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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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When to leave them alone

How will I know when to try Baxter by himself in the house? Right now he stays in the laundry room, with his dog bed, toys, and a pee pad. He's almost 9 months old. We've had him for 2 months, and he's gone from having diarreah on the pee pad, and not touching his toys, to having a dry pee pad (which he rips to shreds---he loves toilet paper etc.) and playing with all his toys (treats are gone, kong is licked dry.) If we just make sure there are no toys left out, do you think he's ready to graduate to having the kitchen and family room? We can gate that area from the rest of the house.

We are also thinking of installing a doggie door (off the kitchen into our fenced in backyard.) I do have questions though....

I read that it's not good to let the dog have run of the backyard during the day because it could lead to fence guarding and barking. There are dogs on all 3 sides of us---Baxter's in the middle. He loves it and they love him---cry for him to come over to their side, kiss, etc. Every once and a while they will bark for his attention, and he'll bark back. I usually step in to quiet things down, so I wonder if I let him let himself out during the day, if there will be more barking. Baxter rarely barks (and I'm thankful for that) so I don't want to start a new habit. How do you with doggie doors handle that?

Thanks so much for any suggestions! I love this board---so much wisdom here!!! Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 08:15 AM
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Stella will be two in May and I still put her in the laundry room when I'm not home. It's a nice main floor room and she likes it in there. I have a dog bed for her in there but nothing else. As far as I can tell, all she does is sleep while I'm gone. She's been potty trained for a long time and wouldn't dream of going in the house so I kind of toyed with letting her have full run of it when I'm gone. But then I always come back to the fact that I know she's safe in the laundry room and she likes it in there. I've decided why fix something that isn't broken.

Have you tried leaving Baxter with just his bed in there?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 08:40 AM
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My husband got sick of stepping over the doggie gate when Jackson was around one, so we took it down and just started keeping all the doors shut to everything but the family room, kitchen and bedroom where his bed is. He would occasionally get in our bedroom and tear up something (including his bed), so we started closing that off when we left the house. I also think he knows we are leaving when I do that. Our lab is so good that he doesn't leave the family room even with the doors open, so that helps.

Joanne, we do not have a dog door, but we do have a similar yard with three neighbors all with dogs. Jackson is a barker even when he is let out to do his business, and I do think he would be outside barking all the time if I let him. I have tried everything, including a citronella collar which was great until it quit spraying. He will even sit in the middle of the yard barking up at the sky as if he is calling for friends (I think he needs a puppy ) I also would never want him outside when we are gone . . . too worried about what could happen as well as obnoxious barking. I do know that most of the doggie doors lock, but then would they paw at it to go out if it's locked? It would be nice to not to have to get up and let him out all the time, but it's worth the small hassle.

Kathy and Jackson Jackson
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 08:43 AM
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I would advise against a doggie door.
Puppy should never be alone outside. People can steal him or other animals might hunt him.

I think it is fine to leave him in a small space at that age. I had a dog walker come in and take care of Henry when I was out.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Would you believe, in the time I posted this I took Baxter out (my son is home sick so I'm home from work today) and there was gray fur all over the back yard. No carcass, just fur (which I think is bunny fur.) I called dh who said he was just talking with the neighbor next door about how he had seen a hawk circling around. I am completely freaked out that there's no carcass anywhere....could a hawk actually fly off with a rabbit??? No doggie door for us.... Baxter is just 7 lbs. he could easily be someones dinner!

Thanks for the input on the other issue. I should probably just leave well enough alone--He seems perfectly happy there, I guess it's just more "my" issues about how I envision having a dog. I would love if someday we could just let him have run of the house like the older dogs you see who don't get into any mischief.... Maybe when he's much older. For now, you're probably right---if it 'aint broke...
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 09:15 AM
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Joanne, there have been other threads about hawks and owls. There are mixed opinions on whether they would carry off a dog, but I would err on the side of caution. We have hawks because my neighbor has chickens (and has lost a small bantam rooster to one). It is scary, but this is the time of year when food is scarce for the large birds of prey, and my neighbor keeps his chickens put up until the leaves are fully out on the trees.

Kathy and Jackson Jackson
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 09:41 AM
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Joanne, guess your doggy door question got quickly answered 'from above', LOL.
As to giving him more space when you're gone, I'm one of those that hates having gates, blocked off areas, and closed doors. That's why I started teaching Pablo from early on which behaviors were OK and which weren't (incl. chewing on shoes, cables, etc.). Of course it helped tremendously, that I was home with him almost 24/7 for months. If you really want to try it, I suggest you add only a little more space at a time and keep working with that new space for a couple of weeks and then add on more if Baxter does well. If he doesn't do well, go right back to the smaller space and maybe retry in a month or so.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 10:26 AM
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We've got issues with eagles, hawks, and owls in this area of the country. Even if the bird can't actually carry off the small animal, it's talons can do great harm. And, yes, these birds can easily carry off a rabbit.

When Tucker was around 10 months and I felt he was reliable about house training, I started leaving him gated off in the kitchen-dining room area where there isn't carpet. That way I could confirm that he wasn't having accidents when I was out, because I could quickly scan the floor. I did leave him some toys, though, and his bed.

Once I became confident about that, I let him have the run of the family room side of the house. That is just my preference...my utility room is very small, and he's never spent time in there. He usually just sleeps on the couch until I get home, and I can tell he's been there a long time because he gets up with a slow stretch before he comes to greet me, like he's just woken up from a long nap.

Sheri, Tucker's Mom
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