A crate can be enormously useful for the purpose of house training a Chihuahua. Dogs, even the youngest puppies, are naturally very clean animals. They do not wish to urinate or defecate in the same place where they sleep.
By keeping your dog in a crate just large enough for him to comfortably stand up, lie down, and turn around, you eliminate the practical option of him relieving himself inside your home. When shopping for a crate, remember that bigger isn’t better in this case. If the crate is too spacious, your dog might decide it has enough room to sleep at one end and eliminate at the other.
A crate will only be an effective house training tool if you consistently provide your dog with opportunities to relieve himself in the appropriate place. Toy breeds need potty breaks more often than larger canines. In the beginning, your dog’s schedule will be a hectic one, but sticking to it is imperative. A two-month-old puppy needs to empty his bladder every two hours. With each additional month of age, your Chihuahua will be able to wait about another hour-with a maximum wait time of no longer than four or five hours.
Your Chihuahua will also need to empty his bowels after each meal, so take him outside shortly after he finishes eating. You should also take your dog out as soon as he wakes from napping and directly after play periods. Your dog should be placed in his crate whenever you cannot keep a close eye on him, so you can avoid as many accidents as possible.
When outside, watch your dog carefully as he inspects the area; many dogs will exhibit certain telltale signs before they eliminate. Circling, pacing, and sniffing are all common pre elimination habits. If you can pinpoint your dog’s warning signals, making note of them can help you avoid future accidents whenever you see your dog demonstrating these behaviors while inside the house. As soon as you witness one of these signs, immediately take your dog outside to the desired location.
When your Chihuahua eliminates in the proper spot, praise him abundantly. If you would like to try to teach your dog to go on command, start using a specific word as soon as the dog begins relieving himself. Many dogs can be conditioned into eliminating on cue when asked to”pee” or “poop” – or whatever word or phrase you attach to each activity.
Your repeated praise and the painstaking routine of taking your dog to the designated area will be the two biggest factors in successfully teaching your dog to eliminate outdoors. You must be patient, persistent, and vigilant, but house training won’t last forever. Soon you will notice that more and more time has passed since your dog’s last mistake.
Some dogs, particularly those who were kept in small cages during the first few weeks of life, do not respond well to the crate as a method of house training. Although as a breed Chihuahuas are not difficult to house train, dogs who spent too much of their young life in a cage may present problems. This battle can be won, but it will require extreme commitment on behalf of the owner. The good news is that once completely trained, these dogs can become every bit as reliable as any other.