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To Crate Or Not To Crate


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We've had Maggie since the end of November. She was not crated in either foster home before she came to us. She arrived with a foot problem and was on various meds trying to fix the issue. Pred made her pee every 20-40 mins, something else gave her horrendous diarrhea. We have lived with plastic sheeting down in the livingroom for several years due to aging bichons who would pee wherever. We decided to keep it down initially with Maggie (it was new, clean plastic for her) until we could trust her. We didn't want to crate her initially due to her various med/pee/poop issues.

 

Now she's been here over 3 months. She goes potty at 5 am because my old guy (Dusty, not DH) now needs to go out then. They are both fed sometime between 6 an 7 and then go out again. Maggie seems to need to go a third time in the morning around 9. If I offer her out before I get in the shower, she usually doesn't want to go but will pee/poop on the plastic while I'm showering. Once we get past that third peeing/pooping time, she's good during the day when we're both in and out.

 

Our next problem time is in the evening. We are out most nights - sometimes just for a quick dinner, sometimes longer. Maggie is fed sometime between 4:30 and 6. She goes out right after dinner. She is offered out again before we leave. Generally she won't do anything. Probably 70% of the time she will go on the plastic while we're out.

 

She's a very vocal, outgoing dog. We're unsure how she will be if crated. I'm afraid she might hurt herself. Should I try to crate her in the morning while I'm showering, etc? Should I crate her when we go out at night? Does it make sense to crate her only during the times when she's prone to go in the house and leave her loose all the other times? Should I just be happy that she uses the plastic which is an easy cleanup? I've had many dogs over the years and have never run into this problem. She seems to feel the plastic is a great alternative. (Guess I could pick up the plastic and have the carpet cleaning guy on call - the livingroom rug is wool with various textures in it and, therefore, difficult to get stains out of.)

 

To crate or not to crate, that is the question...

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If she's going while you're in the shower and while you're out, I'd take her out beforehand and wait till she goes. Sometimes a dog just needs a little walking/encouragement to go. Depending on her internal schedule, might also be worthwhile to feed her @ 2 hours before you plan to go out in the evening. That usually leaves enough time for Things To Work Their Way Thru so you can get her good and empty before you leave :) .

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest sheila

I've waited a few days to respond to this because I was wondering what responses it would get.

Just speaking for myself here but it sounds strange to me that you are willing to live with plastic sheeting lining your floors for your pets to eliminate on. It sounds to me that you aren't taking the proper time or steps to house train your dog. It sounds to me like you are training your dogs to think it's OK to use the inside of the house as a toilet.

Offering a dog a chance to go outside is often just not enough. Unless you have a dog door that the dog can use at will, most dogs need a bit of walking or exercise to fully eliminate.

As far as your question about crating her, since she wasn't crated before I think it would be mean to crate her now. More so since the motivation for crating is to cut down on the pee/poop she is making. Crating her will not cure that problem. She will still have to do those things whether she is crated or not, she will just do it in her crate.

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I'm not sure she really needs a crate. You need to be sure she goes before you bring her back inside no matter how long she takes to go. They get the hang of it real quick if they're out longer than they want to be, believe me!

 

My take on this situation is also that she's knows you're getting ready to go out and is anxious about your leaving and is telling you this by doing her business inappropriately. If you work out of the home all day and go out in the evening, she may just be plain lonely. If you're in and out during the day she may just be bored and insecure about your whereabouts. You might want to try staying home evenings if you're out most of the day or stay home some during the day if you're going out in the evening.

 

Most importantly, I'd try giving her lots of attention and exercise and see what happens. (A tired dog is a good dog. B)) Have company; most dogs love that. You could also give her toys that keep her mentally stimulated while you're gone, like a Buster Cube or the like. Put the TV on; some dogs like that better than a radio.

 

Here's an article for you on crating. crating article Here's one on the Buster Cube, come to think of it. :)Buster Cube

 

Good luck; I'm sure you and Maggie will be OK when you get it all sorted out.

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Guest ctgreylover

Borrow a crate and see how she reacts. My Tony has SA and is better in the crate. I know, its a different issue but he let me know he likes his crate. Just put her in it and leave for 5 minutes. Stay nearby to hear how she reacts. Then try it when you shower. extend the time. If she does well, you can purchase your own. Or gate her in a room and let her go on the sheets and work on extending her potty breaks. She may need to be moved to a different schedule more slowly due to so many issues. good luck

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I tend to agree that it sounds as if you are training her to eliminate in the house. I believe you need to focus on housebreaking 101. As far as a crate, up to you. Will it fix the problem, I dont think so as I think it is a housebreaking issue at this point, no longer a medical issue. JMO.

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Guest greysonly

I don't think crating her would help I think she would just end up going in the crate. I guess it is worth a try but I all my dogs hated their crate. My opinion I would be to walk her until she is fully eliminated or watch her outside and make sure she has done her business. And maybe when you are gone baby gate her to a smaller area. Maybe she has too big of an area to roam when you are gone therefore she is having accidents?

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

If you do decide to start using the crate again, a sure-fire way to get her back into the crate would be to feed ONLY in the crate. All meals and treats are given in the crate. That will get her to willingly go into the crate when you ask. It may take a few days, but it will work. In my household all 4 are fed in the crates. Heck at any given time during the day at least one of the hounds will be sleeping in a crate. I keep the doors open for the crates. I believe that when you have multiple hounds, crates are a safety feature you cannot do without (if one gets injured, everyone is quickly separated and safe, you can leave in an emergency and not have anything to worry about). JMO.

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Did the frequency in peeing improve at all when her medication was stopped? If not, then you may need to check with your vet to see what the cause is. Maybe a diet change? I don't think crating is a good idea in this case.

 

If you think she may have just gotten in the habit of peeing on the plastic, then try housetraining and/or regular walks in the neighborhood.

 

Jenn

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Guest BostonDan

It sounds like it may be habit and expression of her feelings. When you get in the shower, she may be associating that with the fact that you are about to leave, so she is making a statement she does not like that and going potty.

 

I think housetraining would be important if she is not already housetrained, because the plastic may be how she feels "trained" to go potty right now (that it is where she should go). We were very careful not to use pads or anything when training our 2 ½ year old Greyhound Bella because we did not want to “Train” her to go potty in the house while house training her (carpet cleaner=priceless). Once house trained, she was fine.

 

This was her main form of protesting if she was upset with you also. I got a few gifts while in the shower getting ready for work, which she knew my schedule (and hers) that the routine was me shower, then after that would be me leaving for a few hours and her in her very large crate. My planned routine was going to be walk after I was finished getting ready for work so she had enough time between feeding and me leaving. I readjusted our schedule to feeding her a little earlier, with a few hours to spare before her needing to go potty.

 

This was with all part of her house training, and adjustment to life off of the track and living in home, so this does not happen overnight, but it does happen. If you skip right to just the crate, you will probably have a problem with her just going in the crate, so I would recommend housetraining so she can learn and have it become part of her normal routine.

 

I like the idea someone mentioned of borrowing a crate to try it out. If you decide to use a crate, make sure the crate is a welcome area and never viewed as a form of punishment or something bad. We always have the crate door open and accessable, so she is walking in and out of it all the time knowing it's her palce. She has a bed in there, so she often will lay in there playing with her toys coming and going as she pleases.

 

Dan

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Guest SusanP

Have you ruled out a UTI via urine sample? It would be a simple first step. It sounds like this girl *is* potty trained, except that she needs to go out when her family is not home in the evenings. If you see her peeing outside right before you leave, it seems strange to me she can't hold it a couple of hours while you're at dinner. Or how long do your evenings out last? You could try eating at home for a few nights and see if she will ask you to go out.

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