Dogs/Puppy Pooping in Crate
I saw that you had answered a similar question about this previously, but I wanted to see if you could help my wife and I with our problem, which is a little bit different.
We have a 5 month old Coton de Tulear puppy who has been pooping in his crate when we leave him alone. He's been doing this ever since we got him when he was 10 weeks old. We have been in the process of housetraining him, and he seems to be doing well with it. He occasionally has an accident in the house, but it's mostly only him peeing somewhere, never poop, and it's usually when we haven't taken him out for a few hours. Also, he ALWAYS goes to the bathroom when we take him outside, even if it's just to pee, but he definitely recognizes that when we take him outside he is supposed to go potty.
However, when we leave him alone in his crate, it is pretty likely that he will poop while we are gone, no matter how long we are gone. His crate is not too big, as we have sized it so that he only has room to lay down and turn around. He seems to have a bit of separation anxiety, where he will cry when we leave him, but lately he has been getting better about that, and will sometimes poop while we are gone even when he hadn't cried when we left.
We are concerned that he is getting used to pooping in his crate, and that if we do not correct the problem now, he will do it forever. We have tried a number of things, including taking all soft things out of the crate, feeding him in his crate, as well as building up his time in the crate so that he gets used to being in there while we are home. I read online that using a Comfort Zone stress reducing pheromone diffuser could aid in making him feel more comfortable in his crate while we are gone, but I'm not sure if this will help with our problem or not. Do you have any other suggestions that we can try so that we can end this habit once and for all? Also, should he be peeing AND pooping each time we go outside? I should also note that he has been checked for worms and parasites very recently and he is completely clean. Thanks in advance!
You didn't say the length of time you're leaving your puppy in his crate. A rule of thumb for how long to crate, is the puppy's age in months, plus one. So theoretically, a five month old puppy should be able to "hold it" for around 6 hours. No dog or puppy should be crated for more than 6 or 7 hours, no matter their age.
You didn't say how often you're taking your puppy outside, the number of bowel movements he usually has in a day (if they're well formed or soft), or what you're feeding him (including treats and edible bones). You can expect male dogs to pee on everything outside. It's a marking behavior that's natural. The most common reason for a dog to have too many bowel movements would be a poor quality food. It's worthwhile to try a higher quality food and see if things improve. If changing food doesn't help, talk to your vet. There are health conditions that can cause a dog to produce too much stool.
If you decide to change your puppy's diet, do so gradually over a period of 5-7 days. Abruptly changing a dog or puppy's food can cause diarrhea. Read about what to look for in a better quality dog food here:
I think your puppy's crate-pooping problem might have something to do with his separation anxiety. Rather than containing him in a crate when you aren't home or able to supervise him, it might be helpful to either contain him to part of a room by using childgates, or by using an indoor pet pen. Pet pens contain the dog to a larger area than a crate, so the dog doesn't lay in it's own excrement. If you must leave your puppy for more than 6 hours, using a pen might be a better option than a crate, even after you get a handle on the anxiety issues. Here are a couple examples of an indoor pet pen:
Whether you choose to contain your puppy to part of a room or a pet pen, lay a thick layer of newspaper down over the entire containment area, so clean ups will be easier.
Dog appeasing pheromones such as Comfort Zone are definitely effective and can be helpful, but it would be most effective if the pheromones were paired with "counter conditioning training". You can read about how to train your dog out of his separation anxiety here:
Some dogs are also helped by medical therapy for separation anxiety. If the pheromones don't seem to help, talk to your vet about using anti-anxiety medication. Just like the pheromone use, anti-anxiety medication also needs to be paired with training to be effective.
The same goes for the training. If you're having trouble doing this on your own, it would really pay to consult with a dog behaviorist. Your vet's office or a local boarding kennel might be able to give you a referral to a dog behaviorist in your area. If you can't get a referral, you might be able to locate a behaviorist here:
I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,