For those new to my blog, Sunny is our little Yorkie- a rescue from a puppy-mill. She is 6 pounds of sweetness. If any of you are feeling some empty nest blues, just get one of these little sweethearts. Sunny is more baby-like than dog-like.
When we got Sunny, she wasn't housebroken. She had been a puppy-mill dog for 4 years and lived in a crate for a lot of that time. (I still can't believe anyone would treat a dog that way...)
Sunny didn't know how to tell us she needed to go out. (She still doesn't.) So we developed a schedule. This is how it goes-- We take her out morning, lunchtime, dinner, and bedtime. We also take her out within an hour after she drinks water. (Tiny Yorkie= tiny bladder.) She learned that during the day, she goes out to go potty, but also to explore, chase rabbits, etc. (Since she's only 6 pounds, we never let her out without one of us. Did you know that hawks have been known to swoop Yorkies and other tiny dogs up and fly away with them? True.) At bedtime, she knows that it's time to go out to do her business and then come right back in.
It was amazing how quickly she learned.
This was our approach:
While inside, we kept Sunny in view all of the time. Yes, this is a bit (actually a lot) like having a toddler.
We took Sunny out on a schedule, and praised her lavishly when she "went."
If we saw her start to go potty inside, we tried not to yell or scare her. Instead, we would say, "No!," pick her up, and immediately take her outside to go.
After dark, we took her right back into the house after she was finished. (Dogs need to know when outside time is intended for play vs. strictly business.)
We put her water bowl away two hours before bedtime. (And we still do.)
Is Sunny housebroken? Yes. Does Sunny have accidents? Yes, but very rarely. We think she does very well, considering she was once a puppy-mill dog. (And, supposedly, many Yorkies are never quite completely house trained. Remember, small dog=small bladder.)
She feels secure in her crate and sleeps there at night. Much like a crib! She also stays in her crate when we are away from the house shopping, etc. It's the first place she runs when it thunders.
Do we baby Sunny a bit too much? Maybe, but we justify it by saying that it makes up for her first four years in the puppy-mill.
I hope these tips help you!