Those who decide to share their homes with Chihuahuas frequently find that these furry friends are difficult to house train. However, Chis really aren’t that tough to train when proper procedures are used.
Although they are capable of learning quickly and easily, these little dogs have a stubborn streak that can make training difficult if you use an overly harsh approach. There are several other considerations particular to this breed that should be kept in mind during the house training process.
Highly motivated and willing to please, Chis don’t respond well to scolding or punishment. By the same token, you do need to use a different tone of voice when working with your Chihuahua puppy or dog on house training or other serious matters. Using your “play voice” will simply confuse the dog, so speak clearly and directly, but don’t yell or growl.
Some Particular Challenges of House Training Chis
There are several other reasons why house training a Chihuahua is frequently difficult:
- The small size of Chihuahuas can make them difficult to house train. They can easily slip off to do their business without being noticed, unlike larger breeds.
- Chihuahuas were developed as a breed in a part of the world (Mexico) with a warm climate. They don’t care much for outdoor conditions that involve rain, cold, wind, or snow.
- Chis evolved as household pets rather than as outdoor dogs.
- Their small bodies may need to undergo the process of elimination more often than those of their larger counterparts, so make certain that you provide your puppy or dog with the opportunity to relieve themselves often.
- Although they may not always show it, small dogs feel vulnerable when faced with the great outdoors. If your neighborhood is a typical one where children are playing, dogs are barking, and traffic is going by, your Chi may not feel comfortable going out into that world.
Instead of training your Chi to go potty in the yard, you can consider setting up an indoor area that he or she can use as an elimination station.
When I worked at PetSmart, I asked the trainers what was the best way to potty train them and they gave me some good ideas. You may already know these but here goes:
First clean the area where she pees or poops really well with an enzyme type cleaner that will take away as much scent as possible. You can find these type of cleaners at pet stores, or Amazon. White vinegar will also work.
And the next time you clean the area, before you put the cleaning product on it, use a paper towel to pick up the poop or wipe up the pee. Save that paper towel.
Have regular times to take her out like first thing in the morning, after she eats, anytime you have been away, and before bed. Always use the same word for it such as “go potty” and use that word when you take her out.
If you notice any signs that your dog needs to “go potty” or if the dog suddenly disappears to the other room (usually because they don’t want you to see them) follow them and put her outside before he has a chance to do it on the floor. Take the paper towel out with you and lay it where you want her to go potty at. Usually once they smell the paper towel with their own poop on it, they will want to go in that area.
Other than saying “It’s time to go potty”, don’t talk to her or distract her when she goes out until after she does her business. After she does, then you can play with her.
Praise them big time and even give a small treat reward if your dog is food motivated after they do their business in the proper spot.
You can also use litter boxes. Litter boxes for toy breeds have become increasingly popular in recent years, and you can also buy pee pads at pet supply stores that can be used the same way that you would use a newspaper for potty training a puppy. Some of these pads are even treated with pheromones to help indicate that they’re approved potty spots. This is a great option if you live in an apartment or a cold climate.
Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t sneak off and do their business when you aren’t watching. And when you can’t be with them, while they are being trained, be sure to keep them in a closed off room that isn’t carpeted like a kitchen or bathroom or a playpen or even a crate. Put a potty pad in the room with them just in case.
Patience and consistency are key to house training any puppy, and if you’re consistent, firm-but-not-frightening, and provide your puppy with an appropriate potty area, your Chihuahua puppy will be house trained in no time.