These little dogs have loyalty, charm, and attitude condensed into one tiny package. Despite their tiny size, Chihuahuas have the potential to become rulers of your household and thus definitely need training as much as any other breed of dog, including those much bigger than them.
These dogs are ideal city pets, and although special care must be taken in cold weather conditions, they are very adaptable dogs. If you think a Chihuahua may be the perfect pet for you, this article will provide you with information about how to prepare yourself and your home for a Chihuahua puppy before their arrival and care for them once they arrive.
Before You Bring Your Chihuahua Puppy Home
After visiting a reputable breeder and falling in love with an eight-week-old Chihuahua puppy, eagerness and anticipation can quickly overwhelm you! Before you bring your new puppy home, you should make sure that you have all of the following ready for them:
- A bag or two of premium dog food, one bowl for food, and another bowl for water.
- You should also take your time creating a safe and confined area where your Chihuahua puppy can roam freely, play, and rest when you’re not home to watch them. Ideally, this area should be carpet-free, and the floors should be a wipeable surface as this can make it much easier if you need to clean up any mess they have made when you’re out of the house.
- Invest in a soft and comfy bed for your puppy, as well as a few snuggly blankets. Puppies need a replacement for the comforting feeling of their mother and siblings that they have lost at this age, and so providing blankets will help them to settle in.
- It’s also a good idea to pick out a few chew toys for your puppy from a pet store and encourage them to chew these instead of your furniture. All puppies go through a teething stage where they will have the desire to chew, and chewy toys can save some of your possessions from the wrath of your pooch.
- You should purchase puppy toilet training pads or newspapers and lay them in your pet’s play area. This will help to teach them to urinate in one area where it will be soaked up. You can remove the pads once you teach your puppy to go outside when they need to urinate.
Schedule a Veterinarian Visit
After a few days of your puppy beginning to settle in, you should arrange their first appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. However, don’t just make an appointment with the nearest or first vet you come across in your search, ask friends and family as they may have recommendations from their own experiences. Once you’ve found a suitable vet, arrange an appointment over the phone for your new puppy.
During your puppy’s first vet visit, they will be given a full physical examination to check their health, ensure that there are no medical concerns, and ensure that your Chihuahua puppy does not have fleas or mites either.
Your vet will also administer a vaccine for the deadly parvovirus, which can be especially life-threatening for younger dogs. Parvovirus attacks the intestinal lining and damages the cells located here, causing symptoms such as diarrhea and general weakness, resulting in dehydration. This deadly viral disease can be easily prevented through the administration of the vaccine by your vet.
The difficulty associated with housebreaking a puppy is due to their own personality- an individual of any dog breed can be more difficult to housetrain than another. Don’t expect too much from your puppy until they are 16 weeks old. Prior to this age, they have tiny bladders and so are likely to have lots of accidents early on. A foolproof method to housebreaking your Chihuahua involves the following steps:
- Establish regular eating habits
- Confine your puppy to a crate
- Make regular and consistent trips outside
- Praise your puppy a lot when they do what you want them to do
- Correct mistakes
- Get rid of odors promptly
Establish a Feeding Schedule
Having a regular eating schedule is vital to housebreaking your puppy. If you regularly feed them at certain times, then it’s likely to come out the other end just as regularly! Their feeding regime should fit around your lifestyle, but be aware that if you are feeding your puppy a lot, they are likely to go the toilet more often too.
If you’re working, it would be wise to feed your dog in the morning and then once you return home. Dogs are creatures of habit that will happily eat the same thing every day at the same time.
Confining Your Puppy to a Crate
Using the confined play area or purchasing a crate will both work for this. It’s not cruel to keep your Chihuahua cooped up for short periods, and the best part about housetraining these dogs is that they do not like to eliminate where they sleep. They will do so if forced to by being left for too long, however. How often you need to take your dog out will depend on their age. If they are two months old, you should take them out every two hours. If they are three months old – every three hours, and so on.
You shouldn’t let your dog have free reign of the house until completely trained. Their trips outdoors will be best when taken out after they have eaten, drank, or after a play session, as they often wee when excited. Allow lots of supervised playtime outside of the crate, as it’s not fair to keep your Chihuahua in here for long periods.
Make Regular and Consistent Trips Outside
This part is absolutely crucial, and you must do this consistently by sticking to a schedule. If a family member is unavailable to help when you’re at work, you may need to hire somebody to come round and let your pup outside. When doing so, they should use a cue phrase such as ‘go potty’ or whatever works best for you.
Eventually, they will come to understand what it means. Allow your furry buddy some time to sniff around before doing their business. You may need to wait a while before your dog actually goes. If they don’t, take them back to the crate and take them out every 15-20 minutes again until they do.
Give Lots of Praise
Make sure to praise your Chihuahua puppy when you take them out, and they do actually go. This can be done both verbally and with treats. It’s best to treat them every few times rather than every time, as they’ll come to expect it. Dogs just want to please you and be happy to have extended outdoor playtime or longer walks as a reward.
Correct Unwanted Behavior
Even with a watchful eye over your Chihuahua puppy, accidents will still happen. If they do, you should remain calm and never hit them. Using the word ‘no’ and a firm tone of voice works far better, as shouting at them only teaches them to fear you. Make sure that you correct this behavior both immediately and consistently. Pick them up, take them outside, and use your cue word again. Don’t worry if your pet doesn’t go after they already have, return them to the crate.
Get Rid of Smells
Dogs are attracted to the smell of excrement and know exactly where they and other dogs have gone due to their incredible sense of smell. Therefore, if a dog has done their business in one spot and the odor is still present, they are likely to go in the same place again. Use odor removal products to get rid of the smell and prevent your dog from doing this.
The key to raising your 8-week-old Chihuahua puppy is to always be patient with them, and ensure that you consistently make them aware of what they should and shouldn’t do.
Ultimately, they will begin to learn from you. There are lots of helpful websites you can visit for top tips and tricks regarding Chihuahua care in general, as well as advice for beginning obedience training.