We adopted a retired racer a few weeks ago. She is generally well-behaved, but is still learning. She tries to counter surf, occasionally chews on blankets or scratches at the carpet, and likes to fling her toys and bones around. She also has the occasional bathroom accident if we don't stay on top of letting her out every couple of hours when we're home.
Her adoption group advised crating her when we aren't home, so we do. We are both out of the house every day for about 10 hours (commute/work). They said that this length of time is not a problem, and they're right -- she's never had a bathroom accident in her crate, and she just sleeps until we get home. She gets tons of attention and exercise in the evenings, and usually a bit in the morning, too, so it's not as if she's neglected. But the plan has always been to transition her to having run of the house when home alone so that she has more freedom to move around.
However, she gets very anxious if left to roam while we're in other rooms -- barking, howling, and searching for us. In her crate, she's fine -- she'll just lay down and sleep even after we leave. There's also the issue of having accidents in the house -- she can hold it while crated, but she doesn't think she needs to when she's left to roam the house. Plus, she's so energetic and curious about things that we worry about her safety when she's not crated (like, what if she's jumping around and knocks the tv off onto herself, or what if she's zooming and hurts her leg?)
So, how do you make the transition from crate to house? Is it necessary to do so? How do you keep them safe, and help them to feel secure? Is there anyway to prevent/reduce bathroom accidents? (We don't have the option of changing schedules or coming home during lunch, so the 10 hours is fairly non-negotiable -- dog walkers are about $300-400/month here, which is out of our budget.)
Thanks for any advice!