Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Ultimately, it comes down to simply trying it....When I first read your post, I thought you meant transitioning out of the crate while you were out of the home. In that case, I wouldn't do anything...keep her crated when you're out. She is probably just learning to be comfortable in there...so a transition already, in my opinion, is too soon. BUT if you are home, I see no issue with allowing her to be with you. I never kept my dogs in the crate while I was home...simply because they were in it all day while we were at work. I would block off areas that you don't want your pup to go...maybe certain rooms with light color carpeting lol. But I would absolutely allow her to follow you around. If you're in the living room, bring her bed in there and maybe allow her to settle on it with a chew toy. Like I said, it comes down to simply trying it out and trusting her. If she has an accident, so be it. I'm under the mindset that if you don't allow it to happen, then she won't learn....if she makes a mistake, then she will learn from you correcting it. At this point, keeping her leashed to you or in her own little pen 24/7 will not really teach her how to behave correctly.
Short answer: 1 room at a time :)
As she proves herself with 1 room, expand to 2 etc... if she has an accident or destroys something, back down by a step for a few days.
We used this method with Luna, and at 1 year old she had the run of the house. At 2 years old, she is now a perfect lady while we're gone, minus the occasional stray tissue destruction ;) I consider that our fault for leaving it available, though.
I crated my dogs at night and when we left the house when they were young. I no longer crate them at all. In the beginning, if I was home and could watch them, I just kept them in the room I was in and never had a problem. I was very vigilant about taking them out to go to the bathroom and kept a constant eye on them, but I never leashed them or anything. Good luck!
We transitioned Owen pretty slowly. He was not quick about potty training. We kept him in a space about 7X7 at first and slowly expanded it. If he had an accident we made it smaller for a week or so. We got him at 8 weeks and by 20 weeks he had free reign to the kitchen and family room. We blocked the stairs more for his safety than anything. The leash training is a great idea... it helps not just with knowing what he is doing but in him forming a bond to you. Owen is 2 years now. When we leave the house, we still close all the bedroom and bathroom doors. He tends to be looking for trouble. ;o) He does make us laugh a lot.
lol we close all doors too....ESPECIALLY the dreaded bathroom door. If I leave that one open even just at night, they make their way in. I have a 3 month old son who has just begun to sleep in his own room, so I use a baby monitor. The bathroom is right next to his room. So the other night I hear this loud clicking noise through the monitor. Of course I freaked out and raced into his room....Well, turns out the clicking was my big doodle, Seamus' toe nails clicking on the hard wood floors as he was sneakily making his way into the bathroom....most likely to try to steal something out of the garbage or maybe lick the soap in the tub. lol they will never be fully trusted, but they should know that now I'm "watching" them...or at least listening in...via the baby monitor lol.
Thank you all so much for responding! I have been secluding them to my room *where their crates are left open during the day* when I am home, so I think I am going to start with leaving the door open to the master and then lead out to the hallway. They do well when someone is watching them; our doodle will start to sniff and sit by the door to let us know she needs to go. But sometimes she does it right when she needs to go, and by the time we notice its too late. So I have to try and teach her to come to me to tell me, as well as not make mistakes and tear the house up. I will say that since we brought the Doodle home, our little chiweenie has had hardly any mistakes. I am surprised to hear that a lot of people crate their puppies during the day! I was told not to because she is so big, and I will be gone for more than five hours starting in two weeks; but in thinking about it she would probably be better off inside since she has a more than big enough crate with her toys... and the a/c is on (it's 100 degrees plus right now outside so I don't leave them outside for long). So thank you for your ideas, I will be trying it!!!
signing off, Piper (doodle) and Sadies (chiweenie) mommy
When you say you want to transition her to free reign do you mean while you are home or are you trying to get rid of the crate entirely? I'm a fan of keeping crates around indefinitely because it is a very safe place to keep your dog when you are not home. Keep in mind, most dogs do NOTHING while you are not home. They just sleep, get up, change position, sleep some more. Not much exercise, not much reading, not much channel surfing or card playing, and sadly no dish washing, vacuuming, or dusting either. So to me, whether a dog is confined in a crate with room to get up and change positions or confined to a large room with a gate on it and tons of space, it's about the same. The dog is still just laying there, alone. If your dog seems to relax in the crate, it's worth keeping it around for when you are gone.
If you simply mean you want to be able to let her loose in the house when you are there, just start with a few minutes here and there and extend that based on the results you get. At first I'd not let her run around unsupervised, or at least keep bedroom and bathroom doors closed. It's not just about elimination (potty time) but also about keeping the dog and your belongings free from destruction in this early stage where puppy STILL might enjoy chewing valuables up and potentially ingesting something harmful. My 6 year old dog rarely destroyed anything as a pup, and despite being quite tall never counter-surfed...UNTIL after the age of 4.
Both my doodles were crated while I worked and at night when I slept. Once they reached a year old I started with letting them loose at night. The first couple of nights they were like "whats going on this is not normal" - LOL then they finally settled into being loose with no accidents or getting into trouble. Then once I had that mastered, I tried letting them loose when I ran a quick errand to the store. I started with short 1/2 hour trips then long and longer periods of time. They never got into anything. Then I tried leaving them out in the morning when I went to work and when I came home on lunch to check on them they were find and I was going to put them in the crate for the next half of the afternoon... but I thought why even do that since they are fine and no problems. It has been about 6 months and they have total run of the house and not once have I had any accidents or problems. What worked for me was that they were out of the "puppy" stage and I did baby steps... a little freedom at a time. I would wait until your puppy gets a bit older but if he shows signs of good behavior and is progressing well then I would proceed. Good luck :)
My suggestion is to allow more freedom in small increments by using your gates and ex-pens to block increasingly larger areas etc. I actually think you are jumping the gun on complete freedom though. We got our doodle at about 14 weeks and we did not give him free run of the house for quite a while. He was crated at night and when we were gone. When we were home, we blocked our den/kitchen area off and someone was always with him. What we did when we wanted to wean off the crate was to leave the door open.