Senior dog pooping inside. How to let him out and keep racoons out too?
We recently moved into a new house. Our German Shepherd is almost 13 and is adjusting pretty well to the new space. He uses his dog door
and poops outside with no problems during the day.
The issue we have is that he's starting to have less bowel control- on walks or at home he can no longer hold it more than a minute until he finds the right place to go. On walks this results in him going in places he never would choose, like on the sidewalk- he would previously always wait until he was on grass, dirt or gravel. At home it is now resulting in him pooping in the house sometimes at night.
In our old house we let him have outside access at night, so he was probably pooping outside at night there.
In the new house we need to lock the dog door at night because racoons have started testing it out and will come in for certain if we leave it open- I've caught one halfway through. The dog is deaf, so he doesn't hear the door opening/closing, but if he finds a raccoon inside it's going to be a bloodbath.
His food and water are in the garage, which he has access to until we go to bed.
He has taken to eating only part of his dinner when we serve it @ 5 and part of it later, between 7PM and bedtime, or not at all. It's not clear if this has anything to do with the late-night pooping.
The pooping inside happened a few times recently at the old place when he was locked in (due to barking at night), so I don't think it's being caused by the transition to the new house, only the raccoons are new to the equation.
So, is there any way to solve this dilemma? He sometimes whines at us a bit right before he poops inside, so sometimes we wake up enough to let him out, but then usually we end up going to bed leaving the dog door unlocked with him outside (he will happily sleep half the night outside), which is bad for raccoon access.
Is there a way to have the dog door unlock only for him? I've heard of such things for cat doors.
The other option we're considering is having a place inside near the door that's his designated pooping spot at night. We really don't want him to get too used to the idea of pooping indoors though.