The Nightmares Of Housebreaking...

@biwasaki (1745)
United States
September 27, 2007 2:04pm CST
We got a new puppy two weeks ago, and she has been completely resistant to my housebreaking efforts. I am at my wit's end with what to do. All of the guides that I've read, and past experience, has said to put the puppy on the pad after feeding time and naps. Neither work. If I take her out into the yard, she will pee there but refuses to poop. I really don't want to chuck her outside (she's really tiny, a Chihuahua-Shih Tzu), or put her in a crate so I don't know what else to try. I've read that Chi's are known to be hard to housebreak, but I didn't realize how true that was until now. So, anyone have any tips or advice that I could try? Anything would be appreciated at this point!
5 responses
• United States
27 Sep 07
First of all - how old is the puppy. If the puppy is 8-10 weeks old, there is no way you can expect them to be housebroken. Like a little kid, they may not have it "all together" to both understand and to physically hold it in. Scolding a puppy at 8 weeks old for going on the floor is like scolding a 7 month old for going in their diaper - it will only distress them and there is little way that that will do them any good. And besides it is going to take any dog at LEAST 3 weeks to adjust to a new home/new family/routines. And because of age its going to take a little while longer than that. Chis can be hard to housebreak mostly because of their people. A lot of folks refuse to treat them like regular dogs - teaching them to sit, etc - and just want to carry them around like a little doll. Not that you do - but people let tiny dogs get away with murder because they are afraid to tell them no or think it will hurt them to have to be forced to go to the bathroom outside. . It sounds like you are very frustrated and dogs pick up on that. For a dog to be housebroken, you must be absolutely consistent and calm. When the puppy goes where you want her to, praise her. But when she goes somewhere else, don't let her be in view when you clean it up. I urge you to forget about pad training for now, because what it will create is that if the puppy doesn't see the pad you don't put one down, or can't make it in time, they will go on your throw rug, etc. Every time the puppy wakes up, eats, etc - take her outside and do not bring her back in until she goes. And praise her like crazy when she goes to the bathroom outside. And don't scold her if you discover that she peed in the house after the fact. She will not connect it to what she did. I know you will probably have to take her out a lot at first but gradually she will be able to hold it longer and longer. Also, crates are not cruel. they are very kind - many people would have not taken their dog to the shelter when they give up if they had only crate trained in the beginning. I am not saying you would do that, but it will save a lifetime of trying to correct a bad habit. And it will make your dog a better houseguest if you should go away and have a relative watch her - she will feel comfortable and secure having her crate with her that she can retreat to and they also have a way of seperating her out when they vaccum or if she needs some quiet time. When you are not supervising the puppy put her in her crate. it will prevent her from geting into everything too. It is not neglect and she will probably take a nap (like human children they need lots of naps). It just means when you are absorbed by the computer she won't slink off to under the bed and pee. You can have her crate in the room with you you can be taking to her, etc, too. One of my dogs we thought he was doing so well, and then found the surprises in the closet and under the bed, etc. The older she gets and is more capable of understand and holding her bladder, the more freedom she gets. Or try a leash and keep her with you while you do household tasks. My sister has a tiny dog - a 5 lb chi. Being a mix, I think your girl will end up being an 8-15 dog perhaps more so than a teeny tiny 3-4 lb dog. But you never know. The best thing she did was to treat him like a normal dog - to sit, for housebreaking, etc and she has a dog that is extremely social and cool because of it now that he's all grown up.
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@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
27 Sep 07
I didn't make the connection between the crate and having others take care of her if the need arises, but it makes a lot of sense. I will definitely try the crate training, although I'm afraid that will open up a whole can of worms with her crying and not wanting to be in there alone.
• United States
27 Sep 07
Just don't pay attention to her until she settles down in the crate. Otherwise you are telling her that all she has to do is cry and you will let her out. Its harder on us than it is them. If you want to take her out, make her sit or wait til she is quiet for a few minutes. Otherwise you will be teaching her that crying and making a fuss is how to get your way. Also, what's worse - for her to cry in her crate or to be so upset when you leave her to go out that she cries, scratches the door, shreds things and pees all over the house? or because of her size she jumps up on something she can't get down from or she gets stuck somewhere exploring something she normally wouldn't if you were home. A crate also keeps them safe. She will surely cry at first but if you put her in there with her favorite blankie, etc she will eventually learn that crying gets her nowhere fast. Also when she is not in there, keep the door to the crate open and when you notice she is in their by her self and doesn't run out the second you walk by, praise her and tell her what a good girl she is or give her a tiny piece of a treat. She will associate her crate with good stuff.
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@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
28 Sep 07
That's great advice! Right now she only goes in the crate if I have to leave the house and can't take her with me. I'm sure that probably doesn't give her good feelings to associate with it, so I am going to work on leaving her in there even when we are at home.
@Seraphine (385)
• Finland
27 Sep 07
I see you already got some good advice from the above posters so I'll just chime in and say it does get better but it will take time, patience and most importantly, constant supervision from you. Your eyes need to be on the pup every second, or she should be in her crate. A second is all it takes for her to go inside, and every accident inside is only going to prolong the housebreaking process. You will end up taking her out a lot at first, probably at least once every 30 minutes when she's awake as well as after eating, drinking and sleeping, but it usually doesn't last for long. Just until she understands where she is supposed to go, because right now those pads are confusing her and making her think she is allowed to go inside the house.
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@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
27 Sep 07
It is nearly impossible for me to take her out every 30 minutes and wait for her to go. So, I shall try the crate training and hopefully that will work.
• Finland
28 Sep 07
Good choice. Crate training is a wonderful tool when it comes to housebreaking, and also keeping a pup safe when you aren't around to supervise. I can't recall if anyone mentioned this but as a way to get her used to the crate, you can give her all her meals in it so she doesn't associate the crate only with you leaving. And I'm sure she will eventually learn where to go even though you can't take her out that often, it might just take a bit longer than it did for me with that method (my pup was housetrained within a couple of days and fully reliable inside the house by 11 weeks). Crate training should definately make it easier.
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@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
28 Sep 07
According to previous posters, it takes them until 10 weeks or so to be able to recognize the urge and be able to hold it. She is only 7 weeks right now, so I know I just need to be more patient and trust that she will eventually get it. It's just hard cleaning pee and poop off of my new carpet! :(
@KH0389 (56)
• United States
27 Sep 07
OK biwasaki, no need to fret. New puppy owners have these hard times with every dog. Anyone would probably list that they have 'housebreaking problems with their new dog'. First of all, it's good to know that puppies have zero control over their bladder until they are at least about 4 months of age. This is also different between males and females (it seems that males take a little longer to get better control). Understand that even after four months some dogs still have no control, but if this is the case, it would be wise to speak with a vet and make sure the dog doesn't have any bladder control issues that are abnormal. The first thing that really needs to happen here is crate training. I know you don't want to, but that is the main key to housetraining, that way she knows not to eliminate in the cage? (all the cage is is like a den for them-dogs originated from the wolf. wolves live in small den areas, they never eliminate in their den (the same place they eat and sleep)) If she eliminates in the cage it's very bad, but don't scold her as it isn't her fault. I don't mean for this to sound harsh, but it's yours for not being persistant, (Though it's hard to stay persistant with puppies). Place the food bowl in the crate while feeding. Second of all, whoever told you to walk them after eating or napping is very correct. When a puppy wakes up from a nap, or right after their done eating, or even after a playtime session, the dog needs to be let outside. The dog will not be able to hold it's bladder forever after eating. Some dogs are VERY excited when they go outside, or when they are out of the crate, but you can't blame them. Whenever you find a puppy sniffing around like crazy, expect it to squat. Don't freak out! Don't say 'no'! Don't scold. Quickly lift the dog and take it outside to it's elimiation spot. (Most dogs have specifics). Third, give the animal time. I know that you don't want to stand in the rain, snow, cold, or even just stand outside for more than 20 minutes (20 is a LONG time for people) but puppies should go within an hour (I know what you're saying 'an hour!? you're crazy! I'm not standing out there with my dog for an hour because she wants to play when I told her to go!' LOL, well everyone has to suffer with this. If the dog still doesn't eliminate within an hour, take them in, place them in the crate, 30 minutes later, take them out again. Don't play or feed her in that 30 minute period. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post here or to send me a private message.
@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
27 Sep 07
Thank you very much for the advice. I will try the crate training and hope that helps.
• United States
28 Sep 07
Crating has always been the quickest and easiest way for me. You may hate to do it, but they really learn that they do not like to soil where they sleep and eat. They get use to it and will actually go to their crates for bed on their own. I do wish you luck with your housebreaking.
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• United States
28 Sep 07
Trust me everyone who owns a dog goes through issue. They will eventually learn. It just take time, I usually put pee pads near the door to teeach them when they need to go go that they need to go to the door. Plus, if you see them peeing pick your dog up and move it to the pee pad or take it out. So they know they need to do that when they are going. Good luck it will happen each dog has different
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