You may be asking “Doesn’t housebreaking mean toileting outside? Why would I need washable puppy pads for this?”
Hear me out.
We love these little munchkin dogs, who are such great companions. They literally can come with us wherever we go. We could pick them up like picking up our pocketbooks and ran out the door with them in hand if we wanted to. They sit on our laps like cats (but much more friendly…sorry, a bit bias) and let us stroke them for an unlimited amount of feel-good hormones called oxytocin.
Toilet Training Woes
Everything seems so manageable with these small breeds until you get to the toilet training bit. They are infamous for being difficult in housebreaking. I know from experience that it can be a very frustrating and costly inconvenience.
I have tried every way to train our teacup chihuahua, but nothing seemed to work. You may think you are making progress one day when she is able to hold it until you are outside. You praise them and give them an overabundance of affection because you feel so relieved.
Then the following day, you stand by the door to take her out with such hope and pride, and then she goes on the floor (good to lay a washable puppy pad in accident-prone areas), looks at you with pride because she thinks she’s done the right thing. Why?
It is not their fault. Our vet enlightened us with these reasons:
- Because of the size of small breeds, they get disoriented with spatial awareness. They can run from one area of the house just a few feet away and think they are in the “outside” area to do their business. And because we often pick them up and move them ourselves, they can get confused in understanding “no go” spaces from “go” spaces.
- Most small breeds do not like going out in the rain and snow. Neither do they enjoy the cold weather as some other breeds. Just because we put a cute raincoat on them with matching booties, they still feel no incentive to frolic in the rain. Best to have a washable puppy pad available and get their business done.
Give It A Go (pun intended)
How do we solve this issue?
Acceptance is the first step. It is not helpful to fault yourself or the dog. Finding a manageable way to live together is the best solution.
Accept that they have this limitation and arrange a way for them to quickly recognise a space accessible to them as their toilet.
Here is how to do it:
Position a Millie Mat washable puppy pad in your chosen doggie toilet area or an area where accidents usually happen. Take them here first thing in the morning, right after they eat, the last thing before going to bed, and any other time you notice they need to go according to their habits.
After they have done their business, praise them and give them a treat. Keep repeating this, and they will soon learn, at least from my experience, 75% of the time, they remember. 25% of the time, they still miss.
In as much as we would love our fur babies to be fully housetrained, when they are not, we should manage the situation with love and acceptance.
Try and Try Until You Succeed
Often, dogs given up to shelters are due to frustrations in housebreaking. As much as dogs are a man’s best friend, we humans are our dog’s best friends. And like good friends, a lot of patience in customising training relevant to their size and habits can go a long way to a beautiful lasting relationship.