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Hey all! I have adorable husky that is just over 1.5 years old (she turns 2 on Christmas) who has been crate trained since she was little. She is so well behaved in her kennel and is only in there when everyone in my house is gone to work or out (max time is about 7 hours during work days). But I want to give her a little more freedom. She has been sleeping out of her kennel at night for almost over a year now and does great; she's either downstairs or upstairs and never makes a sound unless there's an emergency potty situation which is rare.

I want to start transitioning her out of her kennel but my roommates are concerned about her possibly damaging things or having accidents (which she hasn't had in over a year but I get the concern). She's never chewed on furniture or clothing and sticks to her toys but I don't want them to worry and or her to get a wild hair one day and chew on something she shouldn't when we aren't there. BTW my roommates are amazing with her and love her to pieces, they just don't want damage done to our rental or their large furniture in the common areas.

Part of the problem is we have an open style living room/kitchen combo so I can't use a baby gate to keep her in a specific area unless I baby gated her upstairs. Has anyone gone from keeping a dog in a kennel to closing them in a bedroom? I worry about her being in my room for 7 hours with a door closed like she's 'trapped' but she'd have all her toys and a nice big window to bird watch from. Thanks for any advice!!!
 

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There was a previous, similar discussion. I'll see if I can find it.

From that thread, it sounds like every dog is different (which should come as no surprise.) My own two dogs went from confinement in a finished basement (where they destroyed virtually everything) to a complete run-of-the-house. We've had almost no issues since doing that.

Some dogs do better with a gradual transition, while others must be crated or confined for their entire lives - both for the good of the household and for their own safety.

It gets more complicated when you have roommates and concerns over their property and sensitivities. Everybody needs to be on board to minimize the chances for failure, e.g. no food within reach, laundry left on the floor, wastebaskets full of goodies, etc.

Here's that previous thread: http://www.dogforums.com/dog-training-forum/482866-tips-weening-your-dog.html
 

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Oh thanks! I was trying to find another thread about this but couldn't. I'll take a look at that one.

It's definitely more complicated with roommates. I don't know if she'd ever be able to have full run of the house during the day when we are at work but the fact they are all on board with her being out at night when we are sleeping is good. Her kennel is pretty big, I got the largest one because I was told she'd be closer to 75 lbs but turns out she's only around 45-50 so it's like a small house for her. I might consider the upstairs again with a baby gate so she's not totally locked in somewhere.
 

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Start slow. First, give her just a bedroom for a while and see how that goes. Then you might let her have the bedroom and a hallway, then increase it to the larger living quarters, etc. Leave her for half the day first, and then increase how long she is alone incrementally. Make sure to keep her areas picked up of things that might look good to a dog, and leave her plenty of appropriate chews.

If she regresses at any point, it's probably best to put her back in the crate for a few months and try again. I was trying to leave my dog free roaming, and he got into some books. I thought it was just an accident, but he continued to get into books. I should have put him back in the crate at once, but I allowed him to build a bad habit. If a dog isn't ready, they aren't ready, and there's no point in pushing it.
 

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Here's my theory. based on a very small, unscientific sample size (Esther and Molly.)

When they were confined to a finished basement, they couldn't have beds, toys - anything. I had a webcam for a while to see what they were up to and was treated to a view of Molly discovering the camera (because it made a little motor noise as it panned the room) and jumping up to destroy it. They started chewing the walnut paneling off the wall. They ate my sister's sleeper-sofa that she had been storing there. (They did us all a favor. It weighed a ton and I was trying to figure out how to get rid of it.) They were, I realize in retrospect, bored to tears. Or, more accurately, bored to destruction.

Once they had the run of the house, they had windows to look out of and interesting things going on outside. They had lots of places to sleep. They could find a sunny spot and follow it across the floor. They were no longer bored because my dogs are pretty easily amused when left alone.

The worst thing that's happened is a few fuzzy slippers, belonging to my wife and looking for all the world like dog toys, got shredded. Grown-ups had to learn to not leave stuff like that lying around.

It's entirely possible we have just been very lucky, but we never would have known had we not given them the chance.

Now my wife is retired and I work at home so they are rarely alone for more than a couple hours.
 
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