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Murph turned three months old today and over the past few days we've been leaving him with free reign of the house (minus the closets) when we leave for an hour or two. Last night he went into his crate at bedtime but we didn't close the door. Seems to be going pretty well so far, just wondering about your individual progress and what ages you trusted them to be alone in the house.
Last night at 2am Murph went to my wife's side of the bed, got in her face and barked so he could go outside. So she took him, he did his business and they came back in, no big deal. I have cameras so I can watch him when we're away, so far all he's done is sleep when we're gone...
 

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I honestly think it depends on the dog. Our last dog we didn't crate her ever, she hated it and would escape. Also the only thing she did when we weren't home is collect all my dirty socks and sleep on them. The dog I have now I don't trust out of her crate. She chews too much and keeps trying to figure out the trash cans. Possibly one day but for right now she is in the crate when we aren't home and when she's sleeping.

edit: I know it doesn't necessarily answer your question. Previous GSD's I've left out after about 6ish months of age.
 

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I honestly think it depends on the dog. Our last dog we didn't crate her ever, she hated it and would escape. Also the only thing she did when we weren't home is collect all my dirty socks and sleep on them. The dog I have now I don't trust out of her crate. She chews too much and keeps trying to figure out the trash cans. Possibly one day but for right now she is in the crate when we aren't home and when she's sleeping.

edit: I know it doesn't necessarily answer your question. Previous GSD's I've left out after about 6ish months of age.
Great feedback, thanks for the reply!
 

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I brought my current pup home at 12 wks, and she's always had access to the whole house - minus the closets, of course. The first couple of days she chewed up a piece of trim joining the laminate flooring we have in our family room to the tile entry going into the back yard. Told her twice to knock it off, and she hasn't messed with it again. Otherwise the only thing she has ever destroyed was her own bed...which honestly didn't bother me much, since I had given her the old cushions off of our outdoor patio chairs to use as a bed. She did once snag the tv remote, but she just carried it to her bed and didn't chew it up!

I typically leave her out in the backyard this time of year if I'm going to be gone longer than an hour or two, or bring her with me.

Sounds like Murph is being pretty trustworthy, I'd go with it! Of course it wouldn't hurt to have some stuff it's okay for him to chew on laying around...he'll be teething soon!
 

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Murph turned three months old today and over the past few days we've been leaving him with free reign of the house (minus the closets) when we leave for an hour or two. Last night he went into his crate at bedtime but we didn't close the door. Seems to be going pretty well so far, just wondering about your individual progress and what ages you trusted them to be alone in the house.
Last night at 2am Murph went to my wife's side of the bed, got in her face and barked so he could go outside. So she took him, he did his business and they came back in, no big deal. I have cameras so I can watch him when we're away, so far all he's done is sleep when we're gone...
It depends on the dog. Once Sabi outgrew her puppy crate she was never really crated again unless there was something going on. So by about 4 months she had run of the house. We did close bedroom and bathroom doors for another few months just to be safe.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Shadow who is crated when I leave always and is now almost 8 years old. She is perfectly well behaved and has run of the house at night. She is not destructive, not dirty and is reliably house trained. She simply makes poor decisions, like climbing bookshelves to investigate lights or reflections, walking on the pass through ledge and standing on tables. I know people disagree with my decision but she is crated solely for her safety and my peace of mind. I have left her loose for up to an hour and she is fine but longer and she begins exploring high ground, lol.
 

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ours has been out since 15 weeks, he chewed on the coffee table, we got some of that yuck spray and fixed that. You can leave your shoes out or they are ruined. He does get the rug from time to time though
 

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I brought my current pup home at 12 wks, and she's always had access to the whole house - minus the closets, of course. The first couple of days she chewed up a piece of trim joining the laminate flooring we have in our family room to the tile entry going into the back yard. Told her twice to knock it off, and she hasn't messed with it again. Otherwise the only thing she has ever destroyed was her own bed...which honestly didn't bother me much, since I had given her the old cushions off of our outdoor patio chairs to use as a bed. She did once snag the tv remote, but she just carried it to her bed and didn't chew it up!

I typically leave her out in the backyard this time of year if I'm going to be gone longer than an hour or two, or bring her with me.

Sounds like Murph is being pretty trustworthy, I'd go with it! Of course it wouldn't hurt to have some stuff it's okay for him to chew on laying around...he'll be teething soon!
Very cool! I'm going to keep at it then, it gets up to 102 here during the day and Murph isn't a fan of the heat anyway. Hopefully he can keep it up.
He's really matured a lot in the last week, its weird. I know the horrible adolescent state is right around the corner for him, but man he's doing good. I've been taking him to work and having him tag along on environmental audits (I'm an HSE Manager) and he seems to take it seriously like its a job for him. Obeys all commands even with loud shop noises, painting, etc going on and really pays attention to me. Then when I'm in my office he just sleeps the whole time! Everyone at work loves him.
 

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Very cool! I'm going to keep at it then, it gets up to 102 here during the day and Murph isn't a fan of the heat anyway. Hopefully he can keep it up.
He's really matured a lot in the last week, its weird. I know the horrible adolescent state is right around the corner for him, but man he's doing good. I've been taking him to work and having him tag along on environmental audits (I'm an HSE Manager) and he seems to take it seriously like its a job for him. Obeys all commands even with loud shop noises, painting, etc going on and really pays attention to me. Then when I'm in my office he just sleeps the whole time! Everyone at work loves him.
I think it's awesome that you can take him to work with you like that! Great exposure! I took my previous dog to work with me alot, and nearly everywhere else I went as well, the end result was a dog that would dependably hold a down stay in any spot I designated for many hours or even days. I once had an old farm truck breakdown out in the boonies, and since the doors didn't lock I left my dog there while I walked out to get help (before cell phones were a common thing). I left her at around 3 in the afternoon, and didn't get back to my truck until about 10am the next day...she was right there watching it! She too took her job(s) very seriously!

My current pup is getting there too...photo below of her practicing long down stays in the park, she's the under the tree near the top of the picture.
 

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Mine is 5 months and teething like mad. I accidentally didn't latch her crate door over night, and she got out and shredded a basket and all the paperwork that was in it; also chewed up the leg on an antique sewing cabinet in the room. Didn't go to the bathroom in the house and didn't leave the room as far as I could tell (door was open a crack ). And, fortunately she didn't go after the cat or chew any electrical wiring. She may have been ok for an hour or two, but that was too long unattended. I don't leave her out of the crate when I can't supervise yet.
 

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You may want to get through teething first before you give them free roam. At 3 months old, I presume he hasn't started loosing her puppy teeth yet? When he does, he will become much worse at chewing on things and will need constant monitoring again.


Also, GSD puppies seem to go through their "terrible twos" in the mid to later stage of their puppyhood after they become almost fully grown. So I'd say anywhere from 6 months to a year, give or take a month or two. They seem to become more hyper and less likely to follow commands leading to disobeying and even challenging your authority. One of the best ways I have discovered to deal with them besides just the everyday behavior of making it clear that I'm the Alpha, is regressing their independence and stepping up training. More crate time, more training time, less free roam of the house. Less overall freedom. I don't use the crate to punish, but the regiment and that understanding of being out and about is more of a privilege to be out and about in my territory rather then their territory seems to give me more calm and contained pups.


I'm on my 5th Shepherd and it wasn't until about the one year mark that the crate went away completely. And I started gradually at that by letting them remain out and locked in the room at night and progressed from there.
 

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Great thread, thanks for starting and sharing! I've been wondering this myself. Got a 5x10 dog run I'll set up in the basement that I think she'll really enjoy but I was thinking at the one year mark to start giving her more house freedom while we're gone.

Mei does the same at night. Walks in and plays right down in the kennel. She hates snuggling when she's tired anyways lol.

Glad Murph is doing great. Pictures!!
 

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6 months

Then busy season hit (accountant) and I didn't have time the time to burn off her energy properly and she started destroying things, so back in the crate she went.

I'll put a dog door in and leave both of them in a couple months when my puppy gets a little bit older.

I'd say 6 months is a pretty common number
 

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Mine is almost 14 months and I don't leave him out of the crate when I'm not home. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment and should he be in the living room, he's going to have access to tv cables, printer, lamps etc. Too many safety hazards. Don't know when I'm going to trust him to make good decisions when left alone.
 

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6 months

Then busy season hit (accountant) and I didn't have time the time to burn off her energy properly and she started destroying things, so back in the crate she went.

I'll put a dog door in and leave both of them in a couple months when my puppy gets a little bit older.

I'd say 6 months is a pretty common number
Great to hear this! I think a lot of puppy owners in general don't understand that sometimes you have to take regressive steps to actually make progress. That sometimes they need to go back to training basics or more crate time before they can progress to be a better puppy! Always great to hear other owners who feel the same!
 

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That's awesome he's so trustworthy so young! Definitely keep it up, but don't be to surprised if he slips up when he starts teething or gets a wild hair 😉
Mine is 10 months old, we've had two jail breaks (no clue how long he was free for), and the worst he's done was drag out some dirty laundry. I got greeted at the door by paws on my shoulders that day! We only kennel him for long periods of time we will be away (work). If I'm making a quick run to the store or wherever he can be free, or he goes with me. I don't usually pack up the kennel for good until my dogs are 1 year old or so.
 

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Ditto on the "depends on the dog" bit. My previous dog was in the crate until I can't remember when exactly (sometime between 1 year and 2 years old) but one day he just decided he didn't want to be in there anymore, and barked and bit the wires and I had to let him out for good. That was the end of the crate for him and I'm glad I did. He was such a well behaved dog. I could leave a cooked chicken on the kitchen counter (and I have done that several times) and come back a couple hours later and it'd still be there. And he loved chicken. He would stay on "sentry" duty the whole time, laying on the middle landing of the staircase which has a good view of the front door and the garage door...only getting up to get a drink of water.

The current 7.5 month old is the opposite. I left him alone for 20 minutes (thought he was taking a nap) and found him eating 2 feet of a 5 foot paracord leash. Had to take him to the emergency room where they induced vomit. If that stuff went through the stomach, I would've had to spend thousands of dollars on surgery. 2 weeks later, came home and found him eating the crate mattress foam and pad's outer covering. Again, had to take him to the emergency room for the same thing. The hospital joked about keeping an open tab for him. Can't leave him alone, so in the crate he goes with no toys, crate mattress, towels, sheets, or anything in there with him. He eats anything and everything so he can't be left out of the crate when I leave the house. I'm hoping as he gets older that he'd grow out of this.
 

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We have a crate upstairs in the bedroom and downstairs in the family room. Kairo is almost 9 months, and just in the past month, I've started leaving him out of his crate at night. He still sleeps in it 50% of the time anyway ( I leave the door open), but I think that's prolly because of the cooling mat in there. The other half of the time he sleeps on the floor, his choice.

Have not left him out of the crate while we have been away yet, but that's more because I work from home, and I try to take him with me wherever I go. However, he was left alone for about 90 minutes last weekend while we were cutting grass, and he was fine not being crated. Guess that was the first step in earning my trust lol.
 

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Great to hear this! I think a lot of puppy owners in general don't understand that sometimes you have to take regressive steps to actually make progress. That sometimes they need to go back to training basics or more crate time before they can progress to be a better puppy! Always great to hear other owners who feel the same!
Well she decided she liked ripping carpet to shreds.....

But to your point my dog is 16 months. And 90% of what we train is still just basic/competition obedience. Like most things in life, mastery of the fundamentals is key to success.
 

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Ditto on the "depends on the dog" bit. My previous dog was in the crate until I can't remember when exactly (sometime between 1 year and 2 years old) but one day he just decided he didn't want to be in there anymore, and barked and bit the wires and I had to let him out for good. That was the end of the crate for him and I'm glad I did. He was such a well behaved dog. I could leave a cooked chicken on the kitchen counter (and I have done that several times) and come back a couple hours later and it'd still be there. And he loved chicken. He would stay on "sentry" duty the whole time, laying on the middle landing of the staircase which has a good view of the front door and the garage door...only getting up to get a drink of water.

The current 7.5 month old is the opposite. I left him alone for 20 minutes (thought he was taking a nap) and found him eating 2 feet of a 5 foot paracord leash. Had to take him to the emergency room where they induced vomit. If that stuff went through the stomach, I would've had to spend thousands of dollars on surgery. 2 weeks later, came home and found him eating the crate mattress foam and pad's outer covering. Again, had to take him to the emergency room for the same thing. The hospital joked about keeping an open tab for him. Can't leave him alone, so in the crate he goes with no toys, crate mattress, towels, sheets, or anything in there with him. He eats anything and everything so he can't be left out of the crate when I leave the house. I'm hoping as he gets older that he'd grow out of this.
Bud ate ANYTHING I put in his crate with him for his entire life. I used to feel horrible because he had to be crated if he was unsupervised. When he got really old and I was struggling with urine burns I was terrified that he would eat the pads I put in there. Apparently 13.5 was the magic age for him, I sincerely hope you have better luck. :laugh2:
 
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