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agreyhoundmom

How To Transition From Crate To House

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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!

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There is nothing wrong with continuing to crate. It keeps the dog safe and gives you peace of mind regarding the dog being alone.

 

When we gave Rocket the run of the house, we started leaving him out in small increments of time and worked up. We also left his crate in place with the door open. Make sure that the door can't be knocked closed by the dog, preventing them from having the crate available. We left that crate up for years and he would still go in there to sunbathe since it was next to a window with lots of sunbeams.

 

Good luck!


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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

 

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For ours, we put him in the crate with a peanut butter kong and leave the door open, then we leave. Most of the time, he goes upstairs to his bed that is in our room and sleeps. He still loves and uses his crate for naps. He hasn't had an accident or done much damage. I think we crated him for the first 6 months, then stopped closing the door.

 

When we are home, he will steal shoes and get into mischief. "Look at me!"

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Crate trained does not mean house-broken. If you want to give your dog access to the rest of the house, then go through the training for house-breaking the dog which means taken the dog out after eating, exercise, waking up from nap and every 2 hours. When the dog does poop or pee outside - praise and create a "word" you want to use to associate this.

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I'm glad that you posed this question because we have very similar hounds from what it sounds like. We've had our girl for a little over a year now. We have to leave her in the crate for 9 hours while we are at work during the week, and she happily runs into and stays in her crate. She is quiet as a mouse (so our neighbors tell us) and sleeps happily while we are gone. When we have left her loose even to take the garbage out, we can hear her howling and it's obvious she has a bit of a panic attack and jumps on the door (wreath torn), counter (knocked things off) and we worry about our books being pulled off the shelf. To be honest her howls sound like someone is murdering her. We have worked slowly with short lengths of time leaving her out and loose (and I mean we haven't gotten past 5-10 minutes on a good day- but we have not put a lot into it due to our schedules). She just obviously feels safest in her crate.

 

We would also like to move towards letting her have the run of our house, but we need to take the time to work with her. I agree with comments above that you may need to work on some house-breaking, first. We have read all the posts on here stating to follow the, "I'll be home soon" by Patricia B. McConnell but we haven't been able to work with her consistently. We do wish to adopt another hound in the near future and think this will definitely help, but for now that's not in our budget. From what I've read, it seems most people are recommending to hound-proof one room and leave some sort of long lasting treat. Totally agree with leaving the crate accessible, and work in small increments until your girl is doing okay. The tricky part is you have to leave and come back BEFORE she may start exhibiting her anxious habits. Walking in while she is howling or scratching only rewards it. That is what we are struggling with right now because it seems without practice our girl has regressed. Now she only howls though, and doesn't seem to be pacing/jumping as she did before. So maybe that is progress.

 

Wishing you luck and looking forward to other comments on this thread.

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There is nothing wrong with continuing to crate. It keeps the dog safe and gives you peace of mind regarding the dog being alone.

 

When we gave Rocket the run of the house, we started leaving him out in small increments of time and worked up. We also left his crate in place with the door open. Make sure that the door can't be knocked closed by the dog, preventing them from having the crate available. We left that crate up for years and he would still go in there to sunbathe since it was next to a window with lots of sunbeams.

 

Good luck!

 

Rocket is so adorable! <3 Thanks for your advice. There are so many people who have posted that they've never crated their dog, which made me worry we weren't moving fast enough to give her free reign of the house. I think we will continue to crate until she is a bit further trained and less anxious, and then try to leave her out in small increments like you suggested.

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For ours, we put him in the crate with a peanut butter kong and leave the door open, then we leave. Most of the time, he goes upstairs to his bed that is in our room and sleeps. He still loves and uses his crate for naps. He hasn't had an accident or done much damage. I think we crated him for the first 6 months, then stopped closing the door.

 

When we are home, he will steal shoes and get into mischief. "Look at me!"

 

Hmm. I wonder if we just need to leave her out alone while we go to the store and see what happens. We've tried just going for a quick walk around the block, but I wonder if she can sense that we didn't *leave* (no car noises from the garage) and is getting stressed about that the same way she does when she knows we're in a room that she isn't in. Six months is probably a more reasonable timeline for letting her run free in the house. Thanks for the advice!

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I'm glad that you posed this question because we have very similar hounds from what it sounds like. We've had our girl for a little over a year now. We have to leave her in the crate for 9 hours while we are at work during the week, and she happily runs into and stays in her crate. She is quiet as a mouse (so our neighbors tell us) and sleeps happily while we are gone. When we have left her loose even to take the garbage out, we can hear her howling and it's obvious she has a bit of a panic attack and jumps on the door (wreath torn), counter (knocked things off) and we worry about our books being pulled off the shelf. To be honest her howls sound like someone is murdering her. We have worked slowly with short lengths of time leaving her out and loose (and I mean we haven't gotten past 5-10 minutes on a good day- but we have not put a lot into it due to our schedules). She just obviously feels safest in her crate.

 

We would also like to move towards letting her have the run of our house, but we need to take the time to work with her. I agree with comments above that you may need to work on some house-breaking, first. We have read all the posts on here stating to follow the, "I'll be home soon" by Patricia B. McConnell but we haven't been able to work with her consistently. We do wish to adopt another hound in the near future and think this will definitely help, but for now that's not in our budget. From what I've read, it seems most people are recommending to hound-proof one room and leave some sort of long lasting treat. Totally agree with leaving the crate accessible, and work in small increments until your girl is doing okay. The tricky part is you have to leave and come back BEFORE she may start exhibiting her anxious habits. Walking in while she is howling or scratching only rewards it. That is what we are struggling with right now because it seems without practice our girl has regressed. Now she only howls though, and doesn't seem to be pacing/jumping as she did before. So maybe that is progress.

 

Wishing you luck and looking forward to other comments on this thread.

 

It's nice to know our's isn't the only one with this behavior! I hadn't heard of the Patricia McConnell book -- I will definitely look into that. Thanks! She does so well when home alone in her crate that it's easy to forget that being alone is still very new to her. We leave music on, but I'm sure the security of the crate is definitely a huge help. I think we also eventually want a friend for her, but probably not for at least a year. New dogs are such a learning experience! I think after reading this thread, I need to let go of the idea that having a happy, crated dog is still "bad" for her just because she's crated. It's really encouraging to read that others still crate their dogs after several months -- it helps to know that as long as she's content, we have more time to learn to trust her alone, and more importantly, for her to learn to trust that we'll be back.

 

I hope your girl keeps making progress on her separation anxiety! She sounds like such a sweetheart!

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You don't have to transition from crating. When given the choice, all of my dogs have preferred freestyle, so I changed them over. But to do this, they need to be reliably housebroken. As posted above, housebroken and crate trained are not exactly the same thing.

 

I train dogs that they must always pee/poop outside by leashing them to me at all times when I'm home. That way, there's no chance there will be that one unguarded moment. I even put a long leash on them at night. I take them out on a schedule, and if they even look like they're thinking about it at another time, I immediately take them out again. When they pee/poop outside, we have a party and treats. They are the best/smartest/most wonderful dog in the world! I put them in a crate when I'm not home. Generally it takes no more than 24 hours, or at most a weekend. Then, after a week or two, I start gradually leaving them out for longer periods of time when I'm gone. Again, this is done on a weekend when I'm not working. I babygate or close doors to rooms I don't want them in.

 

Another method is to babygate them in a small, easily cleaned space and leave them for increasing amounts of time. I think greyhounds do better when they're babygated where they can still see a fair amount either around the house or out a window, or both. Sight is their sense of safety.


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Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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It's nice to know our's isn't the only one with this behavior! I hadn't heard of the Patricia McConnell book -- I will definitely look into that. Thanks! She does so well when home alone in her crate that it's easy to forget that being alone is still very new to her. We leave music on, but I'm sure the security of the crate is definitely a huge help. I think we also eventually want a friend for her, but probably not for at least a year. New dogs are such a learning experience! I think after reading this thread, I need to let go of the idea that having a happy, crated dog is still "bad" for her just because she's crated. It's really encouraging to read that others still crate their dogs after several months -- it helps to know that as long as she's content, we have more time to learn to trust her alone, and more importantly, for her to learn to trust that we'll be back.

 

I hope your girl keeps making progress on her separation anxiety! She sounds like such a sweetheart!

 

I did forget to mention the music! We always leave music on and she seems to really like that. Even if we are home with her and our neighbors are loud she gets anxious, so we feel that the music helps drown out background noise. We actually live in an apartment complex, I realize I didn't mention that.

 

I don't think we are alone in this, but on other posts sometimes I've seen people suggest just to let the dog loose if they are anxious. For us we know our girl would only hurt herself or get the landlord called on us so it's something we can't do. Definitely do not feel like a failure for your dog being crated while you are gone! Especially since she is content. We do find comfort in knowing that ours is safe and can't get loose in some way or another, in the event someone enters our apartment. But I definitely feel a very human guilt thinking she might want more space. You do you. Do what keeps your hound happy and safe.

 

I'm making time to really work with her next month so I have my fingers crossed that she can feel confident enough to be loose. Thank you for the well-wishes! Wishing you and your girl luck as well! Definitely a learning experience!

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Do keep in mind that shutting in them in a dog-proofed room is probably not a good idea.

There is a huge difference between loose in your house to loose in a room (ie bedroom) behind a closed door.

 

All of mine are free in the entire house 24/7, but if I shut them into a room I'm pretty sure they would freak out.


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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Do keep in mind that shutting in them in a dog-proofed room is probably not a good idea.

There is a huge difference between loose in your house to loose in a room (ie bedroom) behind a closed door.

 

All of mine are free in the entire house 24/7, but if I shut them into a room I'm pretty sure they would freak out.

 

I've always seen mentions of baby-gating so that they can still see out. Do you recommend this? Our girl has tried to jump these (to get to my parent's cat) and got stuck on top and gave herself a brush burn. What about two in a door way (for the height)? Our set up would allow us to just close our bedroom and bathroom door to keep her off our bed (not allowed on) and out of garbages, she would have free-roam of the kitchen and living room (in an apartment that's all we have). I think being closed in where she couldn't see would also freak our girl out, so that's what we were intending to do. Thank you for clarifying for OP!

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Rocket is so adorable! <3 Thanks for your advice. There are so many people who have posted that they've never crated their dog, which made me worry we weren't moving fast enough to give her free reign of the house. I think we will continue to crate until she is a bit further trained and less anxious, and then try to leave her out in small increments like you suggested.

 

Two big things to remember about this - 1) this is somewhat of a cultural thing. I've read here on GT that in the UK crating isn't emphasized the way it is in the US - but that doesn't mean that crating is bad for your dog. 2) this is very dog specific. Some dogs don't care for the crate and behave just fine without it. Some dogs (sounds like yours) think of the crate as a security blanket, and I don't think that's a bad thing to have. She's not a little kid sucking her thumb who needs to stop before it messes with her teeth; your pup may literally want and need her crate forever, and as long as you provide her basic needs while she's in it, it's kinder to let her have that safe space. And when/if she's ready to not use it, you'll know.

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I've always seen mentions of baby-gating so that they can still see out. Do you recommend this? Our girl has tried to jump these (to get to my parent's cat) and got stuck on top and gave herself a brush burn. What about two in a door way (for the height)? Our set up would allow us to just close our bedroom and bathroom door to keep her off our bed (not allowed on) and out of garbages, she would have free-roam of the kitchen and living room (in an apartment that's all we have). I think being closed in where she couldn't see would also freak our girl out, so that's what we were intending to do. Thank you for clarifying for OP!

 

One of mine can clear a baby gate quite easily, too!

 

yes.. I think that if you close the bedroom/bathroom doors and allow her in the rest of the space that would be fine. Leave the crate open...she may want to go in it.

 

As others have said...if the dog is fine being in the crate, showing no signs of SA, then let them be in the crate.

 

Our Nixon was OK with his crate, but after a couple of weeks he was fine without it. Ruby had a bad crate experience in her first home, as did Nigel. Sid has never been crated.

Our last Dobe was crated all time if we weren't home. She loved her crate!


NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

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Rocket is so adorable! <3 Thanks for your advice. There are so many people who have posted that they've never crated their dog, which made me worry we weren't moving fast enough to give her free reign of the house. I think we will continue to crate until she is a bit further trained and less anxious, and then try to leave her out in small increments like you suggested.

I'm one of the people that posted that we crated very little or not at all, but there's nothing wrong with crating for the time it's needed. Which could be a little while, or a long while. It depends on the individual dog, and the household. I'm not anti-crate, we just were able to move away from them more quickly, but our situation was different. Don't feel judged, always do what makes sense for YOUR dog in YOUR house.

 

Best of luck!

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I've always seen mentions of baby-gating so that they can still see out. Do you recommend this? Our girl has tried to jump these (to get to my parent's cat) and got stuck on top and gave herself a brush burn. What about two in a door way (for the height)? Our set up would allow us to just close our bedroom and bathroom door to keep her off our bed (not allowed on) and out of garbages, she would have free-roam of the kitchen and living room (in an apartment that's all we have). I think being closed in where she couldn't see would also freak our girl out, so that's what we were intending to do. Thank you for clarifying for OP!

I used baby gates most of the time we had greys. They'd get kitchen access first, baby gated, so they could see the rest of the house, then kitchen and livingroom, baby gated, etc. Adding a room at a time. Worked for all but my Diana. The first morning I set up the babygate before leaving for work she jumped over it, got up on the couch, and just looked at me like "Well that's a fun toy you put there for me!". She cleared it EASILY. I double stacked them, and she never considered trying to go through, or over. Most greys can easily jump over a baby gate if they want to, most just don't. Heck I had a dog that putting a laundry basket in a doorway would keep him out. I'd use babygates 100% before shutting a dog in a room, but if you have a jumper, stack 2. Most of the time I had dogs there was a babygate across my teenage DD's room to keep the dogs out. She wanted a no dog zone of her own. Diana went over and in constantly, but she was more "allowed" by DD than any of the others. Until she ate the hamster.... 'nother story.... lol.

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