Leo is on the loose
During Leo’s puppyhood, one of our biggest challenges was encouraging Leo to love his crate. Crate training him was difficult, but doing so in a way to let him know it was his safe space was even more difficult. We always followed 1 rule: never use the crate as a punishment, and I think that’s why we were successful. Leo really does love his crate. Between the bed, couch, floor, and the crate, the crate will always reign supreme as the best sleeping spot for Leo.
When he was younger, he would go in the crate for bedtime as well as for a few hours in the evening when we couldn’t fully watch him. He would also be crated if we were leaving the house for a few hours after work or on the weekends. As he got older, we started crating him less, only crating him at bedtime and when he was left alone.
This past weekend we decided to leave him out when we went to dinner. When we got home, everything was perfectly fine and he was waking up from a nap. Since he was so good, we decided to leave him out all night. He started on our bed but soon after left. In the middle of the night, we found him sound asleep in his crate. The next morning, he was still in his crate and didn’t get up until we grabbed his food bowl to feed him. Again, nothing in the house was amiss. It was a great feeling. However, later that day, we needed to go to the grocery store and left him loose again. After only an hour trip, we came back to an anxious dog and a very ruffled and slightly chewed rug.
I know we could’ve come home to much worse, I’m still nervous leaving him loose in the house. This is going to be a long road of building trust: Leo trusting us that we will always come back to him and us trusting that Leo will be a good boy while we are gone. Should we continue doing what we’re doing? Please share any suggestions or experiences. I would love some advice!