How do I stop a dog from pooping in its crate?

Tony: How to stop a dog from pooping in its crate?
My 13 week old Bernese Mountain dog puppy views her crate as her bathroom. Sometimes the puppy will go to the bathroom outside and after returning to the indoors will walk in to her crate and go again. My trainer is stumped on how to resovle this issue so any help would be great.

Thanks in advance!

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Answer by JAMES E. F
would you rather they did it on your floor?

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  1. maxcastignetti says

    I had a similar problem with a border collie puppy when I was at dog training school. The solution required a number of approaches because unfortunately once a puppy defecates in their sleeping place more than a few times their natural inhibition against soiling their den is weakened if not lost altogether.

    Here are the tactics I would try:

    1. Either get a smaller crate or use some sort of empty box to block off some of the space in her existing crate. I really wouldn't be too concerned about making the crate too small as hopefully this will be very temporary.

    2. Make sure any accidents in the crate are cleaned thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle.

    3. Increase the frequency of the dog's potty breaks. An average 13 week old pup would need a break about every 3 hours. In your case I would cut it to 2.5 or even 2.

    4. When you take the dog out go to the same spot every time, hold the dog on a leash and stand like a post. Do not make potty time a time for a walk. If the dog potties and you then want to walk, fine. If after 10 minutes the dog has not pottied, put her back in her crate. I would usually tell clients to then wait an hour before trying another 10 minute potty break, but in cases like yours I say three minutes (which I know sounds very tedious). Keep repeating 10 minutes staionary outside and 3 minutes in the crate until the job is done. When the dog does potty outside, praise enthusiastically and reward either with high value food (hot dog, chicken meat, etc) or a game of fetch etc.

    5. Your mention of the dog pottying outside and then going again inside could have two causes. My border collie was famous for this and the cause turned out to be that she was afraid of pottying outside. (Pottying does put dogs in a vulnerable position.) The answer in her case was to find a place that was sheltered on three sides, had little foot or road traffic and to give her plenty of time to get comfortable with the spot. The other possibility is that your dog just needs more time to potty. If that is the case you may have to adjust the ten minute guideline I gave above.

    One cautionary note: do NOT take your dog on a walk, wait for her to potty and then walk home. The dog will learn that pottying ends the walk and will then hold out as long as possible. Make pottying the price of a walk – to be paid up front.

    Good luck. I hope this works for you.

  2. amber_tree says

    Although you’re frustrated, crate training is the best way to go. Remember that she is only 13 weeks. It took me 5 weeks to potty train my puppy, and that was through crate training. Please be patient. I had to resolve it by putting her in at 30 minute intervals. Eventually, it sank in.
    Depending how long you’re keeping her in the crate & the circumstances when you put her in the crate & the size of the crate & whether or not other dogs are around, it’s hard to tell what is going on. All of these play a part in her training.
    You’re on the right track & good luck to you and your new friend!

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