left alone without destroying anything. Depending on which dog we're talking about, they've all been crated while we're at work, with another one/two/three dogs left loose. They all survived and none really seemed to feel slighted at being crated while the others weren't.

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I am another one that is on the crating bandwagon. I definitely recommend crating.

 

To make you feel better about leaving your pup in a crate, buy one that is oversized. I feel less guilty about crating my BC (41 lbs) in a Great Dane-sized crate, and he is happy to go in there.

 

Jovi

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I can't even imagine raising a puppy any more without a crate. As they approach 18 months, I start experimenting with leaving the youngster out for brief periods of time, then longer and longer if there are no problems until they are loose all days.

 

A big part of success with crating in your attitude. All my dogs run to their crate if given the command. From the day they come home, I treat the crate as a given in their life and a great place to be. To this day, I still toss them a small treat if I place them in a crate always reinforcing crate = good. To them a crate seems to be a safe place to hang out and they often go to sleep in an open crate of their own free will. Try to look at a crate as your dog's (not to mention your own) best friend -- keeping him and all your possessions safe and never allowing your dog the chance to develop bad and hard to break habits. At 8 months, your pup is at a prime age for causing destruction. Even kitchens aren't safe. I've heard of dogs ripping up linoleum and chewing cabinets. In addition to the cost of such destruction, eating up that kind of stuff can cause all kinds of problems for your dog, including death.

 

Like Jovi, I tend to choose roomy crates for my dogs, especially once they have housebreaking down. Quinn's crate was way huge for him but he loves to stretch out when he sleeps, so it worked well for him.

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We have a large wire crate for our aussie to go in during the day. Its 1-2 sizes too large for him so he has room for water and to stretch out. He was in it every day all day until he was about 3. Then we started leaving him out and he was ok. Now he's 5.5 and he's going to be going back in there every day because he's learned how to steal stuff off my computer desk that is food related and eat it, and yesterday he pulled my fleece down and ripped apart the pocket because I'd had treats in there. I have video taped him before and he wanders around for the first half hour after we leave (this is when any bad things happen) and then goes to the bedroom and lays on his bed there until we get home after work. So really, keeping him crated isn't depriving him that much considering he spends most of his alone time sleeping anyways.

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I do understand why you feel bad. Until a few months ago, my dogs were rarely left home alone for more than a few hours at a time. Then I got a part-time job (but 9 hour days) at the Humane Society and had no choice but to leave them home all day -- They come with me to my other job.

 

I felt just horrible for making Secret stay in a crate that long (with a potty break mid-day by someone that stops over to let them out). She had just turned a year old, so I started to experiment with leaving her out. Half days worked well for her. I'd either leave her out in the a.m. when I left and the mid-day person would put her in her crate or I'd lock her up and they would leave her out.

 

This was our routine until Max (the foster) came. Then he needed to be in the wire crate all day (otherwise he & Kaiser just might kill each other, you never know!). I didn't feel like schlepping my giant soft-sided crate into the living room, so I decided to let Secret stay out all day to see what happened. She's been totally fine with it the last month, I'm happy to say.

 

But meanwhile, Mr. Max is in the crate all day. Can't say I feel bad about it in the least. At least I know he's safe, and so is my house. My crated dogs never seem to care that the others are loose. I doubt that the loose dogs are all that active, anyhow.

 

I do close doors when I leave, so the dogs only have access to the living room, kitchen & hallway. The bedrooms, bathroom, laundry & basement are all off limits.

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I also can't imagine life without crates. I don't know how we survived our puppies, years ago, when we'd never even heard of crates. Granted, we were living in cabins while working for guide/outfitter services, or in cow camps in the middle of nowhere, so the places were a little rough, anyway ... :P

 

But nowadays crates are an essential, to us. My 2 -1/2 year old BC, Nick, (the guy in my avatar pic) still sleeps in his crate, despite having full run of the house. It's his safe place and he goes in there at all hours of the day, just for some peace and quiet. Always with the door open and always at his choosing. His 15 month old sister sleeps mostly in her crate, though once in a while now we let her sleep out. Usually she ends up sleeping on the foot of our bed. ;) But she's a chewer, so she's staying in a crate longer than previous dogs, until we know she can be trusted. I really don't want to find our furniture shredded or the dog electrocuted from trying to eat a lamp!

 

Last, our 6 month old Aussie not only sleeps in her crate, but on days when she's especially tired, she'll see us getting ready for bed and blunder to her crate door, wanting to be let in!

 

I believe a crate, if properly introduced, becomes not only useful for us but welcome to the dogs. It's their "den," the one place no one else can bother them or nudge them out of. It's no hardship for the dog to spend some time in one, so long as he's let out to potty and stretch. If one is concerned about comfort, just get a larger crate. (Amazon.com actually has some nice bargain wire crates.) He won't feel "jealous" of a dog who's not crated unless you're like, feeding T-bone steaks where he can see and leaving him out. :P

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Absolutely crate him while you're gone. I'm an advocate for crating. It keeps the dogs safe and it keeps the house safe. No more chewed up couches.

 

 

2nd the crating motion. Also, I believe 8 months old is way too young for a BC to be roaming the house. We let our female out at 9-10 months and came home to wood moulding chewed, legs of our dining room table chewed to shreds. She went right back in till she was trusted. We would leave her our for 1 or 2 hours on the weekend and run errands. We then got Gus our rescue. He was crated along side of her. Similar to your situation, I work 6 miles from home and would come home for lunch everyday. They would eat, potty, play then return for 4 hours until my wife got home. We then invested in a webcam for the house so I could peek in and watch online when we decided it was time to let them out. This worked out great. Nothing but laziness and sleep from both of them after I went back to work. Again, 8 months is way too young. Give it time.

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Mick was free during the day by 8 months. Beag (the BC the ex won) was ALWAYS crated in the day. Overall, she was an easier dog than Mick, but she couldn't be trusted alone. Mick ran around, and I don't think she was feeling left out or jealous of him.

 

If the dog is still destroying stuff, crate it. I wouldn't trust an x-pen to keep a dog in. I've seen Mick clear 5' fences. I think he'd laugh at an x-pen.

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Beag (the BC the ex won) was ALWAYS crated in the day. Overall, she was an easier dog than Mick, but she couldn't be trusted alone.

Heh, when Willow was younger she was selective in what she destroyed: my orthotic inserts for my running shoes, my Birkenstock sandals, my prescription eyeglasses. Yep, only big-ticket, difficult-to-replace items.

 

At age 13 1/2, one would hope that she has mellowed somewhat. Not too long ago, she started hanging out in the dog room (spare bedroom, without a bed and full of crates) with Boy, under the little table there that I use for my computer. As she was often sleeping quietly in there with Boy for company, I decided to just leave her loose when I went on a short errand.

 

I came home to find a rug in that room chewed up. It's a rug I got some time ago that I doubt I could replace.

 

The moral of this story? Some dogs are inclined to chew, especially when left alone. If you don't want valuable or even dangerous (to the dog) items chewed, it's best to prevent the dog from getting to them. As I noted in my first post, a dog confined to a kitchen or bathroom can do plenty of damage there.

 

Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Willow that she has to be crated when I leave the house; but then again I feel sorry about the items she's destroyed too, so despite her advanced age, she still gets crated. I don't worry that other dogs are loose while she's crated (she's not the only one crated either). Dogs that can be trusted get to stay out. Dogs that destroy things or have other issues (e.g., not getting along with other dogs, potential for seizures, etc.--things that put them or others at risk) get crated.

 

I'm quite sure all they do is sleep when I'm gone anyway.

 

J.

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Heh, when Willow was younger she was selective in what she destroyed: my orthotic inserts for my running shoes, my Birkenstock sandals, my prescription eyeglasses. Yep, only big-ticket, difficult-to-replace items.

 

At age 13 1/2, one would hope that she has mellowed somewhat. Not too long ago, she started hanging out in the dog room (spare bedroom, without a bed and full of crates) with Boy, under the little table there that I use for my computer. As she was often sleeping quietly in there with Boy for company, I decided to just leave her loose when I went on a short errand.

 

I came home to find a rug in that room chewed up. It's a rug I got some time ago that I doubt I could replace.

 

The moral of this story? Some dogs are inclined to chew, especially when left alone. If you don't want valuable or even dangerous (to the dog) items chewed, it's best to prevent the dog from getting to them. As I noted in my first post, a dog confined to a kitchen or bathroom can do plenty of damage there.

 

Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Willow that she has to be crated when I leave the house; but then again I feel sorry about the items she's destroyed too, so despite her advanced age, she still gets crated. I don't worry that other dogs are loose while she's crated (she's not the only one crated either). Dogs that can be trusted get to stay out. Dogs that destroy things or have other issues (e.g., not getting along with other dogs, potential for seizures, etc.--things that put them or others at risk) get crated.

 

I'm quite sure all they do is sleep when I'm gone anyway.

 

J.

 

I keep mine in different parts of the house when I'm not home. Not that either will destroy anything, but just in case a fight breaks out. They get along, but better safe than sorry, in my opinion.

 

I know that Mick definitely sleeps all day when I'm not around, because he'll usually greet me with a bunch of stretching and yawning looking half-asleep (just about the only time he looks half-asleep). Sinead probably sleeps all day, too, because she's lazy in the house.

 

Mick will, on very rare occasions, destroy a very low-value item (random bag of potting soil, bag of dried beans, etc) on my bed if I'm late getting home. It's almost amusing.

 

Mine are kind of strange, if they have a toy, it will be destroyed in short order, regardless of manufacturer's claims of being indestructible (except is the Galieo bone...which Sinead almost destroyed me with). But if they don't have toys in the house, they don't actually chew on anything else. There's usually some rawhides around, but I rarely get them toys, because of the incredibly short life span they have. Especially anything stuffed, which my mother will buy for them. Oddly enough, they do not destroy stuffed toys belonging to her dogs. Given their own, within approximately 20 seconds, they will have coated an entire room in stuffing, and be presenting me with a tiny cloth scrap either expecting it to be thrown (Mick) or tugged with (Sinead).

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I also don't know what we'd do without a crate! Jed my brittany cross was crate trained when I bought him home, then around 9 mths I also decided to leave him out of his crate...... needless to say , came home and found our slippers chewed. So with cold feet , back into the crate he went! I started leaving him out again at around 1 and a half. Now Maisie my 4 mth BC pup is crated, when we go out with Jed loose in the house. I'm sure Maisie doesn't just watch Jed thinking.. not fair!!!!

9 mths is still very young, and they are very much testing at that age.. I think sooner or later temptation prevails!

Better to be safe than sorry, and crate him still

post-11665-087845500 1288818941_thumb.jpgSteph

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Definitely use a crate by your bed.

 

 

Yup! Our Aussie, Ash, has her crate by Dad's side of the bed, and young Gael's crate is against the wall at the foot of our bed. Close enough to not feel abandoned - and close enough to scold when they decide to dig up their bedding and gnaw the floor the crate at 4 am. :P

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