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When to stop using crate?

March 22nd, 2007, 09:53 AM
Need experienced opinions here...

My baby is going to be 1 year old on April 18th :dog: :love:
We have recently stopped crating her at bedtime, and my goal is to stop crating her period.
My intention is to remove her crate and put her comfy bed in it's spot. We crate trained with every intention of it only for training purposes and only until she was trust-able.

She is NOT a chewer (we are very lucky!) The kids leave toys out and she does not bother them, and as fair as potty training she does great (except for an occasional poop right at the back door if we may have blocked out her I have to go potty tap dance that she performs.

I guess that taking away the crate depends on the dog itself. We have tried leaving her out when we were away from home before and she seems to get cocky after a couple of weeks and so we start crating her again.
I have been going on short jaunts and leaving her out... bringing kids to school, etc.

What is typical stopping crate age, and input on how people have stopped using theirs, etc.


Thanks is advance

March 22nd, 2007, 10:24 AM
You are very right - when you stop crating depends on the dog!

When you first let the dog out of the crate, you want to make sure you are setting her up for success. So, that means making sure she is WELL exercised beforehand; plenty of opportunity to potty; picking up/putting away everything (even if she has NEVER chewed anything); and leaving her in 1 room - perhaps the bedroom - and gradually letting her have the run of the house. Leave the crate open so she has the option to go in and sleep in her comfort zone and make sure you leave interactive toys (frozen kongs or a treat ball etc..)
You are doing the right thing by only leaving her loose for short trips at first but since she gets "cocky" - you are probably giving her too much freedom too soon... She needs to work up to having the entire run of the house.

I never crate trained because Dodger would hurt himself trying to get out...So he was loose in my room from 3 months old and loose in the entire house by 6 months.

Good luck!

March 22nd, 2007, 12:53 PM
you're right infortunately my pups cant be trusted outta the crate right now, not sure if they ever will be able to:sad: but i dont crate at night. give her a little more time, uncrate for 10mins unattended, then 20, then 30 then try and hour, then a few hours, and build up to where you feel comfortable. dogs can be much diiferent uncrated when your not home compared to when your sleeping. and yes exercised dog is essential.
also make sure before you leave the house there is nothing you want them to get into while your gone out and i suggest keeping garbages empty while your gone.

March 22nd, 2007, 12:57 PM
I did not stop crating my boy until he was 3 years old! However, it was a trust thing! However, what I wanted to say was that he is 7 now and he still has his crate...I never removed it because he loves to go lay down in long as I dont shut the door.....He will disappear and I will find him asleep in the crate...or I can tell when he is not feeling well because he will go in there and lay down...

I also started slowly...left him for a hour..returned...Then next time extending the time until I could leave him all day out of the crate!

March 22nd, 2007, 01:12 PM
It depends on not only the dog, but your training and leadership as well. I did exactly the same thing as Lissa, and my dog was trusted to be left alone (full run of the house) by the time he was 6 months old.

What do you mean she gets "cocky" after a couple weeks? This might be your problem, and not the crate training at all. It could be that she gets bored, excited to see you, is not exercised enough, is allowed to get away with too much when you ARE at home (or when you return)... It sounds to me that giving your dog this freedom, in his mind, raises his rank in the pack. And if it's not that, then he might just be looking for attention (does he have seperation anxiety?).

What if you left the room, but not the house (go in your room, close the door, remain quiet)? Would he wait quietly, or put up a fuss?

We crate trained with every intention of it only for training purposes and only until she was trust-able.

If you want to train your dog to be left alone in the house (and to be trusted), you need to remove the crate completely, and train your dog to be "left alone in the house" by teaching her what she is allowed to do (and what she's not allowed to do - ie. no chewing shoes while you're gone). Your dog is already crate trained. ;)

March 22nd, 2007, 01:58 PM
haha! Something just made me think of this thread. It's a HORRIBLE wet day outside so I'm taking it easy today. It's RARE that I get up and just sit on my computer for a few hours (but I digress).

So I've been sitting here for a while, drinking my coffee, chewing on twizzlers (best breakfast ever), and I just got up to go to the bathroom. My dog isn't where he was (in the living room), so instead calling him, I decided to sneak a look downstairs. He's laying on the rug by the front door.

Anyway, my point is that this is how I trained him to be alone. I'd go into my room and just be quiet for a while. I'd come out to check on him, then go back into my room. So he can now be trusted to be left alone... like right now. I don't even think he knows I'm home. :laughing:

March 23rd, 2007, 02:34 AM
Cider stopped sleeping in hers at about 6 months.. Cider was crated any time I couldn't watch her till the last 4-6 months though. She'll be three in september.

I slowly weaned her to spending time in my room with the crate in here a trip to the grocery store.. hair appt.. showers, etc.. and built it up. Going to work and having my family let her out of my room to be with them at noon so it was like 3 hours alone..

She pretty much chooses to watch the world out the window and sleep. Took a long time to get there though, and I wouldn't trust her in more than just my room. Too much to get into with a family of 4 you can't control.

August 25th, 2016, 03:19 PM
My puppy german sheperd is now 3 months old. I installed a doggie door last week and he took right to it. We have not had any oops in the house since last week. I blocked off part of the house and left gunny access to the doggie door. He has been going out and doing his business outside in the back dog run area. I began leaving him alone for 15 to 20 minutes to begin with. I have left him alone for up to 2 1/2 hours since. Each time I have returned home there has not been any accidents. I do crate him at night because he sleeps in our bedroom. But I am leaning towards trying leaving the crate door open or just move his bed out of the crate. I would give him access to the doggie door during the night so he could go as he needs to. After reading some posts I will definitely keep the crate available so gunny can use it as he wants to. Does this sound as something I should try out or is he still too young? Gunny continues to use the doggie door to go out and do his business. I will have to leave his chew toys out so he can teeth on them. So far so good.

August 25th, 2016, 05:55 PM
Welcome to the board, 2016Gunny! Gunny sounds like a sweetheart! :lovestruck:

3 months is usually a little young to be giving him the freedom of some of the house at night. It's easy enough for them to backtrack--and if he starts having accidents in the house or getting into trouble, you'll have to crate him again. Not the end of the world, but I always hate having to go backward in training if it can be avoided. So it might be best to wait a few more months until you're absolutely certain he's rock solid on the house training and won't be chewing on your fine furniture while unsupervised at night. (Remember, he's just getting ready to teethe and that's going to bring out the chewing instinct in him.)

If you do try it, though, make sure you've gone over every area he has access to and puppy-proofed it. They can get up to a lot of mischief in the middle of the night :D

August 25th, 2016, 11:55 PM
Thank you for the advice. I'll probably wait at least another month to see how he continues to do his business outside using the doggie door. Your are correct in that I don't want to go backwards since he is going forward so nicely. I take your advice on teething as well. It will be better to go through teething stage before I give him more unsupervised alone time. Thanks again.

August 26th, 2016, 04:49 PM
Please keep us posted on how Gunny is doing. And a few pics wouldn't be taken amiss if you have a couple to share with us! :D

September 28th, 2016, 12:23 AM
stopped using the crate at night when my pup was about 5 months old. She had been consistently going through the night without asking to go out, so we moved her to our bed and she did great. She would still occasionally ask to go out (whining and crying a bit), but that's all I required - that she asked and not just pee in my bed! :lol: