Chihuahua Outdoors Pee-pee Poo Poo Partay
January 17, 2006 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Previously paper-trained Chihuahua, now on the path to being house broken will very very occasionally do her business outside. If let out from her crate, she may go to the bathroom in the house, however, for some reason, she prefers to go to the bathroom in her crate (just number one)! Outside she will just stand around our feet, looking to be picked up or just looking up at us. Her Chihuahua friend, similar history with paper training, will do her business in a mater of seconds on the lawn…she learnt this in a couple of days. What are we doing wrong with the stubborn one??? I don’t want her to be in a crate every time we have to leave the room. All I want for her to understand is that when Chihuahua goes outside, does the business, Chihuahua can quickly go inside … When she does go to the bathroom outside she is rewarded, but as mentioned, this is not often… Any hints? Any Chihuahua specific pointers? Thanks
posted by strangelove to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
My chihuahua has never really graduated from the paper training thing. We have those pee pads, still, and change them frequently, putting the used ones into a diaper genie and sanitizing the area. Not a terribly ecological solution, but the only one we've learned to deal with. The dog just will not hold it.

The crate is probably too big. In order for a dog to resist going in the crate, it should only be big enough for the dog to stand up and turn around. Otherwise, they're comfortable going in the corner. There were no crates this small when mine was a puppy (and weighed 1 pound!), so we left him out and paper trained. This stuck, alas. Now that he's older, he won't go in the crate because he's grown into it.

We had some success when the dog could leave the house many times per days to use the bathroom, we're just not home all day everyday to facilitate this. A doggie door would probably do it, but that's not an option for us. Putting the pee pads on the lawn seemed promising.

The paper training is convenient for travel, though. I just enter an airport bathroom stall, drop the pee pad, the dog immediately goes, then I lysol the area, throw the pee pad in a ziplock, and toss it.
posted by lalalana at 8:11 PM on January 17, 2006

No help for your current situation. In the future, to avoid this problem, don't paper train.
posted by Carbolic at 8:21 PM on January 17, 2006

I agree that the crate is too big. It's not too late, though.

My dog had previously been housebroken, given to the pound, and I had to retrain him. Since he was kenneled all day at the pound, we had much catching up to do.

Since I and my partner worked, we didn't give him the option of peeing at his leisure, in the crate or elsewhere. We got him a crate that was too small to do his business and lay down in. We set a very strictly followed 'go out and pee, come in and eat, get in the crate' morning routine and a similarly rigorous routine when we got home.

Within two weeks he was in the groove with the routine, within a month he was leading us in it, and no longer peeing when/where he wanted.

And of course rewards are huge, make a big deal out of every time she does it right.
posted by Slap Incognito at 8:51 PM on January 17, 2006

I agree with lalalana. Dogs will NOT lie in a puddle of their own pee, so if the crate is big enough, they will potty in one end and hang out in the other. With a chihuahua this might be hard, but get a smaller crate.This can be expensive if you start with a small puppy who later becomes a big dog, because as the dog grows the crates must too. I read you can buy big crates that either some with dividers to make them smaller, or you can simply make one yourself.

Anyway, assuming you work or spend any amount of time out of the house, crate the dog when you are gone, and as soon as you get home uncrate them and take them out to pee. At night, take them out to pee before bed and them crate them overnight, and then take them out to pee again first thing in the morning.

If the crate is small enough they don't want to pee inside, they will learn to hold it until you take them out, then they will associate outside with potty. (Once the dog is potty trained you can let them sleep out of the crate at night but I still have to walk my Boston terrier right before bed and first thing in the morning.)

My Boston is 4 years old and has lives in as many houses as his age. Each time we moved he had to learn that layout of the house but after a few days he figured out which door leads outside, and now I know he needs to go potty when he sits by the door and waits. I am now teaching him commands. The question "Do you need to go outside?" or even the o-word produces maniacal reactions from him. He's also learning now to fetch his leash, which hangs on a coat rack right by the door.

I've heard pee pads are pad. It's best to to start with the final result, taking a puppy outside from the beginning. But older dogs can be trained, if you are persistant.
posted by Brittanie at 8:55 PM on January 17, 2006

BAD. Pee pads are *bad*.
posted by Brittanie at 8:55 PM on January 17, 2006

Older dogs aren't much harder to train, honestly. I just adopted a 5 year old that totally walked all over his previous family (from the behavior that I've seen). In a matter of 2 weeks, he reliably goes outside when and where I tell him to, and he's learning not to mark, ever.

Consistency is the key. I also agree that in your situation, the crate size is probably a big issue. Also, how long are you leaving her in the crate, and how old is she? For a young dog (< 1 year), you can't expect them to last 6 or 8 hours without absolutely needing to>
Training a pup, for me, went like this. Take her outside, stand around as long as you can bear it (sometimes 30 minutes or more for me). If she goes, praise, treat and take her straight inside and let her hang out with you. If she doesnt go, then she goes back into her (new, properly sized) crate. An hour or two later, take her outside again. It won't take too long for biology to kick in, and she'll let loose. Then you praise, treat, and bring her back in with you. Repeating this, it really shouldn't take more than a few days to get noticeable improvement.

Also, always take her to the same spot. The scent of previous outings will be a good reminder to her that this is what we do out here.
posted by knave at 10:54 PM on January 17, 2006

Oh, and this may seem obvious, but negative reinforcement when caught in the act is a key part of training. How stern the negative reaction is depends a lot on the dog. My previous dog would practically pee herself with fear if I said "No!", so I had to adjust and say things like "uh oh" or "hey hey" while gently putting her in her crate for timeout. My new, stubborn male just looks at me funny when I say "No!" so I have to sometimes get a little louder to get his attention, then lead him to his timeout.

This should be obvious, but if you don't catch her in the act, there's no punishment. None of that "stick their nose in it" business accomplishes anything. By the time they're done, they've forgotten they did it.
posted by knave at 11:00 PM on January 17, 2006

The crate is not too large; this is why we are concerned (Margo, the Chihuahua is quite small, and the height of the crate is slightly larger than herself). It is the smallest size available without resorting to a hamster cage. The question is; why Margo would lie in her own filth, other than go to the bathroom outside? We take her out very often, for extended periods of time, in all conditions (Toronto-area).
There is no negative reinforcement.
Perhaps prune juice may work, at least to get her go outside...
I may resort to saving the paper towel used to clean her mess, and place that in the spot outside where I want her to do. I have also placed newspaper on the grass to see if this would prompt her to go the bathroom...still nothing...

Another thing, thank you all for the responses, however, none of them would illicit marking as a best answer...
posted by strangelove at 3:17 AM on January 18, 2006

Knave, you and I have the same thoughts on the training. Your suggestion is close to what we are doing in practice.
posted by strangelove at 3:28 AM on January 18, 2006

The question is; why Margo would lie in her own filth, other than go to the bathroom outside? We take her out very often, for extended periods of time, in all conditions (Toronto-area).

Have you talked with your vet about this? Maybe it's a physical problem.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:33 AM on January 18, 2006

...none of them would illicit marking as a best answer...

Jeez. Anyway, I'm with Steve, I've read that many times it can be a medical issue needing treatment.
posted by knave at 12:11 PM on January 18, 2006

Knave, when I arrived at work this morning, many of the answers were marked as best...
I will investigate this with our vet...
posted by strangelove at 3:30 PM on January 18, 2006

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