“He’s a 9 month old
Pekingese. We need help. I’ve been on
the Internet and I know they are hard to train but we have to do something. We’re getting nowhere with this!” The breed being described as “hard to train”
could also be a small poodle, a yorkie or a pom. The breed doesn’t seem to matter much. However, all the breeds reputedly hard to
train have one thing in common, they are all small. I have heard a lot of reasons given for this
problem. “They develop slower.” “Tiny dogs have smaller kidneys.” “Big dogs can find the door easier.” While all these things are obviously not
true, the fact remains that people have a lot more trouble with housebreaking
issues with the toy breeds than with any other size dog.
What this particular Pekingese owner said was certainly
true. The information she found on the Internet confirms that she is not the
only one having the problem. If everyone
else is having the same issue it is easy enough to come to the conclusion that
whatever is going on has something to do with picking the wrong breed. In fact, the number one reason for toy size
breeds ending up in shelters is for lack of housebreaking.
Now there are a lot
of toy breeds! Can all of them be plagued with the same physical or mental deficiency
making house training a problem? Maybe
toy dogs aren’t as “smart” as big dogs?
Well now we are treading on dangerous ground, my friend! Toy dog owners are adamant, “He is the
smartest dog we have ever had! It’s just
this one thing we are having trouble
Any time you have a problem shared by so many it is not
likely to be a coincidence. There is a
sound reason for the difficult housebreaking process which seems to plague the
owners of toy breeds. It’s not that they
have a physical problem and, heaven knows, they are as “smart” as any big dog
When an 8 week old Yorkshire terrier urinates on the floor
it is almost cute! “Someone, qet a cotton ball and soak up the droplets! Little
Ringo just did a little pee pee”. Bring
a Q-Tip from the bathroom when you come out.
Now where did I see it? Can you
find it? I thought I just saw him
go.” Oops, there is a little mistake
over here too, or is it just a raisin from the kid’s cereal? I’m not sure. Guess
you should bring a tissue too.”
That’s the first
issue. It’s small. The second issue? You can’t find it. The little guy is running all over the
house. He is also being shuttled around
from room to room by every member of the family. Everyone wants to hold him. The kids fight to have him sleep in their
room. Why would anybody put him in a
crate, as cute as he is? You could take
him outside but why would you want to put him through such a thing? After all, it’s too cold, it’s snowing, it’s
too wet, the grass is too high and………..it’s too much trouble.
Habits are being formed and they aren’t good. It will be a while before it becomes an issue
though because puppy urine doesn’t smell and the little guy doesn’t lift his
leg….yet. The little spots disappear
completely on rugs, nowhere to be found.
As the months go by ten little spots turn into thousands and finally
someone asks, “What’s that smell?” When
a “smell investigator” finally turns over one of the throw rugs the magnitude
of the problem suddenly hits home.
It is interesting to note that, in more than 35 years of
training dogs, I can’t remember a single case where I was called to solve a
housebreaking problem with a 9 month old Great Dane or a Saint Bernard. Urine
marking with an adult, every once in a while, but never the puppy housebreaking
issues of the young toy breeds. The
reason for this disparity in big dog and small dog housebreaking skills is not
that much of a mystery at all. When a
12 week old giant breed “goes” on the floor you don’t need a cotton ball. You
need a garden shovel and an industrial mop with a wringer bucket. Now there is all the incentive necessary to
confine the puppy when he is not being watched and take him outside, and
often. Who cares what the weather
is? Mystery solved.