Advice on how to continue crate/house training when back to work
My fiance and I recently adopted an 8 week old german shepherd puppy.. I took off for 2 weeks to stay home with him and try to put as much time as possible into house training. This is my first puppy so I don't have much experience with house training so I am asking for some advice.
My approach so far has been a combination of crate training and constant observation. We put Lando in his crate at night time, around 10pm and he sleeps until 4am. From 4am onwards, he is taken out upon waking up, after breakfast/lunch/dinner, and every couple hours. I watch him all day and if I see him sniffing etc, I take him out immediately. We have had him for 1 week and he has had 4 urinating accidents and 1 pooping accident in the house. Most of them were within the first 2 days. He has gone the past couple days with no accidents. He now learns to sit by the door when he has to go potty. We reward him with treats when he goes out. If I catch him in the act inside, I yell NO, grab him and run outside with him and let him finish there and clean meticulously to remove any odor.
My concern is that in 10 days I will have to return to work, I think my schedule will be ~9am-4pm M-F at the worst and it is not possible for me to return home at lunch to walk him. I was debating what are the best options for us at that point. He seems to be doing well picking up on house training - he goes to the door already when he needs to go. But I am well aware he cannot hold it for 8 hours during the day.
I was thinking of either - keeping him in his crate during the day and asking a friend or hiring a dog walker to take him out mid day and then putting him back in the crate OR keeping him in a closed off space such as the kitchen where we can puppy proof and leave him food/water and wee-wee pads. I haven't been using wee-wee pads and I really don't want him to learn that it is okay to go potty inside the house but I also feel bad leaving him in the crate for that many hours a day. After a few weeks, my fiance's schedule will be changing and there will be more days where he will be home during the day so this wouldn't be a permanent thing. My goal is to do as much training as possible now so that hopefully in time, we can trust to leave him with free roam of the living room/kitchen area and he won't have any accidents or destroy anything.