If you ignore this aspect of your dog’s life you’ll be very upset, very fast. There are lots of things you should and shouldn’t do to housebreak your dog effectively. There are also a lot of myths running around causing people to neglect important information they can use.
Furthermore, these misconceptions lead people to insist that some dogs are bad and that they should stay away from them. Successful housetraining is probably the most important part of a healthy relationship and a happy life with your Chihuahua.
Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process. In a nutshell, all you have to do is prevent your dog from going to the potty inside and reward him for going outside. Easy as pie, but takes a little longer to bake than your usual pie.
Myth 1: When an accident occurs you should rub your dog’s nose in it
Punishing a dog after the deed is pointless. Your Chihuahua doesn’t think about time the way you do. He doesn’t associate your punishment with something that happened in the past.
He’ll think he’s in trouble for what he was doing then. This will make him fearful of sitting prettily or even coming to you. Then you have a whole bunch of other problems on your head.
Myth 2: Adult dogs cannot be housebroken
This is a biggie. Many people don’t even consider getting an adult dog because they think they’re impossible to housetrain. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are several advantages you will never get from a puppy.
First and foremost an adult dog might already be housetrained, whew, aren’t you glad that’s over? If he hasn’t then you need to start fresh and teach him all over again.
Fact is, adult dogs can be housetrained the same as puppies. They can also hold their own a lot longer than puppies can, and don’t have to go as often. On the other hand, they will make bigger messes.
Myth 3: If an accident happens, it’s the dog’s fault
Dogs, especially puppies, have limited bladder control. Chihuahuas younger than 20 weeks need to go potty every hour when they’re awake. Every hour, can you dig it? Under 12 weeks old they need to go even more often.
A general rule you can use for older puppies is to take how old they are in months, add one and you have the number of hours he can hold it. Of course, nothing substitutes first-hand experience on how your Chihuahua behaves, but it gives you a guideline.
Myth 4: Crate training has nothing to do with housetraining
Crate training is the best way to control your Chihuahua. If you didn’t know, dogs like to sleep in a clean area (who doesn’t?) and, if they can help it, they will never sleep in a soiled area. Your Chihuahua will try his best not to soil the bed, and that gives you an advantage.
Confining him there when you can’t keep an eye on him will give you peace of mind that he won’t start the bad habit of going in the house. You have to be reasonable, because at some point he won’t be able to hold it anymore.
Myth 5: Newspapers are a great idea
While it might work, it’s not a good idea. It teaches the dog it’s ok to go inside the house and it doesn’t teach him to hold it. He might not be really housebroken if this is the way you decide to teach him.
On the other hand, you might live on the 14th floor of a building and you’ll never get out in time. If that’s the case it might be a better idea to get an adult Chihuahua because he’s much more capable of control.
Housebreaking your dog is a key component to a healthy and frustration-free life. Don’t neglect it or you’ll hate yourself later. Take responsibility, be patient and pretty soon you’ll have a housetrained Chihuahua.