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housebreaking a stubborn pup - or is he too smart?

October 8th, 2004, 07:10 AM
Jet is becoming quite stubborn. the last couple of days he seemed to understand that outside means potty. last night and this morning every time we took him outside after taking him out of his crate, he just scratches on the back door and wants to go back inside. we leave him there for awhile crying for a bit hoping he would potty. we let him in after we tell him to stop whining thinking he doesnt have to potty. he comes in and right away proceeds to piddle on my tiles!! such a bad boy!

this morning i washed the floors with vinegar hoping it would turn him off.
this morning after i took him out of his crate to give him breakfast but he just wanted to play! he started nipping and we know its just to get attention. he wouldnt even go near his food unless i played with him.

I carried him to his food bowl and said firmly "eat your food!", and eventually he ate. i took him outside to potty and again he wants to play. i really need him to understand that potty comes before playign so i just ignored him while he tried to play and nip me and i kept saying Go potty Go potty.. eventually he would sniff and, maybe he pottied (again hard to tell sometimes when he is peeing). then I let him play and throw around his little ball. instead he continues to nip and realiizing it gets nowhere starts to climb up my pant legs.

He is really quite stubborn. I wonder if he is too smart that he is able to figure all these things out. just when I think something is working, - No, he ignores it or finds another way around. until last night, he was always willing to go to his crate on his own, even with the door closed. now, he is reluctant to go in. i prod him in by putting his toys in there for him to get it and that he would go in his crate and i close the door. this worked until last night. he is catching on and keeps his hind legs outside and tries to grab at his toys and brings it back outside. i gently push his hind legs in the crate and close the door. he does whine for 5 minutes but gives up.

Pooing also require considerable effort. He always poos during play and it is quite difficult to get him to poo before play. so far we usually play with him and that helps him poo. but as winter approches we probably cant do that anymore and we need to reinforce that he needs to poo first.

He is stubborn and when he knows we mean business and take him outside to potty first, and not play, he gets frustrated and tries to go back in the house. if he is on the deck, he will scratch at the door. if he is on the grass, he will scratch at our house. Now that he knows we take him outside and potty, he resists when we take him out. how long am i able to ignore him when he whines outside before he actually gives up and potties?

October 8th, 2004, 09:43 AM
Hey, how old is Jet? When you put him outside, I presume you go outside too, and that's when he wants to play. Let him play, let him get happy...then I am sure he will stop, pee or poo. You did say he poo's after he plays, thats good :p . They say winter is the hardest time of the year to train a puppy, but Stella (11 months in 1 day) was trained by 3 months. Everytime I put her outside (from 6 weeks on), I went too. Didn't matter what time of day, I went, waited, watched, played. She caught on to the program. Everytime she did her business I acted like it was so wonderful, she was happy to go again. Now, the only problem is that her morning poo is in three different places, only wish it was one large dump. Good luck, and don't give up, your puppy will get the message.

Lucky Rescue
October 8th, 2004, 09:59 AM
Since puppies need to relieve themselves AFTER play, eating and sleeping, he may not have to go before.

It's the activity or food that gets things moving.

As for ouside, you must take him out on a leash, and stand in one spot until he goes. Then you can praise him and he can have another play period. He'll learn that nothing is going to happen until he performs.

October 8th, 2004, 10:04 AM
he is 9 weeks old.

yeah i go outside too.

Im getting confused too. So its good that I do play with him for a bit before he pees and poos? or not play with him until after he pees and poos as a reward. some say dont play with him until after, and thats what im starting to do now.

so far he pees and poos when i play with him first.

Lucky Rescue
October 8th, 2004, 10:51 AM
You're expecting way too much from a tiny 9 week old baby. At that age, the time between feeling the urge to "go" and actually doing it is VERY short.

Here is a very good article on housetraining very young puppies!:)
Housetraining young puppies (

October 8th, 2004, 11:00 AM
I thought so too, but when i take him out to go potty he doesnt go. the minute we go back into the house, he goes pee pee inside! hhaa.. the joys of puppies. :)

October 8th, 2004, 11:45 AM
My puppy is soo cute!!

Here are photos!

October 8th, 2004, 11:55 AM
Hi Karsalis
Your baby is beautiful. We are having the same problems with our 22 week old Shih Tzu. She is scared of the dark so when we take her out at night she will not walk around, she just sits next to us and whines. She hates the cold and does the same thing. You could stand out for an hour and she will do the same thing. This weekend we have decided to try Potty Boot Camp :) , even if it takes all day and night she is learning to go outside.
Good luck with your training.

October 8th, 2004, 12:33 PM
Ever since we got Ariel at 8 weeks, we've been walking her quite often. She gets two walks in the morning. When we take her out of the crate and after she eats before we go to work. We also take her for several when we come home from work. I take her out when I get home, and usually 4 more walks with the last one between 11 or 12 in the evening since I sleep late.

Ariel is now 6 months old and is getting really good with poop and pee. After her meals, she usually poops right away once I take her outside. She's just starting to learn about trying to get our attention when she has to go. Most of the time she just goes to the front door and sits down waiting for one of us to go over and walk her. 9 weeks is definitely too early for Jet.

October 8th, 2004, 12:40 PM
I just looked at Jet's pics and it totally reminded me of Ariel when she was small!! :D

4 Months Later

October 8th, 2004, 01:13 PM
Shih-tzulover, how do you handle it when he just sits there and not do anything? Do you just wait for him to potty, no matter how long it takes?

Gunner, your puppy is soo cute. I would love to take Jet on walks, but he still has to wait for his second shot, which isnít until November.

October 8th, 2004, 01:18 PM
Why do you have to wait for the 2nd shot? We were walking ariel before she got her 2nd set of shots.

October 8th, 2004, 01:19 PM
We just stand and wait, my hubby and I take turns. She is getting better at understanding what potty means, so in the warm daylight she will go when I say "Potty". The waiting games starts after dark and in the cold. I always put a sweater on her when its cold so I know she won't freeze to death. :)
I don't mind her peeing in our house because she has a litter box with a puppy pad in it, the problem arises when we take her to someone elses house, some people don't like a dog peeing in the house even on a puppy pad, so thats why we are going to try really hard this weekend to outdoor train her.

October 8th, 2004, 01:33 PM
gunner the vet told us to wait until her third shot to be exposed to other dogs and public places wehre dogs go

October 8th, 2004, 08:25 PM
Must be the Shih Tzu thing... :eek: Jordie was not easy to train potty. It seemed to take longer I'd say he was 6 months before I would trust him at my mother's house. When we visited there he would always pee in her living room after me saying how good he was doing. I found you think they have it and than you have to start from the begining again. Hang in there Shih Tzu's are worth it all, Jordie is now 4 yrs and what a sweet kid. :)

October 12th, 2004, 06:54 AM
Jet has made some amazing progress during the last few days. I am amazed at how quickly puppies learn! He is becoming quite familiar with pottying outside now. Three out of five times, he will walk over to the back door and sit there to wait for us to take him outside if he needs to potty. sometimes he will scratch at the door if we dont pay attention. Unfortunately, if we dont watch him he will leave the back door and try to potty somewhere else inside. Its great progress though that he is catching on so quickly!! Yesterday he actually walked himself to the back door from the family room and scratched on the backdoor to potty. If he is on the couch, he will start whining or try to jump off if he wants to potty.

If he needs to go potty he will usually do it right away. When he is done he usually just sits there, runs after our feet to get us to play chase with him, or walks up the stairs and waits for us to let him back inside. He tried to go down the steps to the grass on saturday, but he was quite scared. this gutsy dog then actually thought jumping from the deck was a better idea, and he did! i couldnt believe he did that, it is pretty high up - three steps off the ground!. Luckily he was ok though.

He hasnt tried to eat his own poop the last few days. The vet recommended that we put chili on his poop to deter him from eating it. it works! He still plays with our feet after pottying. thats ok, as long as he doesnt bite. We play a game a game of tag with him where he can chase us around the backyard. In the last two days he has been good about not biting our feet when he catches us. He only touches us if he catches us. If he does bite we say "no bite" and put him on the deck to stop play. So far it seems the most effective.

He's getting better control of his pee and poo now. We keep his crate just outside our bedroom door and he is usually able to last 5 hours through the night. We take him out before bedtime at about 10:30, and last night he woke us up at 3:30 to potty. Unfortunately, because we moved him closer he cries more when we put him back in the crate after nighttimne potty cause he thinks we would let him out to play. When he was downstairs he didnt cry so much when we put him back cause he knew we were upstairs.

Its amazing how much he has learned. I cant believe Ive only had him for a little over a week. He has made so much progress!

Xtream Dogs
October 13th, 2004, 06:21 PM
I have a suggestion so that you don't miss his signal that he has go outside.
I hung a big jingle bell on the back door, low enough for my puppies to hit it with their nose, or bang it with their paw. I would ring the bell everytime I opened the door..........the dogs thought the bell had to ring for the door to open. They don't bark or scratch at the door to be let out.........they ring the bell! I can take the bell to anyones house I visit, so they know how to ask to go outside.
My male Rotti learned to ring the doorbell to come back inside when he was bigger. I had both my puppies trained to go outside with in 3 weeks.
With the aid of the crate and the bell housrbreaking was easy.

October 13th, 2004, 08:32 PM
I too have a stubborn little shih-tzu, Stella, who is four years old. From what I've read on shih-tzu's and from the experience of owning one, they are stubborn little things! She was an abuse and neglect case when I got her at 7 months old. Her previous owner never once let her out of her crate to pee or poo :( She had no muscle tone and her legs would shake after I played with her. To make a long story short, this breed of dog has more personality than some of the people I know ;) Sometimes I feel like she understands every word I say.

As far as potty training goes, it took me a persistant three months of training to get Stella fully house-broken. I don't think I could have done it without the crate...and since it was clean, she loved it! Even now, when I let her outside she sometimes just stands on the step and stares at me through the door. I've learned that if I walk away and she can't see me, she'll go down into the grass and do her business. She's had her moments, actually months, especially during the summer, when she is afraid to go outside when it's dark because she associated thunderstorms and fireworks with darkness (or so she told me ;) Anyway, I know it can be frustrating at times, but it's certainly worth the work! I'd give my dog the world and wouldn't trade her for anything!!! Good luck. Looking at your little puppy makes me wish I could have had Stella when she was that little!

October 14th, 2004, 05:08 AM
That's such a nice story. You HAVE HAD her since she was a puppy, and you have changed her life for the better, and you are the only mommy she has had in her life!!!! Take good care of your baby, and I have a Stella too...but, she's just a bit bigger.... :eek:
PS - I knew that eventually Jet would get the message, it was just too soon.

October 14th, 2004, 07:46 AM
That is a loving and sweet story. Poor thing, its unbelievable that the previous owners never took her out. I dont know why people get puppies if they dont take care of them. Im so glad she is doing well.

Stream - Having Jet ring the bell is a terrific idea! Jet has soo much personality and he is just wonderful! He has soo much energy when I get home to play that it takes a loooonnnnggg time for me to tire him out. Its quite hard to cook dinner with a puppy who constantly tugs on you wanting to play. Also Im beginning to sense him wanting to go outside is also not just for potty but for play. Yesterday he kept scratching every 5 minutes after I brought him back inside. I thought he wanted to potty, but instead, he just nibbled on grass and weeds. I dont want to not let him out, thus discouraging him from wanting to go outside, in case he really does need to potty.

I was playing with him on the rug close to the TV last night and it was so funny to watch him. For the first time, he acknowledged the TV and was watching it. Its also very cute that whenever I talk to him, he tilts his head to one side, as if he is listening to me.

October 14th, 2004, 08:08 AM
So glad that Jet is making progress...I bet hes a good baby.....THe tilting head can be sure that Jet is listening to you when you talk..your voice is music to his ears..

I know with hannah,if I talk softly to her she will tilt her head from side to side..then come and give me a kiss..they are just too sweet arent they? :love:

October 14th, 2004, 08:25 AM
Its soo funny, I think his balls are coming down!

yesterday i was rubbing his belly and they were there!. at first, i had no idea they were his balls, they are like little marbles!. he was like "what r u doing feeling me up!"

he is also starting to hump. isnt this all too young for a 9 week old pup?

October 14th, 2004, 08:40 AM
Humping that early is a sign of dominance. Diamond did it too, but to her pillow. She seemed to stop on her own, so your little guy should too.

About the bell thing. As some of you know, Diamond has a thing for only wanting to be outside. The weather is starting to get cold now, so I'm finding myself hating being outside to play all the time. How do you get them to realize that the bell is to be used for potty only and not if they just want in and out ALL day & night!?

October 14th, 2004, 02:13 PM
I was just scrolling down through this thread - OMG! Do you realize how many adorable shih-tzu pix there are on here? Those little bandits are adorable!!! :love: :love:

October 14th, 2004, 02:27 PM
Well, I do hate to brag :D but my Stella certainly is a cutie (my opinion may be slighty biased however ;)

October 15th, 2004, 07:00 AM
yeah Jet is getting quite dominant. It is something that we really need to control before he gets out of hand. He really tests us a lot and pushes his limit whenever he can, growling at us when he doesnt get his way and tries to bite us. He is so sweet and docile to everyone else. We have a friend who comes by at lunch to feed him take him out and play with him and Jet is such a good boy to her and never shows any dominance. To us its different. We didnt expect that from him cause when we saw Jet with his littermates he was the quietest and most docile in the pack! the others were playfighting and going all nutty and he was just lying on his back observing everything.

We really didnt expect this behaviour from him. We have probably been a bit too lenient with him letting him get away with things. Its so hard cause he is so cute, but we really need to change things. Until yesterday I let him snuggle with us on the couch. Since he is becoming more dominant, I am not wanting to let him do that anymore as I want to reinforce that he is not alpha - we are. My husband and I were on the couch yesterday and he tried to jump up. We kept saying, no! down!. He actually got mad growled and lunged at us trying to bite. When I said no bite, he got even more upset and tried to bite harder and with more frequency. We then put him in the washroom and closed the door, to settle him down.

We kept him there for a couple of minutes. When we let him out he looked at us guiltily and was actually behaving himself for about 5 minutes. After that he tried it again.

Jet has his good days and his bad days, dominance is getting to be quite a problem. so far he only shows that to us, but we wont tolerate it. He was better last week, actually sitting still when we groom him and clean his eyes and ears, and he was quiet, and passive. Now he struggles and bites when we try to groom him, growls and tries to bite us when he doesnt get his way.

When he bites we tried yelping. it doesnt work. In fact I think yelping encourages him to bite harder. He has a squeaky toy that yelps when it is played with and I notice taht when the toy yelps, Jet is more ferocious with it. We tried the spray bottle technique, I think he actually likes it now. So far, I think the timeout room is the only solution. We hope that he will be more subdued. We are working to correct his behaviour, making him sit before any meals, treats, playtime, and not putting up with his antics.

October 15th, 2004, 10:53 AM
Reward Your Puppy for Going in the Right Place!
Always go with your puppy to the toilet area. Reward him with soft praise as he is going and give three treats to your puppy right after he is done. IMPORTANT: The treats must be given right away, so your puppy associates the treats with eliminating outside.
-Do not wait at the door and give your puppy treats when he enters Ė you will train your puppy to wait at the door and then eliminate inside!
Reward with play AFTER he goes to the bathroom!

Supervise: Out of Site is into Trouble
-By supervising your puppy at all times, you can watch for behavioural cues that he needs to go out side: circling, sniffing the ground, swatting/leg lifting.
-Close doors and set up baby gates so your puppy cannot wander out of sight.
-If you cannot watch your puppy, he should be put in his crate with a stuffed Kong or bone to occupy him.
-Another good way to keep your puppy with you is to put him on his leash and tie his leash to your belt.