Socializing and why it’s so important:
I can not express the importance of socializing your Chihuahua enough! ANY dog needs to be socialized, but it is a MUST for a Chi or other small breed dogs. Chihuahuas are intelligent and one of the most loving dogs in the world, if they are allowed to be what they are……dogs. They are not baby humans (they may be your babies – mine are, but they are not human babies) or fashion accessories.
Have you ever seen a cute little Chihuahua in the arms of its owner and you reached out to pet it but it snarls, growls, or worse, bites? Or, have you ever gone to someone’s home where there is a Chihuahua and they do the same? How tragic would it be if they bite a child? Even though they are small dogs, bites are not a trivial thing and can be very painful. NO child should be bitten by any dog at any time, for any reason!
Unfortunately, it happens all too often and when it does, you can be sure that particular dog was not properly socialized.
Some may think it’s cute when a Chihuahua is possessive of their owner and won’t let anyone near them. The reality is, that poor dog is stressed and scared! That dog does not see you as the leader and their protector. They feel they have to protect themselves AND you. I know you don’t want your dog to be constantly scared and stressed and it is 100% avoidable.
What to look for:
When you first bring home your Chihuahua, whether it is a puppy or an adult, socialization is the first thing you want to do. If you bring home an adult dog, the following are signs that your new dog needs to be socialized.
- shy away from and are afraid of other dogs
- are aggressive toward other dogs.
- become aggressive if another animal or person enters what they consider their property. (couch, toys, yard, etc.).
- become aggressive if another animal or person gets close to their owner. (This is especially common among Chihuahuas and Dachshunds).
- are possessive of their food bowl.
- are afraid of certain objects, places, or people (people in wheelchairs for example)
- have separation anxiety.
6 ways to socialize your dog to assure his health and happiness and yours:
It is best, of course, to start when they are puppies. It is much harder after they have already developed these behaviors.
Expose them to:
- every room in the house.
- every surface. Carpet, vinyl, wood, tile, grass, dirt, concrete, gravel, etc.
- several objects, containers, materials. Metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, vacuum, broom, etc.
- different toys. Ropes, plastic, small, larger, fuzzy toys, balls, toys that squeak, etc.
- different challenges. Steps, up and down, in and out of a doorway, around a fence, etc.
- children often (supervised, of course). Small children especially can be over excited at seeing a small puppy or dog and may lunge at or run to them and scare them. Tip: Ask the child to let the dog come to them first, then put the puppy on the floor. The puppy will be naturally curious and will usually go to the child to sniff it.
Bottom line, expose them to any kind of person, place or thing they may come in contact with that you can think of.
Ideally, if you bring home a purebred puppy, the socialization process should have begun with the breeder and it is your job to continue the process when you bring them home. A word of caution though, don’t expose them to many people or animals until they have had all of their scheduled shots and vaccinations.
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