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Hello All.
This is my first post here but have been reading many many threads for several months now trying to educate myself before committing to a 9 month old white German Shepherd. According to the breeder, this 9 month old is already house trained and has some obedience training and is good with cats and small dogs. I'm still waiting for more information on temperament and if he's the right dog for our family.
However, as much as I would love to have him be a part of our family, I recently thought about a situation that could cause alot of problems.
One of my most pressing concerns at this time is regarding house training in our home as it relates to a complication with our two female chihuahaus (both spayed, 1 year old and a 3 year old).
Both chihuahuas (loving little dogs, but so hard to train) occassionally have accidents throughout the home. We could not get them fully house trained. We have gone to placing puppy pads in two locations in the home which they are about 95% good about using but I will still find the ocassional 'surprise' elsewhere. I know that this is predominately our fault for not always having our eyes on them but they rarely give us any idication that they need to 'go'.
My concern is that these ocassional accidents, or even the use of the puppy pads, will cause a complete negate of the Shepherds previous house training skills or make it impossible for him to be 100% house trained in our home. I can completely understand the shepherds confusion and would not hold it against him if its just too much for a dog to overcome. I do not want to set him up for failure and make life in our home difficult.
If the accidents from the chihuahuas will cause accidents from the shepherd, it would be best to not get him.
But, if his intelligence is high enough to understand that even though the little ones may go in the home, its not okay for him, then there is hope.
It kills me to think that this issue could keep me from a beloved companion but it is significant and one that needs to be seriously considered before making such an important decision.
I would be grateful for any input and opinions.
Thank you all.
Sean
 

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Chihuahuas can be difficult to house train as they are often given too much freedom.

In my opinion I would get the two little ones house trained before adding another. The easiest way to achieve that is to not allow free run of the house by limiting them to one room and go back to treating them like a puppy. Strict eating schedule, outside every hour, etc. Once they master that room, add another and so on.
 

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Housetraining issues with small dogs are extremely common. However, it can be done. IMO if you have two unhousetrained dogs that you still want housetrained, it may not be the best time to get a third dog. No one can guarantee that the third dog won't feel it is ok to go in the house, since he can cleraly smell that dogs go in the house all the time. Dogs just don't have an ability to reason in the way you are hoping for. Many dogs, especially young dogs are prone to having housetraining lapses when they are in a new home. You can't expect that because he is housetrained at his current house that he will be housetrained in your house, especially with other dogs who regularly potty in the house. So you are definitely looking at the possibleity of having three unhousetrained dogs. I once talked to a woman who had 6 dogs, all unhousetrained that started in a similar situation. She had one unhousetrained dog, got a second dog and that one was also never fully housetrained. And neither were dog number 3, 4, 5 and 6.

That said, your Chi's can be housetrained but it will take strict training on your part and possibly accepting having an indoor potty area such as a litterbox, depending on how long they'd have to hold it. Your first step is crate training and never, ever allowing them out of your sight just like they were baby puppies. If you follow this guide, your dogs can be housetrained but it may not be quick since you have tolerated them going where ever they please for so long. Errorless Housetraining | Dog Star Daily

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that while plenty of people do it without a problem, there is a danger to your small dogs of having them live with a dog that is so much larger. No matter how good a dog is with small dogs, the size difference alone presents a great risk of accidental injury. I know of a sad situation where a couple Cresteds (weighing maybe 10lbs each) accidentally killed a chihuahua - they were jumping at the door and the Chi got caught up under them andtrampled to death. A wrong step on the part of a GSD could result in a Chi with serious injury or worse. Beyond that, there is always the risk of predatory drift (something you definitely should read up on before getting a much larger dog). You must never trust a dog not to act like a dog.

I'm not saying toy dogs and large dogs can't live together peacefully but precautions really should be taken to protect the small dogs. The dogs shouldn't be left out in the yard together, shouldn't be left unattended in the house together and play should be limited so that it doesn't ever get too rough. Plenty of people will say "my toy dogs and big dogs are together 24/7, unsupervised in the yard and while were at work, etc and we have never had a problem". Such owners have never had a problem yet. And owners who have experienced tragedy involving dogs of greatly different sizes often say "they had always been fine together". Just food for thought.
 

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I agree that we've probably given them too much freedom. They are crated during the day while we are at work, but allowed free roam all eveningwhen we get home. Even with frequent trips outside, we still find the ocassional accident inside.
We have also been allowing feeding at will, keeping their dog bowl full all day long. We were told that they could easily succomb to hypoglycemia if not allowed access to food and water at all times. Is this not so?
I'm sure if we could limit their feedings like other dogs, we could probably alleviate most of the accidents.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you for the indepth reply AgileGSD. As you stated, I was suspecting that the Chihuahua's accidents would make it very difficult for the GSD.
I have also researched the 'prey' issue but was assured by the breeder that this 9 month old has been well socialized with small children, and cohabitates well with two pomeranians and some cats, so I was not concerned in that regard. However, I see your point about 'accidental' injuries.
Well crud! It really is looking like it will be sometime before I can get the GSD of my dreams. These darn chihuahuas live up to 15 years!
 

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I had 2 old Italian Greyhounds when I got my GSD puppies (who are currently 8 months and 12 months).

What works for us is to have the little dogs in an expen with a crate and peepads. They are safe from the big dogs, and there are no housebreaking "accidents".

When we want to have some small dog time, we crate the big dogs, and the little dogs can be with us in ONE room (so there is no sneaking off to pee somewhere).

Yeah, it's a pain sometimes, but it works.
 

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HAHA SeanCJ! Love the "well crud!......live up to 15 years!"

You will get there it will just take a little time. I have two Shepherds and a Samoyed who all live happily with my Chihuahua. He is the oldest and as I brought each additional dog in one of the first things they learn is how to interact with my little guy appropriately.
It's funny to see the bigger dogs "watch" where my Chi is. They tread very lightly around him and often times you will see him under one of the larger dogs as well :)

I wouldn't discount your dream dog just yet. Put a little time into house training the Chi's. Then move forward with your GSD. A well balanced dog is just that, one that can live harmoniously with a small dog. It just takes a little more work.

Here is my Chihuahua with my male White GSD at about 9 months old.....

 

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We have also been allowing feeding at will, keeping their dog bowl full all day long. We were told that they could easily succomb to hypoglycemia if not allowed access to food and water at all times. Is this not so?
I'm sure if we could limit their feedings like other dogs, we could probably alleviate most of the accidents.
I don't think it's necessary to free feed the little dogs. As long as they eat twice a day, you should be fine. I had a 3 lb yorkie for years that only ate once a day, and she never had a problem!
 

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I am a new owner of a GSD who is now five months old. Don't depend on this but its my experience. I have a doberman who is about 14 years old. Right now he is suffering senility episodes and sometimes poops in the house even though we are here almost all the time. This has not caused our GSD puppy to revert --she is still 100% reliable about going outside. So this is one case where accidents by another dog are not triggering a breakdown of potty habits by a GSD. I do agree with other posters, however, that with your dogs, you should try again to house break your current dogs. Hope things work out for you.
 

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While IGs are bigger than chihuahuas, they have spindly little legs that can snap like twigs. My big dogs are constantly supervised to make sure we don't have any accidents!

Here is Carly at about 8 months old with Niles...
 

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Thank you for the indepth reply AgileGSD. As you stated, I was suspecting that the Chihuahua's accidents would make it very difficult for the GSD.
I have also researched the 'prey' issue but was assured by the breeder that this 9 month old has been well socialized with small children, and cohabitates well with two pomeranians and some cats, so I was not concerned in that regard. However, I see your point about 'accidental' injuries.
Well crud! It really is looking like it will be sometime before I can get the GSD of my dreams. These darn chihuahuas live up to 15 years!
It isn't impossible to have a big dog with toy dogs, just be sure you have realistic expectations and the ability to ensure your little guys are safe. They should be separated when unsupervised and even supervised, interaction should be closely monitored.

Predatory drift can happen with any dog, even dogs who have been fine with small dogs for years. It is not safe to be unconcerned about the possibility of this issue when you have big and little dogs living or playing together. Dogs don't have to be aggressive, unbalanced or bad with small dogs for predatory drift to happen. Here is an article that explains predatory drift pretty well: Dog play behavior and "predatory drift" | Gail Fisher, All Dogs Gym & Inn | Dog, Dogs,

Toy breed puppies are at risk for hypoglycemia but adult toys do fine with being fed twice a day. Free feeding is really not the best way to go about things, as it can make house training more difficult (house training and behavior training), makes controlling your dog's portions more difficult, makes monitoring your dog's health more difficult and depending on the dog it can led to two opposite extremes - food obsession or picky eating.
 

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I currently have 2 neutered male Chis ages 6 and 4 years..Sirius is 5 months old. Since childhood I have always had Chis and a large dog (Rottie/GSD, Dobies and Labs). This is just from my experience and you can take it with a grain of salt since each dog is different....I have learned that it was easier to bring home a puppy to introduce to the already establish Chi pack. The puppy understood his place in the pack and didn't cause any dominance issues. Although, one time Dad brought home a 10-month old GSD that failed police canine training. The GSD attacked one of the Chis so that didn't work out (which was too bad because the GSD was beautiful).

You may want to consider first housetraining your Chis prior to introducing a new family member to the pack. I have been successful in housetraining all my dogs in a least a week. That includes inside and outside. I contribute my success to an AWESOME book my Dad found for me: How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days (Revised) - Paperback (Aug. 3, 2004) by
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FShirlee-Kalstone%2Fe%2FB001H6IC9W%2Fref%3Dsr_ntt_srch_lnk_2%3F_encoding%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1296619842%26sr%3D1-2-fkmr0&tag=5336432754-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325"]Shirlee Kalstone[/ame]...The techniques really works you just need to commit for 7 days.


Do you crate your Chis when you’re not home? Mine are contained in a small mud like room that is closed off by a baby gate. A few safe hard toys, water bowl and a place for them to do their business is all in the room....Their business area is actually an oil pan covered with newspaper. They have learned to go potty on that particular area..When I am home I clean up the area/newspaper and place it away..They are then free to roam around but will go to the door to "ask" to go out....You can start off by training your Chis to consistently go on their pads by placing their urine scent on the pad. Take a Q-Tip, swipe it in their urine and rub the Q-Tip on the pad. Dogs are creatures of habit and will return back to the same place they last went--pending they can find the scent.

I have taught Sirius to be gentle with the Chis. When we first brought him home he didn't realize that his bear paws was too rough when he was trying to play. He understands "leave it" when he plays too rough or I catch him stalking them..And he understands that he is on the bottom of the pecking order. The oldest Chi keeps him in his place and he listens.

One final word of advice. Chis main medical issue is cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) which predisposes them to Congestive Heart Failure..Be careful with unwanted extra weight..Feeding them 2 meals a day and avoiding free eating can prevent unwanted extra lbs.
 
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