Firstly…NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE INTELLIGENCE OF A CHIHUAHUA!  They are born sensitive, loving, loyal little companions who deserve mutual respect, love and understanding.  They have a great sense of humour and are by nature fun loving little souls!

Taking on the responsibility of owning a puppy, is very similar in many ways to adopting a child.  It is important to understand what is going on in the puppy’s mind.   It is extremely helpful to walk a mile in their shoes for a little while….consider and picture the environment from which he/she has just been severed….very abruptly in their little minds.  Suddenly they have been separated from all of their comforts, ie:  their siblings, a very attentive and nurturing breeder (in my case!), their toys, safe playground, their mother – all things familiar to them.  A Whole New World confronts them!  There may be some fretting, especially at bed time.  Work out a regular routine for your new bundle of joy, provide a “cuddly comforter” (that may resemble a sibling), a comfortable bed, tuck them in with a loving, reassuring touch and kind words to settle them.  Provided they are not hungry or thirsty… will be set for a peaceful night.  Like a child, they may test you with a whimper…..ignore….they will settle.

A concerted effort should be made for the first week or so getting to know, bonding and reassuring them that you do love them and will feed them and they are safe and secure and you will have time to love and care for them.  A very important communication tool is to make eye contact with a Chihuahua.  Once you have bonded you will find that your efforts will be rewarded one hundred fold+++.  Ensure that whatever time you spend with your baby is always quality time….quantity does not necessarily equal quality.

Chihuahuas are meticulously clean little animals, so start toilet training the moment you get him/her home to new environment.

Toilet training is best approached initially by your knowing when your puppy naturally needs to go….so dilligently observe your puppy.

Remember everything is unfamiliar to him/her and will need to be taught “the boundaries”.  Chihuahuas respond well to ‘fun but firm’ discipline – tone of voice and eye contact work well! 

The usual times are when they have just woken from a sleep and after they have eaten.  These are the times to best familiarise them with their new toilet area.  Always make them feel relaxed and that it’s a fun thing to do; exercise patience, then praise them for doing it in the right place.  In the event of an “accident”, clean it up and be a little more vigilant in your observations – never scold….too late…..they don’t know why you’re scolding them!!

There are always tell tale signs, eg: very busily sniffing out a spot, usually rapid movement in a circular pattern!  Never try to call them at this point….it will be a futile command as they have only one thing on their mind!!  Get to them as quickly and calmly as you can without startling them, carry them to their toilet area and wait – it will definitely happen for you.

It does not matter whether you have an indoor or an outdoor toilet area for your puppies…..remember it is trainingnever underestimate the intelligence of a Chihuahua!   In no time at all you will have your baby going to the toilet for you on cue!!  Mine do!!

Because of their size, Chihuahuas eat small portions….they tend to graze.  Until they reach 6 months of age, ensure your puppy has continual access to high quality dry PUPPY kibble (great for teeth and gums) and always fresh clean water.  From 6 months of age ease him/her onto 3 meals a day if possible, then onto a meal twice daily by the time they reach adulthood at one year old.  You can then feed your dog ADULT kibble.  Monitor their weight… not overfeed….an overweight dog  is not a healthy dog – many joint problems are caused by obesity. 

If buying commercially produced dog food, I highly recommend the upper end of the market in dog food lines.  Though the initial financial outlay is greater, you will find your dog will do much better on much less (= more economical).  Added benefits include your dog being free of  digestive, bowel and skin problems created by diet (=less visits to the vet).  The best thing of all is that you will have a well nourished, happy, healthy little dog for a very long time!!!

As a fresh treat, my dogs are fed raw minced chicken/beef  interspersed with raw egg, cooked rice or pasta and fresh raw vegetables/fruit – broccoli, apple, sweet potatoe, carrot, spinach, celery, zucchini which have been put through the blender to break the “skin” of the vegetables – allowing the release of the nutrients to be absorbed by the dog.  They are given raw lamb and beef bones, lovingly and generously sawn by my butcher to ‘Chihuahua Manageable’ size.  I never give my dogs dairy products of any kind as there is sometimes a lactose intolerance, which can cause problems and discomfort.  They are very well nourished without this.  Cooked bones should never be fed to any dog. 

 In the wild, a dog will eat hide, paunch (partly processed vegetable matter – same affect as blended raw) and the flesh of whatever they find – all very much needed in their diet – we must not forget that Chihuahuas are dogs. 

Some people prefer to cook a meal for their dogs, which is fine as long as they know that it is a well balanced, nutritional brew catering for THE DOG’S dietary needs.

Chihuahuas make wonderful indoor/lap dogs, but also need regular exercise to stretch their muscles and keep their joints fully mobile and naturally lubricated.  They are exciteable and exuberant at play and need to have space where they can fully stretch and frolick like bunnies.  They sometimes think they can jump higher, go faster, leap further… a little steadying, without dampening their spirit, is a good idea at times for their sake, especially when young. 

Administering worm tablets is as easy as 1, 2, 3!  Divide the tablet into quarters,  wrap in a “one swallow  portion of your puppy’s favourite treat….offer it and down the hatch it goes!  Mmmmmm….thank you very much…..can I have another one?!   

Grooming these little bundles of joy is a total pleasure for me and my dogs.  Make sure you have a brush which will not scratch their skin (padded/rounded tips), but be adequately firm to reach the full depth of their coat.  A weekly brushing – up…down…sideways…forwards…backwards – will be much appreciated and all that’s required.  When I pull out the grooming brush my dogs all line up smiling and tail-wagging, eagerly awaiting their turn!!  It helps to stimulate the natural oils in their skin, making their coats shiny and healthy.  When moulting, probably every day for a few days – it varies with the individual.  This helps immeasurably to keep the shedded hair out of your home!!  Long coat dogs do not necessarily shed more hair than a smooth coat of any breed.

Be careful not to over-clean your Chihuahua.  Once a month if you feel the need, but I wouldn’t recommend more regularly than that.  Even the mildest of shampoos will strip the natural oils causing the skin to dry out.  I have a favourite natural one, Oatmeal Extract with Aloe Vera, which I have been using for many years.  It comes with a conditioner which is a very efficient remedy for minor skin irritations AND it smells beautiful!!  Provide a non-slip surface for them and regulate a gentle flow of water at body temperature.  This is an appropriate time for trimming nails when they are softened by the moisture and timing meshes well… done monthly/six weekly, snipping back  just a little each time, taking particular care not to cut too short and cause bleeding.  The soft tissue inside  grows with the nail.  Always massage your dog’s feet as part of your cuddle time….reassure them that each time you touch their paws is not just for trimming.  Some dogs are more sensitive/ticklish than others in this area.  I find popping them up on a non-slip bench….a higher spot similar to the vet table….is helpful for better positioning to comfortably access each set of nails.

Have Fun With Your Chihuahua….They Remain Playful Puppies All  Their Life

I hope these little tips and hints will help you.  I am only a phone call or an email away should there be anything else you would like to discuss.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me.