Scout just turned 2 on 7/15. She has slept at night out of the crate for over a year now. I would always close my bedroom door and she would be confined to just the bedroom at night. Recently, with the warmer weather, I have been leaving my bedroom door open to get more air flow. This means Scout has had free roam of the house at night. She has done really well. Most nights she just stays on the bed with me. I have only found a few shoes moved around but I moved them into a closet so they wouldn't be out to tempt her.

I still crate her during the day when I am at work and really any time that I am not at home. It is becoming harder and harder to coax her into the crate though. I wonder if she is at a level where I can start leaving her out of the crate when I am not home? When do you know it's the right time?

And if it is the right time do I test it out in small chunks of time? I think right now the only thing she would do is bark or whine at the door for a bit once I leave. That is what she does when I leave her inside when I go outside to the garage or to water the plants. But maybe she only does that because she knows I am out there without her?

Any advice is appreciated!


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  • We tested it out with Luna starting with very short errands, gradually increasing the time and amount of space she was allowed.  My memory is foggy but it worked fine.  You do have to doggie proof to some extent to make sure nothing is out that they typically find tempting. 

    With Riley I'm not sure she will ever have the run of the house...we are brainstorming solutions for when I return to work in January because there is usually a day or two a week we are away for 8-9 hours..too long for her to be crated.

  • Sometime between 6-9 months, I didn't latch the crate well one night and Zoey hopped in bed with me.  She never went back, and it was never an issue.  I was retired, so was not gone for a long period of time. I just shut the doors to the rooms that I didn't want her in.  Sounds like Scout is ready.  I think the short periods of time for a trial basis sounds good.  Good luck!

  • Maggie is the perfect dog when I'm home and she really would prefer not to be crated, so I'm working with her to be free in the house when I'm gone. She's up to several hours and she's perfect. I'm not brave enough yet to leave her out when I go to work. My concern is that she will forget her potty training, and we worked so hard to learn that potty is for outside that I don't want to mess her up. 

    Katie will be 5 in August and I don't think she will ever be uncrated when she's home alone. She has a very mischievous personality and she gets into things even when I'm home. Luckily she loves her crate and runs inside any time she thinks I'm going to leave. 

    The jury is still out on Willow. She's only 8 months old and she's never been as naughty as Katie, but she's becoming a teenager and has recently decided she enjoys stealth chewing on the curtains when I'm not looking. And she's very quiet about it. She's happy to be crated with a kong and a couple chew toys so I'm not too worried about getting her out of it. But maybe someday when she's more mature. I suspect it will be years, if ever, before that happens.

    • How long is Katie in her crate while you're at work? Riley sounds like her (mischievous...) but I feel like it would be too long for her.

      • I hate this question because I think the answer makes me sound like a terrible dog mom. I work 12 hour days - but only 2 a week. I know they are crated for a long time on those days, but I’ve been doing it since 2002 and honestly, I’ve never had a dog who seemed bothered by it. I think they would rather have two extra long days when I’m gone than five almost as long days when you account for travel time. I’m home significantly more than If I had a normal 9-5. 

        i don’t expect puppies to be able to hold it that long. I set up an exercise pen for Katie when she was little that had a fake grass patch for her to potty. She also had a water bowl I secured to the side. I was also able to take her to daycare sometimes when she was little. With Willow my mom came and let her out halfway through my shift until she was older, but we didn’t live close enough for that to work when Katie was little and it was before wag and rover dog walking existed. I’m also not a big fan of having strangers take my dogs out. I know most of the time it’s probably fine, but that one time they lose the dog it’s a really bad situation. There is a dog in the KC lost dog group that got away from the dog sitter and they’ve been looking for her for the last 2 months. I’m not optimistic that they’re going to find her. 

        The downside to this arrangement is that Willow isn’t ready to go to bed when I get home from work. The big girls are fine. Potty, eat, potty, a little play and then bed. Willow is more of potty, eat, potty, play a little and then jump on my head for an hour because she didn’t get all the crazies out.  Sometimes I’m so tired!

        Overall though, my schedule works for us. It’s not perfect, but it’s not so bad. I’ve thought about going to a clinic with normal hours, but I just hate the thought of having 2 day weekends. It’s just not enough! I am not a workaholic. I work so I can afford dog food and grooming. And I guess a little bit so we aren’t homeless. I’ve often thought I should get married so I can be a stay at home dog mom, but there is something nice about being single. I never have to ask anyone’s permission to bring home a new dog. I don’t think I would be very good at that. 

        • I totally get it, sometimes we are gone all day too. Luna was always fine but she had the run of the house.  I suppose she would have been fine in her crate too because she never really drank much while we were gone.  

          My schedule varies each semester depending on how my classes are assigned.  If I get lucky it's only half days and I could be home for part of the morning or afternoon.  I also usually have one or two days a week when I'm home all day.

          Riley is a pretty high energy dog so I think daycare would be a good idea if I end up with one really long day.  It isn't usually more than one day a week and our daughter is only in school 830-4 so someone has to be there at those times for her regardless.

          I agree no strangers taking her for walks though I would trust my mom to at least let her out for a pee.

  • Luckily, I am able to come home at lunch so Scout is only ever in the crate for about 4 hours at a time during the work week. If I have plans at night or a busy day on a Saturday I will drop her off at day care. I'm afraid to stop crating so soon. I figured I'd wait until she was closer to 4! I will keep seeing how it goes. One of my friends introduced his dog to freedom by placing him in the crate and then forgetting to latch it. Eventually, the dog figured out it was open and let himself out midday. I kind of like that approach as I think it would take away any early barking/whining when I first leave the house.

    Well -- lot's to consider I guess. I know that there is just no going back once I do let her have her freedom during the day.

    My current woe is that I will be boarding her for the first time starting Thursday. I will be gone for 6 nights. Normally, I have my mom watch her at my house when I take trips but my mom will be going on this one with the entire family!! It is the place she goes to for day care so I am hoping all goes smooth. But I am still very anxious and nervous about it.

    • I'm so nervous about boarding, neither of my previous dogs had ever been boarded.  Riley will definitely have to if we go away though and DH's parents aren't in town.  My parents are not really able to fully care for her, we are in a new neighborhood and don't have any neighbors we it will have to be boarding.

      I've heard there are a few really nice places nearby so I'm sure we could find somewhere that we are comfortable with but I'd still be worried about her the whole time :p

  • You could leave her uncreated but limit her access in the house to one area, then expand the area until you feel she’ll be fine in the whole house. I’ve aleays used ex-pens across doorways- totally move able. 

    • That's what we did with Luna. It started with the bedroom (since she was familiar and was in there at night), then just the main floor (but we thought she was maybe missing the bed upstairs) so we gave her the whole house.

      The trouble we had with Riley when she was a young pup was that she actually chewed baseboards when we gated her off in the back of the mudroom.  I'm not sure she would still do that but I wouldn't put it past her, she is quite the little termite.  

      Anyway, things to figure out for a few months from now lol.

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