Here’s a few tips on how to introduce the crate to your Chihuahua:
- Start slowly. Toss a treat into the crate, let your Chihuahua run in to get it and come out immediately. Praise and give her another treat.
- Get the Chihuahua interested in playing with a toy, then toss the toy into the crate. When she follows it in, close the door briefly, praise, then let her out immediately.
- If your Chihuahua seems nervous about the confinement, consider feeding her inside the crate to create a positive association.
- Once your Chi is comfortable eating food or treats inside the crate with the door open, close the door. Gradually increase the amount of time the door is closed.
- During the day, place the crate in the part of the house where most of the action occurs so your puppy doesn’t feel isolated.
- Place the crate near your bed at night. Your presence will comfort your Chihuahua.
- Be aware that very young puppies might need to eliminate in the middle of the night; this is normal. If your Chihuahua wakes and whines at night, scoop her up, carry her outside and wait for her to go potty. Don’t talk to her or play with her. As soon as she eliminates, immediately return her to the crate.
- In time, your Chihuahua will think of her crate as an enjoyable place where she can relax and nap, and you will be able to leave her in the crate for longer periods of time (although no more than four hours at a time during the day).
Crates Are Great
A Chihuahua doesn’t understand that there’s anything wrong with peeing on the rug. She has no consciousness about eliminating. She just does it when she feels that her bladder is full. Our job as the human is to make her understand that she can’t go just anywhere and that she needs to learn control.
Many of us grew up with dogs, but we didn’t necessarily learn the best ways to deal with them. Dog training has changed so much since we were kids, and positive methods now prevail. We want to have a good, solid relationship with our dogs that will last for years, and in order to do that we have to understand what puppy behavior is like.
This means you have to be present when your puppy starts to do something you don’t like, so you can show her what you prefer. That’s where a schedule and a crate enter the picture.
Crates are not cruel. Or to put it another way, crates are good. Dogs are den animals. They like to have a confined, safe place in which to hang out, sleep and sometimes just escape the tumult of the family. Dogs are naturally clean; they don’t want to soil where they sleep. That’s why crate training for house training works so well.
If you put a Chihuahua puppy on a regular schedule of feeding, playing, going outside and resting in the crate, she can be house trained surprisingly quickly. She might have an accident now and then, but this method really works.
Other uses of the crate include confining the puppy in a safe place when you are out of the house, ensuring that she will not get into trouble by, say, chewing an electrical cord or eliminating where she shouldn’t. And crates help keep the puppy from being under foot at dangerous times, like while you cook. People commonly make mistakes with crates, which contributes to their bad reputation. You can’t just bring your new puppy home, toss her in the crate and leave her for eight hours. The puppy will learn that it’s not a very nice place and that she is going to be left alone for a long time.
A young puppy cannot be expected to hold it longer than a few hours. If you work a full-time job, a walker or pet sitter can help by taking the puppy out for midday walk, than feed and play with her for a while.
Another problem occurs if the puppy cries and she is let out of the crate. She has now learned that all she needs to do to regain her freedom is make some noise. This can be avoided by sitting next to the crate and waiting until she calms down before releasing her. To avoid problems, introduce the crate to your Chihuahua gradually and in a positive way. Give him a special toy, one that he only gets when he goes in the crate.
Tips For Crate Training
- Your puppy’s crate should be just large enough for her to fully stand up and turn around – no bigger.
- If the crate is too big, your Chihuahua will have too much room and might choose to eliminate at the far end.
- Don’t crate for longer than four hours. Younger puppies might only be able to hold it for a few hours.
- Never leave your Chi puppy unsupervised in the house unless she is crated. That way, she doesn’t have the opportunity to have accident you aren’t looking.
- If you are moving around the house and don’t want to crate your Chihuahua, you can tether her to you by looping her leash through your belt. This keeps her by your side so you can watch for signs that she needs to go potty.
- If your Chihuahua starts to eliminate while you are supervising her, clap your hands or make a noise to distract her; she will usually stop what she is doing. Then scoop her up take her to her potty place and praise when she goes there.
- If you can’t interrupt your puppy when she is in the act, don’t correct her after the fact. She won’t understand why she is being scolded.
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