I’ve had a longhaired chihuahua puppy for 3 weeks. Even though it’s early days, and I am by no means perfect. I’ve experienced a number of successes that I’d like to share.
Firstly before getting your puppy, research the breed. I read chihuahuas for dummies and the giant book of chihuahuas. Look at blogs, posts, comments online so you know what to expect. Chihuahuas need less activity and exercise, they are classed as toy breeds and bred for companionship. Where a working breed, will need lots of training, stimulation, and structure. Even if you are getting a dog as a pet, if the breed is a working dog/gun dog. It will have certain needs and a temperament. Choose a dog based on breed temperament that works for your lifestyle. Research the negative traits of a breed to get the full picture. Even getting a dog neutered won’t fully eradicate behaviours, so choose carefully.
I thoroughly recommend Steve Mann’s book, easy peasy puppy squeezey
Buy everything you need in good time I’ll include the list at the bottom of this post.
Puppies will spend 4 hours a day chewing. They need to chew, so buy lots of chew toys. So if pup becomes mouthy, distract them with a chew toy. We have 10 plus toys, balls, a kong, tug of war type toys.
Expose them to different sounds, experiences, and sensations. This includes everyday sounds like a hairdryer, washing machine ect. Brush them, put a collar on, touch their paws and ears, brush their teeth. If they’ve not had all their injections, then take them outside in a dog sling. Go to play parks where dogs aren’t allowed, so they can experience the outside before they’ve had their jabs.
My pup wees and poos on her training pad 70-80% of the time, we praise her when she does it right and use the enzyme spray and say nothing when she doesn’t. The spray doesn’t just mask or clean, it breaks down smells, so your pup won’t want to repeatedly mark where they’ve been before.
To settle your pup, put the radio on use a warm hot water bottle, and a piece of clothing that smells like you in her bed. I’ve found that she can easily sleep for several hours or at least settle and be on her own.
Set up the pen with everything they need, food, water, training pad, toys and bed.
Give lots of praise and cuddles, your pup has been taken from their mama and playmates, to a strange house. You’re going to be their parent from now on. You need to help them settle, and learn about the world. Be patient, they don’t understand human speech, sometimes you need to adapt your communication. Apparently, the average fully grown dog had the understand of a 2 year old child. Bare this in mind when it comes to your pup.
Be consistent with training, but make it fun. Training should be short bursts, when your pup is motivated and ready to engage (see Steve Mann’s book). I’ve had my pup for 3 weeks, and she will sit, come, stay, wait and sort of fetch… If pup is being nippy, not responding, then don’t do any training. If they become overexcited, then put them in their pen to settle and calm down. Also be aware of your pup’s reactive state overall, are they jumpy, zoomy, not listening? Then give them space to calm and settle. If you continue to excite them when they are already reactive, then biting could occur.
Food, try them with yummy safe dog foods. Rice, chicken, salmon, ect. Always have treats to hand to reward behaviour you want to repeat, take them with you outside.
When we first got her, I was absolutely exhausted and on edge. I couldn’t continue this way. So I realised the power of saying no. It’s ok, as long as there is food and water in the pen, to put pup in their pen to settle and have space. Ear defenders might be a good idea for the crying and barking. Pups need to learn to be on their own and be independent. You can help with this by having healthy boundaries, where they learn the limits and where you are able to look after your own needs. Don’t come running at every bark or they will learn that’s the way to get what they want fast. You’ll be able to tell the difference between real distress and just wanting attention.
In every interaction between you and your pup, one of you is training the other. If she barks (sayingjump) and you come running (asking how high), you are making a rod for your own back.
Saying that we absolutely love our pup, she has completed our family.
Get pet insurance and possibly a pet plan with a vet to cover ticks, fleas, parasites, microchipping, injections, examinations, nail clipping, worming ect
Also go to puppy parties to help socialise your pup. These are arranged either by a vet practice or a dog trainer.
As mentioned before here’s my list of things to buy:
Vet bed, Puppy pads, Pet carrier, Crate, Pen, Food bowl, Water bowl, Coat, Sweater, Collar and lead, Name Tag, Food and treats, Flea, Toys, Books, Harness, Brush, Nail clippers, Tooth brush, Tooth paste, Bell for collar, Leave in coat spray, Nose and paw balm, Dog shampoo, Bed, Blanket, Chew toys, Enzyme cleaner, Worming, Dog sling, Dog carrying bag, Retractable Long lead,