When you leave the house, do you put your dog in a crate, or let him roam the house?

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 118,732
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:05:55 AM
Please forgive me for all the dog questions lately, but we're dog newbies.

My little dog loves her crate. She got the hang of it in one day, and now willingly goes in there to rest during the day (we leave the door open for her during the day), and sleeps all night in it. I've been putting her in it when we leave the house so she won't get anxious that she's alone and start tearing stuff up.

But I'm torn, because I feel like I'm imprisoning her. I've read that they feel more comfortable in "dens," but then I feel bad locking her in there if I'm going to be gone for 6 hours.

I left her out in the house this morning while I drove the kids to school, which took about 25 minutes. She had obviously played in my clean laundry pile, but nothing was torn up. But that was just a short while. Should I start leaving her out for short periods, and then increase the time slowly? Or just immediately start leaving her in her crate every time I go so I don't confuse her?

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PeaNut 57,182
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:12:22 AM
My two Bostons are confined to the laundry room when we're not home, as well as at night. They each have a bed in there, but no food or water dishes (I used to put them in, but nobody ever touched them!). I don't shut the door--I just lean a baby gate across the opening--I figure that way they could get out in case of fire/burglar/whatever. Neither dog has figured out yet (in 3 years) that the gate would come down with just a little push/jump but if they get excited enough, they'd probably come right through!

When I am home during the day, both dogs sleep almost 100% of the time--the only difference is that if we're gone, they do it in their beds, and if we're home, they do it in ours

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PeaNut 249,656
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:12:44 AM
We put our dogs in their crates when we leave.

I would trust my dog to be on his own, but my roommates dog is a menace when we are here and he's roaming around, I think that we'd discover that he ate my new sofa if we left him out when no one is here.

Crates aren't punishment, they are a place to be. You are doing the right thing by putting him in there. Don't worry.

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PeaNut 45,443
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:17:30 AM
For the first three years I put Stella in my main floor laundry room when I left the house. Then I decided there wasn't really any reason to and she's had free run of the house for the last 2+ years. She just sleeps on a rug by the door waiting for me to come home


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PeaNut 145,006
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:19:50 AM
We put our beagle in when we go out. I feel safer with her in there - if anything were to happen to the house while we were gone, there's a pet locator saying where she'll be. If someone were to break in, she'd be less likely to get hurt since she's in a crate and if someone were to break in and leave the door ajar, she wouldn't get out to wander around/get hurt.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:23:59 AM
Our new puppy goes into a kennel. He is only 3 months old so I do not trust him out and about. However in the future he will not be locked in . Our dog that just passed, she had free run if the house. When she was younger she would walk in and felt relaxed in her kennel. I don't think its confining them into it, its saving my house and sanity.


PeaNut 266,627
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:24:06 AM
My doxies love their crates, too. I used to crate them every time I left the house, but they are older now and just sleep on the couch while I'm gone. I still crate them sometimes, just to keep them in practice.

They sleep in their crates at night and often during the day.

I think they feel safe there.


PeaNut 275,594
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:26:59 AM
We crated him for the first 8 months while we were gone. For years now he has free run of the house and does fine. Usually he goes in his crates and sleeps the entire time.

When he was 6mo old it was Christmas time. I left to run errands and made the mistake of trusting him to be loose. When I arrived home I was met at the door with him holding half of a large ornament in his mouth.

Behind him I saw remnants of ornaments on the floor that trailed from the laundry, hallway, foyer, kitchen, breakfast room and family room. He took a flying dive to grab an ornament halfway up the tree. He ate, chewed up, destroyed most of the ornaments halfway down. Surprisingly the tree, albeit a destroyed mess, was still upright.

Thankfully his stomach was/is made of steel! He didn't feel well for a few days but had no obstructions or negative effects of what he had eaten.

It's okay to crate the puppy. You'll know when it's ready to roam free.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 118,732
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:30:04 AM
Thank you. She definitely loves her crate, and I do think she feels safe there. Maybe I'll keep using it during the day for a while and see how it goes. She doesn't complain at all about being in there, and goes in willingly, so I don't know what I'm worried about, lol.

She's been so easy to train, I'm starting to wonder how I managed to get such a good dog! The only things we're still working on is licking people (mostly me) and ringing the bell whens he needs to go potty. I have a bell hanging from my back door, and I use her paw to ring it when I take her out. I'm hoping she'll get the hang of it and start ringing it herself when she needs to go. I have two friends who use this method, and they both say it doesn't take long, so we'll see.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:30:43 AM
We crated for several years, but now that he's older, he roams. A crate can be your and your dog's best friend.

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PeaNut 221,236
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:31:44 AM
Our dog is confined to the kitchen while we are gone. Her crate is in there with the door open and I know she spends a lot of time in there, but like you, I'm not comfortable keeping her in there all day unnecessarily. I think she would be fine with the run of the house except that we cannot so far break her of peeing on the carpets (we have area rugs on the hardwood) when no one is around. In the kitchen on the hard floor she never has an accident, so it's clearly the carpet that's attracting her. We have an open floor plan with very wide openings between kitchen and living area, so we had to buy and install special gates to make this work, but I just wasn't comfortable with confining her to the crate all day. This way she can move around, look out the windows, get to her water, etc. She does sleep confined in her crate at night.

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PeaNut 40,737
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:32:43 AM
We have three, plus a piggy. The two older dogs roam free, but the puppy (1 year) and the little piggy both stay in their crates when we are gone.


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PeaNut 14,521
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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:33:42 AM
We have never crated our dog. She was a rescue we adopted when she was about two. She's always been pretty mellow and never gets into things when we aren't home.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:34:05 AM
I have a 2 year old malti-poo who we got in February. He loves his crate and sometimes he is in his crate all day when we are not home and other times he is confined to the kitchen. He is fine either way. I won't allow him to have free run of the house. There would be nothing left

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:35:27 AM
All three of ours are roamers... But I really think they sleep about 99% of the time. At night, they hop in bed with us.

If your little one likes her crate, I'd let her stay in it. My older two hated the crate... believe me, I tried to make it work. The dog we just took in is so well behaved, I never tried it.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:37:02 AM
Our dogs are older (11 and 7) and within the past year or so, we've started letting them stay out while we're gone. They lay around and sleep. They still have their crates available, and go in often.



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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:40:06 AM
When we adopted our girl, she was 1 1/2 years old. We bought a crate and when we got home, we started to put it together. Before we could even get the back wall up, she had climbed in and lay down. She has access to it all of the time. Whenever she is nervous or unsure what is going on, that is the first place she goes (she hates it if I cry, even at a tv show!) and when we are gone, she is in the crate. We tried several times leaving her out for short (under an hour) times. She shredded boxes, ate an atlas and was quite worked up when we got home. Now when it is time for us to go, 9 times out of 10 she is already in her kennel waiting for her snack so she can nap!


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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:41:43 AM
Our three have the run of the house when we are gone. We take them out right before we leave and then as soon as we get home. I have only used a kennel for them when we first get them, until they are housebroken, which has never been long.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:43:23 AM
Abbey was crated till she was 4. Then I put a baby gate up so she could just be in the kitchen. When she started knocking it over , I took it down. I would wait awhile before giving a pup that young the freedom to roam.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:51:12 AM
If I don't take her with me, she goes in her crate. We tried the free roam of house thing and she chews everything, I mean everything!!! So in her crate she goes when she can't be supervised.

It's funny because if I am home all day putzing around the house, she will be inside with me and not chew a single thing but the minute I leave she goes at it. I don;t think she likes to be alone which I understand.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:52:08 AM
our 6 year old Ridgeback is crated at night and when we're gone. He gets into trouble if we leave him out, like counter surfing, trash cans, laying on the furniture when he KNOWS he's not supposed to. Our dog actually can NOT sleep outside his crate, I don't know why. He's out when we're home, but after a couple of hours he always goes to his crate to sleep. so it doesn't seem that he sees it as a punishment, and he would MUCH rather be in the crate than outside.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 8:56:09 AM
Our Boston terrier is allowed to stay out if we will be gone for around 4 hours or less. Any more than that and he goes in the kennel. We have never had a problem, but, don't want to tempt him. He doesn't get into things but he has a small bladder and if he is in his kennel we know no accidents will happen.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:00:32 AM
I recommend keeping her in the crate. She will sleep and feel secure. If left out alone, she may get used to snuffling around in stuff and then not be happy being confined. I'm all for leaving well enough along. You've got a good thing going, don't rock the boat.

My dog was confined to her crate at night and anytime we were gone. Then we had a temporary 2nd dog and I began shutting them in the laundry room, where they could access the fenced back yard. Now the temp dog has a new home but I continued giving numero uno doggie the freedom to access the back yard. She enjoys laying in the sun, either on the deck or in the yard.

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PeaNut 417,049
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:03:33 AM
I've never crated my dogs. They have a dog door and free run of the house.


PeaNut 556,038
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:07:45 AM
Mine have the kitchen and utility room to wander in.

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PeaNut 401,157
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:11:27 AM
Our 2 year old Great Pyrenees never cared for his crate, but in it he went, every day when we went to work or when we were leaving the house for any length of time.

It's only been in the past 4 or 5 months that he's been allowed to have free run of the house - except he is not allowed go down the hallway to the bedrooms/bathroom. He'd most likely end up on my bed, wallowing around on it, making himself comfortable. We did have to teach him to stay off of the bed because he's entirely too big and hairy to share even a king-sized bed with!

Other than digging out a sock or two from the laundry room, he's as good as gold, and since he didn't care for the crate, we've passed it on to someone who needed it. You may get to that point as well.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:13:26 AM
It depends on the age and behaviour of the dog. The newest pup is 6 months and not trustworthy at all! He is in the crate at night and when we leave the house. DD's dog is 4.5 and allowed free roam at all times. In fact, the puppy inherited his crate.

My last Belgian was crated until she was probably 3 or 4, then allowed free roam. We had her for protection and crating her would have defeated the purpose. I always kept her crate in the house though and would put her in there when we had workmen or guests over.

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PeaNut 92,210
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:14:11 AM
We crate the beasties when we leave and at bedtime. I worried more about their safety (chemicals, eating foil from the trash, etc) then I did about them destroying the house. We are now baby-proofed so they would be safe but after 5 years they are used to their crates and go willingly. My little terrier mix will often ask to go to her crate during the day when she wants to get away from the Boxer & the Brittany

They feel very safe in their crates. We had a horrible storm a few years ago and were stuck at my MIL's during it so they were home alone. We lost part of our roof and some siding. They were fine when we got home 30 min later. No one messed in their crate. FYI they are located in our downstairs family room, which is a tornado-safe location.

I was home alone the next year during another horrible storm (knocked down power lines, trees down, etc) and took them with me into the downstairs bathroom and we all about lost our minds. They were so anxiety ridden.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:15:16 AM
We have a six month old lab puppy. She is crated even when we leave the house for five minutes.

I would never leave a toddler in the house, and in my mind a puppy hasn't learned enough to leave loose. There are too many things that can hurt the dog and too many things the dog can hurt. And for us, the destructive phase started about a month ago.

We crated our first dog for the first two years. She may have been ready earlier, but didn't like being left alone. Our second lab was never crated. She was 5 when we got her and the pet store didn't have a big enough crate in stock. By the time they got one in, we realized we didn't need it.

You know your pups behavior best. Some dogs are fine, others will eat the couch for years. Don't ever use the crate as a punishment. A time out maybe, but I don't ever put a dog in a crate as punishment. We always give a treat and a kiss when crating. Emma doesn't mind her crate a bit.

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PeaNut 455,916
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:18:38 AM
My dogs are crated when we are not home. They are used to the routine and don't mind being in there. When we are not home, they sleep (which isn't much different than what they do when we are home.)


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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:24:54 AM
My 2 shih tzu's love their kennel. They sleep in there during the day on their own with the door open. At night they are in their kennel and anytime we are not home. I just don't trust them to not have an accident. My little guy has a attitude and likes to pee on the clean laundry baskets

You're doing the right thing.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:42:42 AM
He goes outside. He's never left in the house while we are away.

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PeaNut 41,800
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:44:31 AM
We have three dogs. One dogs goes in the crate, one outside and one gets free roam of the house.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:46:54 AM
I'm a dog newbie, too. We adopted her two months ago. The vet said you are not imprisoning her or punishing her by crating her when you leave. You are protecting her and training her and now that we've been doing it, I believe it.

I don't want her getting into anything that can harm her nor do I want her being destructive (gnawing on wires, for example).

Lucky goes in willingly and I take her out as soon as we get home. She's cozy in there with her blanket, etc, but I don't put here there more than necessary. When we're home, she's out. When we leave or go to bed, she's crated. She's also in the process of being housetrained since she's still a puppy so when she's older, we will likely not crate her at night.

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PeaNut 183,518
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:48:22 AM
our dogs are loose in the house. They mostly sleep all day.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:50:14 AM
Our dog loved her crate, and she was in there when we weren't home and at night until she was about 2-1/2. She's 5 now, and we ended up putting it away. She's such a lazy slug when I'm not around. I work at home, so she's not alone very much. She was a crazy, hyper puppy and teenager. I was afraid she'd get hurt eating something.

I have a bell hanging from my back door, and I use her paw to ring it when I take her out. I'm hoping she'll get the hang of it and start ringing it herself when she needs to go. I have two friends who use this method, and they both say it doesn't take long, so we'll see.
Ha! I tried this, and my dopey dog would never use it. She just quietly stands at the door if she needs to go out. Which doesn't help when I'm upstairs. If my cat notices that the dog wants to go out, she rings it for her. Really.


PeaNut 285,775
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:51:10 AM
We crate them. They like their beds. I then never have to worry they peed somewhere or tore up a sofa. I don't get the feeling from my dogs they feel imprisoned. It is just where we go when we leave. Kinda like seat belts. The kids have always been in one so they just do it automatically.

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PeaNut 96,097
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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:56:26 AM
We crated the first year or so, but now they roam the kitchen and den. We have a baby gate that blocks them from the formal living room and the rest of the house.

When we first stopped crating we left them out alone for small amounts of time at first and gradually worked up to all day. DH and I work opposite shifts mostly, so they were never loose in the house for more than a couple hours at a time at first.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 9:57:49 AM
We don't have enough space for a crate that would be big enough for one of our dogs. She was supposed to be a medium size dog that we adopted from the shelter. Well, she's 120lbs and is part Great Dane. I would need a huge crate, and just don't have anywhere to put it. So, for a while, when she was still a puppy and couldn't quite be trusted, we would put them in the basement. They had room to run around and play and whatnot, and there was nothing for them to get into. Now that she is older, we let them roam free in the house. Our other dog is older, and he sleeps all day no matter where she is. And they've both done fine every time we are out. I've never crate trained any of our dogs. Not sure why, just haven't.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 10:01:47 AM
She is free to roam in the house. She's 6 years old.

We crated her for the first two years of her life. She was never sad to go in her crate. We've used it a few times since then, like after she had surgery, to keep her contained while we weren't home. She has never minded it.

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PeaNut 14,100
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Posted: 10/2/2012 10:03:32 AM
We have french doors in our living room and til she was about six months old, we left her in the living room with the doors closed. The worst thing that she ever did was to bring some of our shoes up on the couch to "cuddle" with and left a bite mark in one she dragged up there--we were actually impressed she was able to do it. She's a chiweenie and the shoe was bigger than she was. But because she was so good in there, we give her free reign in the house and she never has accidents or gets into things. From what we can tell, she generally sleeps under a blanket the whole time.

She does sleep in a crate at night and never puts up a fuss when it's bedtime and most mornings, she's still sleeping when we open it up to take her out.


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Posted: 10/2/2012 10:20:17 AM
our dog is 4 and she loves her crate. when we are about to leave we just tell her to go nite nite and she goes willingly. it is in the laundry room, so we just let her go in her crate but leave the crate door open and the laundry room door closed. she has a potty pad in there just in case, but she rarely uses it. only if we are gone for a really long time. too long to hold it.

she will also go in there randomly if i am home, like if she doesn't know where i am or if she just feels like it. she likes it.

why would you let them have run of the house when they are perfectly happy with the crate situation.

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PeaNut 220,508
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Posted: 10/2/2012 10:50:28 AM
We have always let our dogs roam. None of them, the three I had growing up, and the two I have had as an adult, has ever caused an issue. I never even really heard of crating a dog until about ten years ago. I never knew people did that.

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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:06:34 AM
My two year old Golden is crated during the day while I'm at work. He's out any time I'm at home. He sits outside my bedroom door while I get ready, and as soon as I come out and say "time for Mom to go to work!" he trots off to his crate and lays down.


PeaNut 274,252
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:18:17 AM
When we first got our dog we tried to crate him based on all the advice to do so. He absolutely hated it. He is a shelter dog so I don't know his history but he was so anxiety prone about that damn crate. I tried all the tricks to get him in there and he just did not like it. Any kind of blanket/pillow I would put in there he would absolutely shred. And it would be soaked from his drooling because I think he was just panting/barking the whole time we were gone. It was awful. So I just finally let him roam. And he never tore anything up. One time we locked him in my mom's laundry room as we hadn't had him long and didn't know what he would do and he tore her curtain off the wall. He obviously doesn't like to be locked into a confined space.

Since we have let him have space he has never gotten into any trouble. He doesn't chew on anything. He doesn't get into the trash. Sometimes, if the kids leave food somewhere, he'll find it, but that's few and far between. DH bought some little debbie snacks the other day and they have been on the ground by the cooler for 2 days. He hasn't touched them. I know we are very lucky


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PeaNut 138,098
March 2004
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:21:30 AM
Always in her crate. She is a Shih tzu and like it in there.


PeaNut 20,838
August 2001
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:26:22 AM
My dog gets anxiety when we leave and pees everywhere, so we used to crate her. Her crate is in the master bedroom, so now we just leave her in the master bedroom, with the crate, and leave the TV on for her. She does fine. I read that with dogs who have separation anxiety need the security of their crate or confinement when you leave, and it has worked with her.

You could see how she does without being crated, and if it's a problem go back to the crate. I was also worried about her being confined in there on days when we were going to be gone for a long time, and that's why I started confining her in the room with her crate. If we are going to be long more than 5-6 hours, I also leave a potty pad down for her, because I don't expect her to have to hold it that long.


PeaNut 273,602
August 2006
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:30:18 AM
we leave ours out if it will be a couple hours or less, but when we go to work M-F, they are in their crates during the day while we are gone.

We have 3 dogs and 2 cats, and there's just way too much opportunity for some sort of mayhem to ensue between them if they're all out all day long. They are always out when we're home, and do spend all night out- they usually just hang out and sleep next to our bed or on the tile in the entryway downstairs.

Our dogs are 2, 5, and 6... they know when it's time to go in, their crates are right next to each other, and I leave the radio on for them. Dogs don't really have a concept of 'time passing' like we do, so I don't think they think about how long it's been, or anything like that.

"Accepting anything without question is the antithesis of critical thinking and education. ~wren*walk, 8/20/12"

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PeaNut 36,163
April 2002
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:39:54 AM
He roams. He supervises. He thinks of ways to get extra walks.

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PeaNut 539,539
January 2012
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Posted: 10/2/2012 11:42:02 AM
We have a crate for our dog that stays in the utility room but we rarely close the door, the only time he has to stay in there is when we have our friend over that is severely allergic to dogs. Once it stops being so dang hot outside he will stay outside when we leave. Our yard is fenced in well and he's never tried to escape.
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