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Just adopted 16-month-old chihuahuas with some bad habits



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 8th 05, 08:35 AM
Friesster
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Default Just adopted 16-month-old chihuahuas with some bad habits

Hello, friends:

My partner and I just adopted two lovely chihuahuas (brothers, both
fixed) which, since we live in Vegas, we've named Black and Jack. (har
har.)

Anyhow, we're a bit puzzled. We were warned (got them from the Nevada
SPCA) that they weren't housebroken (and we have to wonder how they
lived for the first year or so of their lives). Turns out, they seem to
have some of the concept but not all of it. It's very confusing.

We live in a 3-bedroom, two-floor townhouse with a small downstairs
patio (about 10-by-12 feet, no grass, small flowerbed.)

We've got a crate and are trying to train them, but we're afraid we're
not being consistent and perhaps missing some of the idea here.

Some of our questions:

1. Do they get food and water in the crate?

2. We crate them at night and then whenever we're out. In addition, I
work from home and sometimes crate them for an hour here or there when
I'm working. Is there such a thing as crating them too much? Should we
be penning them into the tiled kitchen instead sometimes?

3. Every time they're crated, they are taken immediately outside. Is
this enough to teach them where to poo and pee? Is there more to it?
These are not particularly food-oriented animals. Black actually had to
be begged to take a treat earlier today. He's indifferent to that sort
of reward and I'm not sure if he can tell the difference between being
praised for something he's just done and the love we give him
otherwise.

The key problem: Black is very slow to do pee or poo and sometimes just
won't, even if his brother does and is praised. Jack seems to get it,
although tonight he surprised us by marking inside the house AFTER
having been out and having peed and poo'd there.

Today we took them both outside for a while and Black didn't do much.
He had eaten 30 hours and 8 hours before this, but still... no poo. We
gave up, took him inside. About a half-hour later, hanging out in my
office as they sometimes do, my attention was on the computer until I
smelled...the poo.

Why? Why didn't Black do it outside, as his brother did? Am I supposed
to take the dogs out every 20 minutes until the go? Or crate them at
all times? Or keep them on a leash at all times while inside?

Arrgh! They're such lovely dogs. I've already managed to win one
victory -- Black had refused to be led on a leash but I broke him of
that in a day.

How long does it take to housebreak older dogs with bad habits? Is this
process very different than with new puppies?

So many questions!!! Any help is greatly appreciated!

You can see Black and Jack by going to www.stevefriess.com/gallery and
clicking on the top link!

Thanks,
Steve Friess
and
Miles Smith

  #2  
Old May 8th 05, 12:25 PM
Victoria Neff
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Default

In article . com,
Friesster wrote:

How long does it take to housebreak older dogs with bad habits? Is this
process very different than with new puppies?


It depends, and no, same process. :-)

Two main components -- vigilance, and training.

Vigilance -- if the dog goes in the house, it is your mistake, not his. A
new dog must be watched like a hawk -- at all times! -- or crated. Then you
can catch him as he starts to act like he will go, snatch him up, whisk him
out, and then praise when he goes. (Yes, they can tell the difference
between praise for a specific action and general "you're such a good
dog" :-) )

Training -- it really helps to teach the dogs words for what you want them to
do. At our house we use "hurry up!" and "get finished!" To teach them to
know words for actions, you need repetition, repetition, repetition. Take
them on walks, and every time they pee, it's "GOOOOOOOOD hurry up! GOOOD
hurry up!" etc. Treats can be great if the dog likes them, or toys.....

Another thing that really helps, in the long run, is to teach them how to
let you know they need out. I read somewhere once that dogs are not truly
housetrained until they know how to tell you to let them out.......

Many people hang a jingle bell from the doorknob, and touch the bell with
the dog's paw just before going out (hope you are feeling limber! :-) ).

It can be difficult to watch a new dog so carefully, but you will get past
that initial difficulty sooner the more energy you invest in it. The fewer
chances the dog has to sneak off and go outside your notice, the sooner he
will learn that you really want him to go outdoors, not just in a different
room.

Patience. :-)
 




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