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Hello. My family has a 7-month-old Chihuahua/York Terrier mix puppy who is proving to be very difficult to housetrain.


The major point of frustration is that we can't seem to predict when she has to go potty, and so far we haven't noticed any behavior she makes that cues us that she needs to go. She certainly is not being pro-active by barking, whining, going towards the front door, etc.


She sniffs around and circles very often throughout the day, I guess to explore, so this is not a tell-tale way to indicate she is about to go.


It would be great if she would eat at regular times each day, but some days she doesn't eat ANY breakfast or lunch at all. We give her food, but she doesn't always eat it. She is not real skinny, and she even has a pot-belly, so she's certainly not starving.


We try to keep an eye on her, but several times now she has gone potty inside our house in the space of only five-minute windows of time while unsupervised.


We tried a crate for a while, but she hates it and we have to force her to go in it when we can't watch her. She cries and scratches when she's inside it, and so we feel guilty about it. We don't particularly have a desire for her to spend a lot of time in her crate; we only want her housetrained.


There have been several instances when we have taken her outside two or three times in a row about 10 minutes apart, only to find that she went potty right after she came back inside.


Even the times of day that she goes #2, inside the house or out, are not regular. Some days she goes three or four times a day like normal, and sometimes she goes from early-afternoon to the next morning without any bowel movements at all.


So now we are constantly watching her closely whenever we think that she might potentially have to go, and taking her out frequently during those times. We can do it for a while, but she's 7 months old--how long will this last?


And how can we teach her how to let us know when she needs to go?


Should we try a different kind of food that hopefully she'll like more and
eat on a regular schedule?


Should we stick to the crate, even though she hates it?


I certainly hope that she's not having health problems.


Does anyone have any advice or recommendations?


Thank you.
 

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I'll give it to you straight. I hope you don't take offense.

To answer your question, it should take a couple of weeks to housetrain a puppy, a month at the most.

The fact you are still working on this, means your technique has not been good. You need to start the house training program over again from square one, as if she were an 8 week old puppy.

There are two components to house training.

1) PREVENTION of accidents. That means you make it impossible for the pup to make a mistake by: confining her to her crate, or keeping her on a leash with you, or having her under your direct supervision, with eyes on her at all times and within easy reach so you can scoop her up in the event she starts to pee.

2) REWARD for potty outside. That means you take her out to her potty place and within 2 seconds of her pottying, you give her an absolutely fabulous treat, such as a bit of cooked chicken or chicken liver.

Put a penny in a jar for every one of these successes (potty outside w/ treat immediately delivered)
Take 5 pennies out of the jar for each accident in the house.

Clean up all accidents thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner such as Nature's Miracle, otherwise that place will smell like a toilet to the dog, even if you cannot smell it, and she will be attracted to go there again.

You need to save 300 pennies, then you are probably getting somewhere.

A dog does not need to have the skill of telling you when she needs to go out, to be house trained. That is almost beside the point, and will come later, once she is well patterned to go outside.

Understand that at this point, your puppy probably has no idea what exactly she is supposed to do because there have been enough accidents that she considers the house also to be a bathroom, as well as the yard.

Check out all the house training threads. There are videos there as well.
 

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It also sounds like the pup is overfed. Does the vet think her weight is appropriate? A little dog like that needs remarkably little food. Several very small meals throughout the day may be appropriate, and may help her get onto more of a regular eating and pooping schedule. Little dogs need to eat often, but not much at a time. If she stuffs herself at one meal, she won't be hungry at the next one. Also, eating a lot at once tends to create urgency to eliminate. Find out from your vet how much she should be getting per day and divide it up into 3 or 4 meals.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your response, Tess.

I am a little surprised that you would be verbally critical of my "technique" when I only asked for help and suggestions. But that is behind us so we can drop the matter...

Let me clarify about her feeding: The bag of food we have (Science Diet for puppies) has written on the back that she, for her size, should be fed one and a half cups of food daily; we provide her with a half a cup morning, lunchtime, and dinnertime. But very often she only eats maybe a half a cup to one cup a day total.

How she has a pot-belly while eating so little has me confused too, but those are the facts.

Should we try a different food that she'll like so as to get her on a more-normal feeding schedule?

My main concern at the moment is not that she "doesn't let us know" that she has to go. More so it's that we take her out when she potentially has to go (after meals, naps, play-time, etc.) but it seems to be a hit-and-miss type thing.

Sometimes she goes potty outside but sometimes she doesn't, and if she doesn't we're not sure if it's because she doesn't *want* to go outside or if she doesn't *have* to go at all. So we end up taking her out many, many times, often to no avail. And sometimes she ends up going potty in the house when she comes back in, which is *very* frustrating.

Now, please understand, she has made a lot of progress since we got her (we got her when she was three months old), but it doesn't take but an accident or two here and there to upset some of the more-sensitive people in my family.

So the major questions I have at this point are if to try a different food, keep her in the crate (which she hates) sometimes, and how to get her on a *reliable* and predictable schedule of going potty.

If anyone can help me with these questions or give any more suggestions or information, it would be very much appreciated.
 

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One and a half cups sounds like a lot of food for a small dog. Keep in mind those are just starting guidelines on the bag, after that, you can adjust according to your observations and the dog's body condition.

As far as your other questions on potty training, maybe you can find what you need on the puppy house training sticky thread? It's right there in that section. I cannot link from my iPad. I have given you the condensed version already, but maybe you want more details.
 

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... that is a **lot** of food for a little dog. Feeding guidelines on the back are notorious for overestimating how much to feed - after all if you feed more, you have to buy more bags and the company gets rich. Trial and error is a much better guideline. Is the dog gaining too much weight? feed less. Can you easily feel ribs? Feed more. When my 65lbs lab mix was on kibble, she was being fed just over a cup a day. I'd definately consider switching to a higher quality brand through. Science diet is mostly corn and filler which goes through dogs and just gives you more to clean up.

Like Tess said, the main reason she isn't letting you know that she has to go out is because she doesn't know that she has to go out. In her little doggy mind inside the house is just another place where she can go potty. There are so many more interesting things to do outside than go pee, so she just forgets why she is out there. Then she comes back in and remembers "Oh right! I had to go" and since she's gone inside before, and it smells like a bathroom, she knows she can go.

You have to give her a reason to want to go outside instead of exploring the interesting new world which is where the super-special outside bathroom treats come in. They give her a reason to want to go in that big bathroom outside instead of the more convinient one inside. I could go to the bathroom upstairs and just relieve myself, or I could walk to the bathroom downstairs, relieve myself, and someone gives me a cupcake as soon as I'm done. This coupled with an enzyme cleaner to get rid of the "this is a bathroom" smell will get you well on your way to a fully housebroken dog.

As for crates, I highly suggest checking out our crate training FAQ. Crate training provides a nice calm safe place where the dog can get away - most dogs come to love it. Whenever one of mine are sick or feeling down, I usually find them curled up sleeping in their crate.
 

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http://www.dogforum.com/housebreaking-puppies/house-training-how-tos-2135/

Sticky of house training pups mentioned by Tess.

I understand your frustration with the situation. I had a similar situation with my puppy, Lilly. I had adopted her from the pound so she was "use to" going potty inside her living area and had never been outside - thus, she would not potty outside, only inside my house.

How I fixed it was taking her outside and staying outside until she pottied. Wouldn't play with her, just let her sniff around until she finally went. When she did- LOTS of praise, treats, kisses, then play time. I seriously spent 3 hours outside once waiting for this dog to pee the first time I finally got her to potty outside.

If I didn't have that much time to devote to her training (such as leaving for work), I would kennel her until I got home. In her kennel I would give her a kong with peanut butter or yogurt, etc plus a chew toy. She had severe separation anxiety on top of it - my neighbors complained that she cried at the top of her lungs for the 8 hours I was gone at work. But thats a different thing completely...

If the dog hates the kennel, as you mentioned, and you are unable to find a way to make it positive, like proving a yummy fun treat while the dog is in there... leash the dog to yourself so you can keep a constant eye on her. If she squats or does any sniffing - take her outside and lots of praise if she potties.

Sounds like you already have a regular feeding schedule for the dog- this should help. Takes about 6 hours for food to go through my dog and them needing to potty it out. Just keep track of when the dog potties after feeding time.

Hope this helps.
 

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Hello. My family has a 7-month-old Chihuahua/York Terrier mix puppy who is proving to be very difficult to housetrain.


The major point of frustration is that we can't seem to predict when she has to go potty, and so far we haven't noticed any behavior she makes that cues us that she needs to go. She certainly is not being pro-active by barking, whining, going towards the front door, etc.


She sniffs around and circles very often throughout the day, I guess to explore, so this is not a tell-tale way to indicate she is about to go.


It would be great if she would eat at regular times each day, but some days she doesn't eat ANY breakfast or lunch at all. We give her food, but she doesn't always eat it. She is not real skinny, and she even has a pot-belly, so she's certainly not starving.


We try to keep an eye on her, but several times now she has gone potty inside our house in the space of only five-minute windows of time while unsupervised.


We tried a crate for a while, but she hates it and we have to force her to go in it when we can't watch her. She cries and scratches when she's inside it, and so we feel guilty about it. We don't particularly have a desire for her to spend a lot of time in her crate; we only want her housetrained.


There have been several instances when we have taken her outside two or three times in a row about 10 minutes apart, only to find that she went potty right after she came back inside.


Even the times of day that she goes #2, inside the house or out, are not regular. Some days she goes three or four times a day like normal, and sometimes she goes from early-afternoon to the next morning without any bowel movements at all.


So now we are constantly watching her closely whenever we think that she might potentially have to go, and taking her out frequently during those times. We can do it for a while, but she's 7 months old--how long will this last?


And how can we teach her how to let us know when she needs to go?


Should we try a different kind of food that hopefully she'll like more and
eat on a regular schedule?


Should we stick to the crate, even though she hates it?


I certainly hope that she's not having health problems.


Does anyone have any advice or recommendations?


Thank you.
Your dog is small enough to use a litter box, some people train their small dog to use a litter box . That would be better than going on the floor.
My vet told me to never follow the guideline of the amount to feed your dog on dog food packages ,she is was too much for my small dog.
 

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Your dog is small enough to use a litter box, some people train their small dog to use a litter box . That would be better than going on the floor.
My vet told me to never follow the guideline of the amount to feed your dog on dog food packages ,she is was too much for my small dog.

They have dog- boxes (like cat litter boxes, but wider) and even dog litter (Purina Second Nature Dog Litter - New Puppy Center - Dog - PetSmart). My bigger dog was litter box trained. Lilly just liked to dig in it so I ended up going the "traditional" outside potty method..

There is also this product: Potty Patch- As Seen on TV - Dog - Sale - PetSmart and variations of it if you dont like that specific one.
 

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House training puppies

Out of all the different puppies I house trained, I honestly found that Chihuahuas are the hardest. Also if you have other dogs around who can be a bad influence, can determine how easy it will be. My chihuahua was trained how to sit, lay etc. She was potty trained, but then a couple weeks later while she was still a puppy, we moved into a ho me with other dogs that were not trained. They would poop in the house etc. It was disturbing. So she thought "Ohh I can do this too!!" She started pooping and pottying in the house, and just not listening.

Months later, I moved to New york, and she became a lot better with house training. She got back into her ways with walking and listening. She had an older dog with her all the time and he was very obedient and a great influence. The only time she would pee, was if she was extremely excited to see someone. She would just dribble all over the floor. Out of spite, if she was mad at us for some reason she would poop in front of our doors. Now, she still lives in new york with my step dad who works at a vet in Holbrook Long Island, She is doing amazingly well, and from what I heard she never dribbles anymore. She is full blooded chihuahua.

I have trained my other dogs, german shepherd, lab mixes, and now training a husky lab mix. Treats are the KEY to everything when it comes to training! I know that they definitely react to positive enforcement. If she sits when i say sit, treat... What i did with obedient training was sit on the floor, let her run around me chasing my hand like a game. I would stop, then say "SIT" Now dont say it in a bad way, but say it in a dominant way so she knows you are serious. If she doesnt, just keep saying "SIT" and when she does, give her a treat. She will catch on pretty fast. Exercise that for a while and it works amazingly. Also with lay and other things. Crate training is almost the same but with the treats in the crate. That could be difficult.

Potty training, I would just put the pads around the house, but for the most part I would stick it next to the door and every chance I had, stick the pup on the pad and let them sniff it. Some pads have certain smells so it helps them realize thats where they need to go. Once they get the idea I would start taking them out more. Every two hours. Eventually they learn that the door means potty time! :)

I truly love and enjoy training dogs.. but I learned that its just hard to do with certain breeds. I suggest reading some books on that those breeds and look into it a bit more. You will definitely find some interesting things. :)
 

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This may help
and maybe use a pen instead of a crate with a area to go so she will not use the rest of the house as a potty.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips, all!

I'll have to be more diligent and careful about my dog's housetraining.

I'll let you know how it goes after a while.

Thanks again!
 
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