Thursday, January 31, 2013

Learning to Trust.....Your Dog.

[who me?]

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? 



  1. We never gated our pups and our medium sized dog is almost 5 and is far from calm, but our small dog is 3 and is mostly calm. The only time we ever find that they get into mischief though is if they 1. haven't had any exercise or 2. don't have enough bones or toys to chew on when they get the urge. I know all dogs are different just like babies though, but thats my advice. A tired dog is a happy dog in our house.

  2. Oh these hounds! We started keeping Floyd in the kitchen with a baby gate at maybe 6 months or so? He did pretty well. We are just now (he'll be 4 in April) leaving him out and alone when we shower. He used to get into everything and we would crate him if only one person was home and we had to shower. We crate him when we leave as well. I'd love to leave him out but I think he would get into stuff and I actually think he really likes his crate. Also he stole my husbands turkey sandwich from this lunch bag off the counter the other day while I was in the other room sooo all day alone probably isn't the best idea.
    Have you tried the yucky spray that's supposed to deter them from getting on things? (It's in a yellow bottle, I want to say it's called bitter apples or something.) Off is the biggest one in our house too. Those hound noses just really can't be controlled.

  3. My dog will be five on Sunday and I still do not trust her. If I leave the bread too close to the edge of the kitchen counter and go out for 10 minutes, I will find the loaf on the couch with more then half the loaf eaten. She has free range of our apartment and by the time she was 2 we could trust her (mostly). Some dogs are better and I guess in time you will know when that is.Just correct the bad things and praise only the good things. In time your dog will want to please you and not piss you off.

  4. Eeeeek! Don't let him be free if you have any doubts! I'm not sure about a hounds personally, but he sounds like a pretty active chewer. After a few months, we left Huck out of his crate but baby gated in our kitchen as well (I was living in my small rental at the time) and he chewed and destroyed their cabinets!!! Something I never even blogged about because I was simply so upset and horrified!!! LOL

    He was crated after that until we moved into our house this past May. Now he stays in a 3 car garage and is a happy camper. He's 1 1/2 now too, so his chewing has subsided a bit.

  5. We are struggling with this with Tillie, our younger dog. After his initial (1.5 year) chewing kick, Fred was fine around non-food items (we had to get a lockable trash can) and didn't destroy anything like pillows or shoes or books. I am just not ready to trust our new pup yet, and both dogs are closed in our tiled mudroom (with their beds) when we leave the house and overnight.

    It's those hound noses that you can't trust!

  6. Oh how I remember those days like it was yesterday. Oh wait, it was yesterday. So as you know, Sherm just turned 2. BUT, ever since he ate the couch, his home is now our sunroom. We just put in nice new efficient windows and we just babygate that room off ... it's perfect for him and there is nothing for him to destroy. We did the same thing you are talking about. At just a few months old we'd leave him for 10 minutes, then 20 ... then 2 hrs ... until we eventually left him for 4-5 hrs. And then he ate the couch. Soooo, I guess it just depends on if you have anything you'd be upset about losing? It could happen. But he could be perfect and not do anything! It's a risk for sure. :) Good luck- I'll be anxious to hear how it goes.

  7. Girl, I feel your pain. I have two pups. One was an angel... by 6 months old he had full run of the house unattended. The other well, at two years old he's still getting into EVERYTHING! He just ate a pair of new shoes last week. I wanted to kill him. Our solution is this... the 'good' pup has full run of the house and the mischievous one just stays gated in the kitchen. I'm not sure I'll ever fully trust that one... lol! We're a little more lucky though, because ours are beagles and can't get to things that are up so high. I'd say if you have doubt in your mind don't give him the extra freedom yet. It will likely lead to heartache. He needs to fully earn your trust first. Nothing wrong with that. If you do decide to give it a go. Just try little intervals unattended at first and make sure he is good and tired. Less likely to get into trouble that way.