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My wife and I have been trying to train our boxer to be able to not have to go into his crate when we leave the house. Sometimes he doesn't touch anything. We get home, cushions are on the couch and nothing is destroyed. Other times he rips apart the cushions or finds something else to chew.

My wife and I want to leave him out of his crate while we are at work like we do for our 10-yr old puggle. But his behavior is too erratic for us to feel comfortable, even for an hour. Sometime we can leave for 3-4 hours and he's good. Other times it could be an hour and things are destroyed. We would fill their kongs but my older one has been alone for so long she gets territorial with anything concerning treats and other dogs.

We feel HORRIBLE putting him in his crate while we go to work. We had our puggle trained to be out of her crate when she was younger than him at his age.

Any tips or advice on what we can try?
 

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I would suggest going back to the crate. Some dogs just take a little longer to settle down when alone (for some dogs, it never happens!). If your boxer is already crate trained then it is really you who is stigmatizing the crate; he likely is comfortable and fine in there. Many owners who work 8-10 hour days crate their dogs for that period of time with no adverse effect.

You might also look into an exercise pen if you want to grant more freedom but still contain him.

Any practiced behavior is more likely to become habit. So by 'testing it', your dog might be self-learning to chew on furniture and it will be a harder problem to solve the more he does it.
 

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Crate him. You will feel a LOT worse if he ingests a piece of foam cushion and ends up dying of bloat if you don't catch it soon enough... or decides one day to gnaw a light socket or a light cord.

I used to feel bad about crating when I went to work. I learned that for some dogs that structure actually seems to help them and they are happier overall.

That said I created another option. I have a full size 5 foot X 10 foot six foot high kennel in my basement along with another 4 foot X 6 foot kennel with an attached 3 foot by 4 foot crate. I also have a Great Dane (700) size Vari Kennel crate along with miscellaneous other size crates. If I am going to have several late work days and/OR if the weather is horrible cold (so dogs cannot be outside in kennels) or it is horrible hot (again.. not good to leave them in outside kennels) I have these other options in the warm or cool dry basement. I rotate my three dogs through these kennels and crates. Just a thought if you want to set something like that up if you have the room.

The object is to keep the dogs (and my things) safe.
 

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I would also suggest that you put the pup back in a crate. He will be perfectly fine. You Boxer is not your Pug, and that's okay. He's still very young. Continuing to allow him to rip up couch cushions will create bad habits that will take a long time to get rid of!
 

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I agree with what the others have said. He's not reliable enough to be left out right now. He's still very young and Boxers are high energy dogs! Crate him for a couple more months and try it again. Make sure you're not leaving anything out the could be enticing to him. How much exercise does he get? Try leaving him out only if he's had a lot of exercise right before you leave. Other times put him in his crate. If he is allowed to destroy things he get into a habit and will keep doing so.

Our dog took until over 3 years old to be okay out of her crate. Then at Christmas last year she started going backwards and destroying things again so it's back in her room. We'll try again once she's "forgotten" to chew things up. Our other dog is 3 now and still can't be left out of his crate. We felt bad too because he also sleeps in there at night, so we decided to start leaving his crate door open at night. Guess what - he cried and howled and scratched at the door to room, then started shredding things. I got up and put him back in his crate (he was happy to go in) and he went right to sleep.

Keep in mind that some dogs will never be okay being left loose at home alone.
 

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I agree with everyone else. My boyfriend is also someone who 'hates' crating, but luckily for me Atlas is my dog so I get to make the call. The family dogs they had when he was growing up obviously never chewed up anything (they also weren't puppies either), so it was an adjustment for him when we brought Atlas home. My dog does not love his crate, but I think that's more because he assumes he should come with us when we leave at a non-scheduled time (ie. any time other than for work) because he quite often is able to come along. But pretty much every time I come home he's often stretching and waking up from a nap when I walk in, so he really doesn't 'hate' it either. We have compromised with the crate - he's in a huge great dane sized one, with an attached x-pen. (He's a pretty warm dog, so this gives him options to find a cool floor space as well.)

Atlas is still crated because while I 99% trust him if someone is around in the house (even downstairs and he is upstairs), he also hasn't been given free rein for 8+ hours by himself. I'd rather keep him contained and not have to worry than come home to a disaster one day. I know for a fact that if I came home to something like that I would be pretty upset at him, and that's not a good situation - so this stops that from being an option. Because he is generally so good, I can see Atlas being allowed freedom at some point, but for now, this is what we're (ok, I am) doing.
(And then if the Labrador who lives downstairs manages to get upstairs and eat all of his training treats... we know who the guilty party is, and it isn't Atlas! This is a true story... twice... :/)

I know this isn't what you might want to hear, especially since your other dog has been such a good dog, but I think we can all agree, this will make your boxer a better pup in the long run! :) Maybe if you have the space increase the crate size, or add an x-pen of some sort.
 

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My 6 year old GSD and 3 year old APBT are crated when I'm not home. It keeps them out of mischief.
 
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