For anyone who has ever owned a Chihuahua, it can be very frustrating to know that they are notoriously difficult to housetrain. This breed has a knack for finding the worst places to use the bathroom in your home and it can be tempting to leave them outside indefinitely. However, Chihuahuas are very much lap dogs and thrive indoors with their family. So what is the solution for a dog who refuses to take his business outdoors? In winter especially, Chihuahuas can hesitate to go out and relieve themselves due to the cold weather. They are sensitive and particular and require a persistent and patient owner to overcome their stubborn attitudes and teach them the appropriate ways to do things.
Chihuahuas can learn just as well as any other dog, but may require some extra practice and a stern - but not angry - voice when getting involved in obedience training. This includes potty training. If you’re not yet resigned to having your Chihuahua go wherever he pleases, then it may be time to set a schedule for training.
Depending on where you live, whether in a house in the suburbs or an apartment in the city, every dog needs an appropriate bathroom routine. Puppies can start potty training once they are eight weeks old and the earlier a routine is established, the better. Chihuahuas will need to especially be monitored, as they are small and vulnerable when outdoors, but can still learn and adjust to a schedule like any other breed of dog.
A positive reinforcement approach works best on Chihuahuas, as they don’t respond well to negative reinforcement. Rubbing their nose into the carpet or shouting will likely not solve your bathroom woes, but a reward in the form of a treat or a toy for good bathroom habits will likely yield much better results. This technique does not only apply to potty training, but for obedience training in general. For an older Chihuahua who may already have established habits, you’ll want to double the reward and make it that much more interesting and enticing. With the right reinforcement, even the most stubborn of this small breed can learn to do things your way.
Depending on the weather in your area, you may want to invest in a sweater or other warm covering for your Chihuahua. The warmer they are when they’re outside, the less likely it will be that they’ll default to using the bathroom inside.
Take your Chihuahua to the vet if you haven’t already to rule out any incontinence or health problems that could be contributing to his bathroom habits. If he receives a clean bill of health, then you can continue to work on training. Determine what motivates your dog the most, whether it's toys or treats, and gather enough of those to offer rewards whenever possible to do so. Good rewards will encourage better behavior.