In view of the recent events that have occurred due to uneducated people purchasing puppies, I feel it is my own personal responsibility to let everyone know all about purchasing a puppy.
Chihuahuas go through the same puppy phases as any other breed of dog, they ARE NOT born knowing everything. Before a person decides to purchase a puppy, they should educate themselves of the responsibilities. Dogs, as well as any other pet you purchase, are NOT disposable things. They are meant to be a lifetime family member. A chihuahua is going to live 15-20 years if properly taken care of, so think about that when you purchase your chihuahua puppy.
What about housebreaking?
Housebreaking is a chore with some dogs, but with a little patience, and some hard work, it can be accomplished. Don't throw a fit because your puppy made a puddle in your house. Train the pup where to go. There are several great books that describe how to train a puppy to go outside, or even how to use piddle pads. Keep in mind, your pup is just learning. Like a child, you have to keep reminding it where to go to the bathroom and what to do the first time, even the second time. On average, housebreaking a chihuahua can take as long as 6 months, but it can be accomplished. Patience is all you need.
Here is a quick run-down on some tips I use when housebreaking my pups:
1. I don't use newspapers.
2. I take my pup outside and watch and see what it does.
3. A puppy is going to need to relieve it's self after eating and after a nap. This is always the best time to show it that it needs to go outside.
4. If the pup does it's business I praise it heavily. Puppies thrive on praise, and you get the best results when you use this method.
5. Also remember to take the pup outside to use the bathroom if you see it sniffing around the floor in circles. This means it is looking for a good spot to go potty.
As stated, this may take 6 months, but by the time it's over, you will have a nice, lovely, well-behaved dog.
But What about my carpets?
If you do not want your puppy to soil your carpet, then take it outside more often. Praise it more and more when it does it's business outside.
My new puppy barks all night long!
The reason a new puppy will bark and cry all night long is because it is in totally different surroundings. Like people, puppies fear something that they know nothing about. It happens most often at night because the pup is more used to snuggling up to it's mother and siblings at night. Since the pup is new to your home, and the mother and siblings are most likely not there with it, the pup will be scared and cry.
The way to combat this, and the method I have found most effective, is to put the puppy in a box, and put the box on or near your bed. When the pup starts to cry in the night, calmly and gently talk to it and pet it. This will reassure the pup. There are also toys available now with simulated heart-beats to mimic the feel of the mother being with the pup. I have found these to work really well. It also helps if the breeder gives the new owner a piece of a blanket or material the pup is used to, to keep the smell of the former home. Training a pup not to cry in the middle of the night may take as long as 1-2 weeks, but it does take some patience and time to work with the pup.
My new pup won't pay attention to my commands!
A puppy is like a hyper-active child, and especially hyper breeds like a chihuahua, which the AKC standard clearly states is supposed to have a terrier-like temperament. They do not want to take commands. This is why even puppy kindergarten obedience classes will not accept any pup under 6 months. There is just no real way to train a pup before that age how to obey commands. One thing that comes in real handy when training your pup is a good solid leash. Leather leashes are good, but some people like nylon. Nylon however can be chewed through, so I personally quit using them. Another thing that will come in handy for training is a crate. A little plastic pet-porter crate is sufficient to use. My dogs are so well trained that all I have to tell them is "Get in the crate" and they do it. When they go into the crate, I praise them. Also, when training dogs, don't forget the treats. Here is an outline of some very basic commands and how to enforce them on your dog:
Sit - The way to teach this command to your dog is to have your dog standing up, give the command while pushing their hindquarters gently down. Then take your hand off and see if the dog stays that way. Do not confuse the dog by saying "No" when the dog decides to stand up again against your command. But praise them when they finally get the "sit" command right.
Stay - A leash is needed for this command. When you want your dog to stay, have it sit or stand up with the leash on. Give the command, and gently and slowly back away from your dog, all the time holding the leash. If the dog stays, praise the dog. If the dog decides to come to you, or walk away against the command, take the leash gently, and pull the dog back, or stand the dog in one spot and try the command again.
Come - A leash is also needed to teach this command. Get your dog in a sit-stay position, or a stand-stay position, and go about it like you are teaching the dog the "stay" command (explained above). Then when you say "come" gently pull the leash toward you. The dog should naturally follow the direction of the leash. When the dog is at your side, praise it, or give it it's favorite toy or treat.
What about chewing?
A puppy will usually chew on anything when you first get it. This is natural behavior for the puppy. This is how they teeth. Just as a human baby chews on things when they are teething, so do dogs. There are ways to keep your puppy from using your good carpet or furniture as a toothing ring, and that is to buy toys. Beef-scented nyla-bones are a perfect way to get them to teeth. But just like kids, puppies tire of toys too, and so a weekly rotation of toys is appropriate for them to keep them interested. There are nyla-bones that are beef flavored, chicken flavored, cheese flavored, and even peanut butter flavored. NEVER give your puppy rawhide, it is proven to clog the digestive tract which can stop them from eating.
Is puppy chow an appropriate diet?
I often recommend puppy food to puppies going home. A breeder will usually give the new owner a small sample of the food the puppy has been eating. This is very important as any dog will become sick if the diet is abruptly changed. The stress of being in new surroundings would make this much worse. For the first week it is recommended that you feed the puppy the same food it has been given at the breeder's home. The breeder will tell you which brand they used. The second week, mix the food they've been eating at the breeder's with your own choice brand 50/50. That is one part breeder's choice, one part your choice. The third week, make it one part breeder's choice, 2 parts your choice, and so on, until the puppy is old enough to handle a complete change, which should be a month after they have arrived at your home.
Does cat food really cause diarrhea?
No. It doesn't. Dogs can live very well on cat food because cat food is mostly meat. So, don't worry if your puppy eats a little of fluffy's food.
Well I hope this helps those of you who didn't know before you got the puppy you chose what to do with it, or why it behaves like it does. But all in all the main thing is to educate yourself BEFORE you get the pup. Remember that a dog is a family member for life, not a disposable thing. And while many responsible breeders have a buy-back policy, we cannot keep on taking back all unwanted pets, and we sure shouldn't have to take back a pup because a buyer did not educate themselves before getting the puppy. This causes stress on the pup and the breeder as now they need to find a new home for this pup the previous buyer promised to care for. Please remember *Education is the Key to responsible ownership*.