TIP #1: BASIC MEET & GREETS
A good meet and greet consists of the two dogs smoothly making muzzle to muzzle contact followed by some mutual rear investigation. Then either play will break out or the dogs will go their separate ways. A male may urinate on the next available vertical surface.
Meet and greets may feature stiffness, posturing and snarky stuff. The latter sometimes indicates some lack of social skill or confidence, or simply routine friction in normal dog interactions.
It's a good general policy with unknown quantity dogs to break meet and greets off after several seconds, if the dogs don't do so themselves. If there is some snarking or if they get stuck in some stiff posture, break them off. Happy talk them while walking away if one or both dogs are too stiff.
If you want to try again after breaking it off, wait a couple of minutes before re-engaging to let them cool off. Keep the dogs moving during the break and keep up the happy talk even as you disengage. Put the problem dog(s) through some obedience paces at some distance. Then try again.
- Excerpted from FIGHT! A Practical Guide to Dog-Dog-Aggression
TIP #2: WHAT TO DO ABOUT CRATE SOILING
If Spot eliminates in his crate even when not overcrated, your first course of action is to rule out medical problems. Loose stools, a urinary tract infection, or other incontinence problems make it impossible for a dog to hold it for normal periods of time.
Assuming all is well, there are several other possible causes of crate soiling:
Solution for crate-soiling
Your approach to Spot's crate-soiling behavior depends on the cause. If he has learned to soil his crate, it may help to change his bedding, or remove bedding altogether until he's retrained. Bedding that absorbs fluids, such as a blanket, can make it more comfortable for your dog to be in his soiled crate. His current bedding also may have become his preferred substrate. Try newspaper instead, a square of heavy duty compressed foam rubber (the kind used for flooring), or no bedding. A tether may be a reasonable alternative to nighttime crating.
Make sure his crate is the correct size - big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If it's too large he can potty in one end and sleep in the other.
Perhaps you're just not making sure Spot eliminates outside before you crate him. In your morning rush to get to work on time, you let him out in the backyard and assume he empties before he comes back in. That may be an incorrect assumption. If it's cold or rainy, he may have huddled on the back porch, waiting to be let back in. Perhaps he was distracted digging for moles under a bush, or barking at the kids walking past the yard on their way to school. Maybe he gets a cookie for coming back into the house, so he's skipping the step where he's supposed to go pee on the grass first. It could be a substrate preference problem - he wants to pee on grass, and all he can find is snow!
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI