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Canine Behavior/Puppy Pooing in Crate


Hi Jill, I have a 5 month old male whippet named Riley, and ever since he has been introduced to a crate, he poos in it regardless of how long he is left (even within a half hour). There is just enough room for him to turn around in it so I know it is not a size issue. We have put blankets, toys, bones, kong toys filled with treats, anything to keep him busy but everything always ends up covered in his own waste so we can only put a couple toys in it that are easy to clean. He also barks non-stop all morning as soon as he is put in it. He is only left for 3-5 hours at this point and always ends up in his own filth by the end of it. He is left like this for four days out of the week. The crate is in a dark bedroom with the door closed with a blanket over the top of it (doesn't cover the whole thing though). We need to leave him in a closed bedroom because of the noise from the barking. The daily schedule is: wakes up around 5:30am (when my BF wakes up to go to work), gets taken out, pees and poos, eats/drinks a bit, puts him in the crate around 6am, and by 6:30am other people in the house need ear plugs and he has already pooed in the crate even though he just went. Separation anxiety? I've purchased a "puppy calming spray" but that hasn't done anything. We have also tried leaving a radio on, leaving the crate out in the open where the older dog roams so he doesn't feel so alone, nothing has helped, always poop in the end. There have even been mornings where he hasn't even eaten any breakfast and he still manages to poo. I am out of ideas :( please help!

The Whippet is not a "popular" breed: this means, you acquired your puppy from (most likely) a reputable breeder.  If that is the case, the puppy should have been easy to house train.

Get rid of the crate.  You are teaching your dog to eliminate indoors; you are unfairly confining him to too small a space (if you must use a crate for a Whippet, you use the largest wire crate available) and the dog is clearly extremely anxious.  On top of the social isolation, you are covering the crate and putting him into a unoccupied room.  STOP.

Crates are not a house training tool; they are not a "play pen" or any humane containment at all, other than for transport or short term confinement if there are workers in your home (because you cannot trust strangers to not harm your dog while you're not watching).

Give him a free space: kitchen is best.  Put up baby gates (buy them at Walmart, the spring loaded kind), even if you have to put one on top of the other, in the kitchen doorway.  Provide this young dog with a blanket, water, Buster Cube with a portion of his daily food; never leave him in the dark.  You may keep a radio on so long as it is a calm music channel, no shouting.  Because he has now learned that your being "absent" causes him high stress, he may continue to defecate during your absence.  IGNORE IT.  Pay NO attention to it when you arrive home.  Take him out, praise/reward ALWAYS for appropriate elimination, and remove the excrement WHILE HE IS NOT PRESENT.  Use white vinegar (not chlorine) on the spot.  If he begins to choose the SAME spot, feed him on that spot (twice daily).

I was Whippet rescue in the NY tri-state area for the AKC club for years.  These dogs are almost always easily house trained unless they have come from abusive breeder or abusive owner.  This is one of THE single best companion breeds there is.  Regardless of inconvenience (having to "clean up"), put that crate in the GARBAGE.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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