Potty Training Small Breed Dogs

Training for any small breed dog starts the very instant they are born.  The mother may clean up after them, but “learning” the location of the food source is entirely up to them. In the wild, failure to learn basic survival techniques guarantees an early death.

One of the first rules of survival is to minimize potential detection by predators – soiling your living space with aromatic body waste is most certainly in violation of this basic law of nature and will attract predators.

In the beginning, a good mother will consume the body waste of her pups. As soon as they are able, the mother will show them where the “potty area” is and how to get to it. Their instinctual drive to relieve themselves away from the sleeping area holds the key to making potty training quick and easy.

small breed pomerian dog standing by fire hydrantSo what is the problem with our dogs? Why do they not instantly run outdoors to relieve themselves?

There are a multitude of reasons, of which the majority point squarely back to us, their human handlers.

Small dog potty training challenges can stem from the environment they were born into and the rules and boundaries they were raised with for the first very impressionable 8-10 weeks of their lives. They can also stem from how you introduce the new puppy to your home (the key word here being your) will also set the foundation for future behaviors.

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Here are a few thoughts for you to consider that will assist you and your new puppy with learning healthy potty habits without a lot of stress on both sides.

Born In A Puppy Mill – natural instinct is being bred out of these dogs and they learn very unnatural, often neurotic, habits.

There is nothing more unnatural that a dog living in a space less than two times their length and height, forced to relieve themselves in the same space they eat and sleep. No matter how good of a mother a puppy mill dog might be, natural instincts in an unnatural environment do not exist.

In this environment puppies are taught that relieving themselves where they eat and sleep is an acceptable practice – they do not know any better and the “retraining” process can be difficult to say the least.  It is up to you to exercise the same calm steady energy a good mother dog would display to change well established habits.

Whelping Box Too Big – If the whelping box for small breed dogs is too large, it will create an acceptable area for relieving themselves.

For novice, backyard or lazy breeders, a common mistake is to provide a whelping box that is entirely too large for small breed dogs. While gating in an area that is 16 square feet (a 4’x4’ space) will work fine for a litter of 4 week old Golden Retrievers – it is entirely too large a space for a mother Chihuahua with two puppies!

This situation will “train” a puppy that it is perfectly fine to sleep in the west corner, eat and drink in the north corner, play in the middle and east corner and poop in the south corner.

Novice, Backyard or Lazy Breeders – Raising a healthy well balanced dog is a responsibility many people are not up to; it takes dedicated time and energy to accomplish this feat successfully.

Too high a percentage of people breeding dogs do not take it seriously. They like their dogs but want to make a few bucks too – they’ll mate a male and female of same or similar breed, put the mother and puppies in a back room and ignore them until 6 weeks of age and sell them off to unsuspecting buyers.

The first 10 weeks of a small dog’s life is the most impressionable. This is when a good mother dog will teach her puppies proper canine behavior – like where to go potty. If their human handlers do not dedicate a significant percentage of their time to actively participate in this process with the mother dog, undesirable habits will develop.

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