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Free Roam of the house?

Dozer's Mama
June 27th, 2006, 11:45 PM
My dog is a 1 year old bulldog/boxer cross. He was crate trained from day one and did very well with it. He used to sleep in his crate at night but just recently we haven't been putting him in it and he sleeps all night on the floor just fine. However, he still goes into the crate when we leave the house. I have tried leaving him loose in the house when I take out the garbage or if I'm just gone for a minute and he freaks out!! He runs from the patio window to the door and howls. This might be because he can see me outside and he wants to come too? Anyway, I was just wondering how to start introducing him to being loose in the house by himself. I mean it's not that big of a deal but I just feel so bad when I have to go to work and he's locked in the kennel for 8 hours. I was thinking that I could start by just putting him in a room, and then eventually work from there? I know that he likes the kennel because most nights he sleeps in there with the door open anyway. So maybe this might just be a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it? But realistically, am I going to have to put him in the kennel forever whenever we go out? Any input is appreciated.

June 27th, 2006, 11:52 PM
It depends upon the dog. Some may never be able to handle it, or it could take years to work up to still. Have you tried leavign your dog in a room while taking out the garbage or some other activity that's super short, rather than letting him have full view of what's going on?

June 28th, 2006, 12:02 AM
While I never felt the need to crate my rottweiler, I can tell you that I doubt that I will ever allow my pom free run of my house when I am not home or during the night.

This priveledge, I feel, is dependant completely on the dog involved and there is no set rule of age.

Dozer's Mama
June 28th, 2006, 12:19 AM
I have never tried to leave him in a room for a short period of time. In all honesty, he seems to be really comfortable with the routine of going into the kennel and its mostly just me who feels I will try that though and then listen outside to see if he makes a lot of noise. We live in a 4-plex (like a duplex, but its 4 units instead of 2), so the noise is a factor.

June 28th, 2006, 09:04 AM
we also live in a 4-plex where noise is a factor :) My 8-mth girl is crated during the day from 9 to 5:30pm, while my boy has free roam of the house. Both dogs sleep in the bedroom with us and are free to go where they want while we are home. We crate her because a) she likes to dig in my plants and i don't trust her not to chew our stuff and b) for the dogs' protection, they can't get into judo matches or trash our place if they are seperated.
When our girl sees us get ready for work in the morning, she just goes into her crate and falls asleep, it's her routine now and she does not mind. i know she sleeps all day because on the weekends, she's grumpy because she doesn't get her 9-hour siesta, LOL! her wire-crate is huge, well-ventilated, in the living-room so she's close to my boy, she has a water pail, her food bowl and toys in there too. she will probably be crated for a long while, we feel safer that way all around.... :thumbs up

June 28th, 2006, 09:18 AM
When Harley was just over a year old, I began to gate her in the kitchen during the day rather than crate her. Thought it would be nice to give her the extra room while I was at work. We had quit using the crate for nights when she was about six months old, with no issues whatsoever, so I felt pretty sure that she'd do okay during the days.

She was very well behaved with this arrangement for about the first month or so. Not a thing out of place, just a little angel.

Then she slowly started to get herself into trouble during the day. I'd come home, and each day it was something different. Started with her opening the cabinets in the kitchen. Blocked those so she couldn't get in. Then she moved to the drawers built into my cabinets, lowest drawer first. When I booby trapped that, she'd move up a drawer. Destroyed a number of kitchen towels and various other things in the process.

She was just to smart for her own good. She got to the point where she wouldn't even open the lower drawers (or maybe she closed them) once she knew there was nothing to get into there!!!

So I've had to go back to putting her in the crate while we're out. She doesn't seem too terribly put out by the situation. She'll come back into the house after her last bio break before I leave, and go right into the crate without me having to say a word.

Eventually, I'll try leaving her out again, perhaps when she gets a bit older.

June 28th, 2006, 11:29 AM
He's just not done cooking yet. He is still young and the insecurity he is showing tells me that he still needs his security blanket (crate). Keep using it for now - don't create failure by stressing him too much.
Some dogs do better in a small environment when you are gone, others would freak out in the small enclosure - so do what suits his needs and personality right now.
As he matures and gains confidence you can start desensitizing him to your leaving and not using the crate.

June 29th, 2006, 12:49 PM
My doggy--maltese x-- was never crate trained, though he was kept in a crate pretty much 24/7 (long story, terrible and not worth re-telling for these purposes). As soon as I got him, I started crating him at night. I have 3 cats and his presence in the house disrupted their normal cuddling routine at night. So I crated him so that they could come & cuddle with me at night. It took him a long time to get used to that, and to accept that it was ok. He has separation anxiety and I tried crating him during the day, but because he wasn't housetrained when I got him and had spent his puppy-hood in the crate and had never learned to be clean in it, he made a heck of a mess in it everyday. He needed to be bathed and the crate scrubbed top to bottom and sometimes the walls behind/beside needed to be cleaned too! This was the same crate he was kept in at night--about 3' long, 2' wide and 3' tall--and he's a little dog, only about 9 lbs. Unfortunately, where I was living at the time wasn't suitable for other alternatives, so I had to wait until I got a house. Now that I have a house, we rigged a baby-gate across the front entry (it's the right shape for it) and he stays in there now. I leave him a blanket, food, water, a puppy pad (he trained me about where was the best place for it), and I leave the radio on. I also started walking him in the morning, religiously. We have it figured out now. He chewed through one baby-gate, pulled a different one out of the wall (drywall screws) and so now he's working on trying to destroy a 1/2" thick sheet of MDF (fat chance!!). He can't wait 8 hours to pee, but always pees on the puppy pad. He does howl, but that's not a change from the first day I had him. I doubt that'll ever stop, but since I'm in a single-family house, it's ok as my neighbours can't hear him.

My point with this long story; it's normal to feel guilty about leaving your pooch at home during the day, but if the crate is properly sized and he's happy in it, there's no reason to feel bad about him being crated. If you feel guilty, consider getting a larger crate (so he can stretch out), if possible, or build your own. Or perhaps, if he won't test boundaries, you can try using one of those exercise pens and put a cover on the top. Then he'd have plenty of room. Of course, your house may not work with that. Personally, I think it's better for a dog that's happy in a crate to be in a crate during the day. If they're not happy in a crate, and can be trusted in the house, then go for it, but if they're not happy being loose, then it's not worth it. They can hurt themselves or destroy your house, and that's not worth the risk.


Dozer's Mama
June 29th, 2006, 01:12 PM
Thank you for all the feedback! I agree that if he is happy in the crate that I shouldn't really mess with that at this time. He definitely doesn't mind the crate, like I said most nights that he's loose, he ends up sleeping in there all night anyway. We have a routine that works for us, so unless he starts to show signs of not wanting to go in the crate or I feel he's unhappy in there, I might as well just leave well enough alone. Sometimes I just can't get over the guilty feeling...but I know I'm not alone there.

June 29th, 2006, 01:30 PM
You could always arrange to have someone take him out for a walk or something in the afternoons... so that he's not alone/locked up all day. Or maybe you have a nice boss and a work environment that would let you bring him to work with you one day a week or even a month? Though it's too late, there is always International Take Your Dog to Work Day (which was June 23 this year). I had it all planned to take my dog with me and then my boss dropped a conference that I had to go to for that day on me... the night before! I was sad. But my dog is allowed to come to work basically whenever I want, so it wasn't the end of the world. Anyhow, a link for next year: International Take Your Dog to Work Day (

The guilt gets me too.. so I try to make up for it by spoiling him on the weekends when I'm home and by buying him lots of toys & treats. For some reason, I don't feel as guilty about locking one of my cats in the basement all day (he is mean to the others when I'm not there). Strange...