Q: I have a 9-week-old Chihuahua mix. I’ve had her for 3 weeks now and she is IMPOSSIBLE to potty train. At first, I had a housebreaking pad in the kennel but stopped doing that because everyone was telling me it’s not good. I took it out and put the divider in there so there’s just enough room for her and her little bed. I take her outside but as soon as I bring her in, she “goes” wherever she wants.
I left a housebreaking pad in the kitchen, and whenever I think she needs to go I put her there, but she just sits there and barks at me NONSTOP for 10 minutes. and when I put her back in the kennel she poops and pees in her bed! I’m getting so frustrated. I wake up three times in the middle of the night when she starts whining and takes her to the kitchen and she still doesn’t do anything. I just can’t train her and it’s really stressing me out. Please help!!
A: It sounds like a very frustrating situation. Please keep in mind that a 9-week-old puppy is just a baby, and she hasn’t learned the appropriate behavior yet!
Chihuahuas can also be very challenging to house train. Please don’t give up on her! Start immediately feeding her in her crate, remove all bedding from her crate, and take her out to potty on a leash.
Her crate must be small enough just so that she can lie down and turn a small circle, no bigger. Removing the bedding will make her think twice about going potty in her crate because there will be no bedding to absorb the excess moisture. She will still have a few accidents, so be prepared for that, but it will improve! Feeding her in her crate will make her less likely to go potty in it as dogs do not like to potty where they eat. Taking her out to potty on a leash will prevent her from running around and playing. Go to the exact same area of the yard and stand still and wait. After 5 minutes, take her back in and put her in her crate with a delicious chew treat. Examples of high-value chew treats are Bully Sticks, compressed rawhide and my favorite, raw beef sliced marrow bones. Giving her a high-value chew treat will keep her busy in her crate and reinforce not to go potty in it.
After an hour take her back out and repeat the routine. The two key things here in making this work are making her crate really small with no bedding, and feeding her meals and treats in the crate. Don’t give up on her, she will be well worth the trouble when you get her through this!
Q: My dog barks every morning very loudly at my husband when he gets ready to leave for work. This has been going on for two years now and I don’t know what to do to get him to stop. My husband has just been in the household for 2 years, so prior to that, it was just me and my pets. I also have two cats. This really frustrates my husband and I have tried to get Giz to stop, but nothing has worked except for me to pick him up. Giz acts like he is jealous of the attention, knowing that with my husband leaving for work I will give him a hug and kiss and I guess that Giz feels that I’m leaving him out. Please help!!
A: In many cases, dogs will attempt to control a person’s departure due to dominance-related issues. Your husband needs to get more involved in leadership exercises to teach Giz that he needs to be more respectful. Examples of leadership exercises are having Giz sit and stay for feeding. He needs to sit and stay before being released to eat. Have Giz sit and wait for your husband to walk through doorways and cross thresholds ahead of him. A very important leadership-building exercise is walking your dog in heel position on a daily basis. Giz should not be allowed to sniff and relieve himself along the walk. Your husband should set the pace and keep it brisk.
Giz needs to earn rewards such as petting. Both you and your husband should have Giz sit before you pet him or pick him up. To deal with the immediate issue of the barking, put a leash on Giz first thing in the morning before the barking begins. The second the barking starts, give a stern “quiet” command, pick up the leash and walk him from the room and close him out of the room. The instant he stops barking, allow him back into the room. Repeat this exercise until Giz begins to associate the barking with being removed from the room. He should learn to be quiet keeps him with his pack, and being demanding and barking gets him removed. Good luck!