How to Train a Chihuahua

And Chihuahua Breed Information

 

Before I get into how to train a Chihuahua, let me talk about the breed in general. The first thing to know is that they are spunky, classy, brave dogs. With proper socialization, they are wonderful companions, and without it, they can be pretty anti-social and high-strung.

The reason Chihuahuas are so popular, is because they’re very energetic and very individual. Once they bond with a human or a family, they’re loyal for life. But this is definitely a dog that requires both obedience training and puppy socialization, even more so than many other dog breeds.

Jump to: About the Breed, Temperament, Health Issues, or How to Train a Chihuahua.

About the Breed – Chihuahua

As you might guess by the name, the Chihuahua comes from Mexico. They are the smallest recognized toy dog breed in the world.

Chihuahua for sale are often advertised with the attached “Mini,” “Toy” or “Teacup” name, but there’s no difference. All Chihuahuas are the same, except that there is a short coat and long coat variety. Chihuahuas do shed, sometimes excessively. The colors of Chihuahuas come in many varieties.

Despite being toy dogs, a healthy Chihuahua is built strongly for its size – a fact you should keep in mind when choosing a puppy from a litter. Adult Chihuahuas are between six and nine inches at the shoulders, and weigh six pounds or less.

Healthy Chihuahuas live for about 15-18 years.

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Social Temperament – Chihuahua

A Chihuahua wants to be near its people – that’s the first thing to know, they are extremely attached to their pack.

The Chihuahua breed is well-known for being extremely brave and alert. They’re often compared to Terriers, for their high energy level, and their mischievous craving for fun.

Moreso than many other breeds, Chihuahua need puppy socialization and obedience training in order to reign in their natural sense of superiority and independence. Make sure that, as early as possible, your Chihuahua meets a good number of people and dogs who don’t live with you – this will help you avoid their over-protective tendencies as they grow older.

Three common problems arise in Chihuahuas that have not been properly socialized or trained for obedience:

  • Dog-to-dog aggression.
  • Fear or aggression towards strangers.
  • Trying to control small children.

And finally, although it goes without saying, a Chihuahua makes a very effective watchdog.

Unique Health Problems – Chihuahua

So long as you buy your Chihuahua from a dog breeder that’s carefully screening which dogs they breed in order to avoid hereditary medical problems, you’ll find your Chihuahua to be a sturdy dog when it comes to health. Here are some of the health care facts you should be aware of:

  • Those gigantic eyes can be vulnerable to infection, dryness, and glaucoma. Clean the eyes often.
  • Chihuahuas’ teeth and gums need regular brushing.
  • It’s easy to over-feed such a small dog, causing a host of health risks.
  • A Chihuahua can accidentally be trampled, also because of their size.
  • Chihuahuas don’t do well in cold climates.
  • Patellar Luxation – a leg problem – is known to occur.
  • Epilepsy and repeated seizures can either be hereditary or lifestyle-related.
  • About half of all Chihuahuas have a molera, which is a gap in the top of the skull. It’s normal, but it’s vulnerable.

How To Train A Chihuahua

The first thing to know is that you must give a Chihuahua proper obedience training and puppy socialization. If you don’t, your dog will assume the alpha role of the household and will boss everyone around.

On the other hand, if you do train a Chihuahua right, they’ll be wonderful. They make good students, because puppy training helps them use their abundant energy, and because they enjoy bonding with you. Use the right methods of puppy training, positive reinforcement for a job well done and lots of patience and repetition.

Before obedience training, you’ll obviously want to house train your Chihuahua. This is not as difficult as it is with some dog breeds, unless you live in a cold climate where they won’t want to be outside – if that applies to you, you’ll want doggie clothes. Crate training helps a great deal in the potty training process.

After training your Chihuahua to sit, stay, and go to his spot – all the basic obedience commands that establish you as the alpha and the Chihuahua as the follower – you’ll have no problem with any cool dog tricks or other advanced obedience training you want to teach.

Return to my guide to training a dog, or read about other popular pet dog breeds .

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