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I have three dogs that live in individual crates for roughly 5 hours every weekday. Two of them consistently prefer to poop inside, mostly on the pee mat. The third has always been the 'good boy' who doesn't go inside. Recently, he has begun pooping inside his crate while I am away.

I feel I give him appropriate time outside to do his business, but the pooping area has recently shrunk. He acts 'shy' of pooping near my other dogs, and I'm concerned this shyness is overriding his drive to not poop outside his crate.

How do I prioritize pooping outside?

  • Have you tried putting him outside when the other two dogs are not outside? Does that change the behavior? – user9 Dec 9 '13 at 15:07
  • That doesn't seem to have an effect, but if I let him off the line to roam free he will poop normally, but quite far away. I'd say the nearest he will poop is double or triple the distance allowed by the leash line. – Dragonsdoom Dec 12 '13 at 15:03
  • The leash line provides a roughly 5-6 foot radius shared between the three dogs, so he prefers to poop in a roughly 12-18 foot radius. – Dragonsdoom Dec 12 '13 at 15:05
  • So what is the issue with getting this dog a longer leash? – user9 Dec 12 '13 at 15:08
  • I have a longer leash but it often snarls, reducing the effective radius. Ignoring the obvious solution of untangling the leash every single time we go outside, I am interested in developing a habit of pooping in the available area outside rather than in his crate. – Dragonsdoom Dec 12 '13 at 15:25
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How large is the dog's crate? It's important to give them enough room to turn around and lie comfortably in, but there is a point in which one can be too generous with space when it comes to dog crates. Typically, a dog doesn't want to poop where it sleeps... if the crates you have didn't come with dividers, I would suggest looking into a way to decrease the amount of space he has in his crate. He won't feel comfortable with the idea of pooping in one corner, lying in another, and waiting for you to come home and pick it up.

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  • His crate is sized such that if he curls up tight you could fit another dog his size in with him, barely. Would this be considered too roomy? – Dragonsdoom Dec 12 '13 at 14:59
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Do You scold him, if you discover poop in his crate? As a good boy he might have generalized that you don't like him to poop/don't like poop. That might be the reason behind his shy behavior outside: he might be trying to reach a 'safe' distance from you in every situation when poop is around and especially when he himself is about to produce this 'thing, that makes mommy so angry'.

Possible solution: just stop scolding at home, better look completely relaxed and happy when you come back and take him out of the room in a friendly way, before you start cleaning. Difficult, I know! Talk to your vet what to fed and try different times/different food for their meals - to lessen their need to eliminate during the time while they have to be crated. Surely you give them a good possibility to eliminate before you leave them? That, combined with the right kind of food and the right time to give it and no scolding at all connected with poop should help over some time.

How to walk a dog that has this kind of problem? Arrange the food and feeding time according to the walkies-schedule. Bring him out for long poo and pee - stops in a quiet environment Praise and give treats for eliminating there, then start to walk to somewhere interesting for your dog - turning back as soon as they have relieved themselves will act as a punishment for that - they would rather stay outside longer so by turning back as soon as they did it you teach them to hold it longer)... if the interesting walk starts, as soon as they did 'it', the learn to hurry up - which helps, if sometimes you are in a hurry. All quite difficult with 3 dogs with the same kind of problem... probably best done seperately, first with the former 'good boy', even if that will take up some time every day, until it starts to get better. Better to spend time walking than cleaning dogs and crates...

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