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I'm wondering when/how you start let your puppies have free reign in the house (while you are home)? So far, we have been pretty strict followers of the containment method of house-training a puppy. Cody is 7 months old and he spends all of his unsupervised time in an xpen or tethered to/near us. He also takes one afternoon nap and sleeps at night in his crate. He is extremely reliable with the potty, so I'm not worried about that, but he likes to chew/swallow non-food items, grab things off of counters/shelves, etc, etc. I say no and replace with his toys or chews, but he has limited interest in his toys/chews and seemingly boundless interest in everything else in the house so it feels a bit like swimming upstream.

I would love to hear about other people's experiences/thoughts on this!
 

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I'm wondering when/how you start let your puppies have free reign in the house (while you are home)? So far, we have been pretty strict followers of the containment method of house-training a puppy. Cody is 7 months old and he spends all of his unsupervised time in an xpen or tethered to/near us. He also takes one afternoon nap and sleeps at night in his crate. He is extremely reliable with the potty, so I'm not worried about that, but he likes to chew/swallow non-food items, grab things off of counters/shelves, etc, etc. I say no and replace with his toys or chews, but he has limited interest in his toys/chews and seemingly boundless interest in everything else in the house so it feels a bit like swimming upstream.

I would love to hear about other people's experiences/thoughts on this!
I can't help you specifically (yet)...as I'm preparing for our new Spoo that we are getting at 9 weeks old the first week of January. However, I have been reading this book and it is VERY good. Perhaps it can help you in addition to other's recommendations in this forum! I will post Amazon link...
472101
 

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You may need to do some strict puppy proofing to break that cycle. With Peggy, at least, the more "forbidden" the item, the more interest she gives it. With a puppy-proofed space everything can be treated as neutral, except for her toys, which are treated as very, very special and exciting!

We granted access slowly, always prepared to scale it back for a week or so, as necessary (and it is still sometimes necessary at 18 months). We can easily shut doors to all but our main living space.

We kept the x-pen around until she was well over a year old, just organically using it less and less. I saw no reason to rush its retirement.
 

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The pup is the one who always tells me what they're ready for. My Giant Schnauzer was over a year old before I trusted her with much of anything. I use the Giant as an example because she's at the end of the spectrum of being my most challenging pup to raise... my Standard Poodle (who is currently our youngest dog) is at the opposite end of the spectrum. In the Giant's 2nd year I began to let her roam a bit. If she was out of sight for 3-5 minutes either I recalled her or I went to see what my little darlin' was up to. Throughout that 2nd year with her I begin to notice less & less times of me having to correct or make her come back into the room & not allow her to leave my sight again until she earned it. With me they earn all freedoms. So by year 3 if she was out of sight for 20 minutes I didn't think anything of it because when I checked, she'd be napping in one of her favorite places. With my Standard Poodle, he matured faster & I begin to trust him in our bedroom first. I'd go take a nap & at first he was crated, the girls were loose in the room with me. Over time, he would go in the crate & nap with me with the door open, & he valued that free time so I can only remember maybe 3 times of having to crate him because he was being ornery. For Mr. Layne, this was by the time he was a year old. The less house manners corrections I have to give, the more freedom they get. After he was a year old he probably got called back into the living room with us dozens of times per day. He will be 2 at the end of February. Just the other day he got shut up in our bedroom & I went hunting for him because he didn't come when called... very strange... I opened to door to see him get up from the side of my bed where he likes to lay... looking at me like, "welp, the door shut". He's so quiet we often times forget he's even in the house. But you start very small. When I haven't had to correct (get him out of something, aaaat-that's not yours, kind of deal for week... then we can loosen up... & continue with that pattern. Any infraction of the rules & we tighten back up & just do that sort of yo-yo thing until he's earned complete trust.
 

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At a year old, we still check in on Loki sometimes when he's not in the same room as us and certain rooms are kept closed when we aren't in them with him. But we're finding that as he gets older, he's starting to lose interest in the "forbidden objects" in the house except when he's overtired/amped up (things found on the ground outside is something else entirely though...). It feels like his impulse control gets depleted, then that napkin that he'd walked by several times just fine becomes very interesting. But that means that for now, we try to manage what's available to him in rooms that he's free to roam through carefully (e.g. napkins, socks, and human snacks are all tucked away).
 

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He is extremely reliable with the potty, so I'm not worried about that,

but he likes to chew/swallow non-food items, grab things off of counters/shelves, etc,
Being extremely reliable with the potty in the kitchen or family room doesn’t mean he’s potty trained in the dining room, bedrooms or basement. Nor is he potty trained when visiting someone else’s house or a store etc. He needs to be potty trained in all the rooms in your home and when you take him to new indoor spaces, you need to train him there too. He needs to learn the potty is outside buildings, not just outside he little zone where he learned not to go to the bathroom. Take him to potty, then tether him and spend time in different rooms of your house. Same with going to Lowes or a pet store (where polite dogs are welcome) and when you bring him inside someone else’s home, potty first and tether there to until he has experience in many places and has generalized the concept. You never know when you visit someone else’s house if perhaps a pet had an accident and it wasn’t cleaned up leaving odor that could trigger a dog that appears to be toilet trained but isn’t fully generalized to toilet training. Same in stores.

Before extending his space in the house you should completely Puppy proof. Don’t allow him access to anything he can chew or swallow on counters shelves etc. He’s learned bad habits and they are exciting and self reinforcing so he will continue to do them. work hard now to break this habit. The work you do now means a life time of living with a great dog. If you continue to allow this dangerous behavior you will have a lifetime of a dog that can get into trouble.
 
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You may need to do some strict puppy proofing to break that cycle. With Peggy, at least, the more "forbidden" the item, the more interest she gives it. With a puppy-proofed space everything can be treated as neutral, except for her toys, which are treated as very, very special and exciting!
Yes, this is definitely the case -- forbidden things are MUCH more appealing than boring old toys! I'm glad to hear you say that, because I know that's always been my children's mentality but I didn't know if I was just projecting a human thought process onto a dog. :)

I think you are absolutely right about strict puppy proofing. We have 4 kids and my youngest, 8 year old twins, are absolutely horrible about picking up after themselves, especially now that they are home for e-learning full time and their dad and I are also trying to get work done from home. But we will all be on winter break for the next 2 weeks, and I think we're due for a major family meeting and new course of action. Unfortunately we don't have a house that lends itself to closing off rooms -- it's a large, mid-century house with wide and asymmetrical halls/doorways and open staircases. A lot of space to run around in on cold winter days, but not so easy to shrink. But I will try to give it some creative thought.
 

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Ours is open-concept, as well. I recommend keeping all doors closed (bedrooms, office, etc.) and focusing just on the main living area for now.

Hope the family meeting is a success. :) It's so hard when everyone's not on the same page.
 

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You could try reusing your x-pen as little gates to rooms if you have one that can be broken down. I have a storage rack from Amazon keeping it in place. I just slide it back and forth. We blocked off the fireplace at my parents house with gates too as Basil grew up.

I imagine you could create a castle fantasy land where the kiddos are the prince or princesses of their land (their rooms) and need to keep your gate up to keep the dragon out, tidey (lol we hope!), where Cody is the dragon. I'm not sure how old they are. It could be fun.


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You could try reusing your x-pen as little gates to rooms if you have one that can be broken down. I have a storage rack from Amazon keeping it in place. I just slide it back and forth. We blocked off the fireplace at my parents house with gates too as Basil grew up.
I really like your idea of using the x-pen as gates. That actually makes me wonder if we should consider totally puppy proofing the first floor and then putting my twins in the x-pen instead of the dog. Only partly joking!! The biggest problem area is the table and shelving unit in our family room, which is where my messy 8 yr old twins do their e-learning. There is a constant stream of crayons/pencils/snack wrappers/glue sticks/stickers/scissors/paper scraps on that floor that seems to regenerate within minutes of it being completely tidy, and it's not really possible to keep him out of that room. His xpen is currently on the other side of that room. I am seriously wondering if we should just consider surrounding the girls with an x pen to keep him out of their space. That, plus the socks that they fling across the hallway within 30 seconds of entering the house, is where he gets into 90% of trouble.
 

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We were going to reconfigure our retired x-pen to act as a Christmas tree fence, but so far, so good. (I'm sure I've now jinxed it.)
Fingers crossed!!

Also, thank you dogsavvy for pointing out that this is likely to be an iterative process. It reminds me a lot of the baby shark stage, which at the time felt like it would never end, and now feels like a brief and distant memory.
 

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Lots of excellent advice and ideas. I will repeat what‘s been said, puppy proof for sure which I know is a lot harder when you have kids. I think the better the puppy proofing though, the more freedom that can be extended until they are grown up enough to leave the forbidden items. We didn’t have an X-pen but used baby gates a lot. It was a gradual process and the older Bobby got the less we had to use the gates. Even with our cat, whom he has had to learn not to chase, for the most part, at two years old, we no longer need the gates. He still periodically chases but definitely stops when we tell him to. We definitely keep things pretty well dog proofed though as Bobby still likes certain forbidden things and he’s a counter surfer. He has a real thing for pens, pencils and remotes. Dogs are so silly. Keeping things dog proofed makes for way less stress in my opinion. It’s very much a habit for us due to kids, grandkids, dogs and cats through the years. 😉 Because we still have a kitty, Bobby still does not have free reign of the whole house when we are gone. He has a bedroom though, which I keep very dog proofed and the door closed so I don’t have to worry about things or him. It’s all a process though and it does take time, just like kids. Eventually puppy grows up and doesn’t have to put every single thing in the puppy mouth. I think you will will just have to experiment, puppy proof well, see how it goes, give a bit more freedom and see how that goes, try some creative gating and adjust as needed. Hopefully your kids will join you in the puppy proofing effort. Maybe they can help with coming up with some creative ideas to put their things away in a safe place, out of puppy’s reach. 😁
 

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Galen, at 11 months, is still very much in a chewing phase. I woke up this morning to a repeated clunking noise. Thinking he was just chewing on a yak stick, I ignored him. It turned out he had flipped up the carpet runner and was busily shredding the carpet pad. The clunking was the sound of the carpet flipping back down and hitting him in the head.
 

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I can relate to puppy proof. When we had a tpoo when I also had a toddler and a kindergarten child. I remember finding a penny on the floor and freaking out because I had no idea where it came from or if there was more...and if my toddler or puppy ate any money.

For the kids socks, could you put something decorative in the hall for the kids to stick their socks? Maybe something hanging on the wall? Could you put doors on the shelving unit or follow through on putting a gate around the kids work area.

The plan is to live with restrictions and gates for about a year until your puppy is beyond that stage of putting things in his mouth. It’s annoying but it’s not permanent.
 

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My standard is around the same age. Keep in mind I live in a small 2 bedroom condo. So there aren’t many places to go. Mine basically has free run now and that started 3 or so weekend ago. but I have a baby gates to my room (mostly because I was it to be the one place in the house with no muddy feet on carpet) and to the hallway where the cat litter is. He is fairly good and mostly at this point only chews his own toys. But it is very easy to watch him we there is only the living room and kitchen. In a bigger house where he could disappear it might be different. He also doesn’t sleep in his crate anymore he sleeps beside my sons bed on a blanket. I was scared to do this as I thought he would chew electrical equipment and my sons computer stuff but so far been ok. And it is much easier on us as I’m the crate he was waking up at 4 am. And I can’t let him just cry being in a condo. I also don’t leave food on counters so that has taken care of the desire to jump up and take things.
 

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I've mentioned this elsewhere, but should probably repeat it with every new Poodle Forum puppy: Peggy's most destructive chewing phase occurred without warning right before her first birthday. It lasted about a week. Her second occurred about 24 hours ago (at 18 months) and lasted just a single day.

These silly adolescents can be tricky like that! They seem so grown-up and then their brains go haywire.

I strongly recommend keeping valuable items out of reach through their second birthday. (With spoos especially, as they take longer to mature than smaller dogs.)
 

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When we got Dancer (standard) at 8 weeks old, we lived in a 900 sq ft 2 bedroom-2 bath apartment on the 2nd floor (concrete steps up). We had a crate in the living room & a small one in the bedroom. We took her out a lot at 1st. Unless we were engaged with her or had her tethered to us, she was in her crate.

We quickly got an ex-pen as we didn't want her to go off the balcony (but never ended up using it there). We attached the ex-pen to the crate & put old blankets underneath it so she wouldn't tear up the carpet. She had water, food & toys there. We were extremely strict with her (thanks PF). She wasn't given any opportunity to make mistakes.

As she became more reliable, we very slowly opened up the ex-pen to allow more freedom. It took many months before she was allowed the whole living room & a full year before she had full run of the apartment. I also carried her up & down the steps for a few months mostly due to the open steps that I didn't want her to fall thru.

We didn't have kids to deal with though. I would recommend a few ex-pens that you can link together to work around your kids & as you open up space. I know we got an easy dog as she slept through the night after 2 weeks & by the time she outgrew the bedroom crate she was allowed on the bed & we had no problems. Also, she has never gotten into anything in our house & I believe it is because she was so strictly monitored.
 
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