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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fairly certain I've either posted a threat like this before or seen one in the past, but that was a while ago.

I'm curious, when did you stop crating? (If you stopped.) How did you go about phasing out the crate? Were there signs that signaled to you that your dog was ready to be crate-free? How did you handle regressions in terms of chewing up the house and potty training? I'm curious about the last question because you obviously aren't home when your dog is home alone, and can't catch him in the act.

My answer: After one unsuccessful stint out of his crate in my bathroom (there was a potty training regression), I've determined that, for now, Merlin should probably stay crated for at least a little while longer when I leave him home alone and we'll be working on not eliminating in my bathroom.

What about everyone else? Have you had difficulties eliminating the crate or did it all go peachy the first time around?
 

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My dogs are only a year old, and we still crate fairly often. The only thing I do not do any longer is crating at night. Stella is VERY well housetrained and will wake me in the night if she has to go. So I let her sleep in my bed with me. Tyrion is still not housetrained but he sleeps really well and in my mom's bed. She (or I) hear him if he wakes up so we can take him out then. In terms of being alone in the house for more than a few minutes, we always crate them. The house would likely be under an inch of urine if we didn't confine him! Due to his medical/peeing issues I don't think Tyrion will ever, in his life be able to not be crated when alone. Stella would also get very destructive from boredom. We actually can't even leave a blanket in her crate when we go out because she chews holes in them. So at best she just gets a nylabone in her crate. Depending on how she matures Stella might be able to be left alone without a crate for a while, at least in an area that doesn't have too many enticing things to destroy!

I think it all depends on your dog if you're going to leave them alone, free in the house. If they're well housebroken and not destructive then I think that's when it's fine. The last dogs we had were Doxies who we wouldn't crate but we would always confine them to the kitchen when we left. I haven't had a dog we left we compete free range in the house in a decade actually. Hopefully I didn't ramble too much and actually answered your question!
 

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We used a crate for Samantha when we first brought her home. She hated the crate, and resisted getting into it, though we continued to use it at night, and when we left her alone at home. When we were confidant she had mastered the potty training, we began to use the crate less and less. She slept with us at night, and we confined her to two rooms of the house when we left her. She soon earned the right to be restriction free in the house at all times, and has never been crated since. I would guess the entire process took no more than five or six weeks at the most.
 

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I don't stop crating...
Need to for dog events and training, classes, seminars/workshops, travel, etc.

I do overtime allow my guys to be free at home when I'm gone. Well each has a room (safety in a multidog home). I start with smaller spaces and short times (give stuffed kong and other toys)and increase space and time with reliability and success.
I start almost right away. My puppy's first space was an expen and open crate in my kitchen. Graduated to the whole kitchen pretty quickly. Still is crated sometimes or kept in kitchen.
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Similar to kmes, I never stop crating. My dogs need to be able to deal with the crate because they will need to be in them often enough (vet, agility/shows, demo dogs in training class etc.) that I always need them to be comfortable in their crates.
Levi was out of his crate at night around 7 months, and Heidi was about the same. I alternate between putting them in crates and leaving them free when we leave the house. They never really know when they will be in their crate or if they will roam free.
 
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We never started crating.
until they were fine being alone without destroying anything we puppy-proved our kitchen and locked them there when we were out.
both were able to roam free in the house when they were around 1 year old, if I remember right.
 

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I have a crate that I've used sometimes as a "safe" space for Chisum to be when guests come over. We worked a lot on him liking it, he'd even go in on command, but the stress of knowing people were in the house was too much I think and he hates it. He is usually just put free in my room in those situations now and does really well.

Otherwise, we've never really crated much here - my dad doesn't like them so we just don't. We have an exercise room with a tile floor where they are left as puppies when we leave. It took a looong time to get Sophie to where she was free to roam - I think she was about 2. My brother was living at home at the time and taking college classes, so he started out leaving her out of the room for the hour or so he was gone for class. As she had a long track record of no destruction, she stayed out longer and now we never put her away.

Chisum, I'm not sure. He's kind of a whirlwind and notorious for getting into stuff he shouldn't. I'm sure eventually he'll be trusted - we left him out once for a couple of hours while we ran to town and he did awesome - but I'd give it another year at least.

In the future, I'll use a crate with puppies, ya know - when I'm living on my own. ;)
 

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I have never crated any of my dogs either. I don't believe in crating and kind of feel bad for animals that are crated :( it reminds me of being in jail..

However, if I were trying to get a dog used to being out of the crate and home alone, I would maybe start by leaving a radio on (because they may feel comfortable hearing someone (which helps with separation anxiety) and/or they think someone's home and won't get into mischief). Also, I would leave for short amounts of time with them out of the crate (even to just go outside for a bit). Maybe start with 10 mins, then 20 mins, etc. until the dog realizes you are coming back. They will more than likely not tear anything up after they get used to it. Just be sure give them plenty of exercise before leaving them and allow access to toys to keep them occupied at all times! My dog just plays with her toys and sleeps when I'm at work.

Hope this helps.
Kerri
 

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I never use a crate either. I have one big room with a dog door to the backyard that gets fully puppy proofed, and always stays filled with toys and chews and nylabones and kongs, and my adult dogs stay with the pup there as well. I've never had an issue. I stay home the majority of the time with my pup and use constant supervision, frequent breaks and a mix of redirection and training an alternate behavior to avoid chewing. Accidents do sometimes happen when I do have to leave, but it's usually not that big of a deal and doesn't set back training. My pups learn to use the door very quickly.

I guess I've always felt it would be harder to crate train and then transition to free roam than it is to just do free roam in the first place. Plus I'm just not ok with putting a pup in a crate and letting it cry, which is often inevitable since most people have to leave the pup in the crate before it becomes fully crate trained, or they often do when they go to bed at night. My pups sleep in my bed so they wake me when they need to go.

I do crate train later on just to make sure the dog is comfortable in a crate and can relax. But the crate doesn't stay out and isn't used for management or confinement.
 

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I never use a crate either. I have one big room with a dog door to the backyard that gets fully puppy proofed, and always stays filled with toys and chews and nylabones and kongs, and my adult dogs stay with the pup there as well. I've never had an issue. I stay home the majority of the time with my pup and use constant supervision, frequent breaks and a mix of redirection and training an alternate behavior to avoid chewing. Accidents do sometimes happen when I do have to leave, but it's usually not that big of a deal and doesn't set back training. My pups learn to use the door very quickly.

I guess I've always felt it would be harder to crate train and then transition to free roam than it is to just do free roam in the first place. Plus I'm just not ok with putting a pup in a crate and letting it cry, which is often inevitable since most people have to leave the pup in the crate before it becomes fully crate trained, or they often do when they go to bed at night. My pups sleep in my bed so they wake me when they need to go.

I do crate train later on just to make sure the dog is comfortable in a crate and can relax. But the crate doesn't stay out and isn't used for management or confinement.
Hi Tiggerbounce,
You make a great point - I too think it would be much harder to try to crate train the pup and then train to free roam.. It's like teaching the dog twice. Very hard for us and confusing and hard for the pup! Besides, theres an old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" meaning it is MUCH harder for older dogs to change routine/change. I think teaching to free roam is the best from the start. The key is to puppy proof everything and take away anything expensive or chewable. LOL
 

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Chess as soon as she was potty trained, at about 3-4 months. She never got into anything or destroyed things or even had an accident.

Echo is almost 2 and for the most part can be left out in my bedroom, although we've had one or 2 setbacks. She did great starting at about a year, and about 5 months ago decided to destroy everything in sight. I still have no idea why, she never had before and I keep my room picked up very well. I crated her for about a month after that(when she had to be inside, I mostly leave them outside when the weather's ok when I'm gone) and now she's back to being fine left out.

I think something people are missing here is that not everyone has a room that they can totally dogproof. It's great that some do, but don't knock people for crating their dog when that may not be an option. Also some dogs are much worse than others. If you choose not to use one, great. But saying it's inhumane is a bit rude to those that do.

I don't love leaving my dogs crated. I leave them outside as much as possible if I'm away. If I had to crate long term then I probably wouldn't have dogs, because that's not much of a life(if you're gone a lot like me). But as a training aid I think it's great.

Also-kids and dogs are not the same. I don't think that's an ok comparison, one is animal and one is human. If you've ever loved a child like your own or had one, it's just not the same.
 

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Please be sure to follow forum rules when posting.
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Stay on topic (Rule #3). This thread IS NOT about personal feelings regarding training. It is about how to transition or train a dog to be reliable when left alone free in the home.

Please be polite, or at least civil (Rule #1). No need for snarkiness, rudeness, etc. Crating can be a controversial topic... but if you cannot post in a civil manner, then don't post. And again, this thread is not about opinions on crating!

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Discussion Starter #15
@kmes If I had realized this thread would go the direction it's gone, I wouldn't have posted it. I apologize. = / I guess things have changed more than I thought since I was on last, as there were more people who seemed to find crating acceptable when I first joined. (I shouldn't be so surprised that things have changed so much in two years.)
 

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Missed the drama. Cadence, I'm not sure why you feel the need to apologize. Your question is a legitimate one.

I can't be of any help, though. I adopted an older dog who does fine having access to much of the house when we're out. We just have to be careful to shut the bathroom doors as he'll go in, knock over the waste cans, and empty them. (ARGH!!!)
 

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@kmes If I had realized this thread would go the direction it's gone, I wouldn't have posted it. I apologize. = / I guess things have changed more than I thought since I was on last, as there were more people who seemed to find crating acceptable when I first joined. (I shouldn't be so surprised that things have changed so much in two years.)
No need to apologize! You did absolutely nothing wrong! :)

You're most welcome to post questions like in your original post anytime. I really want you to get the help/answers you came here for, not a bunch of drama. That's why I put up that warning. ;)
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Discussion Starter #18
I think part of the issue with Merlin is that he only really gets to roam around the living room/kitchen area in my apartment. I have the bedroom and bathroom gated off (after a peeing incident when we first moved in in August). Maybe I need to work with him some to acclimate him to the bathroom as part of the rest of the apartment first, and then try leaving him out for a short period of time. I guess we'll see! Crating is working out really well for him, I would just love to remove the crate entirely, eventually. Right now he's really only in it when I'm not home, and I limit it to about 6-8 hours at a most (usually closer to 6, though).
 

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Yes! That sounds like a plan. Give supervised access for a while. Capture and reward good behavior. Interrupt anything you dislike and redirect to an activity you approve of. Then after a while (no accidents or problems) extend his ''home alone'' area to include the new space. Wait a while. If no accidents/issues over a couple weeks, then you can start introducing another new area.

Honestly though that time in a crate is ok. Especially since he's comfy and gets plenty of attention the rest of the day.

Also it's great you're managing him well. Management ime is key in teaching a dog house manners and to be reliable inside alone. Without good management, dogs get all sorts of reinforcement for unwanted behavior...
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@kmes I think I'll do just that. He does just fine when he's in the bathroom with me while I'm showering and getting ready, but I only just started that. He usually stays in bed and sleeps longer when I'm getting up and ready for the day. Maybe I'll working on allowing him in the bathroom more often. Thank you!

And thanks to everyone else who has lent me some advice. I'll let you guys know if something goes really well (or horribly wrong haha).
 
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