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I have a 6-month old JRT mix (ok, so he's not quite adult yet, but he is house trained) ... and I'm wondering if it's better to leave him in his crate while I'm at work or allow him to roam the house by himself ...?

He's in the crate from 8 am until 12 noon when the dog walker comes. Then back in from 12:30 until around 5:00. He barks occasionally when I put him in there (sometimes for around 30-min) ... but he is calm the rest of the time.

My concern with leaving him home is I'd be afraid he'd injure himself on something. But that said ... I'd LOVE to be able to do that.

What's the latest on this ...?

Thanks!!!
 

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At 6 months, housetraining isn't the only issue. There's a huge risk he'll chew or eat the wrong thing and kill himself. I'd contain him in some way for the foreseeable future.
 

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Fair point ... but how do dogs ever get to the point of knowing not to chew or eat the wrong things ...? In other words, is it more that a home needs to be "dog-proofed" ... or is it the maturity of the dog ...? Just curious.
 

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It depends largely on the dog. Some dogs are never really inclined to chew things, some grow out of it between a year and 5 years, some never can be trusted. Most dogs grow out of chewing all the things by age 2 to 2.5.

That being said, if you own a dog of any age, some dog proofing is always a good idea. Always put shoes and dirty clothes away, always keep the counters free of food, etc.
 

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Fair point ... but how do dogs ever get to the point of knowing not to chew or eat the wrong things ...? In other words, is it more that a home needs to be "dog-proofed" ... or is it the maturity of the dog ...? Just curious.
I'm interested in this as well... as a pup, Aspen chewed a lot of stuff... including my coffee table leg :( Now she's 13 months old and I'd like to start leaving her out when I'm not home but my bf is concerned that she'll chew things. She has millions of toys to play with and I have noticed a little bit of maturity lately so I don't think it would be an issue.

I was thinking of starting with a short amount of time and working my way up to gauge how she'll react to her new found freedom.
 

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It's dog dependent. I have had dogs in the past that always had to be gated in some way because they loved chewing and being naughty.

My current dog is, for lack of better words...an angel...and she has had free run of the house since she was 4-5 months old. She never potties in the house or destroyed anything and I work very long hours some days.

I don't think all dogs grow out of it either. If I were you I'd dog proof the house and try leaving the pup alone in short intervals and see how they do. Gradually build it up.
 

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Levi is the same, even as a pup, he chewed on his own toys, nothing more. I don't leave food out on the coffee table, because I think that would be too irresistible for him. He has free range of our whole house, he basically lays on my clothes and waits for us to get back.
 

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I have always gradually worked up to leaving them loose, so as not to set them up for failure. Leaving them in one room that's fairly dog proofed for a short amount of time, and slowly working up to longer. I always keep my house dog proofed to some degree, but much more so with a dog i don't trust.

I agree with others, some grow out of being destructive, and some never do. Chess has been allowed loose since she was a puppy, as she practically potty trained herself and never chewed anything. Echo is still a work in progress, but at a little over a year can be left loose for short periods.
 

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Never having had a puppy before ... I worry about things like electrical wires (TV, lamp cords, etc.). Is this a real hazard or do dogs not generally chew/injure themselves on such things ...?
 

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Levi never bothered with cords, Heidi is like a magnet for danger. Cords, stairs, dryer sheets. She is going to require longer term containment than Levi did.
 
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Never having had a puppy before ... I worry about things like electrical wires (TV, lamp cords, etc.). Is this a real hazard or do dogs not generally chew/injure themselves on such things ...?

My last dog never injured himself chewing these things, but he sure injured my pockets. He loved to chew on cords. I had to replace several laptop/phone chargers and cords to various different things in the house. Sometimes I would have to buy a whole new appliance because I couldn't replace the item.

Being gated off in a semi-large area worked for us. Dogs aren't going to be running around back and forth when you're gone...they are going to be sleeping.

Even my dog that has free roam of the house now, as soon as I leave she goes to her spot on the couch and sleeps.
 

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I'm wondering this about my pup too... we've only had her for three weeks but when we are home and aren't able to keep a close eye on her, or if we are just going to be gone for a couple hours, we've been gating her in the kitchen and she's been doing very well. She basically just sleeps on her bed, gets up occasionally to stretch and look outside, then goes back to sleeping. When we're at work and at night she is crated. She really hates being in her crate during the day, but at night she goes in and sleeps with no issues. I feel like three weeks is an awfully short time to allow a transition from crate to gated area, especially since our kitchen is large and open, with only two areas that a gate could be placed (meaning her gated area is very large). I feel better with her in a crate because she's safe in there, but at the same time I don't like her being in there for long periods of time. We're going to try gating her tomorrow while we're both at work and see how it goes. If she starts chewing anything other than her chew toys we'll have to go back to the crate until she is a little older.
 

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Six months is still a baby. In terms of maturity and phsyical development, most dogs are considered adult at around three years of age.

I'm personally not a huge fan of crates, but some dogs require them for various reasons (owners being ignorant/not training dogs, owners not caring, dogs feeling more comfortable in crates, incontinent dogs, etc.). If your pup is house trained, does your home allow for you to set up an enclosed area for him? You could start out with a pen or baby gates enclosing a room, and make sure he has enough to keep him occupied throughout the day (peanut butter frozen in a kong is a life saver, and you could keep an extra in the freezer for your walker to give to him halfway through the day).

A few test days could tell you if he's ready to be out of the crate. Generally only a bored or untrained dog will mess around with things they shouldn't. If he has enough toys for mental stimulation, it shouldn't be an issue. If there is a problem, take it back a step. No big deal.

If all fails, at least he's only in a crate for nine hours and out whenever you're home. I have one client with five dogs... no matter whether they're out or at home, the dogs are in their crates 23 hours a day, and that just makes me really sad...
 

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I have a 6-month old JRT mix (ok, so he's not quite adult yet, but he is house trained) ... and I'm wondering if it's better to leave him in his crate while I'm at work or allow him to roam the house by himself ...?

He's in the crate from 8 am until 12 noon when the dog walker comes. Then back in from 12:30 until around 5:00. He barks occasionally when I put him in there (sometimes for around 30-min) ... but he is calm the rest of the time.

My concern with leaving him home is I'd be afraid he'd injure himself on something. But that said ... I'd LOVE to be able to do that.

What's the latest on this ...?

Thanks!!!
Does your pup sleep in his crate during the night? If so, you can try him at night loose when you are still home but he'll still be unsupervised to a degree. Gauge how he does and go from there. Or have him loose while you go to the store quickly.

I am a huge fan of gates. I have a gate at every single doorway here, helps a great deal. Would you be able to gate him in the kitchen, a hallway, or somewhere safe?
 
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