6 Fail-Proof Steps To Housebreaking Your Puppy

picture of a tiny fawn colored puppy laying on a plaid blanketDo you have trouble housebreaking your Chi? Are Chihuahuas hard to housebreak? I’ve not found that to be true with mine, but many have.

These 6 steps are tried and true and work every time as long as you strictly and consistently follow through whether you are training a puppy or an older dog.

Although you can start pre-training a puppy very early on, don’t expect too much until they are at least 16 weeks old, tiny puppies have tiny bladders.

You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to housebreaking it takes longer to train them. If they have been eliminating anywhere they like for a while you basically have to un-train them from that first. Be persistent and consistent and these 6 steps still fail proof.

All of these steps apply to paper or litter tray training. However, housebreaking is NOT a step up from paper training. If you intend for your dog to always go outside, don’t even introduce paper or litter tray training. Paper and litter tray training is useful and may be necessary if you live in an apartment or for an older dog who is not capable of going outside. Elderly ones that find it hard to take their dogs outdoors when being trained may also prefer paper or litter tray training. If you closely follow these 6 steps you will soon have a happy, housebroken dog and you will be much happier too.

  • Establishing Regular Eating Habits
  • Confining to a crate
  • Regular and consistent trips outdoors
  • Lots and lots of praise
  • Correct mistakes immediately
  • Get rid of odors promptly

Regular eating habits:

Having a regular eating schedule is crucial to your success. What goes in regularly also comes out regularly. Follow directions on the package of the food you buy or consult with your veterinarian about the best diet for your unique pet.

That schedule is one you will have to choose according to your lifestyle. Just be aware that the more often your dog eats and drinks the more often they will have to relieve themselves. If you work, perhaps once in the morning and once when you return home. However, definitely not close to bedtime.

Dogs are creatures of habit and routine. They don’t mind eating at the same time every day and they don’t mind eating the same thing every day.

Confining to a crate:

Dogs are den animals. It is not cruel to confine your dog to a crate for short periods. In fact, they feel safe there. The best part of that for housebreaking is they also don’t like to eliminate where they sleep. Oh, but they will if left confined for long periods and have no choice. You don’t want that to happen because they also will get used to it.

Never let your dog have free reign of the house until he is completely trained. Do take them outside often while they are little, especially right after they have eaten, drank or after a play session. Generally speaking, a puppy can hold his bladder one hour for every month of age. If they are 2 months old, take them out every 2 hours, 3 months, 3 hours, etc. As they grow they will be able to hold and control their elimination for longer periods of time. And allow lots of supervised playtime outside the crate. NEVER, NEVER leave a dog in a crate all day long or for very long periods of time.

Remember crate confinement is just while they are training. You don’t have to crate them forever. Although some dogs enjoy their away and alone time (just like some people) and may go to their crate on their own. That’s a good thing.

Regular and consistent trips outdoors:

This is a must. You have to be consistent and stick to a schedule. If you are unable to, enlist a family member or hire someone to come and let them out at scheduled times. This is not something you will have to do forever. But even when they are completely trained, you are asking for trouble if you leave a dog alone for very long periods of time. They need human interaction and stimulation. If they don’t get that they become bored and may develop bad behaviors.

Use a cue word or short phrase, such as “potty” or “do your duty”, whatever works for you. They will come to understand what it means and what you want from them. Allow them enough time. If after you have allowed sufficient time and they have not eliminated crate them and try again every 15 to 20 minutes.

Give lots and Lots of praise:

When you take them out and they obediently potty outside. Give them a treat and lots of praise. Dogs just want to please you. As a warning though, it’s best to treat them every other time or every few times. If not, they will come to expect a treat every time. They will be just as happy with a little outdoor play or a longer walk as reward for good behavior.

Correct immediately and consistently:

Even with all your diligence, accidents may happen. If they do, remain calm and never yell at or hit a dog. All that teaches them is to fear you. Instead, calmly pick them up and take them outside give them the cue and allow time. If they don’t (after all they already did), crate them and continue adhering to your schedule.

Remove odors promptly:

Dogs have millions more smell receptors than humans do. How many millions more depends on the breed, but suffice it to say they smell way better than we do. They know exactly where they have gone before and where every other dog in the neighborhood has gone before. The point being they are attracted to that smell and will go again in that same spot if they are allowed to. There are several odor removing products that work well.

If you strictly and consistently adhere to these six steps you will soon have a housebroken puppy. Remember it is NOT cruel or hard-hearted to confine a puppy to a crate. I have crate trained my dogs this way and they are healthy, happy, well-adjusted and housebroken.

 

 

Questions? E-mail me at: linda@chichisandme.com

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