Puppy conditioned to poop in cage while in Pet Store for 6 weeks.

Posted by derekwan
Jun 9, 2011
My 4 months old Sheltie puppy was in the Pet Store for some 6 wks before i bought him home. While there he has been conditioned to poop
in the cage there. Now at home he refuses to poop anywhere except in the cage where i put him at night and sometimes during the day. i have
tried moving some of his poop to the garden and keeping him there for 30 minutes a few times already, but doesn't seem to work.

Has anyone else exprienced this problem and found a solution?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 11, 2011
Hi derekwan,

Its annoying when pet stores allow this sort of thing to happen and be trained into a dog! Hopefully we can sort a solution for you though

Try puppy pee pads. Put it in his cage to start with, where he goes toilet. Get him used to going on the pad and not somewhere else in the cage. Your doal is to train him to the pads, not the cage. Once he's got it, move the pad. Its a gradual thing, never more than 3 feet or so. Move it to right in front of his cage, then a few feet away, then the doorway of the room, the hall, the door to outside, outside on the porch, etc, etc, etc....until you can hopefully put the pad outside, and get him to go there, then start taking the pad away, so that hes just going outside. If along the way theres an accident, backtrack one step and start over with the pad in the previous "station".

I've known a few people to do this, using the pad to lead the dog outside eventually, and it seems to work, so hopefully your little guy will catch on. Dogs usually dont enjoy sleeping/eating around their "business", so try feeding him in his crate as well to discourage pooing there.

You can also try being diligent about putting him outside about 10 minutes after he's eaten and keeping him there until he goes, no matter how long it takes. Sometimes that helps dogs as well, but you have to be good about timing, otherwise you'll miss it! You can also restrict access to water from about 8pm until the next morning to decrease chances of needing to pee during the night, and likewise, feed him earlier (6ish) and put him outside to decrease his need to poo in the middle of the night. Pups should start making it through the night without a bathroom break from about 2 months or so.

Hopefully this helps, let us know how things go!
Posted by derekwan
Jun 17, 2011
Hi there Caroline,

Thanks for your suggestions!. It's been a week already so i thought i let
you in on the progress made.
I wasn't too keen on the puppy pads idea cos i have another dog at home,a Husky, and it won't be practical with all the pads lying around.

So I basically tried continuing with taking him out to the garden but with a slight variation this time. Previously i would have him taken out
to the garden on a leash and wait for him to do his business but that didn't seem to work. So this time i would take him out at the approriate times, eg. first thing in the morning and immediately after meals, and leave him in the garden inside a 3' by 3' Playpen type fencing and have
his leash removed as well. And bingo! he would do the circling ritual and then have his business done there!.

I don't really know whether it was the unleashing, or the familiar
fenced- up enviroment he was conditioned in previously, that did the trick. It's a start for the time being, but i hope to progress to the stage where i can have the playpen removed as well.

BTW, from where i am, in Malaysia, it is quite common to get dogs from the pet stores . It's just that the breeders here are quite small scale and usually send their puppies to the stores for sale. The market here is not really that big that there are puppy farming around. It may not be ideal, but the Sheltie i got from a reputable store seems to be healthy well fed and regularly groomed, with proper vaccinations and
deworming and is also registered with the Kennel Assocaition. I also tested it's bite inhibition so that i can tell it was raised with his mum for at least a couple of months. I hope that he will grow up to be of good
temperament . In the meantime it just a joy to see him getting along so well with the big Husky with their boisterious playfighting and racing full speed round the garden!.

I think i have babble too long already. Cheers .
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 19, 2011
I'm so glad you've had a breakthrough! Great idea to confine right after letting out, hope it continues to work for you!

I know many communities where pet stores are the only outlet for getting a furry baby, in dense populations its one of the only options. I've heard mostly great stories from pet store adoptions, I've had a few (not with dogs though), its just sad to see them inadvertantly training dogs in less than ideal behaviours. With patience, however, nearly everything can be overcome! I hope you continue having a great time with your two pups!