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Now as most of you are probably getting a bit bored of me asking questions by now (sorry), but you are the best people to ask! Anyway as you know I have Reuben who is approaching 8 months old and a very lovely, cheeky boy. He is crated when I am out and at night time and has no problems with this but has never been left for a evening in the crate. You see we are lucky that when we do have the odd evening out my inlaws not only have my son overnight but also Reuben as they adore him. So if we were to go out for a night and Reuben doesn't go for a sleep over, is it okay to crate him at say 7/8pm, return at 11ish and then expect him to settle for the night when we go to bed? Do we have to give him some mental stimulation on our return as well as obviously letting outside for a wee etc? I know it sounds bizarre but as yet we haven't done this as my eldest has babysat before and so Reuben hasn't been crated all evening. I know I must sound a bit neurotic and if he wasn't crated i probably wouldn't worry about it but he is no where near ready for trusting to be let loose in the house in our absence.
What do you guys do?

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Mine stay in their crates all night with no problems whatsoever. They are used to it, so they settle down very quickly and just curl up and go to sleep.

If I go out, they also go into their crates (you should see what they have done to my house when left to fend for themselves! In fact, you can - I put a photo of the damage on my blog). I usually leave them with a treat, and turn the radio on.

If I'm only going out for a short while, I leave them out.
Just looked at the photo Melinda - yikes! And I totally agree Susan a crate is very much a safe place for the pup and this is also part of the reason why I use it. I have no problem with crating in itself although I will in the future hope not to need it unless Reuben wants to keep it for his own purpose ie, his safe place/comfort/bed etc. I train him as much as possible at the moment but of course he is still a cheeky pup who likes to get up to mischief even if he has all the exercise and mental stimulation possible! It is interesting to read other people's opinions and experiences and how they view their dogs. Reuben is very much a member of our family but I do have children to consider too and he has to a certain extent fit in with us and not the other way round. This again is my personal opinion and I totally understand and appreciate everyone elses. I do take on board that if i do leave him for an evening, then I will have to give him some attention on my return or a short wobbly walk in my cocktail dress and high heels (like it Susan).
Thank you everyone for your replies
My dog would sleep all day if I let him. And he would run all day if I let him. If you get your pup enough exercise during the day you should be fine. Don't worry about it. I would worry more about keeping the pup crated too long, but sounds like that is not an issue.
I have a 5 month old and she has a Puppy Pen that she is happy in at night (sometimes taking herself off there around 9.30 when she thinks it's about time we went to bed regardless of what my husband and I are up to). Since Night 4 she has slept without any fuss there and often needs kicking out in the morning, much to our amusement.

We have slowly built up the amount of time she is left alone. I am a stay-at-home wifey and the husband goes to work all day. I have varied the times I go out and leave her so there isn't much of a pattern to it, and when I do go out if I know I am going to be less than 30 mins I leave her pootling about the hall way with her Pen door open (nothing she can damage too much, no cables/wires etc) and if I am going to be much longer then I do pop her in her pen and 9 times out of 10 I return to her all warm, curled up and sleepy. She pretends she hasn't been asleep but if I am really quiet and sly I can actually see her fast asleep until I put my key in the lock at which point she springs up, stifles her yawns and pretends she has been on high alert the whole time I have been gone.

We have now done a night-time leave too..... perhaps people think I shouldn't own a dog for it but at the end of the day I do want to go out and spend some quality time on a date with my husband or out with friends and I don't think that makes me a bad owner. In the 3 months we have had her we have done it three times, hardly abandonment in my view. We again built up the time ... an hour for a quick pizza.... 2 hours for drinks with friends, and the last time was a function I had to go to with the hubby and we were about 4 hours. She had a good walk and lots of play during the day, and then when we got home at around 11.00 we played with her for about 10 mins at which point she lay down as if to say "we don't play at this time of night.... this is chill out time". Hilarious.

I'm not going to feel bad about the fact I use a pen/crate. It is big, she can stand up fully, move around and really stretch out, she has water and toys, but to be honest she generally sleeps. Particularly if it is a late night thing when she would normally be resting anyway. I know she is safe and that is more important than anything. I look forward to reaching the point where she can be trusted to have free reign but I know I am nowhere near that at the moment because of the mischief she makes even when I am around. I don't have an older dog that can teach her the way to behave so this is the way I am doing it at the moment and she seems a very happy dog. I worry about her all the time so I know where you are coming from, she is my first dog and I wouldn't want any harm to come to her, but I also expect to not be prisoner to the fact I have a pooch, taking her everywhere with me isn't practical and she hates being left in the car, she is much happier at home.

The only thing that doesn't work with the night out plan is that you still have to get up early in the morning to let them out for a wee.... hangover or not!
It's great that you go out for evenings out! I have left mine a few times to go out for dinner with our family. I know in a few months it will all be fine again. And I also use the crate if not home. I would be frightened what might happen to my puppy if left alone and he seems more secure also. Till they are older the whole house free can be overwhelming for them. I just leave him alone for 2 minutes to head to the basement to do a load of clothes and he cries at the door for me to return. It reminds me of our children, I fretted over teething, toilet training etc. and suddenly they are grown and those big things weren't such a big thing after all. When I picked up our pup the breeder could tell i was a fretter, she told me remember Sue the puppy has to learn to adapt to your schedule, you are not to rearrange your life for the puppy. I try to remind myself that everyday.
Elizabeth, I am a stay at home wifey too but with two children and 1 cat also. Glad to hear you are having some dating time with Hubby - all we need now is a quick hangover cure for people with Dogs!
I am struggling this week as half term and 5 yr old not always keen to go for walks in this miserable weather and also we are going out more and doing things. Thank goodness for bribery!
And I am glad you don't feel bad about using the crate/pen as it sounds like you have a happy pup and the right balance so far.
Susan, I am a fretter too but getting better at not fretting so much!
Bella used to fret whenever I left her in a different room if I didn't think it was appropriate for her to be with me. It was usually in the hallway which has a glass door to the kitchen and I would pop her out there whilst I did something like mop the floor and just had to grit my teeth and listen to her fussing and pawing at the door without responding to it, once she settled I would then go to her or open the door. Eventually she has learnt that kicking up a fuss doesn't change the outcome and I can now seperate myself from her in the house for short periods without all hell breaking loose. As much as she likes to help with such jobs about the home, I find it much more effective and less tiring to sweep or mop without a puppy trying to catch it going back and forth!
If I know im going out I make sure our dog gets a good walk beforehand when possible. Then he goes out when I get home regardless of the time. The joys of having a dog.
Hi, just to update you all that I have since been out in the evening and left Reuben and all was well. When we came home he came out of crate for approx 30 mins for fuss and wee and then took himself back into bed as if to say "it's bedtime Mum"!. I would love to say that I walked him on my return home but in reality (and my personal view), it is too late and I don't want to be stopped by police for being over the legal limit of responsible dog walking. If there is such a law, hehe.
I would love to leave Reuben the freedom of the house in my absence but he is far too untrustworthy as yet but hopefully in the future. I wouldn't get someone round to look after him day or evening as i want him to be used to being left alone for periods of time. Again this is personal choice and I do appreciate other people's views and find it very interesting what other people do/think. Thank you for your replies. Louise
Well done on going out, hope that you had a good time and didn't worry too much about Reuben home alone. I think they are able to adjust to a new way of doing things more than we give them credit for.

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