Chihuahua puppies are a big source of fun and happiness, they are so cute that everyone wants to handle them. However, they represent also a heavy responsibility. This new member of your lovely family will need lots of love, attention, and training. Socialization is crucial in training to avoid unwanted behaviors in the future. You might be asking How to Socialize Your Chihuahua Puppy?
Reasons to Socialize Your chihuahua Puppy?
There are a lot of practical benefits for chihuahua puppies who are socialized such as:
- A socialized chihuahua is usually less likely to bite. Some chihuahuas bite because of fear. In other words, a chihuahua who is not socialized at a young age may become so fearful that he feels threatened enough to bite.
- A socialized chihuahua is more adoptable. The more a chihuahua is socialized, the more families are able to adopt him. On the other hand, An unsocialized chihuahua dog will not be able to be adopted by certain families. This means that a chihuahua who can live with other pets including dogs, and children able be adopted by more families than a chihuahua who does not bear pets and children.
- A socialized chihuahua is more confident and positive. An unsocialized dog will always show fear of new experiences, and situations. However, a socialized chihuahua has had positive experiences that allow him or her to enjoy more of life instead of being fearful and isolated.
- Veterinary visits and grooming are less difficult. A chihuahua who is socialized to veterinary and grooming at a very young age will not find these situations as stressful as a dog who is not. Also, being the parent of a socialized chihuahua will make things easy for you and your veterinary.
- Your chihuahua will be able to be more active. A socialized chihuahua can do a lot of things with you without feeling fearful. For instance, he can go to parks with you, to restaurants, attend dog-friendly events, and to your friends’ homes.
At what age Should I Socialize My chihuahua Puppy?
According to American Kennel Club (AKC), the owner should start socializing the puppy During the puppy’s first three months of her life. Because this period is very important for a chihuahua and her/his owner. Puppies shape their behaviors and personality that will stay with them all the coming years. However, Due to their fragile bones and vulnerability, chihuahuas should be introduced with great attention to other people and larger dogs.
How To Socialize Your Chihuahua Puppy
Chihuahuas puppies can inherit some traits from their parents such as being stubborn and sassy. This means that socializing them will require a lot of patience, consistency, dedication, and effort to be able to find the right opportunities for socialization. However, socialization Tips are pretty easy and simple :
- Expose your chihuahua puppy to various experiences and situations.
- Make sure the experiences are not negative for our puppy. At the end of any positive experience reward, your chihuahua puppy with high-value treats.
- Try to expose your chihuahua puppy to situations that will help him learn that these experiences are safe and not stressful.
- Before introducing your chihuahua puppy to children, make sure that they know how to handle your puppy without hurting her.
- While introducing your chihuahua puppy to larger dogs, prevent any chance of being attacked by these larger dogs.
How to Socialize Your Adult Chihuahua
Adult chihuahuas have had more experiences in life than puppies. Unfortunately, sometimes these experiences could be negative. In other words, most adult chihuahuas have things that they hate, and other phobias. So if you are adopting an adult chihuahua, make sure to be ready to work hard on socialization to specific things that you will discover within months. Such as being afraid of riding cars, and being fearful of darkness.
Here are tips o help your adult chihuahua overcome habitual fears adult dogs may have:
1. Veterinarian or Groomer
Some chihuahuas are incredibly fearful when it comes to visiting their veterinarian or groomer. If you are working with a professional or a veterinarian to help your chihuahua, this type of fear will be solved effectively.
- Start by taking your chihuahua for a walk inside the building for fifteen minutes on a weekly basis or once every two weeks. This way you will help your chihuahua become accustomed to the building and learn that the building is just a place to hang out. The timing for this exercise is important too, you should do it at a low traffic time. Also, you can ask any stranger to pet your dog and play with him for a few moments. With the days Your chihuahua will associate the building with a positive experience.
- The moment that your chihuahua starts to behave naturally inside the building. Then you can move to the next step. Take your dog to an exam room or a grooming table for a few moments. Just pet your chihuahua and let him stimulate his senses. You can also ask any employee to pet your chihuahua. This way your chihuahua will learn to be comfortable when he is inside that place.
- Be near your chihuahua when the employee starts examining him. Pet him and give him some traits. Keep doing so until your dog becomes comfortable.
2. Big trucks sounds
Some dogs including chihuahuas may show fear of the sound of big trucks such as trash trucks, school buses, or any kind of bus. Here are some basic tips to help your tiny chihuahua beat this type of fear.
- Chose a place that is located near the scary truck’s passage. Sit with your chihuahua.
- When a truck is driving by do not show any interest in it and start petting the dog. The chihuahua will then understand that the situation is normal and there is no need to be afraid. Don’t forget to Have your chihuahua on a standard leash.
- Using treats can help the chihuahua not to focus on the truck’s sound. Give your chihuahua high-value treats when the truck is not in sight but you hear it.
- Be natural when the truck is near you. Chihuahuas are so smart when it comes to understanding their parents. Keep feeding your dog and ignore the sound of the big truck.
- Keep doing this exercise until your chihuahua behaves normally and ignores the truck’s sound.
3. Humans, especially children
Some chihuahuas may be afraid of humans including women, men, or children. In this exercise, you will need to help of a volunteer preferably the one who triggers fear in your chihuahua. The work must be done once a week or once every two weeks.
- Invite your volunteer to a room where your chihuahua is, then sit and ignore your dog. The helper should also ignore the dog and chat with you. You can do this exercise for fifteen minutes. you can increase it to 30 minutes.
- If your chihuahua didn’t have any reaction, your assistant should keep ignoring the dog throughout the session.
- If the chihuahua chooses to initiate an interaction with the assistant, let it be on his or her terms. The helper should stay calm, and not make sudden movements. This way he or she will allow the dog to sniff and get as close as he or she feels comfortable being. The helper should have traits and be ready to give them to your chihuahua. Then they should place a treat on the floor near them, then with time, offer from their hand outstretched, then hold their hand closer.
- When you notice that your little chihuahua is comfortable, the helper can start petting the dog slowly. As a rule, the stranger should never pet the top of a chihuahua’s head, because the dog may show fear because of this action.
- Your helper should progressively initiate interactions with your chihuahua such as petting him and playing. The helper then should behave naturally inside the house such as walking around while ignoring the dog, etc.
- Keep doing this exercise until your chihuahua tolerates the helper’s presence inside your home. Put in mind that each dog is unique. This is why the progress of this exercise depends on the dog’s personality.
4. Other pets including larger dogs
If your chihuahua is uncomfortable around other pets, especially larger dogs and you don’t have enough experience with chihuahuas, working with a professional trainer from the start may help you. Below we will provide you with a good starting point to work from. All You will need is a very dog-friendly dog and a patient dog owner to work with you as a helper. You can ask the help of a professional if the tips we described didn’t work well for you.
- Choose a securely fenced area. Then bring your tiny chihuahua into the fenced area and your assistant should stay outside. You should have both dogs on a leash. Start walking dogs parallel to the fence, chihuahua should stay inside the fenced area and the other dog outside. Stay calm and talk to your helper as you talk to a friend. Do this exercise a few times.
- When you notice that your chihuahua and the other dog are comfortable and relaxed. Then you can exit the fenced area and go for a walk. However, you should keep a respectful distance between the dogs to prevent any surprise. Repeat this exercise a few times until both dogs get used to each other.
- When you see that both dogs are relaxed and comfortable or ignore each other. Then you can start narrowing the distance between them. However, always keep a close eye on your chihuahua and handle the leash very carefully to separate them if necessary.
- If both dogs are starting to get used to each other. Then you can allow them off-leash in a very secure fenced area under your control.
- Be persistent until both dogs can walk off-leash together without your assistance in a securely fenced area. However, if you notice that there is no progress, you can seek a professional dog trainer’s advice.
Useful Socialization Ideas And Tips
You should take The following bright ideas into consideration as you socialize your puppy or adult dog:
- A puppy class training is crucial. You should start with teaching your puppy basics such as obedience. Then you will have to take him to a puppy class with a professional, reputable, and ethical trainer. This way your puppy will be polite and able to interact with strangers in a good manner. Also, your puppy will be able to go to various places without any problem.
- Your mental state is very important. Chihuahua’s emotional intelligence is high. In other words, they understand their owners very well based on their non-verbal communication. This is why before you start socializing your chihuahua puppy you have to be in a clear mental state. Because dogs mimic their parents. If you are depressed, your chihuahua will be depressed too. This means that you should be comfortable first with things that you want your dog to be comfortable with.
- The first experience is very important. When you notice that your chihuahua puppy has a bad feeling toward something or someone. It is better to skip it until your puppy becomes ready for that experience. Because bad experiences can stuck in the memory of a dog for a long time. This is why you have to choose wisely opportunities.
- Keep the first experience short and sweet. The first exposure is always hard. For this reason, when you are about to expose your chihuahua puppy to something that he or she is unsure of. It is preferable to do it progressively in small, positive steps. Over time you can increase timing or doses. However, in some cases, it takes baby steps to overcome some type of fear.
- Always protect your chihuahua. Chihuahuas are the tiniest dog in the world. This means that a small bad experience is enough to traumatize your dog. So, when you see your chihuahua becoming anxious or confused, you have to end the interaction. Also, you would never let someone mistreat your dog. People should remember that your chihuahua is not a teddy bear.
- Try to understand your chihuahua’s body language. When you are training your chihuahua, you should observe carefully him. If you notice signs of fear, anxiety, or aggression, it is best to end the sessions intelligently. Because pushing your chihuahua past his limit may result in bad outcomes.
- Use the Gambling concept. The concept is you should use a lot of treats during training to encourage your chihuahua to perform certain behaviors. Your chihuahua will learn that there is always a treat after obeying a command. This is why they will always respond positively to your orders because they know that that one is coming. You should diversify your rewards to keep your chihuahua always motivated but never lie to him.
- You can invent games. Inventing games that will help socialize your chihuahua is possible. Because the goal here is to make things easy for your dog.
- Keep the positive reinforcement. Always celebrate wins, no matter how small they are. You have to reward your chihuahua for even a slight improvement. A journey always starts with one small step.
- You should ask for professional help when it is necessary. If you have tried to socialize your chihuahua to a certain thing regularly without any progress over a long period of time, you can start working with a reputable dog trainer. Also, If the trainer is not able to make progress, discuss the situation with your veterinarian; as your chihuahua may suffer from anxiety, the vet may prescribe some medication. In some cases, some chihuahuas may not ever be able to overcome a situation. You will need to be prepared to accommodate your dog’s needs.
Dedicating time to socialize your chihuahua puppy properly means that you are preparing your dog to enjoy life as much as possible. A well-socialized chihuahua will make life easy for you and your family because you won’t be in need to worry a lot about him a lot. Finally, an unsocialized chihuahua equals a lot of problems and dangers.
Can you please share with us your experience in the comment section? what were the hardest situations that you faced during socialization? And what were the easiest ones?
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