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A little background...

Our puppy, Rylee, is 16 months old. When we got her at the beginning of last summer, I stayed home with her for about 2 months (I'm a teacher). During this time, we crate trained her. She is 100% crate trained. Doesn't whine, try to get out, etc. Sometimes, she will choose to go in her open crate if she is very tired. I went back to school when she was about 4 months old. At the time, we were still renovating our home and didn't have any good, safe and clear spaces for her to stay out during the day and we didn't feel she was mature enough. Therefore, she spent the day in the crate (about 8 hours) and at lunchtime we paid our neighbor to come let her out. Around 7 months we tried letting her spend the day out in our back room, that is about 400 square feet, very open and nothing to get into or chew on... Except the step and walls apparently. She chewed on an exposed wooden step and exposed edges of drywall (we didn't have trim up yet). We tried bitter Apple spray and it didn't work. So back in her crate she went. We just thought she was not mature enough yet.

Fast forward to now. Rylee is 16 months and I'm about to go back to school again. We wanted to try to let her be in the back room while I am at school, instead of in her crate for 8-9 hours a day. All the trim is up and the step is covered so we thought that would reduce temptation. I went to a work day at school yesterday and left her in the room when I left. Our neighbor came over about 30 minutes later and let her out to go potty and put her up (we just wanted to try a little bit at a time). The neighbor said she had put herself in her crate and was asleep when she got there. I left her in the room alone for 2 more times yesterday, about 30 minutes each time. She did great all 3 times, no destruction. We decided to try an hour today. When the neighbor got there she had chewed a big hole in one of my nice rugs. Sigh.

Keep in mind, she is well-exercised, has multiple toys to play with and one is even a treat filled Kong.

So... Is she just not mature enough yet still? Or will she always be destructive due to separation anxiety when we leave her alone? She does fine in the crate, like I said, but I just feel guilty for leaving her in there all day. She might be fine but I can't believe she is happy in there.

Thanks for in advance for your advice.
 

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My dogs always loved their crates. Up until she passed in January my 12YO would always prefer the crate. We would leave her in our bedroom with the crate door open. Sure enough we always found her in it. I could be wrong but I say "if it ain't broke don't fix it :)".
 

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Riley
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I think you're doing too much too fast. We started letting Zelda have freedom around that age, but we started with 30 minutes or so (while running errands) and worked our way up. Does she have things to do - bones to chew or something?
 

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& Romeo's mom
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Start out slow and leave for like 15-20 minute intervals at first. Let her earn her freedom.
 
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