Training A Chihuahua

  • 16/08/2012

Is it really necessary you might ask? After all, they're so small and incredibly cute what possible trouble could such an adorable little dog cause? Well surprise, surprise! A Chihuahua is one of the most ornery and aggressive of dog breeds and are extremely stubborn in responding to commands. Therefore proper training should start as early as possible as they are quite demanding on the time it takes to do this. (No offense intended to all you Chihuahua owners, but I suspect you have already found out just what a challenge they are!)

Why You Should Know How to Train a Chihuahua

First you need to understand the Chihuahuas' temperament. Chihuahuas are companion dogs and will be perfectly content just being with you all the time. Because of their size it's easy to understand their reputation as 'being attached at the hip' of their owner virtually most of the time.

However as with all breeds it's important to remember no matter how cute, cuddly and compliant a dog might be, nevertheless it's still a dog and in its own way, will seek to dominate the relationship it has with you. Even a Chihuahua needs socializing with other dogs or various aggressive (jealousy) issues will arise.

A Chihuahua doesn't take its own size into consideration and will behave as though it is a lot larger than it is. That itself presents some very dangerous situations if it hasn't been properly trained. By nature they are very aggressive towards other dogs, snappy with children, selfish in their demands on your attention and suspicious of strangers. The good news however, is that like most dogs, you can bring their behavior under control with good training.

Taking Charge

As with any dog it needs to established quickly as to "who's in charge around here", and that it isn't the dog. Unfortunately for you though that cute little dog does thinks it is in charge and will do everything it can to convince you of that.

The one most determined to succeed will be the winner in this conflict of wills. With Chihuahuas you can't afford to weaken your resolve in this matter and need to set clear boundaries and require obedience to your commands every time. The following are some suggestions for how to do that.

Feeding Times - Set the times when you will feed your Chihuahua and don't allow your dog to demand feed when it suits him.

Walking - At least twice a day and more if time allows but making sure you're taking the dog for a walk and not the dog taking you for a walk. Don't allow the dog to pull on its leash and go just where it wants to. Leash control is vital when training a Chihuahua.

Jumping and Furniture - Controlling your possessions and space is an important aspect of setting the boundaries with your dog especially a small dog like a Chihuahua. It's easy to soften and let it jump up and on anything it wants to but what it is actually doing is 'marking' its territorial control. Make it clear at the outset what things it can jump on and set those boundaries. Also never respond favorably to its barking or whining.

Learn to ignore - your dog when it is trying to get your attention through barking and jumping especially when you leave and return home. Wait for your Chihuahua to reach a calm and relaxed state before you respond to it.

Always remember you're teaching the dog that you're in charge always. Never give any reason for the dog to think that you're not.

FACTS ABOUT CHIHUAHUAS

Being small a Chihuahua will tire easily from brisk activity but still lack mental stimulation. They are very intelligent and need to learn the basic commands to sit, stay, fetch, come, be quite and anything else you like. When at a park let them run and fetch just like any other dog.

By providing opportunities for your easily excitable little friend to release its energy and boredom and have less or no chance for it to challenge your authority, will reward your efforts in training a Chihuahua by removing much of its bad temperament issues.

This breed is especially well suited to older people as it is compact and easy to carry around, as well as simple to care for.

It will adapt to whatever you do, and will want to please you constantly and will always be there with the most affectionate greeting when you get home.

While both the long- and short-hair varieties are easy to care for, the long-haired breed will need some extra attention. They will shed more and their coats can get matted if not brushed regularly. The long-haired variety will also need more frequent bathing.

Breeders point out that the Chihuahua can feel the cold more than other dogs so they need extra warmth in winter. However, don't always assume that if your pooch is shivering it's because it is cold. It is characteristic of Chihuahuas to also shiver when unhappy or frightened.

Personality: An affectionate and alert little dog which adores its family and will protect its guardians with its life

Favorite Activities: This little pooch likes nothing more than spending time with its owners and loves cuddling up, even creeping under the blankets of its owner's bed at night. It will happily do whatever you do and will enjoy a daily walk, although the breed does not need lots of exercise.

Backyard Requirements: Because of its small size, the Chihuahua does not need a big backyard and can happily live in a small space as long as it gets lots of love and attention. However, don't be fooled by this pooch's small build; if left outside and ignored, it can wreak havoc in the garden.

Suitability: With early training and socialization the Chihuahua will get along with most people, but many breeders are wary of selling pups to families with small children as the diminutive dogs can get easily injured. This breed is especially good with older people and singles because it is small and easy to care for.

Watchdog Qualities: Strangers beware! Though the Chihuahua is small, it is feisty and energetic, and will defiantly alert its owners to anyone it is not familiar with. This breed is wary of strangers and, sometimes forgetting its small size and to protect its family, it will bravely take on a much bigger opponent in typical 'David and Goliath' fashion.

CARING FOR YOUR CHIHUAHUA

Daily: Spend lots of time with your Chihuahua giving copious amounts of love and affection. It does not like being left to its own devices.

Weekly: A brush once a week, extra brushing for the long-coated variety. Make sure eyes and ears are clean.

Monthly: Check if toe nails need clipping. Bath if necessary but always take care not to get water in the ears as infection can occur.

Other: Heart worm and flea treatments, gastrointestinal worming every three months, more often for puppies. Raw bones regularly will keep your pooch's teeth clean.

Hereditary diseases: Chihuahuas are prone to weak knees but buying from a registered and reputable breeder will reduce the risk of buying a puppy with an inherited problem.

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