View Full Version : Free Run of the House

9th March 2011, 06:22 PM
At what age did you let your Cavalier have free run of the house, both when you are home and not at home?

At 7 months Coco gets about half of the house when we are home (we put a gate at the stairs), but I am still not 100% sure if she is ready to have free run of the entire house.

I leave her unsupervised at home for no more than 20 minutes, like if I am taking a shower and so far she has been good for this!

When we leave her alone longer than 20 minutes she still goes in her pen.

Just curious how old your doggies were when they got the house to themselves!

9th March 2011, 06:43 PM
Our first dog (a Cardi) had free run of the house when we were gone and rarely got into anything (he liked to "get away with" sleeping on the couch when we left). Our boxer was confined to a room (sunroom usually, where her other couch was, lol), but Rose, dear Rose :rolleyes:, will probably always be crated when we are gone, due to her love of pilfering. I don't feel she would be safe running loose. She also loves her crate (because it's treat time!) and beats us to it when it's time for us to leave. :o

9th March 2011, 08:56 PM
Chamberlain has full run of the house. He and Sasha sleep in the bedroom or at the top of the stairs (which has a direct view of the front door :p) We just make sure everything is picked up and he has lots of toys to play with.

Last night we went out for my birthday and left the dogs home alone for about four hours. It was the longest we've left Chamberlain and he did fine.

9th March 2011, 09:32 PM
This is SUCH a good question. I am always unsure of what to do. Brooklyn is almost 6 months...right now, she sleeps in her crate at night (she now takes herself to bed, it is too cute) and when I am gone, she is behind her baby gate which gives her a small hallway and large bathroom...I put toys, Kongs and bed in there.
When I am around, I let her have run of the house because we have no choice...it is all full open floor plan! There is no where to barocade off spots. However, she is not allowed in any of the bedrooms or office, so we keep those doors shut until she learns. If I cannot keep an eye on her (if I am showering or something) she goes outside in the garden or behind the baby gate.

It is really hard because sometimes I think she has "too much run" of the house, but there is no other way to section it off. I wouldnt trust her with free run if I wasnt looking...but every dog is different so yours could be great at it, only you will know for sure. Brooklyn would get into things, for sure! She doesnt chew really, but she is very curious! :fool:

I am so looking forward to what everyone else thinks, great post!

9th March 2011, 09:34 PM
Flash was only put in the kennel the first couple weeks whenever he was not within my sight & at night. Slowly he started sleeping on the bed at night and then was only kenneled when I was gone (which is rarely) Then by about 7-8 months I packed the crate away as it seems he was never in it. He has stayed accident free and is really good when we are gone. He does have lots of toys and chews all about.

Just take it slowly and if she has an accident or does something bad then you might need to take a step back with the times she is unsupervised. If I know I am going to be gone for a while I give everyone a long lasting chewy or a kong filled with stuffing.... A bored dog is more likely to get into trouble then a busy dog.

9th March 2011, 11:15 PM
I wouldn't leave a dog with a free run of anything til at least 12 months and absolutely reliable (as this is the number one way to un-housetrain your dog and end up spending weeks on remedial housetraining -- people always assume their dog is housetrained well before it actually is), PLUS through the chewing stage. Coco isn't old enough to be starting serious chewing, which generally runs from about 7-8 months through to 12-18 months but can last a lifetime for some heavy chewers. Chewing means they can chew through a wire -- and die -- which happened to someone's cavalier pup on one of the boards a while back. They can also demolish anything within reach -- common targets being furniture, books, glasses, shoes, skirting boards, stripping wallpaper etc.

It is also a very good idea to wait til your dog is an adult whose behaviours you know very well (these change too constantly in young dogs). Many dogs simply cannot be left loose or they get anxious and/or destructive or into danger (think in terms of totally having to houseproof -- many dogs learn to open cupboards and can get into poisonous items, eat an entire bag of food and need emergency treatment, get into dangers like chocolate... a lot of thought needs to go into making ALL areas safe from bathrooms to kitchen. Many dogs will climb onto tables when people leave and knock over breakables. It is best to wait til an owner can accurately assess an adult dog on whether they are even a good candidate for being left alone, unsupervised, in an entire house.

Many trainers feel dogs generally should not have the run of the house any more than toddlers should, for the same reasons. A dog with the run of the house is always exposed to considerably more risks, many of them ones an owner won't realise or think about, than a dog confined to a pen or a room. The unexpected can always happen. BTW many trainers consider it dangerous to leave a dog with toys or chews that could be ingested. Safe chew toys like Kongs are OK. I wouldn't leave a dog at home with rawhides, or other chews that generally are better given only under supervision.

Two of my dogs are always penned into the kitchen, for various reasons. The others until very recently always stayed in one room together. Due to my partner's GSD needing to be in one room when we go out, and it not being a good idea to leave large and small dogs alone together, I now leave the trustworthy three with access to most of the (small) house. It took some training for them not to bark etc but over time they are used to being on their own and settle quickly. None are chewers and all are reliable ad always have been; all are at least age 5 and mature calm dogs. If I had a spare bedroom I'd consider it better though to have that be a designated comfy dog room and confine them to a single room (also safer in an emergency if all dogs needed to be found and got out of the house quickly).

Love my Cavaliers
10th March 2011, 02:06 AM
I am with Karlin on this one. I never let any of mine have free run of the house until they were at least one. They were always confined to at least one large room when I thought they were reliable enough and old enough to not need to be in their crate all the time. I did learn my lesson about how even a young one can teach an older one a new trick. Maddie was about seven or eight months old and Riley was a little over a year and a half. They were both just hanging out in a bed by the couch when I got distracted for about 10-15 minutes. Maddie was definitely in a chewing stage so I'm pretty sure she was the instigator. When I paid attention to them again, I found them both merrily chewing on the baseboard, both still happily hanging out in the bed. An expensive lesson, but back to confining Maddie at least and Riley even for a while when I wasn't home - and more vigilance when I was home for Miss Madison.

10th March 2011, 03:09 AM
Great info, thanks. I was thinking that I don't feel 100% ready for Coco to be left alone, not because of chewing but more because of accidents. She is such a good girl to let me know when she has to potty, but I worry she still might go if she is alone with no one to take her out. That is why I only leave her alone in a room for about 20 minutes, and right after I have just taken her out.

Gosh I hope she doesn't get into a chewing phase!! So far she has been a gem and we have not had any damage in the house caused by her..lets hope it says that way :xfngr:

For now I will continue to limit her freedom and keep her confined when I am not home. Thanks for the reassurance!

10th March 2011, 03:21 AM
I think I left Chelsea out with me home at about 6 months, then alone at about 10 months or so. She was much easier to train than Vivian. Vivian was a long time in house training, almost 9 months, and not out of the crate till almost a year alone with Chelsea. They have a dog door (my favorite) to garage then one from there outside, can lock each as needed.

When I am not here, all doors but the bath door are closed and plenty of toys for distractions. I also leave music on low to mask some outside noises.

10th March 2011, 04:40 AM
Holly was given free run of an area in our house when she was a year old. She has the kitchen / great room area when we are gone -- I gate this area off. She would probably be okay with full house priveleges, but for both her safety and my peace of mind she is gated off to a nice sized area. This way I know she can't run out the door behind us when we leave, or dart out when we return. Also, her area is really doggy proofed -- and away from the cat's territory:rolleyes:

Jasper and Holly
10th March 2011, 09:48 AM
I agree with Karlin,
I left my two when they were just over one year old. They are only ever left for a short time as I am usually home most of the time. I love my dogs and would always make sure they were safe all times. They always come first and they mean the world to me. They have the run of the house with all bedrooms closed everywhere is tiled so if they were to have an accident it would be easily delt with, not that they ever have. We have a doggy door out into the garden so they can go out when they need to, and they do use it. Most times they are just cuddled up asleep when I get back. It's SO sweet to see them like that. They have been really good so far never chewed a thing apart from the grass outside! Lol.
I think having the two has been good as they have been good company for each other. I always make sure they cannot get into ANYTHING while I am out. Like I said my dogs mean the world to me and I make sure they are safe always.

murphy's mum
10th March 2011, 11:31 AM
I made the mistake of giving Murphy the run of the house at about 9 months. It caused so many problems. He started pooping in the hall and peed on our bed. He also chewed the bed frame. We had to start house training all over again. It was just too much, too soon for him. We give him the run of the house now with his sidekick, they are normally asleep on the couch when I pull up.

I think Murphy was nearly a year and a half before we trusted him on his own

11th March 2011, 11:23 PM
i have always given my dogs free run of the house as soon as i feel they are completely potty trained and reliable (usually 8-9 months). i normally close off the bedrooms and just let them run about in the other areas. experience (and hours of videotaped dog footage) has shown me that my dogs just sleep in their own beds while i'm out. we've never had issues with destruction, chewing or coming home to messes and i'm gone daily for 8 hours or more