Help me! Puppy night time separation anxiety and poo in crate!

(50 Posts)
Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 10:09:18

I haven’t had a puppy for a while and we have a 12 week old cockapoo and she is very sweet. During the day she sleeps a lot curled up next to my 11 year old it’s her puppy. Toilet training going really well in the day and we are all proactive with that. We are not using puppy pads.
Night is a different story as she has major separation anxiety.
We take her out for the toilet around 11pm then crate her.
We are using an extra small crate at night in the kitchen with the door closed and lights off. The crate has a cover on top and three sides are surrounded by walls and kitchen cupboards. I put her toys in there and her blanket and I encourage her inside with a kong and peanut butter as she won’t go in the alone.
She cries and howls for around 20 minutes to 1 hour before she self settles.
She wakes and cries/howls upto two times in the night then I get up and take her outside for the toilet at those times.
Then she wakes up for the day between 5-6am.
Last night (night 8) she pooped in her crate. Yuk! Not a nice wake up.

What am I doing wrong?
How long should it take to crate train?
How long will she take to settle with the crate?
Is it possible she will never get used to the crate?
Why a mucky protest on night 8?
Should I give up with the crate and let her sleep in my daughters bed?
My daughter would love that but I’m worried she will fell off the bed or toilet on the bedroom carpet.

Please help the sleep deprivation is hard!

OP’s posts: |
YouveCatToBeKittenMe Wed 29-Aug-18 10:25:57

How long have you had her?
I was quite ruthless with my pups
They went in the crate about 10pm and came out at about night visits
It took about 3-4 days for them to stop crying and from then on they were fine overnight but it is hard to leave them. (This is each pup as I got them, I didn’t have a crate full of crying puppies!)
I would persevere, mine don’t sleep upstairs but then they have got each other.
Maybe feed a bit earlier so she will poo before bed rather than in the crate.

Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 10:39:40

We have had her 8 nights. I put her toys in the crate and her blanket. She is safe but doesn’t like being alone. I was prepared to persevere withe the crying but the poo is making me have a change of heart!
I am not working right now but if I go back to work, she will have to get used to the crate in daytime too!
Her poo times don’t have any pattern yet.
Are we just unlucky to get a crying pooping pup?
How long did it take other to stop crying in the crate?

OP’s posts: |
Cath2907 Wed 29-Aug-18 10:47:26

I put the crate next to our bed and pup stopped howling and settled fine. I moved him down to the kitchen when he was 5 months old and he settled no problem.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Aug-18 10:59:48

What you’re doing isn’t crate training, crate training is actually training them to associate the crate as a good place to be before shutting them in it.

Leaving a distressed puppy in a crate might result in them learning not to show their distress because no-one’s coming which I’m assuming is what you’re going for, or it might result in a puppy getting more and more distressed and worse separation anxiety.

BiteyShark Wed 29-Aug-18 11:05:35

Mine was a crying pooing pup. You said you have an extra small crate at night? Is it still an ok size for your puppy? I used an extra large crate for my small/medium dog.

I got up at night to take mine out whenever he cried even if he didn't need the loo. I then popped him back in the crate and left him to settle. If he didn't settle I repeated the process until he got the message that night time was for sleeping or toilet but nothing else (I made no fuss nor spoke to him when I took him out).

Is there a lot of noise in the house so she hears you and wants to be with you? Others have the crate in their bedroom so they can see and hear you.

Remember as pups grow their toileting might change so I doubt it was a mucky protest. More the fact that when they are awake and moving and crying then they are more likely to pee and poo and can't hold it for long. Some puppies don't need to toilet at night but mine did and I worked on the principle that he could hold it at night for 1 hour per month of age plus 1 so I never went longer than that before taking him out. That was another reason why I took him out if he cried initially as once awake and moving they are probably going to need to toilet until they are much older and have better bowel and bladder control.

Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:23:33

Tabulahrasa- She goes into the crate herself with the kong to encourage her that it’s her safe space. The majority of advise says don’t go to them if they are crying as it only teaches them they will be allowed out if they cry. But I do let her out when she cries to go to the toilet outside. I need some support that is why I posted. I hope I don’t get attacked for trying to do the right thing.

OP’s posts: |


Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:25:24

BiteyShark - it sounds like I am doing all the same things as you. How long did it take your pup to settle to the crate? And how long to get through the night with out crying/toilet breaks?

OP’s posts: |
Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:26:48

Cath2907 - thank you for some insight! I suspect we might go he same route!

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 29-Aug-18 11:28:30

You can't just shut him in there and expect him to be happy! You need to spend time getting him used to the crate, and to sleeping on his own a the same time (remember, he'll have been with his mum and littermates until now).

If you want the dog to sleep downstairs when he's older, you have two options really. Either start as you mean to go on (so, he sleeps in his crate downstairs, and someone sleeps with him on the sofa until he settles in the night happily, and that person slowly moves further away until they're back upstairs), or have his crate in your room at first, and slowly move it (by slowly, I mean over a period of weeks/a month) further away until he can sleep happily downstairs on his own.

At 11 weeks he won't be able to hold himself for long and he'll have gone to the toilet in his crate because nobody woke and got to him in time. Dogs generally won't mess in their sleeping area unless they're sick/incontinent or can't physically hold it any longer. Puppies are like toddlers and can't hold it long - ours used to give us about a 10 second warning before he needed to go!

He's now 7 months old and sleeps through the night. He falls asleep around 8-9pm downstairs, gets taken to the toilet at 10.30pm, and then goes to bed for the night and he'll sleep through until about 6-6.30am when we'll get up and take him out again. But this only started in the last week or so - before that he would sleep through maybe once a week, but otherwise he still needed to go out around 4am. He never toileted inside at night but he does sleep in our bed so he wakes us up when we needs to be let out.

BiteyShark Wed 29-Aug-18 11:30:45

My dog is almost 2 so memory is getting a bit hazy now on the specifics. I think it took at least several days for no crying at night and then I used to get up as mentioned every x hours to take him for a pee/poo as he could never make it through the night (I forgot my alarm once so I know he couldn't last). Every 2 weeks I would extend the time by 30 mins before getting up.

I also used a baby monitor so I could see and hear him as I slept in a different room.

There are so many different methods and techniques in raising a puppy so you may have to try something different if it's not working for you. Some sleep downstairs with pup and do a gradual retreat. Others have them in the bedroom and gradually move them out. I had him in the kitchen but slept in next room until he didn't cry at night then I just used a baby monitor.

adaline Wed 29-Aug-18 11:35:38

As an addition, I think the general rule for how long they can "hold it" is one hour per month of age, so at 11 weeks (nearly 3 months) you can only really expect him to hold it for 3 hours maximum, less during the day when he's up and active.

We brought ours home at 12 weeks and we were up with him twice in the night for a good month or so! There was just no way he could hold it for eight hours a night.

Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:36:39

Adeline - we have tried sleeping on the sofa close to her bed that seems to make the crying worse. I am waking up every time she cries and take her out to the toilet. So I’m not sure why she pooped in the crate last night as the other nights we have had no issues with the same pattern. I am trying to do the right thing for her but I’m seeing that everyone has strong options and different approaches. I am just trying to see how others proceeded and progressed so I can work out what is best for us.

OP’s posts: |
Moonflower12 Wed 29-Aug-18 11:38:58

Just wondering if the peanut butter set her off with the poo as it's quite rich? As in a build up over the last few nights. Our cocker would have diarrhoea with peanut butter.

MinorRSole Wed 29-Aug-18 11:39:27

Have you tried placing a hot water bottle under her blankets and leaving the radio on low for her. She'll still be missing her litter mates and feeling lonely. I don't use crates so can't advise on that but a bit of fuss to begin with isn't unusual from what i understand.

BiteyShark Wed 29-Aug-18 11:40:23

Maybe she didn't cry loudly enough to wake you on that occasion which is why if you sleep in another room a baby monitor can be handy so you hear them if they are fidgeting about.

Yes everyone does seem to have strong opinions. My opinion is to find something that works for you and your puppy. If it isn't working then don't be afraid to try something different. Saying that, I still remember the early months enough to know I was sleep deprived and found it tough going. It's so nice when they grow up and fortunately they do grow up quickly so hang in there.

adaline Wed 29-Aug-18 11:45:33

Maybe you didn't get to her quick enough? It's not a criticism - ours has gone inside when we've just not realised he needed to go, or when we've been in another room and not been able to get to him in time. It happens, they're babies still and will have accidents.

I imagine she pooed inside because she woke up desperate and cried - you either didn't hear her or didn't reach her in time and she had no choice but to go in her crate. She won't have a set toileting routine at that age - it's only over the last few weeks that mine has had a set routine with regards to going for a poo - as a puppy he could go 4-5 times a day and once in the night at times too!

Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:46:05

BiteyShark - thank you. I am a bit tearful today with the sleep depreciation! It’s so hard as so many conflicting options and everyone saying continuity is the key. I suspect we just have a more tricky pup and she will end up in the crate in the bedroom or in bed with my daughter!

OP’s posts: |
Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:47:44

Moonflower12 - I give the tiniest amount of PB and it was on day eight! The poop was solid too. Well the bit that hadn’t been squished around the crate. TMI? 😂

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RB68 Wed 29-Aug-18 11:49:04

We crated at night till she was around 18mths, we also had issue with pooping - but their systems are small and as fast as it goes in one end it comes out the other - we put a strip of newspaper over one side of the crate (we used paper to get her out the door for wees and poos too so she felt familiar with going on paper). We also used a larger crate so there was plenty of room - I think its cruel otherwise and I certainly wouldn't crate all flipping day as well as night time.

Robomom Wed 29-Aug-18 11:49:19

MinirRSole - I read that too and the radio or clock. Maybe I should try hot water bottle tonight. I think we are unlucky as heard from the breeder that her little mates settled better 😱

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RB68 Wed 29-Aug-18 11:50:47

btw I think I reached breaking point about 4 mths old - I really did think we had done the wrong thing and should we continue etc - but wouldn't be without her now

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Aug-18 11:52:51

“The majority of advise says don’t go to them if they are crying as it only teaches them they will be allowed out if they cry.”

That’s after they’re crate trained though, not when you’re still trying to get them to settle in it to start with.

You want to be building on her being happily in there with you there and the door open in smaller steps so she’s not crying.

missbattenburg Wed 29-Aug-18 11:53:58

With Battendog I found sitting just outside the crate with my fingers poking in through the bars to stroke his nose or paw, and repeating "shush now, settle down, hush now, settle down" over and over in a soft, reassuring voice helped him settle down on the first night.

I then crept into bed (the crate was right next to it) and dropped my arm down so I could carry on doing the same until he fell asleep.

Each time I put him back in the crate (e.g. after toilet breaks or the next night) I would repeat this and each time it took less and less time for him to settle.

When he would settle in to the crate himself and no longer needed this, I started moving it away from the bed, once inch each night. Eventually it got to it's final spot of the opposite side of the bedroom. I think this took us about a month or so. If I'd wanted him to sleep elsewhere (e.g. downstairs), I'd have kept going - creeping the crate closer and closer to it's final spot.

At 6 months old I started leaving the crate door open at night and got rid of it completely at about 8 months.

There are other ways of doing it, but this worked so well for Battendog that I think I'd do the same again.

Wolfiefan Wed 29-Aug-18 11:53:59

I slept by the crate for three weeks. If pup could see me she was ok. If she couldn't then she was distraught. I gradually moved into the next room. She could still hear me.
After three weeks she slept through and was happy in the pen.
Leaving them to cry it out teaches them that the crate is scary. It can develop to full blown separation anxiety. Better to let them be near you until they grow in confidence.

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