We have a 2-year old golden retriever who has free reign of our house and ~.5 Acre fenced backyard while we're home (we close it when we goto bed). We just adopted a second golden retriever puppy, Rosie, whose 8 weeks old.

Rosie is precocious and after a few days of watching Ruth go through the door she's started following her out - it's adorable. On the one hand, it's exciting for potty training - she's let herself out a few times now to go potty, but my wife and I are also worried about her safety (Hawks and what not).

Unfortunately we're torn - closing the doggy door is really disruptive for Ruthie whose in and out all day, but if we don't we're stalking Rosie while working from home and rushing out when she goes (not always great timing w/ meetings).

At what age or weight or w/e can we let Rosie join her sister without supervision?


  • Maybe you have the option to make a puppy save outdoor space where the doggy door is located (ie safety from above by a mesh/rooflike thing) and have a second "door" between this space and the leftover garden, which only the bigger dog can pass? I remember such a thing in a house, where the puppy was not allowed to take the stair, but the grown up dog was. They built a small fence, the big dog was able to step over, the puppy not. Aug 25, 2023 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what predators are local to your area, which is likely a big part of the question here. This source says that hawks can lift up to their own weight, which for the larger hawk species is about 3 lbs. Your puppy will be growing quickly, so will rapidly surpass that. However, eagles are larger and other predators are another question.

For birds of prey, the same article I linked above mentions that you could get a "talon-proof-vest" although I'm not sure if it would be worth it if she's just going to outgrow the need for it in a few weeks.

Half an acre is not huge - do you have easy sightlines on most of the yard from a convenient window?

I'm also assuming that when Rosie is inside, you're pretty tightly supervising her already to ensure she's not chewing, toileting, or getting up to other puppy mischief? If so, it seems like for a few weeks, the safest bet might be to supervise outdoor time as well.

Among the risk of predators, as she moves into teething, she'll likely start chewing on things outdoors that aren't safe. Mushrooms or garden plants come to mind as natural risks, or things like your garden hose or patio furniture. If you're supervising her, you can be sure she isn't getting hurt and that she isn't destroying anything you care about.

  • Thanks for the reply -- predators are one piece of it, the other is eating things for sure. I'm in MA so we don't have a ton of predators, but we have coyotes and hawks. Speaking of -- yes, we watch her like a hawk inside and out. My inclination is once we get past the eat everything phase and she's at least 25 pounds she ought to be fine, but I haven't had any basis for that
    – Schalton
    Jul 26, 2023 at 11:02

With cats, the answer is sometimes to build a "catio" -- essentially equivalent to an outdoor "dog run" attached to the house that the animals have access to. This can be screened or roofed across the top to both prevent escapes and provide protection from hawks and such.

There are pet doors which latch unless they get a signal from a tag on the pet's collar, sold as a way to keep other animals from coming in to raid the pet's food bowl. That might work for this problem.

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