Tayla will be a year old on Saturday. Up until the last couple of weeks she has been very restricted in her "freedom" time. We got her at 4 months and she came to us with a mouthing/biting issue. We worked on it daily, but she was worse with my husband so I got up an hour early every day to let her have free time before I went to work. We both are home for lunch so she got another hour mid day out. I get home first around 4:45 so she got a little time out before my husband got home, in the crate she went again until after dinner and then we only let her out for hour increments during the night when she could be occupied with chewing on something other than us. She was getting about 5 hours a day outside her crate during the week and a little more on the weekends. Well, in the past couple weeks her behavior has gotten much better and she is able to keep her mouth to herself so she gets time out of her crate from the time we come home until we go to bed. So maybe 6 to 7 hours free during the week and maybe 8 to 9 hours on the weekends. She still is restricted to only some rooms of the house because she is still not trustworthy and since she is so much bigger than our other Golden who is 15 years old, we limit her time free with her to when we are home. So even if she were trustworthy she wouldn't get out when we aren't there because I'm afraid of her inadvertently injuring out old girl. Having said all that it is also important what you are doing with them when they are out for stimulation. We play with Tayla a lot and she does Nose Work and we are starting her with tracking. Mental stimulation is as exhausting as physical stimulation and even if she is in her crate, it is in the middle of the living room area so she is never isolated when we are home. You seem like you're doing fine.
He was VERY mouthy early on. I've been working on curbing him of that habit.
That's one thing that's pleased me with his progress. I can let him just freely roam the first floor of the house (when I'm around) at this point. If he picks something up that he's not supposed to, I can tell him to drop it and he generally complies. At least he's not chewing stuff up, lol.
I do not think you have to feel guilty at all about crating your dog while you are at work. You are keeping him safe, and many dogs like being in a crate to sleep (there is a sense of security; mine loved her crate). Is it a large crate? Can he walk in, turn around, and lie down? Could he stretch out on his side if he wanted to? If so, I'm sure he is perfectly comfortable. A crate pad (like a mattress) is nice, too (unless he'll chew it and eat it).
If you worry your work day is too long, you could look into a dogwalker or having a friend or neighbour come in halfway through. It would give your dog another chance to get out and get some exercise.
It sounds like you are spending a lot of time with your dog. Exercise is definitely really good for behavior and such. Is there any way you could work in off leash time? Take him somewhere and play ball for a half hour - great for exercise and great for bonding. Or an off leash hike in the woods? That's the only thing I would suggest. Goldens love to run! And swim, if that's a possibility. But for sure having him around when you garden or work in the garage? That's all good. Goldens mostly just love being with their people.
Yes. I had to upgrade him from an extra large size crate to a giant size crate (huge) by the time he was ~7-8 months. That seems to be plenty big enough for him.
I originally had a blanket, sheet, pad, etc. in there with him. The problem is that he's a boredom chewer. I can't have anything in there that he might ingest. He seems to prefer the bare floor of the kennel to bedding though.
What I'd like to do eventually is get him into a dog daycare. It's only ~$15/day around here. He LOVES other dogs and would eat that up. I need to get a few things knocked out before I can swing that though.
I'm able to work in off-leash time in backyard. I've at least gotten him to the point where he won't just bolt and take off if he gets loose.
Yup. That's one thing that I've noticed with him. As long as we're hanging out together, he doesn't much mind what we're doing. i.e. He was fine on a 14 hour road trip. We just stopped every hour or so to stretch out legs. Thank you for your input.
My 2 cents
Once he's reliably housetrained, you should transition him out of the crate.
You mention he's 2 years old. Did you recently adopt him?
At 2, I would not have him in a crate all day and then back in all night. Is there a reason he isn't out and about yet? In other words, do you have a reason he cannot yet move about the house without a crate? I would opt to gate off a safe section of the house where he could move around, change positions, etc.
A crate is just too small a space for a 2 y.o. Golden. Could you bring him to a doggy day care a couple days a week?
At least try it out?
I have had large dogs all my life and after the puppy stage (lots of training like you are doing on manners and acceptable in-house behavior), they have been fine in the house when we're at work and at night, they will always let us know if they need to go potty. Very rare though. I notice they like to move about to different sleeping spots which is okay with me. Hope this helps
No. I've had him since he was about six weeks old. The problem is that the living arrangement at the time didn't lend itself to training a dog (he was a gift from my ex wife). I received this tiny bundle of joy, but had pretty much zero time to spend with him early on.
I've been working with him more the past several months. I would say that he has just now gotten to the point where I could think about trusting him to try out a gated area. So yes...that is something that I need to try with him ASAP.
At this point...I think I can swing a day or two a week at a dog daycare. The only reason I haven't already is $$$ (in the middle of a divorce).