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The challenge of house training small breed dogs

Small breeds of dogs including toys, miniatures and just small dogs are a unique challenge to housetrain. This is largely because as puppies they are so tiny it is hard to tell when they are actually going to the bathroom, their body positioning changes very little compared to larger breed puppies. In addition puppies have very small bladders compared to their overall body size, and miniatures and toys have such small bladders it seems that they are urinating at a high rate of frequency, although the quantity of urine produced will be very small, and often almost undetectable to humans.
This leaves constant “markers” around on rugs and furniture that signals to the puppy this is a bathroom area. Another issue with small puppies is that they can easily sneak under furniture, behind furniture or even behind plants and relieve themselves with the owners even being aware.

A few tips for housetraining a small breed puppy are:

1. Use crate training. A crate provides a safe place like a den that the puppy will not mess in. Place the puppy in the crate after eating, then take them out 10-15 minutes later and immediately go to the designated toilet area. Give the puppy a chance to use the bathroom, and then provide lots of praise. If they don’t go after 5 minutes simply return them to the crate and repeat the process every 5 minutes.

2. Watch for signals that they need to go outside when not in the crate. Sniffing, pacing and circling are often signs that the dog needs to go to the bathroom. If the puppy tries to get behind or under furniture this is likely a sign.

3. Take the puppy to the bathroom area frequently, at least once an hour. Praise the puppy when he or she goes in the right place. Avoid playing or interacting with the dog on potty breaks, as this will confuse the puppy as to what they are supposed to do in the area.

4. If you want to monitor the puppy simply attach a short three to four foot least to your wrist and keep the puppy with you at all times. Watch for signs of needing to go outside.

5. Set a feeding schedule. Usually puppies will need to use the bathroom 15 to 20 minutes after eating, but each dog is different. Keep a journal or record of feeding times and bathroom times and you can easily set a routine.

6. Avoid feeding the puppy any scraps, human food, or changing their puppy food. This is likely to cause diarrhea that will complicate the housetraining schedule.

7. Never punish a puppy for mistakes. This will only cause anxiety and a greater desire by the puppy to be sneaky to avoid getting punished. Clean the area with an enzyme based cleaner to remove all odor. Avoid using bleach products as they can actually mimic the chemicals in urine and can actually increase the likelihood that the dog will use the same area again.

Try to have someone in the home for the first few weeks the puppy arrives home to get it completely housetrained before leaving him or her alone for long periods of time. Lastly, remember that housetraining problems are usually a result of lack of attention by the owner, and are almost never a direct problem caused by the puppy.

Kelly Marshall

Kelly Marshall is a popular writer - where you can find dog beds, dog steps, pet ramps, and more unique dog gear.

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