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Hello! I am looking for some guidance on how much time my puppy should be spending in his crate vs. play time vs. quiet time out of his crate.

Our pup is almost four months old and is house broken/crate trained. He is doing great with training, learning basic commands and etiquette, and has not had an accident in the house in about a month. He is teething, so we are dealing with some puppy biting, and of course he has a lot of puppy energy.

His typical schedule is to wake up to go out around 6, breakfast about 7 and then a nice morning walk and some playtime until about 8:30 or 9. He then naps in his crate until nearly 2PM. We go out for an afternoon walk and some playtime, then back in his crate when he starts to tire out -- he gets nippy when he is tired so when the teeth come out he goes back in his crate to calm down. We repeat that process a few more times throughout the evening.

It feels like he is spending a lot of time in his crate. Especially now that he is house broken, he does not need to be in there to avoid accidents. The challenge we're working through is the biting (and general puppy chewing) when he gets over excited/over tired. I would love some suggestions on how much time he should spend in his crate, how much time should be active play with us, and how much (and how to encourage) quiet time out of his crate.

Thank you!
 

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We left Rukie out of the crate anytime there was someone to watch him which was most of his first few months. He would lay on the a.c. vent and nap. We did crate him occasionally if he seemed over-tired and nippy. He is a mellow guy so I'm not sure how to encourage mellow time other than maybe chewing on a hollow marrow bone, knuckle bone or a big stick with bark removed (which we took away when it started breaking up). Does he get time to run around in the yard? Let him trail a long leash if necessary but it tired them out in a way walking doesn't. Rukie also loved a homemade version of the flirt pole (look on Amazon if you are unfamiliar) and it wore him out. Your guy sounds like a good boy and maturity and time fix most of the problems if you keep up with the training (which also drains off energy).
 
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Kristy
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He's reaching an age where you'll probably need to incorporate more aerobic exercise into his routine and as the weather cools off, more adventures where he socializes and meets people, gets out in the world. Try to start working on that. Be sure he's getting obedience practice 2 or 3 short sessions a day and teach him new things. Do fun things with him, get creative, get a baby pool, buy some bubbles to blow for him, buy a kids' play tunnel or build a wobble board for teaching him to stand on it for a treat. Are you all attending formal obedience classes? If not, sign up and use that as a way to network and find a couple of nice young dogs or puppies close to his age and size to set up 'puppy playdates' a couple of times a week. All these things will enrich his life and you don't need to feel guilty about crate time. You can also use ex pen and baby gates to manage him safely and allow you to get chores done so he's contained but not crated quite so much. He will definitely learn to adjust to your schedule and it sounds like you're doing a good job. Just remember he's not a little puppy and his body and mind will need to be exercised and challenged more as he becomes a teenager ;)
 

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Are you at work from 9-2? Is that why he's in his crate that long? Does he have lots of chew toys and things to keep him occupied? When he bites how are you reacting? I found just saying ahhhh no bite works well. Say it firm. It sounds like you are trying to have a good schedule with him. He just needs guidance with the biting. I would have him on a schedule that mimics your day. If you have to put him in there to go to work then off he goes. When you get home let him out, let him run and play and walk etc. Just keep working on the no bite and have lots of things for him to chew on. Let him out of his crate more and let him learn to keep himself occupied without getting into trouble. My Golden sleeps out of her crate on her own on and off durning the day. When she's tried she sleeps so she isn't overly tired. When I go out she goes in her bed. She's used to my schedule that is very crazy but when I come home I make sure she runs in the yard a bit or we do a quick walk. Try keeping him on a schedule where he is out when you are home and only use the crate when he really is hyped up. Just keep at it you both will figure it out.
 
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