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Thread: 15 months old, regresses in crate training (very long, sorry!!)

  1. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by whitewood View Post
    I suspect he is purposely holding it in because he didn't want to be left in the crate and, though maybe one time was a genuine accident, he learned that if he poos and cries in the crate I will come running and give him attention and he gets to go outside. Like its become a conditioned behavior thing. Is that possible?
    Yes it is possible, especially if he doesn't like being crated. I know that feeling of frustration - "I just took you outside and you did nothing out there for 10 minutes, WHY DID YOU POOP IN YOUR BED?!?!!" Plus Chihuahuas are notoriously difficult to housetrain so I've heard.

    A possible solution to this is always making sure he pees and poops before you crate him for the night, easier said than done I know. If he's taking too long and just faffing around, you need to step it up a bit and hassle him until he does his toilet. Have a patch of grass or bushes that he pees and poops on, and keep directing him back to that spot until he's evacuated. If he's not concentrating on what he's supposed to be doing, remind him with a command and lead him back to his toilet spot. Don't allow him to have an aimless leisure time, he's on the clock and he should know this. Then after he's done it, give him praise and a treat and let him sniff around for a while uninterrupted. This will hopefully teach him that if he wants to potter around outside at night, he has to go to the toilet first and get that out of the way.

    Make it a rule that you don't talk to him or look at him once he's in his crate. If you have to clean up an accident, do it without acknowledging his existence as much as possible. He gets a little spike of gratification when you pay attention to him, so it's possible that he'll do whatever he can to get that spike of gratification when he's bored in his crate. By not making it exciting for him, you take away the incentive to play up when it's bedtime.


    It sounds terrible, but another solution is to just let him sleep in his poop until morning a couple of times, then give him a shampoo. He'll learn very quickly not to go to the toilet in his bed if he doesn't have someone to clean it up instantly. He'll either go to the toilet when he's supposed to, or hold it until he gets let out the next day.
    Last edited by Mosh; 09-13-2012 at 06:42 PM.

  2. #12


    I have an 8 year old chihuahua cross who is very sensitive to changes in me. If I am even a bit stressed or unwell she becomes very unsettled when home alone. I have a heart condition and I swear that she can hear my heartbeat! If it is really fast when I go out she cries, if I go to a hospital appointment I am worried about she cries! Fortunately now that I am better it is less of a problem but she still regresses and I have to practice the home alone routine again. She's a sweet dog but she stresses alot. I hope your little man settles down for you.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    My pup only gets crated at night in our bedroom, but lately he's started the habit of waking me at any hour of the morning, 1am, 3am, 4am .. seems to change, but for a few weeks he did it every single night and it was killing me not getting a full sleep. He was really good for ages and then all of a sudden started this habit, and I suspected it might've been a way for him to be let out or he just wasn't tired so was waking up and needing to go. I'd normally get him out, carry him to the door, put him outside and wait 'til he did his thing and came back inside and carry him back to bed. One night I'd had enough because he did it twice in the one night, so I got up, didn't take him out of the crate, but I took the whole crate out to his pen in the living room, put it on the floor, took the door off the crate and opened the door to outside, went back to bed and left him there. Well! you should've seen him in the morning, he was sooo sooky and sorry for himself because he didn't get taken back to bed. That seemed to fix the problem for a good while. He's done it a few times since, but I also think we've somehow gotten out of sync, so I've asked my partner to feed him dinner earlier and I'm making a point of giving him a good play session about 30mins before bed time and that has seemed to help a lot as well.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Melbourne VIC


    Just reading about your crate and got thinking...

    Is he always put in the crate as soon as he gets inside from toileting? Perhaps he is trying to avoid this by holding on. You give up and put him in anyway, in which case he has learnt to pee to get out again.

    You have such a strict routine. He knows what's coming. He probably has the whole day predicted from wake up time. I prefer to let go of routine. While it can be good for some things, it can also create unwanted anxiety or excitement.

    If a dog has separation anxiety when the owner leaves for work, we tell most owners to change up the routine to lessen the anxiety the dog creates while watching the morning routine. If a dog is way too excited before walk times, it's because there are cues sub as picking up their lead, putting on your runners, etc. By changing the routine the dog isn't certain of what will happen next so won't start to build the excitement or anxiety.

    If you want to keep the routine, I'd suggest creating a routine involving toileting, the crate and something positive. Eg, every time you take him to the toilet bring him inside, put him in his crate and give him something nice such as a chew toy, pigs ear, etc. After a little while let him out again. He will soon learn that the sooner he pees the sooner he gets to go into his crate and get something good.

    I would also double-triple-check that the crate is completely clean from residual urine. This can be pretty tough to get rid of but it needs to be done.

    You also may need to teach him "quiet time" in his crate. This will help teach him to be ok on his own. This will be especially important once bub comes along.

    If you are worried there is also no harm in getting him checked at the vet.

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