New puppy is a noon-pooper
September 1, 2011 5:20 PM   Subscribe

New puppy house training issues... Well the GF and I fell in love with a small dog at the local humane society, and being new to this and living in a small apartment and both having jobs that take us away from the home during the days, we were happy to be told that she was 2 years old and pretty well house trained. It wasn't until we were going over all the details that we find out she's only ~7 months old. Obligatory pic, awwww.....

So she doesn't seem to have any accidents when we're around. We give her plenty of attention and walks. But when we're gone at work, with regularity, she'll poop and pee on the kitchen floor.

We've only had her for a week or so and I'm sure all of this is normal and it will get easier, but I just want to make sure I'm being the best puppy guardian I can be...

Every time we've seen her poop, it seems to be around noon, which is when we're most likely to be gone. We have a crate for her, and she's taken well to it, but don't want to confine her to it all day as we think that would be excessive. She's penned in in the kitchen which has crummy old linoleum floor, so no risk of great danger when it happens, but it's behavior we'd like to correct.

There's lots of information on house training out there, but I'm hoping somebody could chime in on our specific situation, i.e. new adoption, puppy, but not a new born (~7 months), home alone 4-6 hours, 3-4 days/week
posted by garethspor to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hire a dogwalker.
posted by chiababe at 5:25 PM on September 1, 2011

Dog walker and crate training. Our pup (picture, previous question about this) goes APE if we're gone and she's out of the crate. At least when she's in the crate she sleeps for ~75% of the day with zero accidents.
posted by supercres at 5:29 PM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

What supercres said, with the additional question about how you've timed your feeding and walks? Because scheduling those properly, and praising when she's doing it right will also reinforce when she's supposed to go, and where.
posted by peagood at 5:33 PM on September 1, 2011

How many hours are you out of the house? It is really difficult for a puppy to hold it all day. You may want to get a litter box and teach the dog to go in it or put down paper.

A dog walker is great if you can do that!
posted by Yellow at 5:34 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: I would leave her in her crate if I thought it would make her the happiest, but sometimes we're gone for ~6 hours and that seems a little long for me. We tried having her in her crate for ~3 hours when we were gone recently and when the GF got home, she peed in her crate, maybe out of excitement rather than lack of ability to hold it? Peeing in the crate is bad news as far as I understand...
posted by garethspor at 5:37 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: Also we put out a couple pee-pads but she doesn't usually constrain her self to using them...
posted by garethspor at 5:38 PM on September 1, 2011

Response by poster: As for feeding schedules, she doesn't quite have one. Mostly she's not as interested in eating a lot as she is in our attention so we add some kibble to her bowl in the mornings, but she rarely empties it. I'm considering presenting her with food and then removing it after ~15-20 mins so it isn't always an option and she learns to eat when we feed her. Any thoughts on that?
posted by garethspor at 5:42 PM on September 1, 2011

Just as a data point - my dogs absolutely love their crate and prefer to be in there during the day. When they were left out before the crate the pup would regularly have accidents. In the crate he can hold it 99% of the time for 6-8 hours at a time.

I know I felt the same resistance to "caging" them all day, but dogs like having their own predefined space. I think the excited peeing would lessen over time after she learned it was her space.

For the feeding question, I absolutely recommend having a set feeding time and/or window. Dogs like routine and will respond to it.
posted by highfidelity at 6:21 PM on September 1, 2011

Someone needs to let her out at lunchtime - one of you or a dogwalker. Every time she messes in the house it's going to make it that much harder to housetrain her. She is letting you know in no uncertain terms that she is being left alone for too long. Dogwalker or daycare.

And yes, she should eat meals and not free feed.
posted by biscotti at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2011

A regular schedule is of utmost importance here. She needs to know when she will be taken out in the morning, when she will be fed (food should come up after 30 minutes), when she will be crated, when she will be fed again, and when she will be taken out again. This is actually the most humane way to handle this. Dogs like schedules.
It would probably be a good idea to take her out first thing when you get home. With a good routine, she'll get the hang of it.
posted by Gilbert at 9:04 PM on September 1, 2011

If she's peeing in the crate, it may be too large for her. Some crates come with movable dividers for just this reason, allowing the crate space to grow with the dog.

Taking up the food after 15-20 minutes is exactly what we did with our puppy (currently ~8 months old). It didn't take long for her to get the idea and begin eating her entire meal in a few minutes. (Switching to tastier food helped, too).
posted by jon1270 at 4:11 AM on September 2, 2011

Just an idea but if you have the time take her for a nice walk in the morning my dog will poop 15 minutes into a walk like clockwork. Maybe feed her some breakfast 10 minutes or so before you go, a lot of dogs like to poop just after they have eaten. If you are are free feeding that can encourage pooping during the day too. That way at least she is starting the day with less of a "burden" to try and carry for the whole day.

I am not a huge fan of crating but know a lot of Americans that swear by it. I have 2 small dogs (both rescues) in an apartment. One is so well housetrained I think he would rupture something rather than go in the house and the other one is housetrained as long as I keep to our schedule even a 10 minute delay can lead to an accident and it took me about 2-3 months to get him used to that schedule. So know I know if he has an accident it was my fault for not keeping an eye on the time.

A week is not a long time for your new pup to feel settled and get used to a routine, she may still be feeling slightly stressed. So if you find a schedule and stick to it rigidly you can help reset her pooping clock but unfortunately it won't happen over night. Good news is dogs love routines and the whole having to take them out to pee thing gets less onerous once its a habit for both you and the dog.
posted by wwax at 5:37 AM on September 2, 2011

Crate, crate, crate. And a regular schedule.

The first week with a dog feels like an eternity, but it can take a month or longer for things to settle down.
posted by radioamy at 7:01 AM on September 2, 2011

Most the earlier answers are excellent. You mentioned that you've seen other resources and would like specific info on your situation; however, your situation is common and the resources are well tailored to your pup circumstances.

In particular, I recommend Ian Dunbar and his site (here's the "house soiling" section).

I understand a dog walker may be a challenge financially or in terms of access (some circumstances simply don't match up with getting a dog walker). If possible and affordable, this is an excellent option. Otherwise, your pup may have the bladder control needed for the 4-6 hour wait times you mentioned, but without access to the outdoors or the desire to go out, there will be accidents.

An alternative is to give him access to the yard or outdoor space if you have one. A dog door is easy to install and will give him a chance to get out after you've worked to instill the desire to do so.

The recommendations for set feeding times are VERY important. Feed in the morning, give a few minutes outside for change to go to bathroom, take back in, rinse and repeat then give LAVISH and EXAGGERATED PRAISE when he finally goes #1 or #2 outside. Like, "holy shit, you just build the pyramids and rainbows are exploding into chocolate cake storms of happiness!!!" praise. In fact, say exactly that with a huge smile and while petting him and scratching behind his ears. Dance or run around if that's his favorite thing. You can't give too much praise when he does right. This applies to significant others as well according to the New York Times. Rinse and repeat.

Seriously, common situation, see Dunbar's website for great tips and instructions.
posted by unclezeb at 7:14 AM on September 2, 2011

Sure, 6 hours in the crate every day would be long time if you were always going to be doing that, but it's not forever. It's only until she is well housetrained. Think of it as a training tool only and not a way of life for the dog.

A 7 month old dog should most likely have no problem holding it for 4 to 6 hours. Just get serious about the crate training, and do the heavy praising when she goes outside, and when you're home and have her out, if you catch her having an accident (only if you catch her in the act, like your example of the noon pooping ritual), get stern about it and bring her right outside. Dogs don't need to go at the same time every day, they just need to have a regular schedule.

Then after she's got the crate training down pat, after a couple of weeks let's say, then you try leaving her out while you're gone - no pee pads! you don't want her to have the idea that it's OK to pee inside. If it doesn't work, go back to the crate for a little while longer before another trial run. Bet you'll have her trained in no time, and then she'll be able to escape the confinement of the kitchen while you're away, and you'll all be happier.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:11 AM on September 2, 2011

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