My Smart Puppy

with Dog Expert, Sarah Wilson

Why Dogs Dirty Their Crates


Dogs are supposed to keep their crates clean – right? Usually, but that desire can be worn down in several ways. Once it is worn down, a dog will start dirtying his crate more and more often since he cares less and less each time he does.

The good news is that most pups and dogs can become clean again with proper handling. But that is a topic for another article; here we discuss how dogs become dirty in the first place.

Housed in filth

A puppy who is raised in filth, who can never get away from that filth, soon learns not to care. Such a pup can come from any source, but is found most frequently from some pet stores where they are kept in small cages day in and day out and forced to eat in, sleep in and dirty that cage daily.

Left too long in crate

Even clean pups have limits. Pups’ muscle control begins to kick in around four months of age and, even then, most pups simply cannot hold it for hours on end. Young pups left in their crates all day while you are at work will dirty in their crates by necessity. Prevent this by using a pen with papers, figuring out how to get them a couple of walks during the day, using a good local daycare or some combination.


Sick pups may have to go more often, have less control over when and where they go, and generally just not be in peak condition. Various issues can impact housebreaking. These include: parasites, urinary tract infection, colitis and others. Please be sure to take your puppy in for a checkup anytime a behavior problem suddenly crops up “out of the blue.”

Dietary indiscretion

When your pup raids the trash, cleans out the cat food bowl (or worse, the cat box), eats half a pile of horse manure – expect him to need to go out more until all that passes. This is also true if he’s eaten (swallowed) large amounts of rawhide, chewable “toys” or treats. Just as what goes up, must come down – what goes in, must come out.

Too much food

Are you feeding too much (or maybe the wrong sort) of food? If your puppy is drinking what seems like a lot of water after meals, is “roly-poly” instead of lean or is producing a whole lot of feces – you may need to feed less or feed something different. Speak to your veterinarian about your options.


Some breeds can just be more challenging than others but they all can be trained. So rather than list the likely suspects, let us just end this article with this thought:

Most of these pups can be “rebooted,” if you use the proper scheduling, supervision and techniques we’ve learned while straightening out many, many dirty dogs. So have hope and come to the Forums for day-to-day support if needed.

By Sarah Wilson,

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