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Our 100% labrador puppy is 4 months old. She is such a wonderful puppy and has already learned so much and makes our daily lives fairly easy. She did so well with crate training we felt that she earned some freedom and have now given her one room of her own at night and during the day while we are at work.

Crate training went well, as I said. She only had maybe 2 accidents in her crate, and I ultimately blame myself for not being home from work to let her out sooner; my wife and I took turns during the day to be home to let her out at appropriate times. 5 hours was about the max we would have her confined recently and she didnt seem to have a problem with that. When we got home, she would want to play for a minute, get some water, and then go out to pee. At night she would sleep from 930pm to 530am every night without a peep and was ready to go potty in the morning.

So now comes her new freedom. She started out really well! No accidents and we were coming home every 4 hours about to make sure she had an opportunity to pee. At night she was even doing well until recently. Now in the morning we will SOMETIMES find a puddle in her room. I also found it a few times during the day. The puddles have been in the same places so I started leaving her food and water dishes where she has peed (evne if they are empty) and she finds a new place to pee. She hasnt been barking at night to go outside; she usually barks when we are home with her and maybe not seeing her standing by the door to go out. But the thing is, when I come see her in the morning, and I crouch near the puddle and point, my puppy gets very timid and usually goes to the farthest place in the room from me. I do not scold her or shove her nose in it or anything like that, all I do is kneel and point and maybe nicely ask her to "come here".

So what are your opinions? too soon for freedom? or do you think she has it in her but I'm doing something wrong?

Thanks so much for your input!
 

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I would say it's too much freedom too soon. Our pup is 13 weeks old and we have started giving him more freedom during the day, but not at night. Even so, our plan is to put him back in the crate during the day if he has an accident. Let your dog's success/failure let you know whether you are moving too quickly.
 

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First of all, I, and most people, don't like commanding a dog to "come" if you're going to scold/punish/correct, etc. It sorta teaches them that they shouldn't come because they're going to get into trouble. Go to them instead and walk them over.

Also, have you tried taking the water and food from her room? Maybe she's getting anxious and is drinking more than usual and is going. If you haven't tried that, do it. Only other option is to crate her because she's obviously abusing her priveleges.
 

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I would say it's too much freedom too soon. Our pup is 13 weeks old and we have started giving him more freedom during the day, but not at night. Even so, our plan is to put him back in the crate during the day if he has an accident. Let your dog's success/failure let you know whether you are moving too quickly.
momtoharley, my wife and I agreed that perhaps it was too much too soon. We have since had her going back to the crate which she seems to mind less than she did before. She seems perfectly content going in there every time she has to and never has an accident. Even in the morning she shows little urgency to get outside to pee. Don't get me wrong, she goes right away, but not before a few stretches and sniffing out to find the right spot.

First of all, I, and most people, don't like commanding a dog to "come" if you're going to scold/punish/correct, etc. It sorta teaches them that they shouldn't come because they're going to get into trouble. Go to them instead and walk them over.

Also, have you tried taking the water and food from her room? Maybe she's getting anxious and is drinking more than usual and is going. If you haven't tried that, do it. Only other option is to crate her because she's obviously abusing her priveleges.
DJEtzel, good call. I didn't consider that. Thankfully, I've only done it maybe 3 times, and since shes been in the crate after that, haven't done it since. Now that I think about it, when I took her outside to pee, and it was time to come in afterward, she would be very hesitant to come to me. I see where I went wrong there. Also, we did not leave food or water in her room while we were away so she had no access to it while unsupervised.


Okay, so to both of you, or anyone reading this, whats the next step? What do I do next to introduce her to a little more room? I understand that right at this moment it is a little bit too soon, but when I feel that she is ready, whats the best way to introduce her to a larger area? I would suspect give her that one room again for a much shorter period of time to start out, but we tried that last weekend when my wife and I were only away for one hour and we came back to a puddle (we took her out before and she hadn't had water since).

Since shes been back in the crate it is very clear that she can hold her bladder for as long as needed, as she does not mess in the crate. She still apparently feels that its okay to eliminate in the room, even though she cowers when I come home and see it. I always, always, always go outside with her, rain or shine, and praise her to no end when she goes outside. Its treats, belly rubs, the works every time. As soon as she goes she comes running to me for praise every time. So whats left? Should we start with a smaller space?

Thanks!
 

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Is there another room you could use instead, that maybe she isn't associating peeing/bad things with? Like a laundry room or bathroom? I would try that, with her crate in there of course.

And are you cleaning up the puddles with enzymatic (?) cleaners? They're specially designed to break down and rid the puddle of all smells so that dogs won't be prone to peeing in the same spot just because they smell it there from before. I'd recommend using these to clean up that room, then switch her rooms or even get her an exercise pen to go with the crate and keep her in that smaller area. If she proves to do well, then eventually move her back up to the room. Play with her in whatever room you're going to use a lot so that she associates it with good things and might not get so anxious when she's put in there and will realize she's never peed in there before so must not be able to.

Hope this helps!
 

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One thing you have to remember, the crate restricts activity, slowing the body down, and reducing the need for relief. I don't think dogs sleep through the night like we do. In a crate, it will wake up, stretch, roll over and go back to sleep. Loose, it will get up and explore the space it has, perhaps excitedly running around if it hears something outside, etc. It may still make it overnight, but may be much less comfortable by the time you finally let it out.

As mentioned, leaving it access to food and water will add to problems.

We had an 8 year old Lab go from an occasional guest to a permanent resident yesterday. I see no reason not to crate him when we aren't away. He is sleeping in his crate with the door open right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there another room you could use instead, that maybe she isn't associating peeing/bad things with? Like a laundry room or bathroom? I would try that, with her crate in there of course.
She loves the room that we had her in. She is fed there and plays there all the time. There is a window to see outside and plenty of stuff to play with in there.

And are you cleaning up the puddles with enzymatic (?) cleaners? They're specially designed to break down and rid the puddle of all smells so that dogs won't be prone to peeing in the same spot just because they smell it there from before.
Yes we are cleaning the puddles with the enzyme cleaner. Even further, any spot she had peed in we would feed her there next time, and she would not go in that spot any more. We had moved the food bowls around as she soiled different parts of the room, but she would manage to find a new spot, or pee in the "oldest" spot that we were counteracting.


As mentioned, leaving it access to food and water will add to problems.
Right. She does not have access to food or water while unsupervised.



The other rooms in the house are either similar in size or just too small to keep the dog confined in. I think I will have to find a way to limit the area that we had her in before and gradually increase the size of the space as she matures.

Thanks everyone for your help!
 
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