Crate training is crucial for most dogs and, at the very least, useful for all of them. It can also present some unexpected challenges, however. For example, what if my dog poops in its crate when left alone – what to do?
At first glance, you may be relieved that your dog has pooped in its crate rather than on the sofa or the carpet in the living room. Crates are easier to clean, after all. However, if your dog has pooped in its crate – and especially if it’s a repeated issue – this likely indicates a serious problem. Consulting with a veterinary specialist should often be the first thing you do if that’s the case. But let’s go over the specifics a bit more first.
Why My Dog Poops In Its Crate When Left Alone?
Generally speaking, if your dog has pooped in its crate, this speaks of a problem that’s more complex than just “nature called”. Dogs of all breeds have a very strong instinct for keeping their dens clean – including wild dogs and wolves. This statement can raise the eyebrows of a lot of dog owners as dogs are hardly as clean as cats, for example. If your dog likes to keep its den clean, why does he turn the trash bin over every chance he gets?
The reason here is that dogs often don’t perceive your home as a “den” – it’s not small enough for that. Instead, dogs perceive your home as the immediate territory next to their den. What the dog views as its den is the small area it likes to sleep in – usually a crate, a dog bed, the sofa, or something similar. That’s because dog dens in the wild are small, low, and cozy too – designed to keep them and their pups safe and warm through the night.
So, while a dog would be more willing to poop in your house when left alone – and when nature calls – pooping in its crate is something a dog should have a strong instinctive opposition to. Ergo, if a dog poops in a crate when left alone, this likely indicates a serious problem. So, what can be the reasons why your dog poops in its crate? There are several main culprits:
Needless to say, each of those is or can be serious so you should consider calling your vet if you suspect any of these problems.
Can Pooping In The Crate Be Just A Harmless Accident?
Of course, poop in the crate isn’t always a medical issue. There are harmless reasons for it too – ones you can solve yourself. Here are the three big ones:
- Potty training has been an issue. This is something that every dog should go through but some are just a bit too obstinate with. So, if the pup is young and your potty training efforts are yet to bear fruit, pooping in the crate can be expected.
Learn more about: Dachshund Training Tips 5 Techniques To Improve Behavior
- The crate is just too big. Remember, for a dog to view a certain physical space as its den, then the place needs to be small enough. That’s why the right size for a dog crate is just big enough for the dog to lie or sit comfortably but not larger than that. If your dog’s crate is extra big, the dog won’t view it as a den and it may poop in it as it would anywhere else in your home. That’s still an issue, of course, but it only really indicates the need to poop, nothing more.
- Your dog is experiencing anxiety. This can be caused by a lot of things and is never fun. Separation anxiety, for example, is a common problem for a lot of the more intelligent and social dog breeds people usually take as pets.
However, other types of anxiety can also be triggered by the move into a new home, the loss of a loved one, the introduction of a family member, beatings and harsh treatment from the owner, or even just a simple thunderstorm or fireworks. Additionally, dogs can also experience anxiety when they are experiencing physical pain of some kind which circles back to the possible medical issues we’ve listed above.
Should You Worry If Your Dog Poops In Crate When Left Alone?
Usually, yes – pooping inside the crate is not normal behavior for dogs. This is particularly true if your dog has gone through potty training, doesn’t typically poop anywhere else around your home, is an adult or especially a senior dog, and there haven’t been any major events recently such as moving into a new household. If those are the case, then there is a significant chance that your dog has some medical issue you’d want to check out. It’s not a guarantee, of course, but it merits a trip to the vet, especially after repeated pooping.
If a dog poops in other “forbidden” areas that aren’t its “den”, then this isn’t the same symptom it is otherwise. Still, there are reasons behind any atypical behavior. So, let’s go over a couple more common cases.
My Neighbor’s Dog Poops In My yard – What To Do?
It’s perfectly natural for a dog to pee in your neighbor’s yard – after all your dog has no concern about the private property of other people. And, your neighbor would be justifiably upset given. So, after a prompt apology, you should just look for ways to restrict your dog’s access to your neighbor’s yard – be it a leash when going out or a nice fence across the border of your two properties.
My Dog Poops In The House When Left Alone – What To Do?
Potty training is typically the answer to this problem. If your dog has gone through successful potty training then you either need to include more walks in your daily schedule or there is once again a possible health issue you’ll need to deal with.
In Conclusion, What Should You Do If Your Dog Poops In Its Crate When Left Alone?
A dog pooping inside its crate can be just a sign of incomplete potty training or an improperly chosen crate. It can also be behavioral or stress-related. These are usually easy to deal with on your own. However, if you rule those out or if you don’t think they are the problem, you should contact your vet immediately.