While crate training can prevent your dog from doing his business on the floor, it isn't much more pleasant cleaning waste out of a crate. If your pooch makes a habit of treating his crate like an outhouse, changing his routine and his environment can help.
Make sure that his crate isn't too big. The crate should be just big enough for him to turn around and lay down in -- any bigger, and he can just go number two off in the corner and then hang out on the other end.
Remove anything soft or plush from the crate, like pillows, blankets or towels. These are the perfect place for your dog to leave a little present, so take away the incentive.
Take your dog outside for elimination time before putting him in his crate. You wouldn't set out on a road trip without going to the bathroom first, so extend the same courtesy to your little guy before confining him for any extended period of time. Take him outside first thing when you let him out of the crate, too. This helps him learn that there is an appropriate time and place for doing his thing, and settling into a consistent routine helps him maintain self-control.
Respect your little guy's physical limitations, because he can only hold it so long. For example, a puppy who's 10 weeks old can hold it for three or four hours, tops. Miniature breeds don't necessarily do much better, so don't use your crate as a long-term babysitter for your dog. He doesn't want to go to the bathroom in there, but if he doesn't have any choice, he's going to do what he has to do -- and you're going to have to clean it up.
Keep the crate in an area where people spend a lot of time, like the living room. Dogs don't necessarily mind being in the crate -- it can actually be quite comforting -- but being away from people is another thing altogether. Dogs like to be social, so keeping the crate where he can see and hear people can assuage the separation anxiety than can drive a dog to nervously mess himself in his crate.
- Always lavish your dog with praise when he eliminates outside. He learns a lot more from your positive reinforcement than he does from punishment.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.