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Hello! New lab puppy owner here, and would appreciate some help. The new puppy is 9 wks old. I'm crate training him while house breaking him. I have the flexibility of staying with him during the next few weeks so I'm letting him out every 2.5 to 3 hours and it has worked well EXCEPT within the past week, he twice pooped in the crate! I AM using a divider to make the crate smaller, and do take him after each meal (twice, morning and evening) and he does poop outside at those times. The problem is that he poops more than twice a day, and the third one is hard to time and apparently changing. Since he is not used to the crate yet and barking a lot there, I can't tell if he wants to poop or is just doing his usual barking... Have no idea how to deal with this. Any help please?
 

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Have you changed his food recently? Sometimes different brands effect a doggie's poop differently. Not only can it change its consistency, but also the frequency as well. If he is messing his crate, it just means he needs to be taken out more. Instead of every 2.5-3 hours, maybe every 2-2.5 hours. He's just 9 weeks old, and they barely hold it in at the age. When our puppy was 9 weeks, she literally pooped 5 times a day, with more pees than I can remember.

Also, how is your crating routine? Would you describe it to me :) And when does he barks when he's in there? Everytime or just at certain times?
 

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I am also curious about your crating routine. Is he in the crate except when you let him out to potty? Does he have time to play outside of the crate before going back inside the crate?

I chose not to use the crate for potty training. When we had a new puppy, it would just stay out and about in the same room as us, but, in our direct sight, with our eyes on the puppy (as long as the puppy was awake and on the move). That way, we were teaching him the rules of the house, AND watching for the signs he needed to pee/poop. Sometimes it's hard to see those signs when the pup is in the crate, and, as you say, you aren't ever sure if the barking is because they need to potty, or because they just want out of the crate.
 

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I'd take him out more frequently. Every 1-2 hours is recommended for that age. Puppies need to go out after playing, after napping, after eating etc. so make sure you're always there to take them out when needed.
 
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