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Categories: Housebreaking

Q. My 18 month old dog is comfortable in her crate and never goes to the bathroom in our house when we are home. I’ve started to leave her out of the crate in the afternoon for 6 hours and she’s constantly going to the bathroom on our carpet. Please help.
Ed and Cindy,

I have been following your books, DVDS, and podcasts for some time. I have followed your 8 weeks to Adult puppy video and have had much success. I only am experience one major problem. Our Whippet is very comfortable with her crate and never goes in the house when we are around. This year at 18 months I started to leave her out of her crate during the afternoons (six hours). She constantly goes bathroom on the carpet. Our first house was a tile floor and had no carpet. I have tried everything from picking up her water when I am away or running her before we leave, but to no success. Please help. I fear that she might have to be crate bound all the time when we are not there.

Thanks in advance,
Brian

A. Your dog is crate trained but not housetrained. I wouldn't continue to leave her loose. Dogs need to earn freedom through good behavior and the ability to follow the house rules. A dog that goes to the bathroom inside does not deserve unsupervised freedom.

Use the crate and maybe gradually start using an exercise pen. This way she gets to be out of the crate in a controlled environment. It could be a stepping stone to more freedom if she does well in the ex pen.

It may also be that she can't be loose in the house while you are gone for a good long while (if at all). Instead of leaving the house for 6 hours, try leaving for short intervals like 5 minutes, then 15, then ½ hour, etc…

She may also be a little bit nervous home by herself. We have a Q&A section on separation anxiety that may help you.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. There is one specifically on house training issues.

Dogs typically sleep all day while we are gone anyway, so I wouldn't feel too bad about crating her while you're not home.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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