The excitement of a new puppy can often distract from the firm way they must be domesticated. Chihuahuas and other Toy breeds are notorious for being extremely difficult to housebreak. Behavior specialists list Chihuahuas in the top five most difficult breeds to housetrain. Though it is not easy, it is not impossible. There are quite a few tips to train your puppy with very few accidents, so do not despair! You and your new housemate can do it!
- You Want to Start by Creating a Space for Your Pup. Whether you use a small exercise pen, a crate, or fence off an area of a room in your house, make sure it is no larger than 2×3 feet. The intention here is to create an area small enough that he considers it his space for eating and sleeping. It is against their nature to urinate or defecate where they sleep, so this is a good way to start. It will teach him to “hold it” until he is let out.
- Establish a Feeding Schedule. He will most likely have to go about thirty minutes after eating, and that is when you should take him outside. For pups under 3 months, feed them 4 times a day, 3-6 months, 3 times a day, and over 6 months, twice a day should suffice. Avoid feeding him scraps or treats in between meals when he is a pup. This will compromise his training, and lead to mistakes in the house.
- Be Sure to Take Your Pup Out Just Before Bedtime, and Immediately Upon Waking. If he naps during the day, be sure to take him then, as well. As they grow and nap less often, they will associate waking up with being taken outside, and will be less likely to go in the house.
- You Can Attempt to Associate Certain Words and Phrases with Urinating and Defecating. To do so, while he is going, you should say things such as, “go potty,” “go to the bathroom,” or even “go for a walk.” This word association will help you communicate when he should go. If you are leaving for the evening and you will not be around to take him out, but you need him to go before you leave, you can then use these words and phrases to encourage him to go outside. If “Want to go to the bathroom?” is always said during or just before he is taken outside to go, he will associate it with going to the bathroom.
- Praise Your Pup for Proper Behaviors. Use positive inflections in your words, and give him positive attention for using the bathroom the proper way. Do this during and immediately afterwards. He will enjoy this, and eventually, associate it with his potty behaviors.
- Correct His Wrong Behaviors, but Do Not Condemn Him Afterwards. If your pup makes a mistake, pushing his nose into it or yelling at him after the fact will not help. He will not understand the connection, and he will just think you are angry for no reason. If you catch him in the act and yell, “NO,” or speak sternly, he is much more likely to understand the connection and alter his behaviors as a result. Excess anger without proper conditioning will set back the house training, and will scare the pup. Chihuahuas are generally quite scared of loud noises and raucous behavior, so be cautious with your disciplinary approaches.
- Some people like to take a newspaper out for their dogs, as a way of getting them used to using a newspaper when they cannot hold it and their owners are not around to take them outside. Others like to use a wide variety of methods such as grass pads and indoor dog potties. These methods are left to the owners to decide, as dictated by schedules, preferences, and cleaning methods.
- Chihuahuas fall very naturally into schedules, and as they grow, you will want to alter these schedules very gradually. A very young pup will need to go at least every 2-4 hours, and some will have to go even more frequently than that, depending on age and size. Every time they have an accident, it sets back their training, as they are creatures of habits. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on your pup, and ensure that you have the time and energy to train him before taking him into your home.
- After a few weeks of these techniques, your pup should understand a little bit more about his acceptable potty behaviors. There will be mistakes throughout, but with these careful techniques, your pup should be housetrained in two to three months.
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