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OK this is really starting to worry me...

Our dog is crate trained. He does great. He doesn't whine anymore when we put him in -- in fact he runs right in -- and he sleeps 7-8 hours through the night in his crate.

Here's my problem: I'm a teacher, so right now I'm off work, and have been able to spend a lot of time with the dog. The longest he's been left alone in his crate so far is about 4.5 hours, though on most days it's usually around 2-3 hours. In a few more weeks, I'll have to go back to school, so he'll be in his crate a lot longer...more like 8 hours, at least at first. I don't have anyone who can come let him out during the day -- all of our neighbors work and we don't have any family close by. I know people crate their dogs all the time while they're at work, and everyone tells me he'll be fine, but this is really bothering me. Will he really be OK for that amount of time? He'll be almost 8 months old by this time.

Can anyone offer any tips/advice?

Thanks,
Stacey
 

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mine were crated up to 9-10 hours when they were being crated. How old is your puppy? Rule of thumb for being able to hold themselves is 1 hour per 1 month of age!
 

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Start lengthening the time he spends in his crate now. Most dogs will adjust just fine to new circumstances if they are eased into it. A few weeks is plenty of time to gradually get him used to spending 8 hours in there. I would devote this time to extended crate time training. :) You may have to find some things to do away from home, or keep him in the crate while you're at home, but it's very possible. And don't worry about it. He'll pick up on your worry. Be confident and trust your dog.
 

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We crate Bridgette for 8 hours two days a week. Most other days one of us either has a half day or is off.

I really hated crating her than long in the beginning, but IMHO it's sometimes safer than leaving them out. Bridgette is almost 5 now and definitely doesn't have a chewing problem and is house trained, but she has slight anxiety problems when we are gone. We've been leaving her out of her crate short periods, but if I left her out 8 hours she WILL find something to chew up. So I find it safer for her to be crated.

She has access to water and has a decent walk in the morning before work and a longer walk in the evenings. She seems to do just fine.

I'd agree with the other advice though...start building him up to the crate so he isn't suddenly being left in there for 8 hours right off the bat.
 

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My dog does fine in her crate and she is in there for 8 or so hours (which I know is way longer than I hear recomended). Not always as my roommate can come home earlier than me but she has been in htere for up to 10 hours (Though I admit I feel a little bad about it and it doens't help thta my mom completely hates crates so always acts horrified that I leave her in the crate at all).

But she seems happy and I think she just sleeps in it honestly (If I leave a bone in there for her to chew on when I get home the most chewing done on it was when I was home before I left). She actually runs into it enthusiastically (which honestly I'm a bit baffled by but not complaining) when she realizes I am getting read for work.

And I've noticed if I'm home during hte times I usually have her in the crate, she usually is sleeping. I htink she's gotten used to just sleeping during that time.

I tried one time to start weaning her into being free in the house while I was gone by gating her in the kitchen instead for an hour ot see how it went. She found her way out and I found her in her crate when I got home (and even when I left she was not acting happy about being gated in the kitchen, she doesn't see that as being a safe place I don't think as I haven't worked as hard with her seeing it as a safe place. With the crate I was able to just stay with her when she was in the crate while I was housetraining. With the kitchen I'd try to stay in the dining room which is right next door and she can see me through the gate but I guess to her that wasn't the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies!

I'm starting to feel better about this. He spends most of his day napping and chewing on his toys anyway, and I assume that's what he would be doing in his crate. And good point about him being safer in the crate. If we don't watch him, he will chew on ANYTHING -- so I won't have to worry about him getting into something.

He'll be about 2 weeks shy of 8 months when I have to go back to work. He's able to make it 7-8 hours through the night. Right now we're going to bed about midnight-1:00 and getting up around 8. I will start increasing the time I leave him in his crate so he's used to 8 hours by the time I go back to work.

Thanks again, and if you think of any more advice, let me know. :)
 

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When I work Ludo is in his crate about 8 hours during the day and then another 8 hours while sleeping at night (he sleeps in his crate). Some have told me he spends too much time in there but he seems just fine.

Ludo is older and can hold his bladder for about 12-15 hours so that is no issue and he is always fed before I leave (and gets a potty trip). I also exercise him before I go and as soon as I get back.

You are right - he will be safe and secure in his crate. As will your home.

Good luck. He'll be fine. Work him up to the 8 hours and he wont even know the difference!
 

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The thing I really hate about long periods of crating is that they don't get much mental stimulation. They need to keep their brains active for the sake of their mind, at least that is what I heard. It is like people in the sense of helping to keep them sharp mentally including to old age.

But if no one is home many dogs can be rather sedate. Which means they'd be laying around, maybe even sleeping for a long period while you are gone anyway. So they can do that in the crate just fine without chances of getting into anything.

I've had mine crated for long, long periods when going to shows but they do get let out for potty, attention, leg stretching, ect. Where if you are at work and no one is there to check they will be stuck the whole time. Though your situation and hours is not much different then any other working person, which means he will be fine I think. When we travel sometimes 10hr show we don't let them out at all. Normally we leave at night so they'd be sleeping anyway and they just sleep through. I've had to wake a couple up before when we actually got there.

There are alternatives to crating too. Depending on your dog and home situation.

Oh they've also been crated for very long time when I was in the hospital (it was like for 3-4 days). Though DH, family and hired girl would come to feed and potty them. Other then that they had to be crated though. They did get to run around the yard a bit too.
 
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