how long to use crates?

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Boxer Pal
My dog is only 6 weeks old, but I have had dogs around me my whole life growing up but they were always mutts. They were so well behaved though - never chewed anything or went potty in the house. My question is I know crate training is good, but I don't want to keep my dog in a crate his whole life. What is a good age to start to get the dog out of the crate when you leave the house?? We have a german shepherd that was crate trianed and now has full roam of the house and he is 5.


Boxer Buddy
In my and my families experiences with boxers it is wise not to let them have full range of the house (when your not home)till at least 2 yrs of age. Barney at 1 was sleeping in our room w/o a crate but a baby gate at the door. Let them out slowly (when your not home)for gradually longer times when you think you boxer is ready (which I don't think will be for a while)<grin>
Barney--Brindle 14mo. male/n natural ear
Anika--Brindle 10mo. female/s natural ear <foster>
Samson--Fawn ... Rainbow Bridge 7-20-99

[This message has been edited by Sierra (edited 08-23-2000).]


Boxer Buddy
As a preliminary note, 6 weeks is too young for a puppy to be away from mom. In some areas it is illegal to sell a puppy under the age of 8 weeks.

Personally, I wouldn't leave a 6 week old puppy in a crate unattended because they have little to no control over their bladders and you do not want to teach puppy that it's ok/necessary to eliminate in her bed.

My dogs are 4 and 7.5 and they are restricted to the kitchen when I'm away because they still get into mischief.

An ADULT dog should not be crated for more than 5-6 hours per day. A puppy should not be crated any longer than approx. 1 hour per month of age (ie. 3 month puppy = max crate time of 3 hours).

Alternatives to crating include exercise pens (I have a 4.5 foot high 10 panel pen) baby gates and puppy proofed rooms.
These alternatives are, in my opinion, much better for the dog because they have room to play and can have access to water and if there is an accident because of upset tummy or whatever, the dog isn't forced to lay in his mess for hours.


Boxer Pal
Well my dog might only be 6 weeks old but will wake me up by yelping or whining to let him out. He goes to the bathroom RIGHT away and comes back in all on his own. He is only 4 1/2lbs! I just got back from the vet and he had hookworms and some other typ of worms that were robbing his food! :) Well I know that the mother dog trains the puppy to not soil where they sleep betweend 6 and 8 weeks, but my dog is pretty good about going outside. he is also good in his crate. He has only peed twice in the crate and for the amount he pees that is pretty good. He is even getting comfortable with his crate and will enter in on his own. I see alot of people having trouble with their dogs with these same things and their dogs are ALOT older.


Boxer Pal
My Boxer loves his crate. He didn't used to like it much but then I bought him this great bed and now he goes in there all the time. I just leave the door open and he just goes in and out as he pleases while I'm home. He goes right in there when I leave or when I sleep and I just shut the door behind him. Half the time I find him sleeping in there even when I am home. He's only 5.5 months old. I think the real key is to have the right bed and a big enough crate. The bed has a washable cover and is just made up of the spounge foam "egg carton" material. Like I said he loves it and has stayed in there for up to eight hours. He now considers it his home and will so for the rest of his life. All dogs like the "cave" atmosphere and they feel safe in there. I know alot of people that have older dogs that still love their cages.


Everyone has different reasons and needs to crate. We are retired and home most of the time and we have always included the family dog in trips and errands around town. So we are *there for him* most of the time.
However, he started getting into trouble at the crack of dawn when he was 6 months old - he was counter surfing. By this I mean UP ON the counters walking around looking for anything he could find. It was becoming a *learned* habit and we had to prevent him from doing it in the first place.
So we started crating at night at six months and it lasted about a year - we had a few problems at that point and let him out "on good behavior" and he's been a good boy.
So, that is just one example of crating.

Also, when we leave him at home - we put up a baby gate that confines him to kitchen/family room with access to outside and he has been fine since about 1 yr.

All dogs are different though. Mine is not a worrier and is very laid back. He matured fairly early for a Boxer.
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