Next, ALL dogs, including Chihuahua, and maybe even especially Chihuahuas, NEED training. Obedience training is a good start, but it is not the end. A good puppy kindergarten class is a superb idea for all puppies and it is a great socialization opportunity.Socialization is a form of training, and it desensitizes your puppy to common stimuli that can cause fearful reactions later in life. So, socialization is NOT optional. It is REQUIRED to have a well-adjusted Chihuahua.
Again, I cannot stress this enough! In Chihuahua, perhaps more than in any other breed, socialization is crucial to ensuring that your puppy is happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved. Many people have cited instances of Chihuahuas being mean, unsocial and intolerable to strangers and other dogs, and that characterization of this breed breaks my heart. Chihuahuas are raised to be, quite literally, man's best friend. This breed is not a working breed. They don't herd or hunt. They are bred to be companion animals, and they do attach very strongly to their primary caregivers, but that does not mean that they need to behave like living terrors to everyone else. The key to preventing that is thorough socialization.
Our puppies are raised in our home, where we work from the day they are born to socialize them. The pups are handled and loved on every day, usually several time a day, from the minute they are born until they leave us. They are introduced to other breeds whenever possible, new sights, sounds and textures, and other people. We do our best to give you a great start on their socialization from the beginning.However, this next sentence is the most crucial part of this page. Socialization does not stop here. Because this is so important, I will say it again. SOCIALIZATION DOES NOT STOP HERE!
In fact, our efforts to socialize your puppy are only the beginning of the process. When your pup is ready to leave, at about 8 weeks old, he/she is in the very beginning stages of the critical socialization period, which begins around 8 weeks and ends around 16 weeks of age. That means that it will be largely up to you to complete the socialization process for your puppy. During this critical period, it is essential that you introduce your puppy to as many new things as possible. You will want to introduce him/her to other breeds of dog, other types of animals, many different types of sounds, floor surfaces, scents, and especially other people. You should begin with a gradual introduction as your puppy settles in to your home, but once settled in, you will want to get very serious about the process very quickly.
The first step is to take your puppy with you everywhere that you possibly can take him safely. Let him get used to riding in the car, experiencing new places, meeting new people and/or other dogs, and sniffing the world around him in a calm and relaxed way. If you wish to use specific training sessions to enhance socialization, generally, short, calm and relaxed sessions are best. For example, if you are introducing him to a new sound, keep it at around 2 minutes at first, and try to introduce the sound during a cuddle or play session. If the sound startles him, try using a sound app or website that allows you to adjust the volume. Start out softer and gradually get louder until you can play the sound at about its normal volume without startling your puppy (this works well for things like vacuum cleaners).
We do our part while your puppy is with us, but no puppy is going to be a ready made, perfect pet as soon as they go home. Your puppy is still young and still has much to learn. So, you will still have training to do when your puppy goes home with you. but with proper care and effort, your puppy will be very social with other people and other dogs, and will be confident and comfortable in new environments and situations.
Even well socialized pups and dogs can have some form of separation anxiety when left alone, especially if they are NOT crate trained. That is because dogs are highly social animals. If you think about it, that should be intuitive. Dogs are pack animals. They are instinctively programmed to live in groups. When a wild dog gets separated from his group, he will howl and cry to facilitate reunion with his group. Once reunited, the undesirable behavior will stop. If you have a single dog and no other animals, then YOU are his group, and when you leave, he may howl or cry until you return and he is reunited with you. If that doesn't work, destructive behavior may ensue because your dog cannot get out of the house, where he knows you went, to try and find you. This is separation anxiety. Arguably, the easiest fix is to crate train your puppy from the start, which should eliminate the anxiety during separation. Another easy fix for separation anxiety is to provide your dog with an animal companion so that when you leave, your dog's entire group hasn't left him behind. We often place our puppies in pairs, partly for this very reason. However, if that is not an option for you, then please read on. We start separation training while your puppy is with us, but keep in mind that your puppy is still a puppy when he goes home. He still has many phases to go through and much to learn, so as with all forms of socialization, you will need to continue his separation training. The links below give you step by step instructions for preventing and reversing separation anxiety. Just click the titles to read the full articles. I have included some links below that offer more helpful tips and methods of socialization.