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home alone worries

by Marilyn

My "Baby" is 9 years old and now I am the proud grandmother of my daughters new boy "Reuben" He's 41/2 months old and they both work during the day which means he's in the crate all day except when I let him out at lunch time. He's not entirely housebroken and doesn't let us know when he has to go out. We just make sure he's taken out every hour when he's out of the crate. My question is...won't he be happier having the run of the kitchen with his toys and food and not stay in that crate all day? It seems Baby was housebroken sooner because I was home all the time to let her out. I know this is a real concern of working parents. Sorry I made this so long. Please ease my mind on this matter. I'm crazy about that little guy!!! Oh, one more question....will leaving him out of the crate during the day mess up his housebreaking and he will feel free to do it in the kitchen? Thank you!!


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

I too had the same worries with my 3 month puppy, Chelsea. I did not feel comfortable leaving her in a crate for 10 hours during work, as I have no one to stop in mid-day. So I gated off the kitchen, put her opened door crate in along with food, water, plenty of toys and music, and a puppy housebreaking pad, and I have had no problems. Chelsea is now 6 months and has recently discovered that she can shred the pad, so I've switched to a thick plastic floor covering sheet in her favorite area of the kitchen. Many times she waits until I come home and take her outside to do her business. I do not think that this prevents housebreaking. It may slow down the training, but Chelsea does tend to run to the door when she has to go out, when she's not in the confined area. Although I usually find her asleep in her crate when I come home from work, I feel better seeing that she has eaten, played, and relieved herself as needed. I do crate her when I am gone for less than 3-4 hours. Good Luck!
-Mary Jo

I agree that crate training is a good idea when you are only going to be away for a few hours at a time. As far as when I'm at work though, in the past I had always sectioned off the kitchen area so that the pup can have some sort of exercise and play time as well as be able to relieve itself. This way they also know that the crate is not a punishment area but a safe refuge for them to retreat to when needed. To keep a puppy in the crate for 10 hrs just seems cruel. I also think when the baby's parents are at home they should keep him in this sectioned off area and when he looks like he needs to go just place him in the spot he should be going - he'll get the idea it just may take a little longer. Lots of Luck to the proud new grandma and parents!!

I have a 4 1/2 year old female who is home alone while I am at work. I started with the crate (a very large crate) training but like you felt this was cruel for an extended period. April has problems holding her urine for the full time I am at work. She too decided tearing up the paper and pad was a great pass time. I now use a tray with a piece of outdoor/grass carpeting and leave this out when I am gone for more than 2-3 hours. I place this in the kitchen so she can relieve herself and this can be washed out and reused each time (the kitchen is closed off with a gate). This also elminates problems since she is afraid of loud noises and storms. She does quite well with this. When I am home she is fine and knows to let me know when she needs to go out. This has not caused a problem with housebreaking. Good Luck - this seems to be a problem with many of the females when you work.

My Penny is 2 years old and she has always gone in the crate while I am gone. I did not believe in the crate when I first got her even though the vet told me it was the best. She cried all night and was crying when I got home. I bought the crate and she slept through the night perfectly the first night. She was a year before she would sleep with me. I tried to get her to she did not want to she preferred her crate. She was sometimes in the crate for 8 to 10 hours, although I tried to avoid this as much as possible. I now have the luxury of working at home and she is out all day. I still find her often times curled up in her crate sleeping and I use the crate when I leave for a few hours. I was told and I believe they see the crate as their den their own home. She has always seemed happier in the crate while I am not home.

I have been dealing with the same situation with my 4 month old puppy. He's been at our home for a little more than 3 weeks and is doing great. My husband and I both work and for the first few days kept in inside his crate. But we soon decided to fix him a gated area with his open cage and toys inside. I do not leave water and food in the area though. I feed him an hour before we leave and take him potty immediately before we leave. My husband stops in at lunch to let him out and he's never hungry, but does get a drink. I have found with past dogs that if he has constant access to water and food, he'll never learn to "wait" to go outside. Once he's older, we will gradually cut out the mid-day visit as well. However, my husband gets off work early in the afternoon, not at 6 or 7pm as some may. I haven't found that leaving him in an open (gated) area with a "potty place" has slowed down the process at all. He only uses the puppy john (these are great, by the way) when he's in his gated area and we're gone. Otherwise he goes outside. If anything, I found it slowing down the process when he was caged too long and was pottying INSIDE the crate. Continuing at that rate would've taught him bad habits that would be hard to break! As long as there's a routine, they'll feel safe and know that all is well. Good luck!

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