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Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16505
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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My new puppy, which I'm getting familiar with the crate, is

Customer Question

My new puppy, which I'm getting familiar with the crate, is pooping on and in my bed, crying in the crate, pooping in my bed, what should I do when I am sleeping? I thought I was prepared, but I'm at a loss right now.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

Hi there! My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question today. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

How long have you had the puppy now?

How old is the puppy?

What is in the crate with him?

Is it a male or female?

When is the last time the puppy goes out at night?

Are you trying to house break the puppy yet?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would you kindly refer this question to a professional dog behaviorist, and don't know if you are an expert in that field.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I am a certified vet tech who has special interest in canine behavior including (but not limited to) teaching training classes, doing pitbull rehabilitation and am currently pursuing my certification as a behaviorist...I'm happy to assure you I am an expert in dog training.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have toys, bed, blanket from the breeders' home in the crate. I've been putting him in with the door shut, trying to ease him into it. I've been taking him out every hour, and not giving him freedom around the house. What do I do about the sleeping situation. Putting him in the crate with door shut isn't going to fly right now, what about the pooping on and in my bed. He went out at 3am, 4 am, and when I woke up at 7:30 he had gone, obsiously. He hasn't gone since, then, despite feeding him 3x today
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The puppy is just 14 weeks old, and I've been trying to house train from the minute I brought him home which is why i'm bringing him out every hour, trying to avoid accidents
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information. You've actually got two issues going on here, so let's address them one at a time, okay?

First the crate training...

I am a big fan of crate training. Dogs are den animals. They don't demand much. They don't clamor for a giant master bedroom or a pile of feather pillows, but they do wand and need a quiet place in the house that they can all their own.

A few crate dos and don'ts should help get him adjusted to the crate:

*Make sure the crate is only big enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in easily. If you picked a crate to match your puppy's eventual adult size, temporarily insert a divider until he gets bigger.

*Let him investigate the crate on his own. Encourage his curiosity by tossing in a toy or a few treats.

*Feed your pup in his crate. Quietly close the door while he eats and then open the door after he eats and let him go outside to go to the bathroom.

*Make the interior of the crate comfortable with a blanket or old bath towel and a chew toy to keep him occupied.

*Never put the puppy in the crate as punishment at this age. Select a different time-out location, like a bathroom, when you want to stop an unwanted behavior.

*Start with small amounts of time, and then work up to longer periods of time where he's in the crate.

Also... you need to keep in mind that your little guy is still just a tiny puppy who is getting used to all this stuff. I promise he'll grow out of the whining and learn to love his crate.

As for the house training...

Unfortunately, puppies always tend to be hard to housebreak...and when you consider the fact that your pup is really young, you have to expect there to be a bit of a challenge when housebreaking him.

Part of the issue we see with puppies is that they simply have smaller bladders than their larger counterparts and often the owners (myself included) aren't as consistent with house training as they would be with a larger dog. We worry that putting these little guys outside in the cold or wet could make them ill and we dismiss the messes in the house as minor mistakes written off to bad weather or the fact that the dog is 'just a puppy'. However, small puddles and piles add up to bigger problems that need to be addressed and all dogs..regardless of their size...need to learn the bathroom is outside.

Of course, the first thing to do is to have your vet take a quick peek at her. There are some medical problems such as urinary tract infections that can cause a dog to eliminate in the house.

If the medical exam comes back clear, then we need to start from the beginning and retrain your dog to use the bathroom outside. Establish a routine where your pup is taken outside first thing in the morning, after each playtime and before bed. Keep in mind that dogs generally need to urinate or defecate (or both!) about 20 minutes after they eat, drink or have playtime, so pay attention to the time and make sure the dog gets outside during this time frame. When he potties outside, make sure to give him lots of verbal praise and some tasty treats (I love freeze dried beef liver...available at any petstore). If you happen to catch him going in the house (and you probably will in the beginning), clap your hands loudly to startle him, then pick him up and take him outside. As soon as he goes outside, again, give lots of praise and treats. Make a VERY big deal of it so he knows you're pleased.

Keep in mind that accidents are going to happen during this training time, and no matter how frustrating it is, you need to try not to vent this frustration. When you get upset, your dog stops trying to learn and can become fearful, anxious or confused. It's also silly to discipline the dog when he eliminates in the house because all he'll do then is learn to sneak away and go to the bathroom where you're not looking to avoid getting in trouble.

Another key step is to make sure you clean the places he's eliminating with an enzyme based cleaning product, rather than something that contains ammonias or other harsh chemicals. The enzymes actually break down and destroy the protein particles in the feces/urine instead of covering up the scent. Some of these non-enzymatic cleaners actually smell enough like ammonia to bring the dog back to the scene of their crimes. You can pick up an enzyme cleaner at any Home Depot, Menards, Ect.

At this point, you should also keep him off your bed. Partly because by keeping him off the bed you'll keep him from being able to go to the bathroom on it, but also because both dogs and people tend to sleep better when they have their own space. You can have a second crate in your room for him so that he can see you and be close to you without worrying that you're going to wake up to a mess.

I know it's frustrating to get puppies house-trained...but with a great deal of consistency and patience, you can get it done!

I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've been doing all of the things you mentioned above. He he healthy, and I know he is young, which is why I'm house trainign him. My questin is...what do I do with him at night, since he is pooping in my bed, and on top of my bed? If I can't leave him in the crate, because he isn't ready, and he is going to the bathroom where I sleep, what do I do with him when I go to sleep?
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

Why do you think he isn't ready to be in the crate?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Didn't you suggest I start with small amounts of time, and get him familiar with it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I thought small amoutns of time meant 15-30 min.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I did....and normally I would stick to that...however, in your case, you need to have somewhere for him to be when you're sleeping, so putting him in a crate, with his stuff from the breeders house (but no water/food), and either a radio playing softly near the crate or a ticking clock in his crate with him to mimic his momma's heartbeat.

Just like a human baby...he'll probably cry it out for the first couple nights, but if you take him for a long walk, or exercise him vigorously right before bed, odds are he'll crawl in and go to sleep with no issues.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it won't traumatize him and make him hate the crate? After the first time I put him in with the door shut, he went crazy, and I'm afraid of hypoglycemia kicking in, so as soon as he stopped whining for a second, I got him out.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

What breed of dog is he?

What time do you feed him last at night?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
he is very small, about 3.5 lbs, and he likes the crate when the door is opened now, so I'm just doing my best to do the right thing and its got me very worried.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I fed him around 8 for the last time. He hasn't done #2 yet today, and I fed him 3x today, and he is a Biewer Terrier.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I completely understand that you want to do the right thing...

Since he does seem to like it when the door is open, I would absolutely just put him in a room a bit of distance from your bedroom, put him in it and let him cry it out.

He may protest initially, but it's likely more becuase he wants to be with no, not so much about the kennel. And since you feed him at 8PM...there's literally no chance of him becoming hypoglycemic.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've been giving him a little honey, which is what the dr. told me to do, but that may have been giving him the poop issues. Today I didn't give it to him, to see if that was the problem, and as I mentioned, he hasn't pooped yet today. Is that a problem?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have the crate in my bedroom, shoud I move it into the hall or the next room over?
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I don't think I'd be worried if he hasn't defecated yet...some dogs don't...and if he was going multiple times before with the honey, it would make sense if he hasn't yet today.

You can move that crate wherever you'd like it...keep in mind though...if you're like me (a bit of a softie), you may want to put it as far from your bedroom as possible, so you're not being kept awake and tempted to get him out when he starts making noise.

Just like human babies, puppies are smart...they learn very quickly that if they make noise, you'll take them out of the crate, so being tough and letting him just cry it out will get him adjusted to it much faster.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay, I know its not gonna be easy. I lost my yorkie a few months ago, and i'm so fearful of this little guy getting sick, and yes, I'm a big softie. I had to fight myself from getting him out of the crate when he was crying yesterday, which was so difficult and like I said, the second he stoped, I got him out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
one last thing, he keeps going un der my bed, should I leave him alone, seems like he wants a "time out" or something.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I'm very sorry for your's always heartbreaking when we lose a companion...I'm sure you're still missing your pup.

Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

I'd block him from going under the bed at this point. We don't want it to be somewhere he runs off to when he needs to go to the bathroom. Once he's totally house broken, then you can allow him to go under the bed if he likes, but I suspect by then, his crate will be his safe spot to him.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
should I put him in now, and then take him out for a potty break then put him in for the night?
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

If you're planning to go to bed soon, you can take him out for a potty break and then put him to bed in his crate. Otherwise, you can just wait a bit until you're just about ready to go to bed.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
well, while I was typing, he did pee in the house. I wasn't watching every second, and this is so difficult, more so than a child, it seems.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

It gets better...I promise!!!

And please do me a favor....even after you rate/accept my answer tonight, touch base with me in a few days...we can always tweak things until we get the results we want.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
sure, thanks.
Expert:  Lisa replied 2 years ago.

You're very welcome.

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