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ASK A TRAINER: How Can I Stop My Chihuahuas’ Peeing in the House?

Chihuahuas

I have two half-brother and sister Chihuahuas, purchased from a private breeder when they were about 8 weeks old.

Short of replacing the carpet to start fresh, what are some successful ways to stop dogs from peeing in the house?

– Robin

Hi Robin,

Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas, are often challenging to potty train and may have “accidents” in the house into adulthood. Tiny dogs do urinate more often than larger dogs, even though their small bladders are proportionate to their size.

Whenever there’s a wee-wee issue with the wee ones, I always recommend a veterinary visit to rule out a urinary tract or kidney issue. If the dogs receive a clean bill of health, then we can try to change the behavior with training or management.

One of the problems with tinkling on the carpet is that the urine smell penetrates the carpet’s fibers and remains there, even if you scrub the spot. If the dogs can still smell the urine (or the ammonia in the urine), they will continue to use that spot as a toilet. Using an enzymatic cleaning product can help to break down the odor. While I have not used it myself, I’ve seen the Bissell Spotbot in action, and it seems to do a good job at removing deep pet stains.

I’m wondering if the main culprit is the boy or the girl? Male dogs are prone to “marking,” placing their scent all over the house to claim it as their territory. Females will do this to a degree as well. The dogs are probably perpetuating this problem in a vicious cycle of pee wars – one pees, then the other pees on top of that pee to cover the scent and claim territory, then you clean, then the first one has to mark again because you – gasp! – have covered up his or her hard work, then the other has to pee there, too, then you clean again – and round and round the pee cycle goes. Spaying and neutering can help with the marking issue, but it doesn’t always.

Do you use puppy pads or a piddle tray? I’m a fan of these for small dogs, especially if you can’t take the pups for a potty break several times a day. My favorite of these is the Piddle Place – I use this unit with my dogs and have been able to toss out the puppy pads, so it’s environmentally friendly, too. The Piddle Place has a reservoir that holds urine and comes with an enzymatic solution that deodorizes the collected urine between cleanings. It has a turf-like top that’s easy to clean, and best of all, it has an optional “wall” that you can attach to the unit so that boy dogs can lift their legs.

Whatever tray or pads you use, place them over the areas where the dogs are piddling. Day by day, move the pad or tray a few inches until it’s in the spot where you’ll keep it permanently. Give your dogs high praise and treats for using the tray or pads.

If you absolutely can’t get the piddling under control using these methods, you might have to opt for crating your dogs or keeping them in a confined area when you’re not watching them.

I’m sorry you’re having this issue, because I know how frustrating it can be, but I think you can get it under control — I’m sure your carpet hopes so, too!

– Nikki

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PHOTO: Mary-Jo Foresta Espinoza

Nikki Moustaki

With more than a half a million pet books in print and hundreds of articles on pets and their care and training to her credit, Nikki Moustaki is considered one of the country's leading pet experts. She also is an award-winning freelance writer, animal trainer and pet industry expert, and her tireless work feeding shelter pets with her innovative website, The Pet Postcard Project, along with her hands-on rescue efforts and vocal advocacy for homeless animals has led her to be dubbed "Saint Nik."

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July 26, 2013 By : Category : ASK A TRAINER Potty Training Trainer Popular Topics Tags:
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1 comments
SusanGertz
SusanGertz

My question is if they are marking in various places as opposed to actually having to pee, will something like the Piddle Place help?