Have you heard “Training an older Chihuahua is difficult,” or the saying “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick?” Well that’s not entirely true.
You can indeed teach that old or older Chihuahua it’s just more difficult and takes some unlearning of bad habits first. It’s a lot easier to guide a puppy whatever the breed into correct behavior patterns, rather than having to fix problems that have become habits.
It’s not fair for either the owner or the dog to let problems go uncorrected. Behavior problems lead to frustration for both and is often the number one reason older Chihuahua are placed in shelters.
If you have chosen an older Chihuahua as your new companion and are facing behavior issues due to lack of early training the same training rules apply; consistency, persistence and lots of patience.
Chihuahua’s are intelligent and thrive on love and attention, they can also be very manipulative and will quickly learn just what they can get away with. It’s up to you to set the boundaries and not let them cross it without correction, this is very important in training a Chihuahua.
Many have been allowed to get away with some really bad behaviors that have become habits and it will be up to you to change their ways, this is where the patience part comes in.
Start with establishing a good bond so they will trust you when correction time comes. You will have to do house training so they learn where to do their thing and continue through to socializing.
House Training Your Chihuahua
House training your Chihuahua is very important. Not only because it will save you daily cleanups and having to replace furniture and carpeting, but a lot of frustration and if a puppy was not house trained properly or quickly, they end up at another home (maybe yours) or at least living outside.
For house training a Chihuahua the best method I have found is the crate method. Confine your Chihuahua in a crate or a small area, they usually will not soil their sleeping area as long as you remember to frequently remove them to their potty area. When they do have an accident, you can quickly rush them to the appropriate area. But, remember, accidents will happen and do be patient and consistent.
Biting And Chewing
All puppies will bite and chew on any and everything. That’s just a puppy thing. Adult dogs who bite and chew are a serious problem and this behavior must be stopped immediately and not be allow to continue uncorrected.
If they had a chance to play with other dogs, that playing will have naturally taught restraint in biting. If not, it’s up to you to deal with the behavior yourself. One approach is to say “ouch” , which should be an easy response. Keep a serious expression in your voice, depending on their age make it loud but not angry. Then leave the room for a short time, you may have to repeat this several times before they make the connection. If the biting is aggressive in nature you may have to try another approach.
Excessive Barking And Whining
Is there a legitimate reason for the barking or whining? Are they uncomfortable, do they need a potty break? There may be a good reason, if you can’t find one it may be simply an attention seeking strategy? Your Chihuahua should be taught to handle periods of isolation and separation, and not expect to get everything they want.
On the other hand make sure you spend a lot of time with your new Chihuahua so they feel loved and secure. But do not accept their excessive barking or whining noise; deal with this by using the “Enough” command and treat them the instant they stop. They will quickly associate the command.
A properly socialized Chihuahua is well adjusted and is a pleasure to be around. Socialization most easily occurs before a puppy is 3 months old. If you know the history of your new adult Chihuahua, make sure early experiences that were frightening or painful are not repeated without some preconditioning. Try to include some of the following into your socialization training.
1. To encourage good socialization invite friends to meet your new companion, if they have well socialized pets ask them to bring them if possible.
2. Because Chihuahua’s are small you can and should carry them to places where there will be a lot of people. If you have established a good bond they will feel more secure being held and carried.
3. Take them with you for short car rides.
4. Go slow with grooming this may have been a frightening experience in the past, get them used to being bathed, brushed and inspected.
5. Introduce them to anything and everything you do and wish them to be around.
When training a Chihuahua that is older you will quickly learn what needs to be re-enforced or corrected, but without a doubt in the end you will have a loving wonderful companion for a lifetime.