pup eating poop in crate overnight
We have a 10 week old female black lab/border collie cross puppy. Both of us have had dogs in the family growing up, but this is the first time venturing out with a new puppy of our own. We've had her for two weeks, and her housetraining is going well, she no longer goes in the house unless we accidentally miss her cues to go out (which is our fault, not hers). She has a crate which she recognizes it as "her space" and will take toys in there to lie down and chew on. For logistical reasons the crate has to be in the living room, but after the first week or so of crying she's settling in to spending the night there with minimum fuss.
Our problem has been with her pottying in her crate overnight. Specifically, when we get up in the morning we find that she's pooped in her crate, and then eaten it. I don't know if this is because it's her den and dogs don't like to mess their den, or because she knows it's wrong and is covering up the evidence, so to speak, but she gets the advised amount of food during the day so I don't think it's that she's hungry. Either way we want to get her to stop, and go outside when we take her, instead. We've tried to be diligent about getting up after about three or four hours, but when we come downstairs to let her out to go in the middle of the night she shows no interest in doing so. We take her to "the spot" and try to encourage her, but she just sits down, looks back at the door and whines.
We'll give her a few minutes and some coaxing, but since neither of us are that keen to sit and wait outside for 20 minutes at 4am, we eventually assume she doesn't have to and/or isn't going to go, and put her back in her crate. We've tried to come down whenever we hear her whining, but often we'll take her out and again, she won't go. We don't want to condition her that whining will get her out of her crate, so we don't know what to do.
I've tried coming down twice in the night, once after 3 hours and again 2 hours later, but still no interest outside even on the second trip down (though mess in the morning 2 hours later); she's mostly just excited to see me (so I wonder if she holds it 'cause she's hoping to play?). The other challenge, of course, is trying to get enough sleep as to be functional at work the next day, so we haven't tried getting up every x minutes/hours till she goes, but maybe it will come to that. Then there's the challenge of trying to balance having her settle down and get used to us not coming down in the night, with making sure she doesn't soil her crate.
Incidentally, I was wondering if her crate was too large for her current size and maybe that was contributing to the problem; there's room enough for two of her to curl up side-by-side inside, albeit snugly.
Has anyone else had this problem and/or have any suggestions on what to do?
Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Sanderling; 09-24-2008 at 11:12 AM.
Re: pup eating poop in crate overnight
it could be that the crate is too large. is it a wire or a plastic crate?
most wire crates come with a divider that you can use to make the space smaller. if it is plastic you can probably just make your own divider.
the space should be big enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around in. no bigger or else they will have room to go potty in the crate and lay on the other side.
i know its a pain, but maybe try taking her out more often during the night. i know it is recommended to set your alarm for every two-three hours to take the puppy out.
which that can be a major pain in the butt if you have to be at work the next morning, but it might be worth it in the end
Re: pup eating poop in crate overnight
Thanks, perhaps it is the crate, then. It's a wire crate, but didn't come with a divider. I suppose it wouldn't be hard to fashion one. Below is a photo of her in it.
And I guess we'll try setting our alarm more frequently for a while, till we figure out her schedule. As you say, the end result would be worth it, if it helps.
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