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Rumor has it that the Chihuahua is ridiculously difficult to housebreak. Those who say this simply don't understand their Chi very well. The Chihuahua is, in fact, a highly intelligent breed and can be trained to obey an incredible number of commands and learn even more tricks. Once you put your mind to ending the constant landmines in the house, you can train your Chi to poop outside in just a few weeks as long as you are ready to put in the time.
The hardest part of potty training a Chi is that they are so small it's hard to catch them in the act. It's no good trying to admonish him after the fact, he won't have a clue what you are mad about. The most important part of this training is that you remain consistent with your pup's training. This is the only way he will learn what you want of him.
In this particular case, you will be training your pup not to leave you those wonderful little surprises in the most awkward of places. Along with teaching your dog the importance of waiting until he is outside to do his business, you will be teaching him to let you know that he needs to go. In most cases, he will find his own way of notifying you, but you can also teach him to bark at the door or offer another type of signal.
The good news is that as long as you keep an eye on your pup and take him out on a regular basis and at any sign he needs to go, your Chi can learn to poop outside where he is supposed to. The best part is that you will finally be able to walk across your floor barefoot again.
You can start working on potty training your pup at a very early age, even before you start working on basic commands. The younger you start the better, as puppies learn far faster than adult dogs. Bear in mind that puppies, especially Chis, have very small bowels and will need to go potty far more frequently than a bigger dog. There are a few things you might need along the way such as:
- Collar and leash
- Cleaning supplies
The rest is all about patience and taking the time to work with your Chi constantly. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, it is going to take time for your Chi to master this very important skill. Even after he has mastered it, there will be the occasional accident until your pup matures.
The Punctual Method
Be prepared to run your pup outside frequently. The best way to get him started is to set a digital timer for one-hour intervals. The minute the alarm goes off, take your pup outside and wait for him to go poop before you allow him to come back inside. You should also take him outside right after a meal or you take him out of his crate. When he goes, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Increase the time
After two weeks of taking your pup out every hour, you can change the length of time to 90 minutes. Do this for two weeks and then bump it up to 120 minutes for two more weeks. Bear in mind, you should not take your pup back into the house until he goes, even if it is only a tiny amount.
Getting it right
Every time your pup goes poop outside, be sure to praise him excitedly and give him one of his favorite treats. This will help your pup associate positive things with going poop outside.
Pay close attention to your pup
During the potty training phase, be sure to keep a very close eye on your pup at all times. If he even looks like he might be thinking about pooping in the house, grab him up and take him outside. If he goes while outside, be sure to give him a treat and plenty of praise. Again, positive reinforcement goes a long way.
What if he has an 'oops'?
It's going to happen. No matter how hard you work on the training, there are going to be accidents. If you catch your Chi in the act, let him know you disapprove gently and take him outside. Make him stay out until he finishes going. If you didn't see it happen, just resign yourself to cleaning up the mess, there is no point in chastising him after the fact. He won't have any idea what he did wrong.
The 'Poop Here' Spray Method
Establish your pup's poop schedule
The best thing you can do to get your pup to do his business outside is to establish a potty schedule. Simply set a timer to remind you every hour to take your pup out.
Beep, beep, beep
When the timer goes off, drop what you are doing and take your pup out right away. The only way he will learn to put going potty together with going outside is by repetition and a regular schedule.
Make finding a spot easy
Puppy potty training sprays are probably one of the best potty training tools on the market. Simply pick out a spot on the lawn where you want your pup to go and spray it down with the training spray.
Show your pup "his" spot
Take your pup over to the spot and let him sniff around it. The smell will encourage him to use this area as his "private" bathroom. If for some reason he won't go, give him about 15 minutes and take him inside. Then wait about ten minutes and take him back out.
The rest of it
The rest of training your Chi to poop outside is all about repetition and being patient. He is going to test you, but remain calm and firm with him and he will soon figure it all out.
The Wrong Spot Method
Start with treats
Start out by grabbing a handful of your pup's favorite chewy treats.
Keep an eye on him
Keep watching your pup all day long. The moment he looks like he is going to poop, pick him up and tell him "wrong spot!" Then take him outside immediately so he can go potty.
As you hit the grass
As you reach the grass and put your pup down, add in the cue "go potty" and let him go.
When he is done
When your pup finally poops outside, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
The rest is on you
The rest of this training is all on you. It is up to you to set a timer or remember to take your pup out on a regular basis. If you forget, it's not his fault if he has an accident. The more you practice, the faster he will learn and the fewer messes you will get stuck cleaning up.
By PB Getz
Published: 01/05/2018, edited: 01/08/2021