Bad Habits and Basic Commands – Being a Chiweenie Parent

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Chiweenies" by Adriana Rodrigues. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: Adriana Rodrigues

Welcome to the wonderful world of Chiweenies!

So, you are officially a brand-new owner and parent of an adorable Chiweenie. I would like to personally welcome you to the wonderful world of fur-baby parenting.

Although it’s not exactly like the wonderful world of Disney, it is a lifelong commitment to a great time.It also might cost you an arm and a leg, just like Disney World would, but you can get all the feels of animal love—without the creepy people in costumes.

Especially since you are going to be owning a pup for quite a few years, you’re going to be wanting to know a few facts and tips to help ease the transition of the first days, weeks, and months.

The first few things that you should be familiarizing yourself with are the basic tricks and commands.

The Basic Tricks and Commands

Everyone who took any basic psychology class in high school or college probably heard of the conditioning response experiment.

The bell rings, the dog receives food.

The bell rings, the dog receives food.

The bell rings, the dog receives food.

And so on and so forth.

Then the salivating measurement begins: the bell rings, the dog salivates, it’s measured, and then it receives food.

This experiment shows how effective the proper training and response can be. With simple training and repetition, the dog will learn how to respond to certain commands or actions.

In this part of the chapter, I’m going to highlight not only commands you can learn—which you will then teach to your pup—but also the possible benefits of training—especially when done while the pup is young.

Operant Conditioning Basics: Benefits of Proper Training

With training, there are various ways to teach a dog new tricks—no matter how young or old it is.

In this section, I’m going to talk about the different types of reinforcements.

First and foremost, there is something called primary reinforcement. In a perfect world, all dog parents will want to resort to primary reinforcement to train their dog.

Primary reinforcement is one of the most acceptable forms of training, because, ultimately, it is positive. Primary reinforcement uses the reward system to treat good behavior with things like food, toys, and playtime.

Since there are a few options for primary reinforcement, you can choose what you would like to try out for your pup.

Chiweenie tuxedo
Photo Courtesy – Amanda Rae Potting

Some options that you can choose from are the right rewards or treats for your pup—according to taste preference and also health-wise. There are a wide variety of different treats and bones you can stock up on at home to refer to when you are trying to get your pup to learn a new trick or command.

The treats and bones your dog will get accustomed to will be different from dog to dog (and owner to owner).

Another form of dog training is secondary reinforcement. Although this is another form of positive training, it is different than primary reinforcement because it doesn’t use physical objects for training.

Instead, it uses positive reinforcement like attention and praise. This can be as simple as saying, “Good boy!” or taking your dog to the park or letting him outside to play because of something he’s done. well. These actions will stay in his mind—just as much as a physical treat can. Of course, it differs from dog to dog.

You can also use negative reinforcement. Considered one of the least favorite forms of training (for the dog and for the parents), negative reinforcement often involves correction and punishment after the fact.

When you are using this form of training, you have to “lay down the hammer” (extremely figuratively speaking) directly after the negative act. This is important because your pup has to remember why he is being scolded in the first place.

When it comes to learning tips, tricks, and commands, doggy obedience classes or a personal dog trainer can help if you or your pup are struggling with even the most basic of commands. It is a personal choice to hire a trainer or sign up for classes in your area, but it may help in the most hopeless situations.

Although in my experience, the Chiweenie seems to be quite a fast learner and good student, each dog is unique and different and you might find it necessary as his parent to try working with an official trainer.

When you are researching, you almost might come across some different training methods that are unique to the usual basic commands. If you and your Chiweenie seem to be struggling to find a connection through training, there are tons of resources out there for you to help him train and learn.

Some basic commands that you can start off with are:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Lie down
  • Roll over
  • Come
  • Off/down
  • Give/drop
  • Shake

If these basic commands aren’t working with you telling your pup what to do and guiding him along with the verbal command (for example, slightly pushing his butt down while saying the word, “Sit”), you might want to consider some outside help.

After you and your Chiweenie have learned some of these basic commands, you might still be confronted with a few obstacles to tackle when it comes to discipline.

Growling and Barking

After you’ve passed through the first stage where your dog has finally gotten comfortable in your home, you might still notice your dog growling and barking at strangers—or even you.

Here are some helpful tips to help you sort that out:

Chiweenie sideview
Photo Courtesy – Beverly Bailey- Garriga

Barking can be controlled and kept under discipline when the original reason why your dog is barking in the first place is discovered. There are a few reasons why barking occurs.

It can either be feelings like fear or excitement, it can be boredom, or he may need something. It can also be because of separation anxiety, or your pup could be acting territorial.

Growling is also another trait that Chiweenies often get called out for. If you hear a growl coming from your pup, it could be from six different reasons like playing, pleasure, threat, aggression, frustration, and fighting.

Digging and Other Messy Habits

Especially if you are going to be leaving your pup home alone for a few hours a day while you’re at work, you’re definitely going to want to make sure that he is not getting into any messy habits inside your beautiful home.

If you have a nice backyard, you also want to watch out for digging. With Chiweenies, it’s in their nature to burrow. You’ll notice this when your pup goes to bed—if you let him in your bed to sleep, or even if he has a blanket in his doggy bed—that he will burrow in the blankets or sheets before he falls asleep.

If you wake up and you notice a huge lump in your sheets—and your dog is nowhere to be found—chances are that your pup has burrowed his way into the sheets. He feels most comfortable when covered, even though you may not actually think he’s able to breathe!

Although burrowing in the sheets isn’t considered “messy,” per se, there are a few other messy habits that Chiweenies tend to have, like:

Separation Anxiety

Just like with any dog and any dog mom or dad who has to work (or leave the house for any reason—and any amount of time), there might be some initial separation anxiety at first.

Depending on the history of your Chiweenie and how he was treated in the past, there might be separation anxiety even when you only leave him in the house alone for an hour.

There are a few telltale signs of separation anxiety that can help you identify it in your pup. After you’ve left the house, you might hear your dog howling or barking behind the door—long after you’re supposedly gone.

Chiweenie facing camera
Photo Courtesy – Keith and Jane Kufrin

When you come home, if you notice that your dog has destroyed any of your household items or your door or windows have been clawed, that could be a few hints of separation anxiety.

Actions like noticeable attempts to escape as well as going potty in inappropriate places can also be connected to separation anxiety. Dogs may also refuse to eat or drink until their owner comes home.

Once you’ve noticed that your dog has separation anxiety, there are a few tips you can follow that can help him get through the anxiousness—especially if you leave the home more and more often.

Having your dog accept your comings and goings may take a while. However, these tips can help speed up the process.

  • You’re going to be departing and arriving on a regular basis. Try to make this process as normal and unexciting as possible.
  • Don’t say goodbye for too long and don’t expect a welcome wagon when you return. The less noise and excitement you make, the better.
  • In the beginning, it’s great to give a treat as you leave so your pup will associate a positive reward with your leaving.
  • If you notice your pup with calm behavior like sitting or lying down, you can also reward him for this.
  • For a Chiweenie, it’s also a good idea to use a crate or pen when you’re leaving so he gets used to it when you go and knows what’s about to happen.

Taking Your Chiweenie for a Walk

Taking your pup for a walk is going to be an essential part of his daily life. Getting him used to this process is an important step in your growth with him.

Here are a few tips to help you in the process:

  1. Make him wear a collar right from the get-go. He should get used to this collar or harness in the house before heading outside.
  2. Don’t chase him down with a leash or collar. Call him until he comes and then reward him while still being friendly and using positive words and tone. This will make him think that he is going to be wearing the leash voluntarily.
  3. Start inside the house before heading outside. Make the first walks short and try and keep your pup as close to you as possible—especially from the beginning of the process.
  4. If he is pulling, don’t give in or yank. Instead, stand still and wait until the dog comes back.

Getting Used to Bedtime

Not only is the first night hard, but getting your Chiweenie pup used to bedtime can be difficult for some dogs. Here are some tips to help you when it’s time to sleep:

  • Not all homes have the luxury of having a room just for the dog. However, it’s important that your Chiweenie has his own designated sleeping area or bed to associate with sleeping time.
  • Take your pup outside to go potty before he heads to bed. Lower the lights and the volume of the house (television, etc.) to create a calm environment before bed. These sort of rituals also help give a cue to your dog that it’s time to go sleep.
  • Snuggle your pup in with a blanket or plush toy of some sort to help him stay comfortable.

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

If you’re going to be leaving your pup home alone for long periods of time (while you’re at work, for example), you should break up the day by coming home every now and then or sending someone you know to let him out to go potty and get some fresh air.

Regarding the breed, the Chiweenie can usually be left alone up to 10 hours on average—as long as it’s good weather and there’s food and water, of course.

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Chiweenies" by Adriana Rodrigues, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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