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Leaving dog in the house alone question

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Keeva

My name is- Gaelic for- "Gentle"
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 9:22pm PST 
I would like to hear if any of you leave your dogs alone in the house....not in a crate...when you leave for a short time like a trip to the store. My DH seems to think we should start doing this with our pup. She is one year old and really the only time we have left her alone we put her in a large crate. I think he thinks she is old enough now to stay inside without the crate. This is the way he wants to train her....we would go out into the garage leaving her in the house. One of us would drive the car away (the other one of us hide in the backyard where we can listen and observe possibly through a window). We would do this many times...lengthening the time. Do you think this is a good way or idea? She doesn't really get into things but I don't want to start something we will regret. I think my DH just doesn't want to haul the big crate into the house every time we need to leave. Any thoughts on his idea? Do any of you leave your dogs alone and not in a crate? Thanks!
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Chance

How You Doin'?
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 10:06pm PST 
Our neighbors are the only people we know that crate their housebroken dog when they leave but that is to keep him from harassing and getting beaten up by their cat. Their other dog is not crated.
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Farley

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 10:10pm PST 
I got Farley as a pup when I was 16 and didn't know much about dog training. I really didn't know or understand the value of crate-training. So, unfortunately I never accustomed him to a crate. He does have one, a soft-sided canine camper, and he does use it, and knows his "kennel" command, but I never close it up and leave him in it. It is there for him to go in and out of when he pleases, and that's it.

When we leave him, he has the entire house to himself (it's *almost* always dog-proofed and certain doors are kept closed). I make sure he's exercised and I leave him with a treat ball when I go, and he's usually fine. Now and then, he will find something to get into, but very seldom.

I see nothing wrong with crating a dog while you are away from home, providing the dog likes the crate and is comfortable staying in it for the period you will be gone. I also know people that use X-pens and I think those are a great idea too. I don't worry about it with Farley because he is quite good with the whole house to himself (less stressed than if left in a confined space) but it certainly depends on the dog. There is lots an energetic bored puppy can get up to when left alone smile

ETA if you do want to try leaving your dog loose in the house when gone, make sure it's totally dog-proofed (Farley sometimes gets into things I didn't even KNOW I had). Block off certain areas if they are off limits, give pup some exercise before leaving and it's always nice to leave the dog with a safe toy to keep them busy while they're alone- Farley loves his green StarMark treat dispensing chew ball, it comes in 3 sizes and is the only treat ball he hasn't been able to destroy yet. Farley doesn't have separation anxiety but it is nice for him to get a fun toy/treats when we leave, so it makes a positive association with us leaving.

Starting off with shorter periods of time can be useful, and slowly increasing them depending on your dog's progress. It sounds like you really want to give it a shot, so I say go for it. big grin

Edited by author Tue Nov 13, '12 10:20pm PST

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Kelpie

Foxy girl!
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 10:13pm PST 
I think most people leave their dogs home alone without a crate. I think crating is really only necessary if there are behavior problems (being destructive, excessive barking, etc.).

I think the idea of trying it for short periods of time to see if any problems develop is good. Make sure she has a comfy place to sleep (which is what she's going to be doing most of the time), her favorite toys, etc. She'll be fine.
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Kashmir- ♥ CGC

Boxer Beach Bum
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 2:15am PST 
Our girls get run of the house when we are gone. Kashmir had to be crated until she will about 3 because she would counter surf and chew things. When we stared leaving her out we would redog proof the house and then she didnt chew anything.
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 4:02am PST 
Building up to it is a great idea. All of my 4 dogs are able to be loose in the house when I am gone now -- I do have crates available if they want to go in those. Two were fine with this before age one -- the others I got as adults.
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 5:34am PST 
Mine are about half and half since I normally have 8 - 10 in the house. If I leave them all out someone will get into trouble but if I leave some out it's okay. I usually alternate who is crated and who is out.
For a short trip I leave them all out.
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 6:55am PST 
She would likely be fine given the run of the house at this point, but I would make sure she still has the option to go inside a crate if she wants to. Sometimes dogs that have been used to being kenneled when left alone get anxious when they suddenly have all that space.
Make sure you start slowly, take her out to pee right before you leave and give her something to work on (stuffed Kong etc.) while you're gone.
Lupi was given the run of the house from about 6 months old. She loves looking out the window while we're gone, but often just naps most of the time.
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Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 9:06am PST 
You probably don't need to 'fool' your dog with the car etc. laugh out loud Leave your pup for increasing time and see what happens. Your pup's sense of time is not sophisticated. I assume that Charks entertains herself just like she does when we are home... nap, chew a bone, nap some more. I do have a web cam as part of our security system... and will sometimes see her snoozing in one of her normal spots.

We tried some short times, let her stay out for longer times and moved to 'no concerns' from there. Should a squirrel break into the house, all bets are off.

We make sure that there are chews and water available, and a light or two on if it will be dark before we get home. For Charks and for her predecessor, Nestle, it was not a big deal.
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Noah

Herpaderp-apotam- us
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 3:36pm PST 
I leave Noah crated if we're not there. I'm not the slightest bit concerned that he would cause problems if he weren't, but if he is crated, then I KNOW he won't cause problems. I'm pretty positive the only issue I might have is him barking at people passing by and I personally am quite annoyed by barking dogs so I err on the side of leaving him in the crate. He just sleeps all day anyway.
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