Stopping a dog from soiling its crate has three possible scenarios.

#1) The dog is housebroken, but when inside the crate, he’ll soil it, #2)

The crate soiling behavior is a new behavior with an old crate, and #3) The crate is new, and the soiling has come along with it.

For scenarios #1 and #2, “I have to re-teach the dog what the appropriate surface is to alleviate themselves,” says Mary Remer, certified pet dog trainer, breeder and licensed AKC judge, having trained more than 20,000 dogs in her 30-year career.

“I like to tie open the crate door, secure an x-pen to the crate or encircle the crate with the x-pen, then line the x-pen with a suitable surface for relieving.

Gradually we make the surface smaller and smaller, making sure to reward heavily for relieving in the appropriate location.

“Many times dogs are crate soilers as a result of habituation or stress. We need to recondition them and remove the stress.”

For the third scenario, Remer says, “A new crate shouldn’t matter. I would use the x-pen. Again, it’s all about habituation or stress.”

Never hit your dog if he soils his crate. This simply will not work, especially since an aversive response needs to be carried out immediately after the infraction in order for your pet to make the association.

Even if you catch your dog in the act of soiling the crate, do NOT hit the animal.

Remer continues, “When a dog soils in their crate, people do not only have to clean the crate but the dog as well, often creating more stress.

No one wants to come home to that; people will lose their patience.

“The homecoming rituals will become tainted by the fact that there will be something to clean up. Homecomings should be joyful and calm.

“It’s pretty hard for that to not be stressful. Sometimes it’s easier to roll up the newspapers or pee pad. Some dogs get to almost a panic point being left in crates.

“I also think it’s a good idea to help the dog on its way to get someone to come in during the day and walk the dog.”

Mary Remer is founder of What a Good Dog, a dog training and behavioral facility.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: ©Lorra Garrick