Q. I'm trying to get my new dog to come when I call him, and he just ignores me. What can I do to change his response? We adopted him from a rescue about a month ago, and he is approximately 3 years old.
A. First, he probably has never had the training he needed, but you can correct that as he learns trust from you and feels secure in his new home and family. Patience is the most important tool you have to work with him; next is consistency. He probably has to learn a new name as well. Sometimes if they do not respond to their given/new name, try changing it to one he likes better and responds to, then stick to it. Call him by it often until he is used to hearing it. However, repeatedly changing his name will not help. Please, do not yell at him or call him in a harsh tone if you want him to come to you. Second, start by standing only a few steps away from him with a treat, then call him. Start off with small steps in training and stick with it. Third, Having him on a leash will help in your commands; just don't yank the leash when calling him; a light tug is best if needed. Then, when he responds to your command, reward him with a very "special treat" he really likes (just one or two pieces) or praises him with lots of positive attention. Remember only one training command until he has that down perfectly before starting a new one.
Q. Training an Anxious Rescue... What Can I do?
I'm writing to thank you on behalf of my son Chris. About eight months ago, my family rescued an adult chihuahua mix. We fell in love right away, but Odin has a lot of anxiety. Even after obedience classes, Odin was still wreaking havoc in our home. It was extremely stressful, and I wasn't sure if we'd be able to keep him, but my son was determined. Chris came across your web page www.chihuahuasweelove.com/home, and we can't express how grateful we are for all the information and resources you've provided.
He's actually managed to get Odin under control, thanks in part to the tips and resources from your site. Turns out, what Odin needed was several weeks of constant supervision and training, not weekly group classes. We also got a lot of use from this helpful online guide
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/bringing-home-your-new-pet-how-pet-proof-your-home.htm on pet-proofing your home, and I desperately wish I'd read something like this sooner.
This experience has also inspired Chris to become a veterinarian someday, and I think your validation would encourage him to continue working toward that goal!
Thank you again,
A. Elsie, I wanted to thank you for sharing Odin's story, Chris' determination, and your undying support. We never know what has happened in an animal's life that makes them tick the way they do. But it's people like Chris who see something that others may not, and yes someday, his devotion will help him become the very best at whatever he decides to do in life. There is always a need for skilled, loving veterinarians. I don't know how old you are, Chris, but I think you may be barking up the right tree!
I'm glad you found my site useful, and most people struggling the way you have with Odin just need a little guidance and a whole lot of patience.
Q. I would like to do some personal research for a class project and would like to know if you can recommend any websites to further promote my career in the pet industry.
A. I always love to share as much information with my readers as possible that will benefit the health and well-being of our "pets" of any kind so let me recommend the following Educational links that you might be interested in from the folks at Open Colleges.edu.au For more Animal Care Advice:
and for the Career Animal Care Industry, visit:
Q. I am a dog person. I had my first dog at 5yrs and had one most of the time since. While in grad school, I managed the Washington, DC, division of Pets 'n' Plants, the largest in-home pet sitting service in the area. The brilliant woman, H.K. Foster Alvarado, who owned the business, really gave shape and form to the whole industry. It is in my nature to research anything that interests me. I am thinking about getting a Chi from you. Love your website and dedication to inform others all about your wonderful breed and dogs in general. Thank you very much. Got 2 questions...I am 70. Is that too old to get a long-lived dog like a Chi? Hate to see those ads where a dog is put in a shelter because of the death of an owner. #2 I always like to visit the breeder from whom I am getting a dog. I live 60 miles north of New York City. While I'd love to visit Texas, it is a long drive. I think it is traumatic to ship a puppy of any kind, especially your little ones. I guess you don't, or you would not do it. Do you sell older bitches? Is there any correlation between the size of a Chi and longevity? Do the bigger ones have a shorter life span? Thanks so much for your time.
A. Thanks, Mary, for your thoughts and concerns. I'm sure there are others who are asking their selves some of the same questions, so I will try to answer them the best I can. Keep in mind this is my "opinion" and not necessarily shared by others. Your first, being 70 yrs old and getting a dog like a Chihuahua because of their longevity: If you are looking to get a puppy, there are many things to consider. Puppies are quick on their feet and can easily get stepped on by anyone - at any age! But most elderly folks that I know are not as quick to react, and therefore I would be more concerned about an issue with "falling."
Your second concern regarding logistics: Our door is always open if someone wants to schedule a visit, and we have had folks from all parts of the country come in. I totally agree that people should visit where the puppy comes from, and shipping these little ones should be a last resort whenever possible. There are other options to look into, so be sure to do your homework ahead of time.
Third: Our dogs are family, old or young. And as long as I can, I will love them until one of us passes. A thought I don't cherish, so I am glad they live much longer than most breeds.
A final thought: The size of the Chi does not indicate its longevity. Our family includes, on occasion, adoptees, rescues, and fosters. Maybe you should check with your local shelter and rescue organizations for an older Chi that has lost their elderly parent. It's amazing how grateful they become just to have a home again!
Q. I see your Chihuahuas wear collars. I am confused, as everything I’ve heard claims, we should be using halters. I understand the halter argument, but it sure is hard to quickly put one of those on when you want to get your puppy outside quickly to use the potty.
Are collars safe, and which type do you prefer?
Thanks so much for your dedication!
A. Thanks for asking this question because it is excellent, and people should be very concerned about this, especially with a small puppy.
Personally, I prefer neither, and most of the time, my dogs don't wear collars. But with that being said, I do understand that a lot of pet owners don't have a fenced yard to let their puppies run in, and when taking them out, they need to be restrained.
For these little ones, it is best to use a properly fitted harness when going outside. You may want to have someone at the store which is knowledgeable about the different styles to help you fit it on your puppy. When at home, you can loosen it, allowing your puppy time to get used to wearing a harness for short periods or remove it - but never leave your puppy alone with it on, especially during the training stage. (Same applies to a collar; only I use a "break-away" cat collar - but I also save the collar training until they are adults. Their little "trechs" are too tiny and delicate...this way, you will avoid potential accidents.)
Linda, I wanted to touch base with you since you were so helpful to me. Your advice was very helpful, and as a result, I wanted to let you know that my little girl's pregnancy and delivery went well. Her pups will be 4 weeks old in a couple of days and progressing wonderfully. I have a wonderful vet, but I am thankful for people like you who are honestly helpful and genuine. I am having my girl spayed just as soon as she is able, and although I have learned a lot from this experience, it is an area best left for professional breeders.
My research and actual experience with this is something I will always cherish; however, the ins and outs of the ordeal are not something to take lightly or half-heartedly. Throughout my intense research, I have a much fuller understanding of why breeders are breeders and all others should not be. There are some real idiots out there who breed for whatever reason, the most money, I presume, and are not really interested in the breed itself; and do not do all it requires to become 'real' breeders properly.
Again thank you for your advice, and have a blessed year.
A. Well Said!
Q. My fiance and I moved into our new flat together. The move went well. The only problem we have is with my 4-year-old little dash round, designer mix, and the love of my life; they seem to have become rivals with everything. I don't know how I can fix the jealousy on the home front. Can you help? Unnerved in England
A. Many battles have been won and lost due to jealousy amongst ...."fellow and fur," so to speak. However, this is not uncommon and very possible to fix with a little patience and a calm assertive attitude. I would suggest that you allow your fiance to become the "provider" for the three of you. Instead of implementing acts of alienation with the canine kid, ask your fiance to "provide" the meals for your little doxy: this means preparing and serving doxy's meals, providing fresh water daily, and walks with just the two of them in the beginning ...all of course with a cheerful, positive attitude.
You will soon be amazed at the difference this will make.
Q. Last week at 4 a.m. I let my 2 Chihuahua’s out to use the bathroom. I always go out with them, but I heard my son's asthma machine running, so I ran upstairs to turn it off quickly. I then heard a horrible, horrible cry and knew it was my sweet little Windy. A coyote had taken her and was already long gone by the time I flew down the stairs. When the sun came up, we found her fairly close to the woods in the back of our subdivision. I am just crushed. She was by my side 24/7, and even though I have 4 kids, I really feel like I have lost a child and am just sort of lost right now.
I know I could never replace her.
A. My total condolences to Holly and her family. This is hard to hear and even harder to go through.
Let this serve as a reminder that the "predators" are around and searching for food. Unfortunately, if coyotes are hungry, they are known to attack - especially at night - but even during broad daylight! Please watch your pets (or children) at all times, especially if you live in an area conducive to "predators"...DONT BE THE NEXT to experience such heartache and loss. It only takes a second!
Q. We just recently adopted a puppy; he is a 12-week-old, long hair chihuahua. We are currently living with our in-laws, and they have a small dog. Our dogs get along great, but we are moving out by the end of this month because our house is now finished. We worry that Tico, our puppy, will be lonely. We do not have any children yet, but we are planning a baby within 1 to 2 years from now. Should we get another puppy, or will it be too hard to manage 2 puppies and a baby at the same time? How long should we wait to get another puppy? By the way, we love your website, and we will definitely buy our next puppy from you when the time is right.
A. When you do get ready to add a puppy to your family, it is just like children. They bond with one another in play, they compete with one another for attention, and they teach one another (both good and bad habits), but you will just need to work really well together in teaching your puppy(s) in the early weeks about your expectations in the house.
Then the earlier you have them spayed/neutered (6-9 months), the better it is in the long run. Are both you and your husband working or going to school full time? Whether you are a proud parent of one - or more - or not being there that first year to train and keep an eye on them - there is where your real problem lies.