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Old 01-08-2013, 07:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help Needed: Puppy Poops in Crate When Left Alone

Hi. Our 12 week old adorable boxer pup poops in her crate when we leave her alone which is stressful for all of us. Her crate is not too big so then she gets in on her paws and makes a mess. Poor thing. Clean up sucks.

We've had her two weeks and left her alone on 6 occasions (between 15 minutes and 2 hours). She pooped her crate on 3 of these occasions when left for between 20 minutes and 2 hours. She sleeps 3.5 hours every night and hasn't had an accident. She poops and pees before we leave. We don't leave just after feeding her. We play and try and wear her out several times a day. She hasn't had any other poop accidents in the house during the day in the last 4 days.

We are hypothesizing that because we are home with her all the time she gets anxious and stressed when we leave which causes the accidents. Opinions on this theory? We are thinking of just trying to scale back to several short sessions where we leave and return and then trying work to work up in time gone. Sound reasonable? Any other suggestions?

Starting in another 1.5 weeks, there are a few days where we both work at the same time and we'll be gone for 6 hours. We'll have a dog service come in mid-way but this still seems like it'll be too long given she can't hold it for two hours right now. Help / suggestions welcome!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You could be right on the anxiety thing. You could also start putting her in her crate... grab your keys, go outside wait two minutes come back in, do this various times changing the amount of time from seconds,, to minutes and so on. It seems to work. Also do you give her anything in her crate to chew when you are gone? It could be so many things. I had a friend and it turned out to be a simple thing like leaving the radio on for her. Congrats on your new baby.. and good luck
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, Breezygirl! I did see your other response that your not the same Breezygirl on gardenweb. If you saw her kitchen you'd want it!

Anyway, we do leave a plush and chew toy with her. I'm not sure about the radio - I can't remember and my poor husband is the one doing most of the leaving and clean up since I work 9-5. I think this might be a dose-response issue, so short intervals of leaving and returning might help. I hope so!!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree, do the short time leaving & make sure you give praise when you return (as long as no messes). My Murphy hated when we'd leave. I have noticed she'll still "cry" a little bit when we walk out but after we are out the door she quiets down. We tried everything with her including the radio. We ended up buying a "Comfort Zone" plug in at Petsmart. It has natural calming pheromones in it that calm the pup. We talked with our trainer before buying one & she said she hadn't used the plug ins but the collar ones by the same company worked. So we got the plug in & it worked great. We used it for a month & when it was time to replace it, we gave it a try with not using it and she was good to go. Not sure if it was that or if she was finally getting used to our house & routines. Good Luck!!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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When we first had to leave Bruno, we gave him a Kong with a bit of peanut butter in it and frozen as a fun "crate only" treat. We also always leave a radio on (they say the announcer "becomes part of the pack" after a while). We've been lucky I guess, he's always done really well in his crate when we have to leave. Better than when we have to put him in at home while we're still there lol. It's like he knows we're gone and there's no use in crying.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The plug in works great and we also used rescue remedy a few drops on his tongue and after a few weeks gone.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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With a 12 week old pup, you have to expect accidents.
The rule of thumb is they can technically "hold it" for their age in months plus one, so a 12 week old should be able to hold it for 4 hours. This is under ideal circumstances. A pup with any separation anxiety cannot do this.
Unless you are extremely lucky, you should plan on accidents happening from time to time until your pup is at least 6-7 months old.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks to everyone for responding. We tried 10 minutes tonight with sadly, no success. One big dookie waiting for us. Ugh. It undoubtedly sucks for her too. Fortunately, we weren't gone long enough for a major mess to ensue, so that was good. Perhaps we'll scale it back more in terms of time. We do expect accidents - it's just that these seem to have a underpining of anxiety since they only seem to happen when we leave. We hadn't heard of the Comfort Zone plug-in - perhaps that is worth a try. We'll check out rescue remedy too. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't give up. It can be challenging. Try small steps. Think of minutes not hours and then 1/2 hours into large 2 hour segments of the day. Do you leave a radio on or some background noise? NOthing insane just some light soft talk radio NPR or maybe some sleepy elevator music. Not too loud kind of muffled like it is from another room.

Keep leaving as boring as possible. Dogs can feel your own anxiety. If you feel nervous and worrisome about leaving her... thinking in your mind "she might poo while we are gone?" then she will feel it. She is a sensitive girl. And she needs your support. Remember she is just a baby. My rule is that 3 months and younger a puppy can only use the crate for confinement for only 2 hours at a time without going outside. This can be tough on working owners.

I would leave her in the crate when you are in the house. Do not just put her in when you are leaving. Go about your business as though you were home, leave for a min or two then return but she stays in the crate.

Keep the leavings as simple and boring as possible. Do not get excited when you return. Just act like "meh" no biggie. The less you make about how important goings and comings the less anxiety she is going to feel. And keep the clean up when accidents happen as boring as possible too. This can be truly difficult to try to clean poo from paws and body. Remember she is falling apart with anxiety and reacting badly when you clean the mess only creates more stress for her. She is not doing this on purpose. I know you don't feel this way. You love your puppy!
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayernBoxer View Post
Don't give up. It can be challenging. Try small steps. Think of minutes not hours and then 1/2 hours into large 2 hour segments of the day. Do you leave a radio on or some background noise? NOthing insane just some light soft talk radio NPR or maybe some sleepy elevator music. Not too loud kind of muffled like it is from another room.

Keep leaving as boring as possible. Dogs can feel your own anxiety. If you feel nervous and worrisome about leaving her... thinking in your mind "she might poo while we are gone?" then she will feel it. She is a sensitive girl. And she needs your support. Remember she is just a baby. My rule is that 3 months and younger a puppy can only use the crate for confinement for only 2 hours at a time without going outside. This can be tough on working owners.

I would leave her in the crate when you are in the house. Do not just put her in when you are leaving. Go about your business as though you were home, leave for a min or two then return but she stays in the crate.

Keep the leavings as simple and boring as possible. Do not get excited when you return. Just act like "meh" no biggie. The less you make about how important goings and comings the less anxiety she is going to feel. And keep the clean up when accidents happen as boring as possible too. This can be truly difficult to try to clean poo from paws and body. Remember she is falling apart with anxiety and reacting badly when you clean the mess only creates more stress for her. She is not doing this on purpose. I know you don't feel this way. You love your puppy!

All really good advice! Thanks for your support. Since its my husband is the one getting stuck with crate cleaning, last night on the way home I got him some flowers. At the florist there was THE perfect card with a fan on it that said "When the poo hits the fan......(inside card)....friendship sticks". It was made from recycled elephant dung. Soooo perfect.

But seriously, she is just a baby and she doesn't like doing it anymore than we like cleaning it up. Husband is trying the small steps thing today and this has been working. I think she just needs time to grow and adapt. It's usually just her paws that need cleaning so she is learning that the bath tub isn't all that bad with 1/2" inch of warm water....drinking faucet water can be fun! It may be her age, but she is not quite as confident as our last boxer who was all alpha girl so I recognize we need to build her confidence.

Despite this 'lil set back I am 100% in love with our girl!
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