Although crates are very effective when it comes to house training your dog, there are situations where your dog may have an “accident” in his crate. How you handle these situations is vital to your dog’s long term housebreaking efforts as well as his relationship with the crate.
My 4.5 month old mini labradoodle (male) is kept inside and we crate him at night and various other times throughout the day when we are home. When out of the crate he knows to go to the door and bark for us to let him out to go to the toilet (most of the time, there are occasional accidents) and manages to hold out through the day (4-5 hrs) confined in the kitchen/dining area when left alone (once again most of the time).
He previously had a bout of salmonella which gave him runny stools about 1 month ago, which then cleared up. His toileting was fine then. Recently he has gotten runny stools again (we are checking with the vet to see if the salmonella has returned) and he went everywhere in his crate. Since then he has done this on a few more occasions even though his stools are becoming more solid.
When finding him like this in the morning we are not giving any more attention than usual, just putting him outside and cleaning up. He almost seems to be holding out throughout the day to just go at night and there is a long time frame between when he gets fed and when he goes to the toilet – which has recently changed to this. I am just starting to try and feed much earlier 3-4pm as last meal, feeding in his crate, and exercising him a little more at night (a few hours before bed).
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It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things as far as getting your dog to stop defecating indoors. Changing his feeding time is a good idea, as is cleaning up the mess with little fuss.
It is a good idea in your situation to teach your dog to relieve himself on command.
Next time you take him outside, and he begins to do his business, pick a phrase e.g. “Hurry up” or “Go number twos” and repeat this phrase over and over until he has finished. When he has finished, make a fuss of him , and give him a treat. Do this every time he does his business, and you should eventually find that the phrase will trigger the behavior. This will be a useful command for you when you take him out last thing at night.
In the meantime, when you clean out his crate, be sure not to use a cleaner that contains any ammonia or chlorine, as dogs can mistake this scent as a previously marked spot and is more likely to have another accident.
Buy a Dog odor neutralizer (such as Natures Miracle) to neutralize smell of feces in the crate also.
I hope this information helps Tom. Good luck, and please let me know how you progress.
Author of Secrets To Dog Training
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