The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Chihuahuas" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: David Anderson
Having a puppy as a pet can be incredibly fun and exciting. At the same time, it is unbelievably tiring and frustrating. A puppy brings a whole new perspective to the world that people simply do not see without a puppy’s guidance. This is what makes it seem difficult to see him as the destructive little creature he can be.
When it comes to Chihuahuas, this relationship is compounded by the fact that your puppy can be willful, and with his intellect, any exception to the rules will be remembered and exploited for a long time. If he senses any hesitation, he is smart enough to know how to exploit it. If you decide that something is close enough, he is going to exploit that. Your Chihuahua is very attuned to you and your attitude, and if you show any weakness toward making him do what he should do, he will manipulate that in the future, looking for ways to duplicate your decision to let something go.
When properly trained, Chihuahuas are an incredible companion. It just takes a lot of work in those early days to ensure he learns the right habits.
When it comes to training a Chihuahua, you must be firm and consistent. Over the course of his life, your Chihuahua is going to try to get away with misbehavior, not out of rebellion, but just to see if he can. It is one of the main reasons why you really cannot make exceptions to the rules for him, not even while he is still a puppy.
If you get accustomed to making exceptions because the puppy is adorable, you are not going to succeed in training your Chihuahua. He may be small, but he can be very sharp. He is intelligent and can be quite stubborn in trying to get his way. You must be unyielding with your puppy if you want a well-behaved dog.
Your dog does not mean any harm and certainly is not trying to be rebellious. Chihuahuas simply like to have things their way, and they are generally clever enough to get it. However, it could mean your puppy does not respect you. That is why it is so important to be consistent and firm. Your dog has to know that you are the alpha of the pack at all times.
Puppies gnaw. At first, they are teething and it feels good to sink their teeth into something. Later, they do it as part of their learning and socialization. Chihuahuas are one of the breeds that you must be particularly careful with because they have a tendency to be destructive when they are bored. Gnawing on things is part of a habit or to let you know that he doesn’t like being left alone. Since your puppy is so small, he can get into a lot of places to gnaw on things that he absolutely shouldn’t. This is one reason why your little guy should not be allowed outside of his puppy area without supervision.
For the first few months after your puppy comes home, you should keep the pup secured in a place where there are only a few things to chew on. You also need to make sure there is not a way for your puppy to escape his area. That means making sure there is no furniture or objects that can be moved or knocked around and jumped up on. He will start problem solving remarkably early, and while he will not be prone to knocking down gates and boundaries, he is not averse to finding ways around them.
When your puppy is not in the enclosed space, you must keep an eye on him at all times. Just like when you are taking care of an infant or toddler, once you turn to look away, that puppy is going to be getting into things that he or she shouldn’t be getting into. If you do not have time to keep an eye on your Chihuahua, keep the puppy in a place where there is not much to chew on (besides the things you don’t mind the puppy chewing up).
You can keep toys and chewing toys around your puppy at all times, particularly in the Chihuahua’s designated area. This helps the puppy learn what is appropriate to chew. Once it is time to come out and play, your Chihuahua will learn what not to chew, which is why you must keep your focus on the puppy. Over time, your dog will learn the things that are acceptable to use as a chew toy.
Possible Problems with Chihuahuas
Besides aggression, one of the biggest complaints people have about Chihuahuas is that they bark a lot. Finding out about the parents can help you determine the probability of it being a problem with your puppy. However, you should plan to train your pup not to bark incessantly, even if the parents are relatively quiet. In all likelihood, the parents were trained not to bark, so it may not be a personality trait so much as very good training. Make sure to ask the trainer. This is also why socialization is so important.
To deter constant barking, you can use a water gun when he starts barking. Similar to the way to deter cats, a Chihuahua usually doesn’t like the surprise of a shot of water to his body. Do be careful not to get his or her ears wet.
Linda Jangula warns of another problem as well: “Another issue that is like the one that many other breeds have is making or wetting in the house. Since these little ones are so close to the floor or carpet, it may be difficult to see when they are marking which allows for a habit to form before the owner even realizes it.” You will need to constantly watch your puppy, particularly the males. If you notice that your puppy is not following the housetraining rules, you may need to deter your puppy’s desire to mark your home by getting a diaper wrap.
Besides issues with barking and housetraining, Chihuahua are notorious for eating feces. Since they are close to the ground, they are able to snatch up poop before you even notice it is there. It’s really gross and can be difficult to discourage if you don’t have a constant eye on your Chihuahua while you are out walking. You will need to remain vigilant even after your Chihuahua becomes an adult. It’s a habit that he can pick up after he is no longer a puppy because the smell is just too tempting, especially if you go near places where water fowl spend time. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend much time outside with the little one, which can make it a lot easier to help him refrain from this disgusting behavior.
Playtime is awesome for you and the puppy. Chihuahuas just want to be with their pack having a good time, and you are giving it everything it needs to stay out of trouble. Not to mention that a Chihuahua is so incredibly cute as a puppy that it is hardly a chore to play with him until he is too tired to do much.
Make time in the schedule for regular playtime. No matter how busy you are, this is something that you need to do several times a day to properly train your Chihuahua. He will not like to be alone, and this is the period of time when he can really start to understand the rules and boundaries. You can train him over the course of his entire life, but what you teach him now will have a huge effect on how well you can train him as he matures and afterward. Remember, this is the foundation for all of your puppy’s later training.
Start teaching the puppy tricks as early as possible too. This not only keeps your Chihuahua’s mind working, it can help you bond. It is a remarkably enjoyable way to engage the Chihuahua in physical and mental stimulation that will reduce the tendency to chew and destroy everything nearby.
Chihuahuas love to be with you, and your puppy will want to impress you with what he can do. Taking him places to explore and be active is the pinnacle of the best life to a Chihuahua. Playing with your puppy provides a safe and fun environment to learn how to behave. Your dedication now will equate to an adorable, loving, loyal companion for a long time.
To read more from "The Complete Guide to Chihuahuas" by David Anderson, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: