You got your Chi as a puppy, lucky you!
Does your Chihuahua snarl or snap at strangers? There’s a reason for that. You can raise a puppy only once, so if you are lucky enough to raise a dog from puppyhood, make the most of it. I know, I say it all the time, but socialization is the key to raising a happy confident, well behaved Chihuahua. It’s just the one most important and responsible thing you can do for your little bundle of joy.
But, I didn’t get my Chihuahua as a puppy, is it too late?
No! If you don’t start socializing a Chihuahua in puppyhood, the fact is he will never become the confident dog he could be. But, it is far from too late to have a happy, content, and well behaved Chihuahua.
Remember the old Taco Bell commercials with the talking Chihuahua? Sadly, my Chis don’t talk, and I’m betting that yours don’t either.
Good news. You can read what they are trying to tell you and even predict future behavior. Sit back and study the differences in his body language and facial expressions. Notice when he’s happy, curious, anxious, proud of himself, and sleepy. Soon you’ll be able to read your dog. You will feel even closer to your Chi when you see that you can tell how he is feeling.
Does Your Chihuahua Snarl or Snap at Strangers?
A frightened Chihuahua acts frightened. How can you tell? He will contract his body trying to appear smaller. He will have his tail tightly tucked, and flattened ears. You may not even see his body because he will be hiding behind your legs or behind the sofa.
What’s All That Shaking?
Chihuahuas often shake when they are scared, but that is only one of many reasons they may shake. They may also shake from cold or even if they are extremely excited or happy. So, shaking is not a good indicator of whether they are frightened unless accompanied by the above body language.
Nature or Nurture?
Some Chihuahuas are born jittery because of poor breeding. However, most often the reason is lack of socialization. There, I’ve said it again. There’s that word, socialization. Sorry, but are you beginning to see why it’s so important? Especially for Chihuahuas. They are fear aggressive. Not all dogs are fear aggressive, (although you should socialize all dogs, regardless of breed), but Chihuahuas are. That means that if they are frightened, and backing into a corner or hiding behind the sofa does not get rid of what he perceives as a threat, he will lash out. He will snarl and growl and if that doesn’t work, he will bite.
A Terrible Reputation
If you own a Chihuahua, then you know that not everyone is a fan. Most people that I’ve talked to have made comments that Chihuahuas are mean, yippy, snippy little ankle biters. I’m sure you’ve heard it too. So, if you don’t want your Chihuahua to be one of those Chis, socialization is an absolute must.
1. You have overprotected your child and you never take him anywhere. His only playground is in the house or in the backyard. When it comes time for school.
Imagine that child’s reaction. His anxiety grows as he walks to school or is driven. Then he sees this huge building looming before him and all those people around the building.
In the class room, he is afraid of that big person called the teacher. Then on the playground, he retreats to a back fence. When another child comes up and tries to play with him, he lashes out in fear and hits him.
2. Here’s another example. Suppose this same child only left the house twice and both times was to the doctor’s office where he gets probed and prodded and given shots. Now he associates leaving the house, entering a strange building and meeting a stranger with pain.
Happily, this doesn’t happen to children, most children are taken out often and have met many different people before they go to school. Sadly, however, many dogs, especially toy breeds are raised this way.
You and your dog can have lots of fun in the process of socializing them. Just think, going to the park, meeting children, other dog lovers, and their dogs, going to the pet store together. The opportunities are endless.