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Crate training a puppy while working full-time


I will be getting a 12 week old German Shepherd this weekend and am wondering what would be the best way to keep it confined while I'm away. I work full time and keeping her in a kennel or crate all day seems cruel but I don't trust her having free roam of the place yet. Help!

Congratulations! I love shepherds. Kudos to you for planning ahead. She definitely does NOT need free roam of the place and won't until she's over 1, maybe 2 years. Until then she's likely to get into some trouble and hurt herself (or your belongings). Crate training is ideal for potty training reasons and most dogs that are introduced to a crate correctly love it. However, since she is a baby she won't be able to hold her bladder all day in a crate. The ideal situation would be for you to crate train her and come home at lunch to let her out. If that's not possible, hiring a neighbor or dog walker to come let her out at lunch would be great. With that scenario she would be able to eliminate outside so you wouldn't need to train to potty pads in the interim (and try to break that habit later!), plus she'd get plenty of sleep (which is good for puppies), and she'd be safe. That would mean that you'd need to exercise her in the morning before you left and in the evening so she spent plenty of time with you and not crated, but it is ok to crate the puppies during the day and at night when they sleep, if necessary. As long as she's out with the family pretty much all the rest of the time, crating when you're away or asleep is fine to keep her safe. If a lunchtime potty break (which you'd probably only need to do until she's about 6 months old and then she could last all day) isn't in the cards, you'll need to use a larger area and potty pads. If you are setting up a larger area, consider a small room or gated off room without carpet or rugs. You'll need to pick up anything she could reach, possibly childproof the cabinets, and be aware that she may chew the moulding and baseboards. Then you place a potty pad in the back of the area (away from the entrance) and leave her a bed (as long as she won't eat it), water, and safe toys. Once she hits about 6 months you should be able to crate her all day. Side note: don't leave a bed/towel in her crate until you are sure she won't eat it or eliminate on it.
Good luck and make sure you get her in training ASAP. Shepherds are super smart, but they need lots of socialization. Choose a positive reinforcement training class. You don't need to use any harsh methods to have a well-trained shepherd.


26 Mar 2011 10:44 pm

piclz23 said:

I felt the same way you did with the crate training and working full time. I did however find that the potty-pads are just messy and really a waste of time. Crate training helped potty-train our puppy immediately. I have a saint bernard and we brought him home at 10 weeks. Three weeks tops he was trained. He sleeps in his crate willingly at night time without a fuss because we made him feel safe by giving him a bed and a few toys that stay in the crate for crate time only. After 4 days...he was completely o.k. with going into the crate. I hope it all works out for you. Trust me...It works.

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