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I have a new 10 week old female Rottweiler puppy and she has been with me for a week now. I opted to not get her a crate at first to see how she adjusts to a dogbed and her size. I plan on having her both inside and outside and she has full range of the lounge/kitchen, and my room while I'm home. She joins me in the study if working there but I've only left her home alone for a few hours in the past week. She sleeps on her mat or bed in my ensuite at night but I'm considering getting a crate for training and calming her or giving her a space of her own. My concern is with her current energy (she is curious and playful) that with me giving her so much freedom she may get confused about boundaries while growing up. My family has had rotties for 30 years now but they raise them as outside dogs and this is my first pup alone. So to crate or not to crate. .
 

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I crate.

Look at it this way....... when you leave, would you rather have the dog laying in a cold small crate, or eating something/tearing up the sofa/whatever that will make it sick and you have to go to the vet, or even worse?

I crate 3 dogs. I leave (they are mostly older with youngest being 12-13 months) them out when I go to stores etc up to 2-3 hours. They are in the crate when I work. They sleep in my bedroom on dog beds at night.....

They go into their crates when I tell them..... they just know it’s their “crate time”

The youngest will bark when I leave, but also he’s the happiest/first to run into his crate when I tell them........ It’s weird

Either way, “Yes”. I crate for my dogs’ safety
 

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She's 10 weeks old, you leave her alone for hours with free run of several rooms and you don't come home to puddles and even a pile? I find that hard to believe, and if there are puddles, etc., you're not doing yourself any favors housebreaking-wise. Just saying.

Anyway, I've had Rotties now for over 25 years, my own and did Rott rescue for 10 of those years, and they all were crate trained. For my own puppies - they slept in a crate next to my bed and really never fussed much except when they needed to go out. They did always have a chewy in with them.* I slept in my clothes, and when I heard the puppy fussing in the crate in the middle of the night, I'd get up, shove my feet in shoes and carry them outside. Quick potty walk, nothing fun, and back to crate and bed. That lasted only a short time until they could hold it all night.

Days they were confined to the room I was in and that way I could interact and redirect any inappropriate behavior - like chewing on furniture. If I needed to leave for a while, they went in the crate with a safe chew of some sort. I tried not to leave them for long as babies. Nowadays that easy because I'm retired, but I couldn't do it when I was still working. The one I raised when I was working a job 25 miles away, I left in a puppy proof room when I went to work (because I think 8 hours at night and 8+ hours in the day is too much crate time; others here disagree). I had a friend who worked different hours than I did stop by in the middle of the day, let the puppy out to potty and play with her a bit, but the puppy couldn't hold it even half a day at a time that way. I did have to come home and do some clean up for weeks (months? can't remember). Anyway, it didn't speed up housebreaking, but raising a puppy with a full time job means making compromises on what's ideal.

Your 10-week old puppy doesn't have the strength yet to do a lot of damage to your house when left loose unsupervised, but believe me, that's coming, and if you aren't there to teach her that's unacceptable, there's no justification for getting upset at chewed furniture and rugs, holes in drywall, etc. There's also the problem of a puppy chewing an electrical cord or getting into something else that can hurt her.

I'd say my dogs were about 2 when they were good around the house without supervision (you slowly expand the area they're allowed in once they're good in limited areas and always in sight). At that point I stopped crating them when I had to leave (short times at first to minimize damage if I was jumping the gun). One slept in her crate all her life by choice; one graduated to sleeping in the bed with me; and two sleep on their own beds.

* One of my best memories of that time was waking up one morning and watching my first Rottie puppy in her crate. She was on her back and holding a Kong over her head between her paws, working on getting the biscuit I'd shoved in there out.
 

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I believe crate training is an important life skill - your dog may need to be crated in a car, at the vet, at a boarding kennel, at home during recovery from an injury/illness/operation, at a show/sport venue (if you're into that kind of thing), etc. and it'll be much less stress if they're already happy and comfortable in the crate beforehand.

I also believe it's extremely important to have some kind of safe confinement for growing puppies, whether it's a crate, pen, or puppy-proofed room. This helps with potty training (or at least contains the mess if you have to leave for extended periods), means the puppy doesn't have access to things to destroy or - worse - swallow and make themselves sick, and gives you a safe space to put the puppy when pup needs to settle down and nap or you need a break. That last part is super important in starting to teach a pup how to relax and settle in the house, and for ensuring that your puppy is getting enough sleep. I happen to like the pen setup, but it doesn't always work for everyone's living space since it can take up quite a bit of room, and may not be a safe choice for dogs who try to climb out.

So basically, I'm pro-crate, and pro-confinement for puppies, but that confinement doesn't have to be a crate, necessarily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She's 10 weeks old, you leave her alone for hours with free run of several rooms and you don't come home to puddles and even a pile? I find that hard to believe, and if there are puddles, etc., you're not doing yourself any favors housebreaking-wise. Just saying.

Anyway, I've had Rotties now for over 25 years, my own and did Rott rescue for 10 of those years, and they all were crate trained. For my own puppies - they slept in a crate next to my bed and really never fussed much except when they needed to go out. They did always have a chewy in with them.* I slept in my clothes, and when I heard the puppy fussing in the crate in the middle of the night, I'd get up, shove my feet in shoes and carry them outside. Quick potty walk, nothing fun, and back to crate and bed. That lasted only a short time until they could hold it all night.

Days they were confined to the room I was in and that way I could interact and redirect any inappropriate behavior - like chewing on furniture. If I needed to leave for a while, they went in the crate with a safe chew of some sort. I tried not to leave them for long as babies. Nowadays that easy because I'm retired, but I couldn't do it when I was still working. The one I raised when I was working a job 25 miles away, I left in a puppy proof room when I went to work (because I think 8 hours at night and 8+ hours in the day is too much crate time; others here disagree). I had a friend who worked different hours than I did stop by in the middle of the day, let the puppy out to potty and play with her a bit, but the puppy couldn't hold it even half a day at a time that way. I did have to come home and do some clean up for weeks (months? can't remember). Anyway, it didn't speed up housebreaking, but raising a puppy with a full time job means making compromises on what's ideal.

Your 10-week old puppy doesn't have the strength yet to do a lot of damage to your house when left loose unsupervised, but believe me, that's coming, and if you aren't there to teach her that's unacceptable, there's no justification for getting upset at chewed furniture and rugs, holes in drywall, etc. There's also the problem of a puppy chewing an electrical cord or getting into something else that can hurt her.

I'd say my dogs were about 2 when they were good around the house without supervision (you slowly expand the area they're allowed in once they're good in limited areas and always in sight). At that point I stopped crating them when I had to leave (short times at first to minimize damage if I was jumping the gun). One slept in her crate all her life by choice; one graduated to sleeping in the bed with me; and two sleep on their own beds.

* One of my best memories of that time was waking up one morning and watching my first Rottie puppy in her crate. She was on her back and holding a Kong over her head between her paws, working on getting the biscuit I'd shoved in there out.
Thank you for the advise! It's awesome to actually get some insight to the question. I dint leave her with free-range when I'm out. She gets restricted to a passage and bathroom that's puppy friendly and with pee pads on the floor. When I'm home and can supervise then she gets to be about and usually follows me around unless we go outside in the yard then she explores the garden with me walking around.
She has had some incidents in the house but for the most part she usually wakes me up with some crying to go outside to wee which I found very surprising when she first got here.
She does cry more when I block her off to the passage if I'm here - how do you start crate training without making it a bad experience for her?
 

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I believe crate training is an important life skill - your dog may need to be crated in a car, at the vet, at a boarding kennel, at home during recovery from an injury/illness/operation, at a show/sport venue (if you're into that kind of thing), etc. and it'll be much less stress if they're already happy and comfortable in the crate beforehand.
I second this. Even if the dog doesn't need to be crated at night or when you're out, crate training is important. To give an example: I had a great housedog, Queenie, who was rock-solid reliable. No worries leaving her home alone, and she got on well with visitors and whatnot. Then as she got older her vision and hearing started to go, so she was more comfortable in a crate if things were chaotic around the house (say, during a party, or cleaning, or whatever) because the big open world was confusing for her if it wasn't a predictable day. Then, at the age of 16 or 17 she started to have seizures, so she needed to be confined for her own safety when I wasn't around to supervise her (other dogs, even friendly dogs, will often attack a seizing dog, and the post-seizure confusion produced bizarre behaviors). I was thankful that I had introduced the crate when she was young, healthy and confident so in her difficult circumstances she considered the crate a safe haven, not a scary trap.
 

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She does cry more when I block her off to the passage if I'm here - how do you start crate training without making it a bad experience for her?
I second and third the comments on crate training being a good life skill for any dog. If nothing else, they are probably going to experience being put in crate-like confinement at sometime in their life at the vet.

I wish I could answer your question in a helpful way, but I can't. My first Rottie was a backyard puppy. When I put her in a crate for the drive home, she did howl and fuss so much I ended up with her loose on the seat beside me for that drive, biting at my hands every mile of the way, really safe, right? But at night when I put her in the crate next to my bed - treats to lure her in, chewy available, and climbed into bed beside her, she was fine until the need-to-potty restlessness that woke me. I do remember that the crate in the car was all plastic with only a grated front door and the one in my bedroom was wire and open all around.

For the next one I flew from Colorado to Michigan, picked her up from the breeder, and put the puppy in a crate that would fit under an airline seat to drive back to my airport hotel (several hours on the road, one potty stop). That was a fabric type. I talked to her as I drove, put my hand through the top opening now and then, but driving unfamiliar roads at night, it had to be done that way, and she never peeped. The next day I put her in the same crate for hours for the flight home. She never cried and didn't fuss enough to worry me.

For my current dogs, things have been the same, plastic crate in the car to get home and wire crate by the bed at night - no fuss.

Except for that first puppy, it may be that the better breeders made a difference in that the puppies were handled and treated in ways that made them accept what people did. The two are not related and very different temperaments.

So I just gave the puppy some treats as I put her in the crate, made sure there was a chewy in there, shut the door and went to bed right beside her. I don't know if this made a difference either, but I noticed what Beta Man said about the puppy being in a "cold small crate." Mine were all in puppy-sized crates as babies, but they weren't cold. I always had some sort of bedding in there, which among other things keeps the crate from being noisy every time they move. In the house it was always a wire crate (if you use a folding one of those, be sure to fasten the ends that collapse inwards so they can't do that - safety precaution). On at least one puppy I had to run no chew stuff around the outside edge of the pad, but I always had padding on the bottom.

My experience with adolescent and adult rescue fosters was the same, as was the half-Rottie foster puppy I raised - they went in a crate by my bed at night when they first came to me. Only one (young adult) ever fussed so much I gave up and put him out in my barn (which I was lucky to be able to do). The problem with him was he was such a violent chewer, for his own safety, I couldn't leave bedding in a crate with him, and the noise of him shifting around constantly would have meant no sleep for me or him.

So sorry I can't say why what works for me works. I think it's having them right next to me, and of course Rotties in general may be more confident dogs than some other breeds, but I see from posts here and in other dog forums a lot of people are determined to keep puppies out of their bedroom and then post about screaming, miserable puppies. I'm not sure if I ever left one crated during the day before it had the experience of nights by the bed with me. Also, while they were all in small crates appropriate to their size, they were never in such small ones that they couldn't lay on their sides fully stretched out. I never squeezed them so nose was touching one end and butt the other.

Good luck with your girl.
 

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My dogs destroy anything left in the crate with them. I wish I could give them bedding of some sort
As I said, I had to run anti-chew stuff around the sides of a pad for one - and I bought a pad made by Kong* of particularly tough material for that one too. So she learned to leave her pad alone, but it took a year or so before I could give up on the hot sauce, and I didn't stop using the Kong pad until recently when I forgot to take it to a show and found out she'd leave a regular pad alone. She's 6 now.

However, I know nothing works for some. I'm sure the dog I gave up on and put in the barn at night was one of those. He was really a destructive chewer and would tear things up even when offered other things to do. Never wanted to chew things he should, leave him out in the yard and your steps and door were in danger. Destruction was his preferred hobby.

Since I'm procrastinating about doing other things by typing stories here - I once traveled to a show with a friend who's a professional handler. She was showing Teagan, 7 or 8 months old at the time, for me. Teagan is the one I had to use the Kong pad and hot sauce with. We went in my friend's big Transit vehicle which has two layers of crates in place in it. My friend put Teagan in one of those crates while I was still gathering my stuff to take. Friend's crate had a pad made of just a tight woven cotton cloth stuffed with fluffy filling already in it. I said, "You'd better get her back out so I can put my pad in there. She'll tear yours to pieces." Friend said, "Oh, don't worry she'll be fine." Like an idiot, I protested a little but didn't insist.

So we arrived at the show and Teagan's crate was filled with shreds of cloth and snow drifts of filling. Under normal circumstances, I'd have insisted on replacing that pad, but I have to admit that time I figured someone who wouldn't listen asked for what happened and if Teagan swallowed any of that stuff it could be dangerous. I never said more on the subject but vowed I'd never let it happen again.

* I don't know if Kong still makes pads like that, but they came in black or red and had bolsters all the way around them. My dogs are totally unaffected by actual anti-chew products, so I use tobasco sauce when I have to, and with those fat bolsters I could dot the outer sides with the sauce and let it dry. The dog never got near the stuff unless they started chewing on the pad. The center of the pads is so thin it doesn't pad to speak of, so I'd put a regular pad one size smaller underneath.
 

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I found very surprising when she first got here.
She does cry more when I block her off to the passage if I'm here - how do you start crate training without making it a bad experience for her?
Try googling "Crate Games." That's a really good place to start by making it a rewarding place for her.

There will be some fussing, usually, but introducing them correctly helps make it less stressful.
 

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Crate crate crate!

If you must get a larger crate to feel better then there's nothing wrong with that and put some tough toys inside as well.

It is SO helpful having a dog who can be calm in a crate. You will have much more freedom to travel with or without your dog, a safe space if she doesn't like strangers coming over etc. It would make boarding possible if needed. If the unthinkable happens and she gets loose and picked up by AC she may not be as stressed.

Crate training also speeds up potty training.
 
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