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So fun to watch everyone's puppy growing! Paxter is getting so big! He is now 5 months old and I am wondering if I can start transitioning him to more things. I am fairly strict about training and just want the best for him. Here are the things I'm wondering about...

To crate or not to crate:
Currently Paxter stays in a crate in a small room with closed doors when I am gone. I'm wondering if/when I can start leaving him in the room with closed doors but without closing the kennel door. I'm wondering if/what the benefits are, as I'm not even sure I should do this!
Paxter also sleeps in a crate at the foot of my bed at night. I'm DYING to let him up on my bed, but have resisted since I want him to be trained to be invited and then listen when I say off. Should I transition him to a dog bed first for a while, and then my bed, or just jump to my bed?

Furniture:
I would love for Paxter to join me on the couch, but again, I've waited until he will listen to me. I've seen on other posts that dogs "ask" to come up. What does this mean? Do they sit without a command or just come to the couch and wait?

Ultimately I don't think I care if he jumps onto my bed or furniture to curl up, but I definitely want him to get off when I tell him.

Yard:
Unfortunately I don't have a fenced yard. We have spent the last few months together side-by-side because he's always on a leash. This has made him a bit dependent on me and when I take him to other people's houses to play, he wants me to go in fenced yards with him. How can I help him learn that he can be outside alone? I live in Minnesota and do not want to stand outside with him all winter. What do people think about tie-outs? I know he would have to be comfortable by himself first. I have a large yard and a basketball hoop in concrete that I could attach the tie out to.

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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PuppyKisses
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Crate: I started my pup in his crate all the time when I wasn't around. Around 8 months of age I started leaving the crate door open but the room he stays in gated off from the rest of the house. I chose 8 months old because 1) I was convinced he was 100% housebroken, 2) trusted him enough to not destroy things like the carpet, door frames, etc.. But, I keep him gated in the small room instead of running free because I don't trust him enough to not get into certain things, like the house plants or the garbage can. My pup is a vacuum and could eat many things and get into serious trouble.

Furniture: I made the mistake of allowing my pup on the bed without teaching him certain manners, such as waiting for permission. I didn't think I minded him being on the bed until I decided it was time to allow him complete freedom to roam the house at night while I was home. It became a problem because a 70# dog and 2 adults in a queen size bed makes for a very small space. And when you add to that an adult with insomnia and light sleeping pattern... It means endless sleepless nights. If I could do it over I wouldn't allow my dog on my bed. Period. Not all dogs are the same. some prefer to sleep on the floor next to the bed. My pup, however, prefers to sleep half on me and half off me 100% throughout the night. No concept of personal space.... But if you still think this is okay for you I would do the following: teach your pup a solid "off" command. Teach a solid "on" command. Teach your dog he is only allowed on the bed when you tell him "on". You can do the same for the couch so as to avoid confusion. Others may give better info on a dog asking permission.

Yard: if it isn't fenced in, I wouldn't allow him to roam freely without a leash. I don't have a fenced yard so I put my pup on a 50 ft leash. But I am always there with him because, as I said above, he is a vacuum and will eat every leaf, wood chip, trash item, and generally cause mayhem. He is easily distracted by leaves in the wind and loves chasing small animals. I don't trust him enough to leave him alone. And I wouldn't risk it either. I might end up with a dead or seriously injured dog. BUT- that is my pup. Maybe in a couple years it will be different... But at 1 year old I know I can't let him do that. So ask yourself... Do you trust your golden to not get into trouble without you there to supervise him?


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Crate: Maverick was ready to be "uncrated" at about 6mo, but I kept it up til about 9mo just to play it safe. At about 8 or 9mo I started leaving the door open, and at 9mo I left it open all the time. I would always come home to find him on the floor out by the front door, as if he was waiting for me to come home.

Furniture: Maverick is only allowed on the beds. Couches no because when we have guests we don't want them taking a bunch of his hair home with them

Yard: Definitely a long lead. And at 5mo he is not ready to be off leash, especially once he hits the "terrible teens" and becomes more adventurous.
 

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I am going through the crate or no crate at night dilemma right now, too. Shala is five months old. She has never liked her crate. She doesn't scream and cry anymore, but I do need to put her into it every night - despite a routine, and the same phrase said every night to signal bedtime, it has never become a place she wants to be. I am so tempted to let her sleep on my bed. But would she stay there? That's my concern. I'd puppy-proof my room and close the door - but is she old enough to be free at night?

Also - I worry that if I let her sleep out of the crate at night, she'll want to be out all day, and I don't think she is old enough to be in the house alone uncrated. I wouldn't worry about an accident - it's been months - but I'd worry she'd chew. She IS still a baby. Right now, for instance, she is standing on a chair trying to figure out how to get over the x-pen that blocks off the TV table and all the cords behind it. And I'm sitting right here. Imagine if she were alone? She's a cheeky little thing, for sure. :)

It's a dilemma, isn't it? Does anyone have experience with letting them sleep out at night - but crating during the work day?
 
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