Oppy is going to be 9 months old on Saturday and I was thinking it may be time to start working on not using his crate while we're at work (he'd be alone for approximately 6.5-7 hours). We've tested leaving him alone while we go to the grocery store which usually lasts about an hour or so and he's been doing really well as long as we puppy proof everything (make sure there's nothing on our desks that he can reach/steal/shred). But 6.5 hours is a lot longer than what we've currently tested him at, I'm just worried if he can hold his bladder that long. Any suggestions on the topic? Or should we just try leaving him out and hope for the best?

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Comment by Alice on August 28, 2009 at 12:19pm
Kerry,
I had heard bad stories about rawhides as well. We gave them to him as a little puppy because it took him a week to chew one. When it got small we'd throw it away so he didn't accidentally swallow it. Now he's such a strong chewer that I prefer not to give them to him but my Mom gave him one when we were at her house that actually lasted a few days. It was a long one that was all rolled up. He liked it so much we thought those would be ok (supervised of course) so we bought some but they weren't as thick as the one my Mom gave him so he must have gone through it much faster. The problem was that I didn't intend for it to be left in his crate with him but my husband put it in there without my knowing. Had he only been chewing it supervised we would have seen how fast he was getting through it.

I've heard of dogs swallowing all sorts of things. I worked with a woman whose dog tore up a t-shirt while left home alone and swallowed enough fabric to block the intestine. He needed expensive surgery and even so there was a chance he wouldn't make it because of how much of the intestine was damaged. It's very scary. They do need to be watched like toddlers.
Comment by Potus on August 28, 2009 at 7:02am
I'd leave him in a small section of the house, fenced off. Perhaps the kitchen? (This is were Potus is confined too) He might not be a chewer but you never know- at still under a year he may develop a taste for your couch/furniture- I know Potus is constantly finding things which have been there since he was a little pup but only know has decided to test if they're edible.
Comment by Beth on August 27, 2009 at 9:16pm
When we were transitioning Jack to being loose, we did half-days first. He is more active in the morning and usually naps in the afternoon, so I would lock him in his pen in the morning, then run home at lunch and take him out to potty. Then I would follow the normal routine and put him in his pen and give him a treat so he knew I was about to leave, but then leave the gate open.

I did that for about a week and he was ok. Then I started doing the same thing in the morning (penning him so he know what to expect, but leaving the gate open) and coming home at lunch to check on him. After a couple days of that, I then left him loose all day.

I wish I could remember how old he was when I started. I think he was a bit closer to a year; maybe around 11 months. However, I did not leave him loose all day til he was at the point where I did not really need to puppy-proof the place; of course we made sure there was no food within reach, but he was no longer shredding stuff or anything when I started giving him freedom.

I elected not to gate him in the kitchen, because to be honest if he was going to get stressed and destroy something (he didn't), the last thing I wanted him going for was the kitchen cabinets, as they are probably the most expensive thing in the house.
Comment by Patricia A Columbo on August 27, 2009 at 9:14pm
Tootsie is now 5 months old has never been crated. Started off in the kitchen and now has the living room and the kitchen for roaming. Puppy proofed both rooms and left her with lots to keep her occupied. She is alone from 8:30 to 5:30 every day. I come home at noon and walk her for her potty break and she has not used her newspaper in over a month!!!!
Comment by Sondra on August 27, 2009 at 7:22pm
we gated off the kitchen with her crate and toys, and a puppy pad, when we got home, the pad was usually shredded, but she was happy :-) She is two now, and has full run of the place with no problems .....
Comment by Amanda & Tuck on August 27, 2009 at 3:13pm
I leave Tuck with squeaky toys only because he has never destuffed one and is gentle with them. He loooves them. For chewing I leave him a nylabone - either a smaller one or the Galileo - always the hard non-edible ones. I also leave him with a stuffed sterilized natural bone. Usually there is little filling left but he loves chewing on them. Not sure if they are considered acceptable to leave alone but I have watched him with them many times and feel comfortable with it. He loves those things - particularly stubby ones with a really wide opening to he can get to the stuffing.
Comment by Bev Levy on August 27, 2009 at 2:57pm
If you mush the cheese or whatever around inside the kong it takes a while to get it all out. I have heard of filling it with kibble and cheese and freezing it but have not tried it. The kongs are very difficult to chew up and the surface is not really hard so should be safe. The point is to keep him busy for a little while in a way that is soothing so he will go to sleep while you are gone. I never leave our crated dog with anything but a kong because I would be afraid of her swallowing something dangerous.
Comment by Debby on August 27, 2009 at 2:24pm
I crated Cody when I first brought him home from the humane society. I tried gating him because I hated the crate--I had never crated any of my previous pets. Well he jumped over all the gates (Had 3 different sizes--from 3 feet to 5 feet. When he got over the 5 foot one, I think he celebrated as he tore down the drapes in the living room and had dragged every bit of dirty laundry to the middle of the living room. I found him under the blanket on the couch when I got home that day and he was wiggling all over as if he had done so good! Back to the crate. Then I started leaving him with toys and the kong with peanut butter and only left for little spurts at a time. I am now up to 8 hours and he is doing great. I find him waiting at the kitchen/garage door where he has dragged his blanky (I move it each day--keeps him busy) and made a bed. One day he did get the door open and was waiting in the garage for me, so now I lock the door (never locked it before). I shut off all the rooms but the living room and kitchen and he is doing fine. Knock on wood! I still leave the crate out for him and he goes in and out to hunt or hide his toys. I also use the crate in the car for long trips so he can stretch out and at Mom's so that she and I have greater peace of mind that he doesn't get in trouble there. If he destroys something, I would prefer it be at my house and not hers. He doesn't care for the crate but does fine. My daughter did say last weekend he barked for about fifteen minutes in spurts to try and let someone know that he did not like it. If I am gone longer than 8 hours I have made a bargain with my neighbor to go over and let him outside and play with him a few minutes until I can get home. So far, so good.
Comment by Alice on August 27, 2009 at 2:18pm
Even now we leave toys in Finn's crate and the other day I came home at lunch to find that he had torn apart one of his stuffed toys and eaten most of the squeaker. It wasn't until that night when he threw up that I realized how much of the stuffing he had swallowed as well. We left a thick rawhide chew with him a couple days later thinking that would take a long time to get through and it was safer than soft toys. We were gone for maybe 2 1/2-3 hours and came back to find the chew totally gone! I was so worried. The next morning I woke up to him having diarrhea in his crate. It was awful and he was sick that whole day with runny, bloody stools. He's seemed normal since then but I never did see the rawhide make an appearance which still worries me. The point is, he must get bored in his crate and it seems there is nothing really safe to leave with him. On one hand I think he'd like having more room in the kitchen but on the other hand, if he gets bored in there he could destroy the cupboards. What other types of toys does everyone leave with their dogs? Finn's a pro at getting things out of the Kong so that only lasts for a couple minutes.
Comment by Bev Levy on August 27, 2009 at 1:34pm
I have always waited until a year to uncrate. My husband really wanted to do away with it earlier at our cottage with Izzy but we tried a couple times and she chewed something each time. I guess it depends on the dog, Sparty never chewed anything after his first week with us. Closing off some rooms or starting with the kitchen is good. John is right, my cats definitely push stuff off the counter for the dogs. I had a cat that went in all the cupboards too but child locks stopped that! I leave a kong with cheese or peanut butter when I leave. It is soothing for them to lick it out and they usually are not active when we are not home.

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