Dog owners often use a crate as a tool to potty train animals that may range in age from puppy to adult. If used correctly, canines will not usually make a mess in the small area where they sleep. When a pup or a dog resorts to relieving themselves while confined, housebreaking efforts are stalled, and owners must determine why the problem is occurring. Crate accidents happen for many different reasons and are not the fault of the pet.
New puppy owners must realize that not unlike a human infant or small child, puppies have not matured enough to have physical control of their bladders. Nor do they initially understand the idea of potty training. During the training process, owners must take young dogs outdoors anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes after they eat or drink. Puppies also have the need to toilet first thing in the morning, after a nap, after playing and perhaps a few times during the night. Being left in a crate unattended too long without the benefit of going outdoors will then naturally lead to accidents.
Crate Size and Type
Animals generally do not delight in toileting where they sleep. If having no alternative, they may resort to using a crate as their potty spot if large enough for them to mess in one corner and lay in another. The crate should only be large enough for the dog to stretch out when laying down and to turn around as needed. A wire crate as opposed to an enclosed plastic crate also allows the offensive odor to escape the area. Accidents will also continue if a dog capably detects even a trace of the odor from a previous accident. Owners need to thoroughly clean the spot and use a product designed to break down the chemicals that cause the smell.
Puppies sold in pet stores or raised by irresponsible breeders are often kept in small confined areas day and night. In this instance, the poor animals have no choice but to alleviate bladder and bowels in the same location where they eat and sleep. The behavior then becomes habitual and takes time, consistency and patience to correct.
In the case an older dog begins having crate accidents, the problem may involve a loss of muscle strength due to the aging process. Similar to pups, elderly dogs may need to go outdoors more frequently. When accidents continue happening despite an owner's efforts to train or retrain a puppy or an adult dog, the animal might also have a urinary tract infection. The discomfort, swelling and inflammation suffered by the canine then makes it difficult to hold urine for extended lengths of time. The only remedy then requires taking the dog to a vet for evaluation and treatment.