Crate training for a senior pit mix


My husband and I just adopted his mom's pit/lab mix, female, mom had to go into nursing home. She is house broken but when we go out, she poops or pees on the kitchen floor, we keep her gated in the kitchen with a bed. She just came to us a few days ago. She is very sweet 8 years old. Should we buy a crate and put her in it during the day when we are at work? She is fine no accidents in the house when we are home. She goes outside.

If you suggest putting her in a crate, how do i go about that, just put her in the crate? Or is there some training involved. Also should i get a wire crate or solid crate, if a crate is recommended?

thanks Julie

Gale's Reply:

Hi Julie

It's not uncommon for there to be an adjustment period when a dog goes to a new environment in which they "forget" their house manners at first. It's also possible that your dog hasn't had to "hold it" as long in the past as she does now while you and your husband are at work.

A crate will usually discourage a dog from relieving itself while you are gone since this is also where they sleep. However, the amount of time that she needs to restrain herself still has to be reasonable. If you and your husband work long hours, a
crate is not necessarily the solution--especially for an older dog who isn't accustomed to one.

I would suggest you first try confining her to a smaller area such as a bathroom or laundry room and see if this helps the situation. But, the bottom line is that you are probably going to need to invest some time in re-training her--taking her out frequently and praising her when she goes outside and cleaning up any accidents really well so that the smell doesn't encourage her to continue to use the same spot in the house.

I know it seems like this shouldn't be necessary since she only has accidents when you gone. But, you may be surprised how well she responds to re-visiting the basics.

That said, I AM a fan of crate training and I prefer the wire ones because the generally come in roomier sizes and they are collapsible for transport. While I know that many people do crate their dogs for extended periods to prevent accidents, that's not the best use of a crate nor it's intended use. This crate training article explains that pretty. well.

Here's an article on general principles for house training an older dog. Please feel free to post back here if you have more questions or would like to share how things are going.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for Crate training for a senior pit mix

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Dec 23, 2010
by: William

just like a puppy take your dog out twenty mins after meals and walk around and always always bring treats and praise them when the do good and never punish them for going inside. Take them out after the have a mistake and clean the uh oh with out them seeing you do it becuase If they see that they feel you as the mother cleaning their mess. Usually after a week or so this should help unless its a medical issue than seek a vet asap. Hope this helps

Jan 05, 2011
Great advice/information from a highly respected dog trainer
by: Kat

Pawsitive Fit, LLC - Puppy & Dog Training
There could be several reasons why this senior dog is pooping in the house when the owners are away, and the behavior may not simply be a lapse in housetraining. If this behavior is recent, a veterinary exam to determine if there are any medical causes for fecal incontinence. And if the behavior began in her new adoptive home, it may be a result of separation/isolation issues. Fecal incontinence (as well as urinary incontinence, destruction, barking, etc.) are symptomatic of anxiety associated with being left at home alone. If the original owner was elderly and rarely left the house, the dog may be having separation issues living with owners who leave more frequently...that on top of the stress of changing home enviroments, losing her original owner, etc. So before treating this as a housetraining issue, eliminate any medical cause, and if it only happens when you are out of the house, find a professional to help with separation issues.

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