This is my first dog, a 15 mo old chihuahua I've had since he was 8 wks old. I had no clue about housebreaking, everyone said use puppy pads so I did. This eventually led to him pooping and peeing on everything remotely soft or paper, even a single grocery receipt on the floor was fair game. This progressed to him going on furniture which, in Februrary, was the last straw for me.
I learned about crate training. At 8 months old I started training again like it was day one. He went from having free reign over the house to only being allowed on pillow beds during the day which I put in every room so I could supervise him at all times. He had maybe 4 accidents in the crate in the whole 7 months we've used it and not a single accident in the house unless we try to take away the crate. The reason we still have to use a crate is that, in the couple trials weve done without it, he will still go on the floor at night rather than holding it. Still undoing old habits sadly.
For the last month he has been pooping and peeing in the crate, first here and there and now every single night within 20 minutes of going to bed. Even though he hasn't eaten in 4-5 hours. He even went in the crate after only 3 hours Sunday morning. I'm so frustrated because I know he can hold it but for some reason has stopped trying. His crate is a good size I think, it's the smallest I could find a 52x37x37cm. Too big still? He poops on the blanket then pushes it to one side and sleeps in the other side. When he's curled up asleep he only takes up half the crate, I wondered if that means its too big even though when he stretches out he only has a few cm extra space.
4:30 am- put outside
5:30 am- crated
9:00 am- put outside and fed
9:30 am- inside, but not crated.
12:00 pm- outside to explore, dig, play
4:30- eats dinner
5:00 -goes for a walk
6:00- outside during our dinner
7:00-inside, not crated
9:00/:30- crated for bed
This schedule worked flawlessly for 7 months. The first accident was after a 2.5 hr car ride to our holiday home. It was late so we didn't walk him, just put him outside for 40 minutes then straight in the crate. 20 minutes later he's pooped and peed. We had a couple similar nights later that week back home until it became every single night. We crate him, turn the lights off, go to bed, he cries, I immediately get up to put him outside and change his bedding. Every single night.
Question: WHY WHY WHY if he had to go that badly doesn't he just go when he was outside not 20 minutes ago?? WHY, after 7 months, is he doing this now?
Admission: he had not been walked as regularly lately. This has happened in the past though with no ill effect, so I wonder if it's really as simple as that. He has been walked daily for the past week with no effect on the pooping anyway. :-/
Advice from others: we've been told to time his feedings. Also to make sure to catch him pooping outside and praise him. Also don't stop walking him after dinner until he finally poops/pees. (he rarely goes on his walks, always in the backyard) Take him on another short walk before bed. Theory being if he never has to poop or pee he'll never go in the crate.
Question: Why is all this necessary after 7 months? Isn't the purpose of the crate that it goes against everything in their nature to soil it? So why the multiple walks a day suddenly when it was never necessary before?
I am 9 months pregnant with 2 weeks to go. The timing couldn't be worse because soon we literally will not have time or energy to obsess over trying to catch the dog pooping outside or walking him for hours til he poops with a newborn to look after. Are these the only solutions?