Deliberate messing in the crate?

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lugreen's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-22

Hi, I'm new to the forum and would like some advice about my 19wk dobe Megan who we have had for 3 wks now and who we think is getting into the habit of deliberately weeing in her crate.

So that you have the full picture:

Her previous owner had her from 7 weeks and we collected her at 16 weeks. 

When we looked at Megs we were told that Megs was house trained and crate trained and that she was used to being left alone in her crate for longer periods of time (we're not sure how long) and was sleeping 11pm - 6am dry in her crate.  I'd say this has proven to be about 85% true, allowing for moving to a new house and all the distractions of our menagerie (chickens, cats, guinea pigs and fish!); plus we noticed the signs of a UTI (I think my other half posted on her about it last week), which is now being treated and to which she seems to have responded well.

Her daily routine is:

Food at 6.30am and 6.30pm, which was her routine when we got her.

She is walked in the morning for 30-40minutes, at 11am for 20-30mins, 2.30pm for the same length of time and then early evening is the family walk with our 9yr old and it usually involves frisbees etc.  Except for the first walk she has off-leash time on all the others.  We work, so the day walks are with a dog walker.  She also has 3-4 specific training sessions during the day (sit, lie down etc.) to get her brain working!

At the moment in the daytime she is in her crate between walks and whenever we are home (except at night) she is out of it and doing what we do, except for mealtimes as we eat in the kitchen and we have limited her “knowledge” of the house to the main rooms downstairs but not the kitchen, which is the safe haven for the (currently unimpressed!) cats. 

She does see her crate as her space and is pretty good in it (my OH has set up a webcam!) though there are some days when she whines and yaps (especially if she thinks that she is missing out at mealtimes) and we noticed that at bedtimes this last week she is not very impressed at having to leave the cuddle on the sofa!  We follow Cesar M’s ideas on crate training – letting her find her own way in, ignoring lesser whines and stopping escalation with a firm tsk, and waiting until she is calm before letting her out – also helps as it stops her jumping up.  If she is really grumpy and nothing else is working I sit in front of it, back turned and meditate (or doze!) until she has calmed herself which works very well and usually results in stroppy to sleeping in 5-10 minutes  :)

She sleeps through without accident 90% of the time. 

She is a typical dobe puppy, she has a pretty short attention span!, a mad 15 minutes of charging around at least 3 times a day and does display some dominance (most amusingly she has tried to hump the OH’s leg?! A whole other post  ;D) but we are firm with her and use redirection and are working on all the usuals: walking to heel, not jumping, not barking madly, training.

All that said, we do seem to have a problem with what looks like deliberate weeing on her bed.  She can have walked and walked and done all her business multiple times but 5 minutes after we or the walker have left the house she quite calmly wees directly on her bed, fusses for a few minutes and then continues with her napping or chewing.  Some days she goes through three beds a day, some days she doesn’t do it once.  We do not want it to become habit; especially as it may then translate to the same habit out of the crate (we had various accidents indoors when the UTI was at its worst, but she hasn’t repeated them). 

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on what we could do?  Thank you!

glengate's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-22

You haven't had her very long, you really can't be sure if what the previous owners have told you about her is true, she has had a UTI so you've got some varying factors going on.

Is she still on antibiotics for the UTI?  Do you know for sure it's resolved?  Have you taken in another urine sample?

I'd find it strange for a 16 week old puppy to be completely house trained and crated trained reliably so I'd take what the previous owners said with a grain of salt.  In fact, she could very well have developed the habit of peeing on her bed  when she was with them and they didn't notice and she's kind of developed dirty dog syndrome.  It's just how she is used to living.

It seems that she is having successful days interspersed with the bad ones, and that just seems like relatively normal puppy training to me.  I wouldn't punish her.  I'd keep her clean as best you can hoping she develops a like for that.  Praise good behaviour, ignore the bad but do make sure that UTI is resolved.   

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^,^'s picture
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Joined: 2010-04-13

When I saw her picture of her in her create I thought wow she must be create trained cause it has a lot of room. I would put her in a smaller one till she hsa a few weeks of dry nights. One just big enough to lay down in. Or you could put something in there to make that one smaller...Lord know what LOL or it could be the fault of the UTI. if so nothing till that is cleared up.

lugreen's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-22

Thank you both for the advice!

Judy - we think the crate is too big too and are looking for a divider to reduce the size....

Glengate - thank you; we are due to take another sample in on Monday but i think the antibiotics have done a pretty good job; the change after 2 days was dramatic.  We will keep an eye on it.  My worry is as you said, that she has got used to peeing on her bed and I don't know how to change that once its become habit.  I knew a  Staff who used to fully eliminate daily in their crate and had no problems in spreading the mess around!  Having seen the worst I can imagine, I am a little nervous of the whole housebreaking thing!  I've always owned adult dogs before, this is my first puppy.  We do not punish her, she is walked to the garden while we clean out the crate and i had read about keeping her clean so we plan to bath fortnightly and I wipe her over with a damp cloth if I notice that she smells.  So, we will continue as we are with fingers crossed....  but we had a dry night last night  :)

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^,^'s picture
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Joined: 2010-04-13

You know she may need one of those hard plastic Crates to resemble a den. Maybe even feed her inside so she learns this is my den. Just my thoughts!

lugreen's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-22

Hi Judy, we looked at plastic crates but didn't want to make what seemed like a big change so soon and then found a canvas cover for her crate instead; it has fly screens on three sides with roll down blinds over the top so we can vary the amount of light and shade during the day.  Our living room is bright even at night thanks to the street lights outside and she seems a lot more comfortable, especially as night.  And i read this afternoon about feeding her in the crate, so will try that as well.  Also read about leaving dirty beds in the garden for a period of time so that she associates the smell with outside, so will try that too....

Lori's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-03

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Not sure if you are or not but in addition to cleaning and taking out the bedding that is wet, also clean the crate itself well.  If the bedding was wet the crate got wet too and that smell will still be there to a dog even if you can't smell it she probably can. 

keep consistent with her bathroom times and feeding and keep her crate as clean as you can and it will probably stop but I'm sure not as fast as you hope..:) 

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^,^'s picture
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Joined: 2010-04-13

yep good Idea Lori...I use OdoBan. I spray it really well let it sit for about and hour, then wash. That stuff is really strong and bothers my lungs if I use it inside very much... it's concentrated and only like $9.00 I get mine at Sams Club. Hope this helps!!

lugreen's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-22

We use Nature's Miracle for all cleaning and clean the bottom of the crate everytime there is an accident just to get rid of the smell!  we fed her in her crate tonight, took her out for a 40 min walk during which she did her business, put her back in the crate whilst we had dinner and as Glen was walking out of the room.... you guessed it! ;D  luckily she stayed away from her bed so it was an easy fix! 

Thanks to all the advice and other posts, I am a lot more relaxed about it all  :)

Lori's picture
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Well that brings up another possible reason - does she only pee in her crate when you are around or nearby but not with her?  is she just trying to get your attention because she now knows if she pee's you let her out while you clean it?

those little buggers are smart...haha

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^,^'s picture
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Joined: 2010-04-13

Quote:
luckily she stayed away from her bed so it was an easy fix!

That perked up my ears Lugreen I bet it is too much room and just know as long as you are working on it it will get better. I make a big deal when they make a mess inside. NOo Hitting, but I want them to get the message THAT, THAT does not make me happy and when they make outside I make another big deal and I pet and play till I see she is happy too!!! Just know she will get the idea, I bet she was left for hours and all she knows is to pee in the crate. After all where else do you go when you been in the all day. She has got to relearn. It is a lot of work but I take mine out about every 30-45 min. But I am home all day. Thanks to my Honey!

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^,^'s picture
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Here's another thought do some intensive potty training ....with the weekend coming up each of you could take turns leashing her to your belt loops. Keep her close to you, take her out every 30 minuets make a big deal, give a special potty treat, only gets this treat at potty time. No crating but for sleeping...ex Nap and bed time. She could nap by your feet.
??? ??? ??? ???
Then this comes to mind...What if you just let her lay in it? I wonder how long she would keep that up, if you didn't clean up after her right away. I never made midnight runs with any of my dogs...if they peed or pooped they were left to lay in it till I got up.  How else were they to learn?

lugreen's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-22

Thank all again for the further advice.  We have been feeding her in the crate (which she loves!  runs ahead so that she can sit in it and wait for her food to be put in  :)) and followed the potty training idea at the weekend and both seem to have helped - touch wood, we've had one wet bed since Friday.

Coming to the end of the antibiotics now too, so will get the urine sample checked again (I've noticed some white mucus in it? but then she may also have vaginitus?  one of the vets first ideas....)  As I still don't think she's 100%, I will get her checked over again... but I think that any non-medical reasons for the initial problem may now be much improved.

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That is great news!!! I know you have more hope now...don't give up she will get there!!! Just last night my Izzy wet her bed.  ??? This was her first time since I had her, 2 weeks.