Weaning dog from crate?

I have a male, neutered Manchester Terrier mix who is about 14 months old. I have had him for almost a year now. Usually, when I leave for work in the morning, I put him in his crate. I then come home for my lunch break, take him out for a walk, then have to put him in his crate again till I get home at 5pm. Towards the end of last year, I started leaving him out of his crate for a little bit at a time while I was gone, and slowly built up the time I was gone. He did good with that for a few weeks to where I was able to leave him for up to 4 hours without him being in his crate while I was gone. However, one day I came home and he had torn a hole in his bed, then the next day I came home and he had shredded his bed. So I went back to crating him, only leaving him out for 1-2 hours if I wasnt there. (Rest assured, he is not in his crate at all if I am home, and he doesnt mind going in his crate when I leave)

So now that he is over a year old, I tried to start leaving him out again for longer periods of time. For the last 3 weeks I have been able to leave him out for 4 hours, twice a week, and he seemed to be doing great. But today I came home (again, after he was out for 4 hours), and he had been chewing on my area rug in the living room. Luckily its not too noticable, I was just more upset that now I need to crate him again. I was really hoping that over the next few months we would work our way up to not ever being crated.

So I am looking for any advice on helping him to make this transition. Is he maybe still too young to be left out for that amount of time? I have heard that dogs are considered puppies until they are 2-3 years old, so maybe I need to wait a few more months to let him grow up a little more then try again?

Some notes:
I always leave some soft music on when I leave.
I dont make a big deal of leaving or coming home
He always gets a walk and play time before I leave
I leave a Kong filled with frozen canned food and chicken broth so he has something yummy to snack on
I dont have the money to put him in daycare or hire a dog walker (those get expensive)
Getting a second dog is not an option.
He has gone through all 3 levels of training, and is usually a very good boy
He has lots of toys, and I try to occassional take one away for a few days then give it back to him before I leave so its like a "new" toy again.

Any advice would be appreciated. I am hoping that maybe it’s just that he is too young, but would like to feel that someday he wont need to be crated at all when I am away.

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One Response to “Weaning dog from crate?”

  1. Madison says:

    I would go with baby steps. Put him into a crate in a certain room one day. The next, try to put him in that same room out of his crate(but still have the crate available for him!). After a while, you can make more sections of the house available(possibly next have 2 rooms available, block off other sections of the house off with a baby gate of some sort).
    Good Luck!:)