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Discussion Starter #1
For two years parts of the house have been off limits for Penny using baby gates, specifically the basement level and the second story bedrooms. This is mostly to give the cats their own space as they have never wanted to integrate with her. But also with small kids those areas were allowed to be a little more messy, or at least less puppy-proof. But this meant that every time we had to go upstairs or to the basement Penny would want to follow us, usually resulting in her then running off to jump on the kitchen counters or steal something from a bookshelf to chew on. Or we had to kennel her just to spend time on another level. It was exhausting.

So this weekend we decided to stop the madness. We took off the gates to the upstairs. Made sure the cats had safe refuge in one bedroom still. And picked up the kids rooms so there was nothing too obvious a target for destruction. So she had pretty much full unsupervised access to the house--she can be upstairs when we're down and a vice versa. And after two full days I am pleased to report we have only lost the following items:

- Some baby wipes and a diaper (cloth, clean)
- Butterfly finger puppet
- Pacifier (she sucks on it like a child first...)
- Some napkins from the dining room table
- Unidentifed orange plastic object, likely a small toy
- Chicken from an unattended plate on the table -- okay that had nothing to do with the experiment.

We have also recovered from her several stuffed animals and clothing items, but not as much as I would have expected.

And maybe more incredibly, she surprised the cats upstairs on multiple occasions for some chasing, but they generally stood up to her and territories seems to be developing naturally. We are closely monitoring both sides in their encounters.

This is, of course, all while we are home. If all goes well we will try to start giving her access outside of her kennel when we leave as she is still having issues being crated.
 

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Your first paragraph is like reading about our situation with our V Imli. The second floor has to be shut off with baby gates. We've entertained the idea of letting her free several times, but I dont think we cant trust her yet. She immediately goes for the quilt/sheet/pillows on our bed. And she's quite capable of tearing everything apart within 5 mins if we're not watching her.
And since we cant be downstairs and be watching what she's up to upstairs, we've decided to stick with the baby gates. At least for the time being.

Let us know how your experience goes. They're all such thieves! :D
 

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We have our two carpeted rooms baby gated! Hobie is only 8 months but I think it will be awhile before we can trust her in there. We now also keep the bedroom doors shut because she started peeing on the beds a couple of months ago!

However I'm thrilled to announce that we've gone about a week and a half without an accident in the house. Before that it was at least once a day. I think we just had to get vigilant about the gates and doors.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Updating the list of destroyed items:

- baby onesie
- tupperware lid
- pair of my underwear

Penny has definitely matured a lot in the past few months. We would have considered giving her this much freedom when she was even 18 months old. Overall I'm really proud of her. The one increasing problem that may be related is she is now being very aggressive about jumping on our bed at night. She is supposed to be on her pillow on the floor, but it's as if she now believes she has been given total freedom. Very frustrating at midnight when she won't respect boundaries. But the other 23 hours a day she is great.
 
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