Coprophagia and sleeping through the night in a crate?

BluButt

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#1
My pup is 5.5 months old. He's medium/large breed (an American bull dog mix, supposedly, and about 44 pounds). He's a pound puppy, and since we brought him home at 12 weeks he's been eating his own poop. We've combated this by being diligent about going potty outside, picking poops up, and taking him out of his crate when he indicates he has to go, etc. So far so good.

We've also recently started using Dis-Taste on his food, but it doesn't seem to help. Anyway...

He wants to go out for a poop around 4-5. Which is a giant pain in the butt because my alarm doesn't go off until 6, so some days I end up getting up an hour early or have trouble getting back to sleep for an hour.

At almost 6 months is it reasonable to expect that he should be able to hold everything from 11 pm (when he usually gets put up for the night) until around 6?

This morning he whined at about 5:30 and I ignored him, and when I got up at 7:30 (late night.. my fault lol) his towel was wet and when I took him out he didn't poop, which meant he probably went in his crate and ate it. Hot off the press. So gross. He will also lick his pee as he's actually peeing. He's so disgusting but both the shelter and my vet assure me it's a combination of learned behaviors from boredom at the shelter and just being a gross puppy and he'll outgrow it if we prevent the opportunities.

So... how do I get him to sleep through the night and not wet in his crate and/or eat poop during the night? I was thinking of a basket muzzle and maybe picking up his water sometime in the late evening?

He is very reliable in the house, but I notice he does like to pee on his towel or blanket. Could this be because in the shelter he wanted something other concrete to pee on? I tried leaving his crate bare and he peed and then laid in it, which resulted in a bath the next day.

Everyone tells me that shelter pups can be a bit gross because they have very little house breaking and exposure to "indoor living" and it can be a while before they're no longer disgusting little creatures. He was at the shelter from 6 weeks until 12 weeks, and was kept with his 6 brothers and sisters. So I imagine there was lots of pee and poop everywhere and very little opportunities to pee outside as often as young puppies do.

He's great in every other way. I just don't want him to pee in his crate, and I want to get him to sleep through the night without him possibly eating his poop before I get to him at 6 or 7.

Suggestions?
 

filarotten

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#2
Try getting up when the dog lets you know he needs to go. It sounds like your the problem not the dog.
 

smkie

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#3
Also adjust your feeding time. See how long it is between the time he eats and when he has to go out. Then adjust your feeding to fit into your sleeping schedule.
 

BluButt

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#4
Try getting up when the dog lets you know he needs to go. It sounds like your the problem not the dog.
Which is what I have been doing, however, I'm wondering at what age I can reasonably expect him to hold it through out the night, and if the issues we're having are developmentally appropriate or related to his being from a shelter, thus being fixable or something I need to ride out until he's older.

If he can hold it, I might try a basket muzzle at night to eliminate him eating it until he adjusts to going out an hour or so later. If that's totally unreasonable I'll keep doing what I'm doing. Which is fine. I just thought at 6 months old he might be holding it though out the night. It's been almost 7 years since my other dogs were puppies and I don't remember where they were at this stage.

Thanks anyway!
 

Baxter'smybaby

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#5
a basket muzzle could be dangerous in his crate, and left alone. Also-I imagine what you will find is a poop covered muzzle and still a mess.
I would guess that he still needs time, and that adjusting his feeding schedule would be your best bet. That, and knowing that putting the time in up front (ie getting up earlier than you would like for yourself ) will be your best defense right now--the fewer opportunities he has to practice this behavior, the better.
You might also want to really praise and treat him when he eliminates outside, AND he leaves it alone.
Have you tried teaching the leave it command? I would incorporate that into his pottying outside--if he seems interested in his poop, tell him to leave it, and reward him when he does. Obviously you need to teach him the 'leave it' command with things other than his poop--then generalize the command to that situation.
 

smkie

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#6
Yup no muzzles.

First a health reason should be ruled out. My brother had a dog that wet the bed regularly. Ended up her ureter was extra long and wrapped around her spine. It took a lot of expensive surgeries and she still has problems.

MAke sure the very last thing you do at night is take the dog out and go out with the dog and make sure they go. Pull water a few hours before bedtime. Like I wrote before, time your eliminatio with your feeding, find out how long, what stimulates( for my Pepper it is exactly a one block walk at this time) and do that. I have gone to sleep with a leash attached to me and the dog beside me to correct bedtime problems but then again I do not crate. If you have to, use a timer. Take the dog out before it happens, if it takes exercise at night, so be it, and then praise excessively. Take the dog to the same spot where there has been elimination before for the smells will help.
That is all I can think of. I hope something helps because that would be most unpleasant to face each morning for BOTH of you.
 

BluButt

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#7
a basket muzzle could be dangerous in his crate, and left alone. Also-I imagine what you will find is a poop covered muzzle and still a mess.
Uhg, I didn't think of that. Good point.

I would guess that he still needs time, and that adjusting his feeding schedule would be your best bet. That, and knowing that putting the time in up front (ie getting up earlier than you would like for yourself ) will be your best defense right now--the fewer opportunities he has to practice this behavior, the better.
Yeah, I think you're right. If I can't prevent him from eating it I'll just ride with the punches and keep on preventing. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier. :eek: LOL

You might also want to really praise and treat him when he eliminates outside, AND he leaves it alone.
Have you tried teaching the leave it command? I would incorporate that into his pottying outside--if he seems interested in his poop, tell him to leave it, and reward him when he does. Obviously you need to teach him the 'leave it' command with things other than his poop--then generalize the command to that situation.
I've done a lot of work with his impulse control and now that he doesn't lung for treats and try to take your hand off or jump on you, I've started adding "leave it" as a command. I hadn't really thought of it in context to this, but maybe I'll start doing it outside when he poops.
 

smkie

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#8
leave it is a marvelous thing to learn, so is stop...one of my favorites and a big help with learning boundries.

Even tho Pepper is a thousand percent in the house, I STILL tell her way to go your such a good girl when I see her go outside, especially if it is where I want her to go. I would take the best treat ever outside with you. Make a huge big deal out of it.
 

BluButt

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#9
Yup no muzzles.

First a health reason should be ruled out. My brother had a dog that wet the bed regularly. Ended up her ureter was extra long and wrapped around her spine. It took a lot of expensive surgeries and she still has problems.

MAke sure the very last thing you do at night is take the dog out and go out with the dog and make sure they go. Pull water a few hours before bedtime. Like I wrote before, time your eliminatio with your feeding, find out how long, what stimulates( for my Pepper it is exactly a one block walk at this time) and do that. I have gone to sleep with a leash attached to me and the dog beside me to correct bedtime problems but then again I do not crate. If you have to, use a timer. Take the dog out before it happens, if it takes exercise at night, so be it, and then praise excessively. Take the dog to the same spot where there has been elimination before for the smells will help.
That is all I can think of. I hope something helps because that would be most unpleasant to face each morning for BOTH of you.
Thanks, this all stuff we're already doing. He's excellent about going outside. He goes immediately when I take him outside (always on a leash). Getting him to go isn't the problem. And he rarely has an accident in his crate if I wake up and let him out at 4/5am. It's only when I push him that extra hour. Or if he's in there too long, which come to think of it is about 5 or 6 hours. I think I just answered my own question. :rolleyes:

In fact, he's been a thousand times easier to potty train than my jacks were. I remember having way more accidents in the house with the jacks.
 
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#10
Others have already given you great suggestions. A feeding schedule will really help in controlling when he has to "go". During the day, pay close attention to how long it is between the time he eats and when he has to poo, then adjust his nighttime schedule accordingly.

If he's whining in his crate, you really DO need to get up and let him out ... even if it IS at 5:30 in the morning. This will NOT last forever ... he just needs some adjustment time from shelter life, and time to adjust to a new feeding/sleeping schedule that's more convenient for you.

If he's wetting the bedding in his crate almost every night, you might also consider temporarily removing the bedding until he's more reliable. Some puppies WILL wet if there's something absorbent in their crate, but will be less likely if there isn't. But this makes it even MORE important to get up as soon as you hear him whining. If you don't and there's no absorbent material in his crate, then you leave him no choice but to piddle all over himself. (Again, this won't last forever.) But as others have said, do NOT put a basket muzzle or any other kind of muzzle on him overnight in his crate. It really is dangerous for him.

Not sure what you may have read or heard elsewhere ... but do NOT worry that the fact that he's currently soiling/wetting his crate means that you're somehow "doomed". He's still adjusting from shelter life and again, this is only temporary! To discourage him from soiling/wetting his crate, it's also helpful if you feed him in his crate. Make sure it's absolutely clean beforehand though!!

Use an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle. Regular cleaners are NOT good enough, because although they clean enough that YOU can't smell the urine and poo anymore .. the dog CAN still smell it. You really need to eliminate that smell to him, to further discourage him from using his crate for a potty. An enzyme cleaner will eliminate the smell so that HE can't smell it ... that's what you want. A lot of this problem does seem though that you do need to get up when he whines! (Again, it's temporary. Raising a puppy is a little like having a new baby .... but the early morning wakings do NOT last forever!!)
 

BluButt

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#11
Thanks again. I buy Natures Miracle by the gallon. I love the smell of it and use it all over the house, not just for dog messes. It's great! I'll try taking the towel out and see how it does again.

Thanks guys!
 

smkie

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#12
How often and how much are you feeding?
 

BluButt

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I just switched from three times a day to twice a day. I still allow him to eat as much as he wants inside of ten minutes, then I pick the bowl up. I supplement everyone's dry meals a few times a week with raw and bones, and now that he has his adult teeth I've been allowing him to have some knuckle bones, ox tails, chicken backs, lamb shanks, etc. I usually replace a dry meal with about a pound of wet raw, bone in (which unless it's chicken or an ox tail or something, he's not actually ingesting). I space raw meals and dry meals 12-14 hours apart, which means I usually feed him earlier so his evening meal stays around the same time. The other three only get fed once per day in the evening. He's the only one who gets breakfast. And until this past week was getting lunch but started loosing interest so I just stopped doing it.

ETA: this was sort of rambling, to make things more clear. He usually eats around 7/8 in the morning and around 7/8 in the evening. On the evenings that I give them bones/raw, I usually feed his breakfast early around 6 (and usually time it on days I work since that's when I typically get up that early) and then feed around 8 pm so that he can spend some time outside enjoying himself after being cooped up all day long.
 

smkie

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#14
Lucky dog:)

I would try bumping the evening meal up sooner and make it a "lighter" meal giving the more bulk in the morning so the intake is the same. Just an idea, but the only one I can come up with. If that doesn't work I know what I would do but that isn't for everyone. I would sleep with the dog (leashed) so I knew..and he knew and we could ever so slowly stretch it out to my time.

With Victor at that age he would be racing up the walls and across the ceiling if I wasn't out of bed and AT the park by 6. He had so much energy. Now he is a lazy butt at the age of 6 and this morning no one went outside until 10. So hopefully his getting older will help too.
 

BluButt

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I wasn't out of bed and AT the park by 6.
You may as well shoot me. I am NOT a morning person. LOL

As for giving the bulk in the mornings... I wish. NONE of my dogs have any interesting in eating in the mornings, hence the reason none of them get anything till evening time. I wonder if I skipped a meal with Bennie if I could get him on that type of schedule, because I bet it would help. I might just give him a handful tonight and see if that makes him hungrier in the morning.
 
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#17
I wouldn't use absorbent towels in a create. I also would use urine remover in the cage and I would take some of the suggestions said above.
 

smkie

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#18
You may as well shoot me. I am NOT a morning person. LOL

As for giving the bulk in the mornings... I wish. NONE of my dogs have any interesting in eating in the mornings, hence the reason none of them get anything till evening time. I wonder if I skipped a meal with Bennie if I could get him on that type of schedule, because I bet it would help. I might just give him a handful tonight and see if that makes him hungrier in the morning.
neither was I!!!:rofl1: In the end it was worth it..all of it. :D
 

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