Has your Chihuahua been socialized properly?
While Chihuahuas are adorable, they often have a notorious reputation for being unsociable, high-strung, and difficult to train. Fortunately, with proper socialization and training, you can put an end to these behaviors and help your Chihuahua adopt a friendly personality that is free of fear of other people and animals. The following tips are designed to make socializing your Chihuahua a much easier process.
SOCIALIZATION SHOULD BEGIN AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
Socialization is simply the act of introducing your dog to a vast array of different situations so that he or she will become comfortable with them. The sooner you begin introducing your Chihuahua to situations, people, and other animals, the easier it will be for him to adapt. In fact, you can start this process when he is as young as six weeks old. This significantly decreases the odds that he will be fearful of these types of situations as he gets older. Just be certain that his interactions are non-threatening to allow him to gain a sense of security that will follow throughout his life.
FOLLOW THE RULES OF SEVEN
The Rules of Seven simply state that by the time your puppy is 7 weeks old (or as soon as you possibly can, he should have done the following things.
• PLAYED WITH 7 TYPES OF TOYS, including fuzzy, soft, squeaky, fabric, ropes, and small and large balls.
• MET AND INTERACTED WITH 7 TYPES OF PEOPLE, including adults, kids, the elderly, someone walking with a walker or cane, and different races.
• WALKED ON 7 TYPES OF SURFACES, including gravel, grass, concrete, wood chips, dirt, carpet, hardwood floors, and vinyl.
• BEEN EXPOSED TO 7 GAMES/CHALLENGES, including climbing up and down steps, climbing over an obstacle, playing hide and seek, and running around a fenced in area.
• BEEN IN 7 PLACES, such as the car, front and backyard, dog park (skip this one until your pup has been fully vaccinated), kitchen, living room, vet’s office, and groomer.
• EATEN IN 7 PLACES, including kitchen, crate, outdoors, living room, and laundry room.
SUPERVISED SOCIALIZATION IN A CALM ENVIRONMENT IS CRUCIAL
This is particularly true in regards to children and large dogs. On an additional note, make sure you are calm going into the interaction. If your Chihuahua feels negative energy from you, he is likely to become nervous and upset, as well as identify the person, animal, or situation as one that is potentially threatening.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE SENSITIVE PARTS OF YOUR CHIHUAHUA’S BODY
All dogs are born protective of their teeth, rear, paws, and claws. However, if you start touching his mouth, paws, nails, and rear at a young age, he will become less territorial and begin to understand that this behavior is not threatening. This is particularly important if he will be around small children who are prone to make quick movements and touching a dog anywhere they can get their hand on them.
BE SURE TO PRAISE YOUR CHIHUAHUA
When your Chihuahua takes a big step, be sure to praise his behavior, show him some affection, and even throw in a treat.
Socialization doesn’t happen overnight. It may takes months before your Chi is comfortable around many situations and places. With the right training and socialization, your Chihuahua can be happy and well balanced.
Have you tried something that has worked well in socializing your Chihuahua? Leave a comment and let me know.