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Need advice on reducing time in the crate

1652 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Mikey T
Hi everyone, I'm hoping for some advice. My Rosie is now 10 months old, and I would like to reduce the amount of time she's having to spend in her crate. She is currently in her crate 4 days a week for 4 hours in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, with a 30-40 min break when we come home at lunch and let her out and play with her. She gets frozen kongs and other treats in the crate. Fridays she's in 4 hours only, and then a couple of hours a day on the weekends when we shop or go to church. She is also crated at night. Her night time crate is in our bedroom, and we don't put her in there until she has fallen asleep in our family room on her pillow.

We originally did all of this crating to keep her from peeing everywhere, and to prevent any possible distructiveness. She's gradually getting more bladder control, but we still have occasional accidents (never in the crate). She has never chewed or gotten into anything she's not supposed to (we've been very fortunate so far!)

How should we reduce the time in the crate? Should we just leave her out one morning and see how it goes? We leave her out of the crate and in the house when we go outside to do yardwork, etc. and haven't had a problem, although she'll sit at the door and whine. Will she be anxious if left out of the crate and can't find us? Would we be better confining her at first to our laundry room with a baby gate?

Also, at night we have her crated in our room because we have an 8 year old cat that sleeps in our bed and doesn't like Rosie. Rosie won't leave her alone, so we crate the dog. Is it better for the dog to be crated at night, but near us in our bedroom...or be uncrated in the laundry room but not near us?

Thanks for listening! I guess I'm just a little nervous about trying to transition since everything is going fine right now. My husband thinks that since everything's OK maybe we shouldn't make any changes. What do you all think?
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As a first step, I would leave the door to her crate open and use gates to confine her to the one room where her crate is. Still give her the kongs, etc. and see how she does for an hour or so on her own while you are gone. Then just go from there. I don't crate our dogs, but they don't have free run of the house either: they have the kitchen and family room, and the rest of the house is gated. As far as at night, she would probably like to be with you, but Murray prefers his bed in the family room- I guess it depends on the dog.
We have a similar situation to yours. Molly is crated monday, wed, and thur. Four hours in the morning, 1 hour lunch free, and then 4-5 hours in the afternoon.

We found that puppy day care really helps! Its expensive so we sent her one day a week on tuesdays. She runs all day and socializes with other dogs. It makes her so tired, she literally sleeps all of weds. We also give her frozen Kongs, differnt toys, etc so she doesn't get bored in her crate.

I think its important to be very active with them when they are out of the crate. WHen we get home at night, she gets a long walk, dinner and then we play with her for about an hour until she settles down.

We are exploring some of the same ideas about letting her out of the crate when we are gone. We crated her in a the kitchen for about an hour once, and she peed and pooped everywhere. She somehow got on top of the table and ran our cloth napkins through the urine :) She wasn't too happy. I think she feels safe in her crate.
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Miss Molly, I agree with you that the dog feels safe in the crate. I thought we would be doing Twinkie a favor by penning her in the kitchen and arranging for a neighbor to take her outside a couple times on a day when we had to be gone for 12-14 hours. The neighbor said she hated it. Lots of barking and whining. They took pity on her, brought their lawn chairs over, and sat out in the yard with her. That's the last time I tried leaving her out on her own. I sure wish I could get her used to it, though. I think it would be nice for her not to be penned up when we're out, but if that's how she's most comfortable, who am I to argue. I don't think we'll ever be able to let her have the run of the house. My husband is still hopeful, though.

Janet 'n Twinkie.
I'd not give her the full run of the house. Try babygating her into one room and leaving for 1 hour and see how she does. Be sure you have anything important up REALLY high. It really sounds like you are about perfect in your crate use. She isn't in there for extended periods of time,and if she wern't in the crate, she'd probably be sleeping on the sofa. The crate is their den. It's a good idea to have a dog that is comfortable in a crate. It comes in useful if you need to take them in the car or want to take them on vacation, and then you could leave them in the crate in a hotel room while you went to dinner, etc.
I crate trained both Gordon and Missy from when they were very young and had this same problem. I tried letting gordon wander the gated portion of the house when I left for maybe 45-30min, I came home to disaster, he had pulled trash out and tore up a roll of paper towels etc... I then put it off for a month thinking maybe he was just to young. I tried it again and he was howling as loud as he could before I even made it to my car. I sat outside for a bit before I realised my entire wing of the appartment complex could hear him. Since then we figured it was really bad separation anxiety so we got another dog. Missy and Gordon can be left out of thier cages for awhile before there are any problems however we still have to crate Gordon while we are at work, missy gets the run of the downstairs since she is a lot better about being left out. It just seems that Gordon is totally content to sit in his cage for the time we are gone. we came home the other day and Missy was sleeping in her cage with the door open as if she thought she was supposed to be in there when nobody was home. Thats my personal experience at least, the addition of Missy really helped Gordon though. It wasnt a 100% solution however since we still need to crate him most of time.
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When confine to a room with baby gate/door whatever all make sure you place the crate in there also so she has access to an area she feels comfortable.
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