Housebreaking a Chihuahua

The first glimpse of responsibilities to come for most dog owner comes as a stinky surprise left on the carpet by their loyal pet. Sure owning a Chihuahua can be a dream if the dog is behaved and housetrained, but if he isn’t then that dream can quickly turn into a complete nightmare.

Housebreaking a Chihuahua is not as hard as you might think. I think most of the confusion comes from two common housebreaking mistakes that I see so often. They are:

Being too impatient – the little fella just moved into a new home with new strange people. He will need some time to adjust to the new environment. Don’t expect miracles results overnight.

Not walking their dogs enough – Don’t expect to walk your dog just three times a day while housetraining. You will have to walk your dog twice as much until he learns the actual purpose behind those walks.

If you stay committed to housetraining and are patient with the Chihuahua, you should have no real problems. Just keep in mind that the earlier you start, the sooner you will have a completely housetrained Chihuahua!

Housetraining 101

One of the benefits of owning dogs of such a small breed is that you can treat them a lot like cats. You see with these dogs there are two options you can choose from when it comes to housebreaking. The first one of course is the same way you housetrain any dog – put a leash on him and take him out at least three times a day. The second option is to litter box train him just like you would a cat.

Litter Box Training a Chihuahua

Since the Chihuahua breed is so tiny, it could be a lot more convenient for some people to train their dogs to go potty indoors in a “designated” area. This could be true for people that live in colder climates where a walk outside can be too cold for such a tiny dog. It could also be the preferred method for people that live in crowded cities where the nearest patch of grass is several blocks away.

If you do decide to train the Chihuahua to use a litter box then make sure you get one that’s the right size. Depending on how small your dog is, you will have to find a litter box that’s not too tall or else it will make it hard for him to get in. If you can’t find anything else then you can just add little stairs for him to use.

When buying littler, look for litter that’s safe for dogs. Most cat litter contains a lot of chemicals that can be harmful when swallowed. Unlike cats, dogs love to chew. They love to chew when they are bored, excited, scared, happy, lonely and sad. In fact, they love to chew so much that even the litter box is not safe from their teeth. Which is why they need their own special litter that won’t be as harmful to swallow – it still should be discouraged though.

The best area to leave the litter box when you first start housetraining is in the same area where the pup will be sleeping or spending most of his time. You want to make sure that he can easily have access to it whenever he needs it. Ideality it should be within his sight for a good portion of his day.

Once he gets the idea behind it and starts peeing and pooping inside the litterbox on his own regularly, you can move it to another place that’s a little more out of sight. Just make sure you show him where you left it so he can find it. I know some owners like to put it in the bathroom or an unused closet to reduce the odor throughout the house.

Training your Chihuahua to Go Potty Outdoors

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of storing what essentially is just a “poop” box indoors, then you can always just train your Chihuahua to do his business outside. If you do go this route, I still recommend that you clean up after your dog to keep your neighbors happy. No one likes stepping in poo.

If going this route then you will need to walk your pup a lot when first starting. You should take your dog out every few hours. Be sure to bring some treats with you to reward him for doing his business outside.

The goal is to make sure the dog doesn’t have the chance to potty indoors. The more time he spends outdoors, the less there is a chance of an accident. The treats will get him to associate doing his business outside with the feeling of being rewarded for it.

Setting up a schedule for feeding and walks can help a lot. Take a note of how long it takes for the pup to need to go after eating his meal and in the future take him on a walk a few minutes before that time. For the times when you can’t be there to walk your dog, consider asking a family member, friend or a neighbor to walk your pup for you.

That basically covers the first half of housetraining a Chihuahua. The second part, which is just as important, is knowing how to deal with housebreaking accidents.

Dealing with Housetraining Accidents

It’s important to understand how to properly to deal with accidents. This tends to be the area that most owners get wrong either due to frustration or lack of knowledge. So instead of using this opportunity to teach a lesson, they sabotage themselves by reacting without thinking.

It’s an easy mistake to make, but also an easy one to fix! Let’s first talk about what you shouldn’t be doing:

  • Hitting, yelling or shouting at your dog for having an accident
  • Rubbing his nose in the mess
  • Punishing the pup by locking him in his crate

None of those house training methods will work as intended for one simple reason, if your Chihuahua doesn’t understand where he should be going potty then he won’t understand why you’re punishing him. He will just think of you as a mean jerk who likes to punish him for no reason. And even if he did understand why you’re being mean to him, you can teach the same lesson in much more effective ways.

So what should you do instead? That depends on whether you caught the in the act or if you only found out about it after the fact.

If you caught your Chihuahua in the act, use this opportunity to show him what he is supposed to be doing instead. You can do that by saying “no” in a firm voice to get his attention, and hopefully get him to stop. Then pick him up and carry him wherever you want him to go potty instead, either the litter box or outside, and then wait on him to finish. Sometimes this could mean that you will have a bigger mess to clean, but that’s ok. At least your dog will learn a lesson that going wee wee where he is not supposed to is not ok and instead now he will know where you want him to do it in the future.

If you only found out about the accident after the fact then there is not much you can do. The dog probably forgot about the whole incident and any kind of punishment won’t do any good. The only thing you can do is clean it up.

When cleaning up the mess, make sure you use cleaning agents that are especially designed to remove urine odor and stains. If there is a scent left behind then the puppy will assume it’s safe to pee there again since he went in that spot before.

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