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Four months ago we brought home a rescue dog and a puppy born from another rescue. The puppy is whip smart, playful, energetic and fun-loving crazy like so many puppies are. We decided the best thing for him would be to crate train him from the get go (the older dog is now crate trained as well) and it has worked miracles!

He would spend an hour or so playing (with us watching his every move) he'd start to circle and then Bam! We'd pick that little guy up and out the door we'd go! When he got a little older we bought a bell for he door and within a day he always let us know when he needed to go! (And didn't obviously, outside is just so interesting to a puppy!) So we had a mostly house-training puppy who occasionally still had accidents (our fault for not watching and/or waiting too long) but then something weird started happening.

As with all growing puppies he has outgrown 3 crates already! So we got him another new one with a divider so our little guy has plenty of room to lay down, circle, just like with our other crates in hopes that maybe this one will be big enough to last but small enough for now that he doesn't try and go in his crate (as big as he is, he's still a puppy.) We'd never had a problem before and then suddenly everything changed.

Friday night I came home from having dinner with a friend, (had been gone 2 hours) and he'd pooped in his crate! I was confused as that had never happened before. (For reference, we never react to the puppy pooping if we don't catch him doing it, and the only reaction we have if we do is to pick him up and take him outside. We don't believe in punishment) Resigning myself to poop covered clothing I picked my puppy up to avoid poop on the carpet and got him a bath. After that I put him in his bedtime crate while I cleaned the one downstairs with Nature's Miracle. OK, problem solved. Puppy was let back downstairs and had playtime before bed.

The next morning we got up, we had breakfast, outside to poop (he needs about 20 mins after eating to go) and then off to puppy classes we went! Where he pooped.. again. Like almost every time he goes there. Trainer says this one is likely a trained response now from when he was younger and gave us tips to subvert it in the future. Awesome! Good plans for better puppy behavior! I left feeling pleased with my pup's work (he is seriously awesome at most commands and the others are only hard cause he still has puppy attention span. Short stuff though? He's a pro.)

So we get home, after such a workout I let him out to go potty, he peed, then in we go for me to start prepping for lunch. My tuckered out puppy usually sleeps during this time so I put him in the crate after putting together food and then I take our other dog for his midday walk. Annnd... I come in to find the puppy has pooped in his crate. ???? You just pooped twice in the last 3 hours buddy?? How do you have a third?? I was stunned! None of his stools were running or odd, and he was checked by the vet who couldn't find anything. What happened? Why is the crate a potty place now?

The next day during his playtime (which my partner walked away during to grab water, her mistake) came back to find he'd pooped in his open crate! We've cleaned it Everytime with Nature's Miracle, not just the floor but the wires as well. We have no idea what is going on. He was very good at ringing to go out until now, and somehow he's associated going in his crate is the place to go. Why go outside?

Please help. We're lost at this point.
 

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We were thinking the same thing and so we got him checked by our vet the first appointment they had available. Blood and stool samples were normal, thankfully. But my small hope that it could be fixed with an antibiotic got crushed.
Could he have a learned association now with the crate? If so it's one I don't know how to fix as it has always been his bed and safe space. Any ideas to what it could be or how to help would be appreciated.
 
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