Crate training a puppy when the family works in the day
by Annette Eckert
(Hampstead, MD, USA)
Hi! I'd first like to say that I LOVE your site!
We got a new puppy almost 2 weeks ago and I have found all the questions and answers *SO* helpful. I thank you for your time!
I've read all the questions about crate training, but can't seem to really find out this answer.
When both my husband and myself work during the day (away from the house 7 hours) how can a puppy be crate trained? We have been leaving him gated off in 2 rooms of our home, but then we run into the destruction that comes from chewing.
Everything that I read says no more than between 30 minutes to maybe 2 hrs. in a crate because they can't hold it that long, he's an 8 week old Great Pyrenees. So, what might be a solution in that event? We have no way to let him out during the day of a crate (no neighbors & it's too far to drive at lunch time). I'm unsure of what options I have at this point.
Can you offer some ideas? Once again, thanks for the site and all of the great information!
I'm very happy that you've found my site so helpful, and really appreciate you taking the time to tell me so. That always makes my day!
You are in a bit of a tricky situation with your pup right now, because he is definitely too young to stay in a crate for 7 hours without a potty break. He's a large breed pup, so he will be able to 'hold it' for longer than a small breed, possibly up to 3 hours, but there's no guarantees. Of course, if he messes in his crate because he simply can't contain himself, it will not help your housebreaking efforts.
Normally I would suggest that you have someone (friend, relative, neighbor, willing teenager or even a petsitter) come to your home during the day to take him out. But it would seem you've already thought of that and it's not a possibility.
In this situation, I think crate training is going to be unrealistic, and likely unsuccessful, at this point. Over the next month or two his bladder and bowel control will be much improved, and then you can begin crating him during the day. For now I would suggest limiting the crate to night-times. You will be able to give him the necessary potty breaks and supervise him when he's out of the crate so it will be a good learning foundation for him.
During the daytime, rather than confine him to two rooms I would suggest just setting him up in one room (the smaller and more easy to clean and puppy-proof the better), maybe the laundry room/mud room or even the kitchen - a washable floor is VERY desirable! If this isn't possible, a sturdy exercise pen (you can find several different styles at most large Petstores) set up in one room would also work, for now.
Give him a litter box (pee pee pads are just likely to end up chewed to pieces) and put his crate in there with him so that he has his 'safe den' to sleep in. A few really sturdy chew toys will be vital as well.
This isn't the ideal solution, but it should work as a 'stop gap' until he has the necessary control to be crated for long periods. Using the crate at night will help him to understand the concept and help him to learn to control his bladder/bowels too.
I hope this helps, best of luck with your little guy!