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For the first couple months after we brought home our puppy, my husband and I were both working in the office and our puppy was crated while we were gone. At night, we'd bring the crate up to our bedroom, where he happily and quietly slept all night, never crying or begging to get out before we let him out each morning.

A couple months ago my husband's job gave him the opportunity to start working from home, so our puppy is no longer crated during the day. He started out in his ex-pen, but eventually graduated to free reign of the downstairs whenever at least one of us is home, which is almost always. He's only in his pen when we leave the house or go outside or upstairs where he will be unattended downstairs.

He was still sleeping happily in his crate at night for these last couple of months. He's now almost 6 months old, and DH decided he wanted to try letting him sleep outside of his crate (in our bedroom, with the bedroom door closed). We did this for a couple nights and he slept quietly on the floor next to our bed, but I started worrying he was going to forget his crate training if we're never using it, so the last couple nights I tried putting him in his crate but not closing the crate door. The first night he laid down in his crate, stayed there for a while, and at some point during the night moved to the floor right next to our bed. Then last night, I guided him into his crate like I always used to, but he bolted out as soon as he realized I wasn't closing the door. He again slept on the floor next to our bed.

I have no problem with him sleeping on our bedroom floor, and I plan on going out to get him a proper dog bed (instead of the "mattress" that currently pads his crate). However, my concern is if we stop utilizing his crate altogether, that he won't be willing to go inside it when we actually need him to, like when he stays overnight with someone else while we're out of town. Thoughts on this? He's our first dog, and the dogs I had growing up were never crate trained, so I have no experience with this. I think we did a pretty good crate training him, but hadn't really thought about life once the crate was no longer a daily necessity.
 

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If your dog will largely be a homebody then the crate may not be super important. We don't have crates up in our house at all and our dogs are 3 to 10 years old. My brother's family uses crates for all of their dogs who are all adults. They just really enjoy their crates as their safe spaces. Dogs under 6-8 months of age may not really be neuromuscularly well developed to resist the urge to void and crates are important to really cement housebreaking for those who still have accidents. Crates are often also helpful with dogs who are power chewers. When a puppy shed their deciduous teeth they chew hard to set up vibrations through their teeth into the bones of the jaws. Those vibrations stimulate bone building cells called osteoblasts that are important in solidifying the set of the teeth in the bone.


If your dog is likely to travel with you then easy acceptance of the crate as a place to be relaxed is really important. My BF took our youngest dog out of his crate when he was a puppy and I was away for several days with Lily. He put the puppy on the bed with him since he was screaming in the crate and BF needed to sleep so he could go to work. It took a very long time (the better part of two years) to get him to be happy in a crate after that. I show in obedience so crating is really important to me.
 

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I agree with lily. Milo is 1.5 years old and even though he has free reign of the house in the past few months, he still sleeps in the crate at night. We travel on planes quite a bit and always bring him so i need him to be ok with confined spaces like a travel bag and a crate at the hotel. Milo isn’t a chewer of things that doesn’t belong to him so i am grateful for that but i dont think i trust him to be out of his crate at that young age.
 

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Thank you both, even you though you told me what I hoping not to hear - haha! But seriously, I was feeling the same way but it was DH's idea to let him try sleeping outside of the crate. He's done great and is very well potty-trained. We were also keeping our bedroom door closed so he couldn't get into trouble if he woke up while we were still sleeping, but I was concerned that he was going to stop being comfortable in a crate on the rarer occasions we need to use one, if he doesn't use one regularly.

I tried putting him in his crate a few times last night, with the door open, but he kept moving to the floor. Every time I looked at him on the floor he was sprawled out, legs fully outstretched, which he can't do as well in his crate anymore. I think we need to buy him the next size up. Before we brought him home, I purchased one that said it was good for dogs up to 25 pounds (18x24x19), knowing as a mini he would be under that even full grown, but it seems a bit cramped for him now. So, time to buy a bigger crate and convince DH that it's for the best to let him keep sleeping in there :) Or, even if/when we do start letting him sleep loose on our bedroom floor again, we can finally put away the x-pen downstairs and use the bigger crate instead for when we need to leave him home alone.
 

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Look up Susan Garrett's crate games as training to do to keep enjoying the crate fresh for your pup. I am sure a slightly larger crate and a nice bed in it will be welcomed by him too.
 
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My guy is 9 months. He sleeps in his crate at night, every night and will until such time as he proves he won't endanger his life by eating cords or whatever he might decide to have a liking for. LOL not trustworthy. Our boxer it took 3 years until he became totally trust worthy now he sleeps in his bed in bedroom. I'd love to have Renn sleeping my room but for now he will remain in his crate. Our boxer still will enter his crate willingly after not using it since we have Renn (7 months). Res will sometime balk a bit about going in his crate when he thinks it isn't time, but Inever ever allow it he must go in with door closed and is only allowed out when I say. But thats me, its a safe place for him and when we finally get him neutered it will be a good place token him calm while he recoups. hmm I'm kinda dreading that time.
 

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Mufar, that's a good point about a safe place after getting him neutered. Oh neutering...I was planning to wait until he was about a year old, but if he doesn't lose his upper puppy canines soon, we may be doing it sooner so they can do that and extract the retained teeth at the same time. Still keeping my fingers crossed they fall out on their own, but the adult teeth are about halfway in already.
 

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Mufar, that's a good point about a safe place after getting him neutered. Oh neutering...I was planning to wait until he was about a year old, but if he doesn't lose his upper puppy canines soon, we may be doing it sooner so they can do that and extract the retained teeth at the same time. Still keeping my fingers crossed they fall out on their own, but the adult teeth are about halfway in already.
Oh yes, you need to keep crated for a few days when he is fixed. Easier said than done! Day 1, milo felt sorry for himself. I foolishly thought he needed to move a little on day 2, nothing strenuous. But i was wrong, he wanted to just lay down in his crate and i should have listened. Bad mommy, cause he busted 1 stitch and had an infection so off to the vet we went again. But some dogs are ready to roll after day 2, dont. They have to be quiet and the only way you can really keep them quiet is in the crate.
 

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There's a PetSmart just around the corner from where I work, so on my lunch break yesterday I stopped in just to see a display 30" long crate in person. It says for dogs 26-40 lbs and looked much too big for our 13lb (but still growing) guy, and I started to think maybe we didn't need to upgrade. But then I got home and measured...

Selling crates with recommended weights just doesn't make sense. A mini poodle is likely never going to hit the 25 lb weight limit suggestion of the 18x24x19 crate, but poodles are tall dogs. When I got home I brought him up to his crate and had him sit down. Even after removing the crate mattress, his head touched the top wires. No wonder he wouldn't stay in there if I left the door open. While there's enough room for him to lay down comfortably, he has to duck to stand or sit. He's 20" tall from floor to head so already an inch taller than his crate.

So that convinced me, definitely about to order a 30". I originally was going to get the Midwest iCrate (30x19x21...21 being the height), but after measuring his floor to head height at 20", decided to go with their LifeStages which is a little larger at 30x21x24.
 

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That sounds like a good solution. I hope DH will easily come on board. Although we don't have our dogs crated at home it is really a useful tool to be able to crate when needed.
 

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Completely unrelated, but asuk, I just noticed you're the one who posted a top knot fail earlier this year! We're still waiting for our little guy's top knot to grow back after our own TK fail. We had shaved his muzzle during that cut too, and it grew back quickly, but his head is taking so much longer! This pic is about a month ago, which was one month after our mishap. I don't have a more recent one where he isn't too dark or too blurry to see (the fun of trying to photograph a black puppy!).
 

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rp17, I'm late to reply but wanted to throw in my 2 cents. We crated Mochi for the first month or so at nighttime before her incessant crying, barking, scratching and rattling of the crate for 6+ hours each night made us give up. The first year of her life, I worked from home, but we would crate her whenever we had to leave her alone for any length of time such as running errands. Her crate is huge compared to her size, room for a large plush bed in one half and her dishes take up a corner of the other half (the large of this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NJ68GA8/ref=twister_B01M9CRAGK?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1)

Chuui we got when she was older and same thing happened, pretty much only crate when we go out during the day, and we got her a traditional crate that is huge, about 3.5' x 2' so she has plenty of space and her bed only takes up half of it.

Now that I work outside the home, and my husband goes out for a few hours 3 days a week, the girls are crated a minimum of 3 days a week for about 2.5 hours, which is not very much at all, honestly.

BUT, though both would cry when crated during the day if we shut the crate, Mochi has always seen her crate as a resting place when we are home and goes in there sometimes just to nap in her bed and Chuui has learned to go quietly into her crate when we need to leave, and no longer puts up a fuss (trying to hide when we she sees us preparing to leave). Both go into their crates as soon as we ask and sit patiently while we shut the doors and give them their special treat they get when we go out. It really only took maybe 6 months of this routine before Chuui stopped fighting it. Mochi never really put up a fight.

My point is, regardless of frequency, you should definitely be able to train your pup to accept the crate as a necessary evil with repetition over time, and even look forward to it if you use a special treat as a reward for going in when asked. I use a chewy treat usually about 2-3 inches long so they get something work on while we finish getting out the door. They only get this treat when we put them in their crates.
 

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Completely unrelated, but asuk, I just noticed you're the one who posted a top knot fail earlier this year! We're still waiting for our little guy's top knot to grow back after our own TK fail. We had shaved his muzzle during that cut too, and it grew back quickly, but his head is taking so much longer! This pic is about a month ago, which was one month after our mishap. I don't have a more recent one where he isn't too dark or too blurry to see (the fun of trying to photograph a black puppy!).
He is so cute and fluffy! Yes! I had a topknot fail but not as bad as “shae”, her owner is “galofpink” my oh my we had a ton of laughter! Lol.
 

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Our standard had a 42 inch crate from the beginning, you can partition it and close it off which is what we did. She slept in it downstairs for most of her first year. She did not have accidents after that so much as sneak off to the lower level and pee there if you did not take her out late enough or gave her too much to drink. She would bark after a while if we kept her locked in her cage at night after a year. Plus the my friend's place where she went for vacation did not want the crate so we fazed it out in terms of confining her unless she had an accident the previous night. However we had possibly the worst of all possible worlds, while she would go willingly if she knew she did something wrong or we were going out for a few hours (rare) when at 2 we wanted to get rid of the crate, she would not let us (she had accidents on purpose which required setting up the crate again). Meanwhile she refused to sleep in the crate after a certain age so it was really an eyesore in my living room that was useless in terms of confining her except for a couple of hours at a time, which we usually did not bother with anyway as she was not a chewer after the first year. If I could do it over I would have phased out the crate after a year but then our dog did not compete or travel much and someone was always home. Most people I know who are simple pet owners do not have a crate for a dog over a year who is well housebroken and not destructive
 

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rp17, I'm late to reply but wanted to throw in my 2 cents.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

He is so cute and fluffy! Yes! I had a topknot fail but not as bad as “shae”, her owner is “galofpink” my oh my we had a ton of laughter! Lol.
Thank you! He sure is fluffy :) I'd actually love to shave his face again as he's starting to grow a mustache and borderline small beard, but I can't convince DH. First, I think he's worried after how horrible we made him look the first time (https://www.poodleforum.com/9-poodle-grooming/253938-topknot-fail-2.html#post3186831) and second, he prefers the non-poodle face. I remind myself that at least I got my poodle so I guess I can compromise on the face...for now :)

If I could do it over I would have phased out the crate after a year but then our dog did not compete or travel much and someone was always home. Most people I know who are simple pet owners do not have a crate for a dog over a year who is well housebroken and not destructive
He is well housebroken, but he can't be counted on to not be destructive while unsupervised yet (hence the reason for keeping our bedroom door closed those few nights we let him sleep outside the crate). I'm ordering the big crate today and we're going to keep using it until he's about a year old, and then we'll decide from there whether we want to leave it out and if so, whether that's upstairs in our bedroom for night, or downstairs in the living room for when we leave or if he actually starts going in it himself for some alone time.
 
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