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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19182
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 9 month old Lab Bella is crate trained, however, she has

Customer Question

My 9 month old Lab Bella is crate trained, however, she has only been confined for up to 4 hours at a time due my husband and I work opposite work shifts. So one of us Is always home. When we sleep at night or day, depending on who is home, Bella is well behaved, not crated, and sleeps with whoever.. WE do have pet gates all over the house that confines her to what room we want her in. My concern is that in the next 2 months, due to work schedules Bella will need to be confined for 9 hours a day for 7 days of the month in her crate. She gets very excited when I get home from work and looks stressed after only 4 hour in her crate. She is a people person and loves her family! She has a large size kennel that allows her to stand up and turn around. How can I make this transition less stressful for Bella and me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

The easiest way to transition her to this change will be to start crating her a little longer each day. Since she seems to be very excited when you first come home, I would try to crate her earlier rather than leaving her in the crate after you get home. In other words, start crating her an hour before you leave after taking her out to eliminate. It would be best if you could leave early so you are not in the house, but I can understand if that is not an option. Gradually increase it to 6 hours and then 7 at least a couple of day before she has to be left for 9 hours. The best solution would be for someone to come and let her out for 10-15 minutes half way through the day, but that isn't always an option.

At 9 months of age, she should be able to hold it for 9 hours but would need to be let out immediately upon you or your husband coming home. I would also try and limit her water intake in the morning to a couple of cups and give her the bulk of her food and water once you are home. That will leave less in her bladder and bowels while you are gone. Of course, if she has any kidney issues, you can not limit access to water.

Many dogs routinely go 8-10 hours crated when both owners work. Giving her a good walk before you leave will help as well as she will be tired and sleep the majority of time that you are away. You can also give her some toys that she can occupy herself with which can also help her pass the time.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

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