Okay, all you dog owners out there, I need advice. When did you start leaving your puppy alone for any length of time? Henry is 9 months (and ahem, a hair away from 100lbs) and we can barely leave him alone for 5 minutes. We currently have him gated in the kitchen/family room (where he is never left unsupervised), but really want to start giving him more freedom. He doesn't gnaw on the legs of the couch or tables (so far), but we're worried about pillows and the couch. He can destroy a squeaky toy in under 2 minutes, it's pretty epic. He is also tall enough to reach EVERYTHING. Towels on top of the fridge? NO PROBLEM. He can also reach anything on the counters or kitchen island, and frequently counter surfs for whatever he can find. Paper towels, magazines, mail of any kind - he doesn't discriminate.
So, do we just bite the bullet and try to trust him, hoping for the best? We were thinking of trying to leave him alone for 10 mins, and if he's good just keep increasing the time gradually. I would like him to eventually be out of his crate during the day while we're at work, but I don't want to be constantly worried. We've heard people say their pups calmed down at 2 years old, do we have to wait another year before he can be left out of the crate? I guess it's a case by case basis because we have friends whose puppy could be left out of the crate at 6 months and was perfect. I think we just have a high maintenance pup. He did graduate from puppy class and then intermediate class from PetSmart (and promptly ate his certificate the next day) so he's not a total hellion he does know some commands. We're still working on "off" though.
We had friends whose lab puppy ate the entire back of their sectional, so that is definitely in the back of our minds. I'd love to hear your experience with trusting your puppy. Did he or she destroy anything major?