OMG how cute! I absolutely adore itty bitty dogs. They absolutely can be as well adjusted as larger dogs, but there are definitely a few things to keep in mind with a little up that maybe wouldn't be as important with larger dogs. I can also speak a little bit to Chihuahua breed tendencies, since it sounds like you don't know as much about the breed as you'd like to!
I'm going to go piece by piece and answer your questions from the original post first, and then add some thoughts on at the end.
Anyway, he's my first small breed puppy and I've noticed some behaviour problems starting to develope already, in example he is very, very mouthy when he plays, which I know is normal for a puppy but when I make the loud pitched sound and ignore him like I did with my other dogs he just keeps coming. He'll move to feet if you ignore him or put him down and if he can't reach you he jumps and jumps and jumps at you until he bites something. He also has already started humping things. Is this normal for his breed? How do I get him to stop? Another problem is he chews on carpet? He like sits there and pulls at it, I've never had a dog that does that before but what I've been doing is saying "NO!" while clapping and then giving him a toy, is this right?
This kind of behavior is very, very normal in pups and not something to be unduly concerned about. The getting more excited when someone "yelps" is also pretty common- the only thing I'd take away from that is that this is likely a puppy who'd like squeaky toys, LOL.
Generally, puppies are biting for three reasons:
1) exploration mouthing- puppies explore the world with their mouths essentially from birth. Before 2 weeks of age, they will try to suckle on anything that they think is a nipple (fingers, pieces of clothing, puppy feet, I've seen some latch onto mom's vulva before as well). As their eyes start to open and they become cognitively aware, suckling starts to become mouthing. Just as human infants explore with hands (usually overly roughly until they learn better), puppies explore with mouths (again, roughly until they learn better). Littermates, mom, and humans they interact with when young will all have a role in teaching them what is appropriate in this regard. As they age, this kind of biting tends to phase out, IME.
2) arousal biting, which can be from over stimulation or just normal play biting behavior- IME usually, it starts as play behavior and moves into over arousal biting if the play goes on to long. This is the kind of biting that will generally not go away, IME, because as the pup grows up it just becomes they way they play/interact with things and becomes a learned component of their behavior.
3) teething- this will sometimes extinguish as they get older, and sometimes stick around (ie, becomes a learned behavior, IMO because the dog happens to be one who really likes to chew and just keeps doing it).
I teach from a young age that mouth on people means the people go away. If my pup bites, I stop all interaction. In the beginning, I'll wait a minute or two. As they start to understand that I stop paying attention to them when they bite, if I return after the count of 5 or so they will often be more appropriate in their behavior the next time. This is, IME, the most successful correction for puppy biting you can give.
If i have a puppy who is a rampant play biter, as well as during their teething phase (usually 4-6 months), I will make sure I have plenty of appropriate things for them to chew on (Nylabone and Kong both make great puppy chews). If i feel that they're just biting because they really want something in their mouth (vs choosing to bite), I'll give them the toy. Generally, though, ignoring for biting is the best course of action.
He does really well in his crate which I turned into a "puppy apartment" like I read about for small breeds. My other dogs I just had a cage big enough to turn around in but with him I did what I saw and put him in an extra-large crate with a "litter box" on one end and a bed, toys and food/water bowls on the other. He does really well like this and has not had an accident out of his litter box when put up. His potty training isn't going that bad either, he's peed in the house twice but both times I corrected him and then cleaned the spot thoroughly. He takes FOREVER to go potty when I take him outside though. Like 25-40 minutes each time. He hates the leash but I figured he'll get better at that with more practice. He does sometimes (twice now) pee when he gets really excited, is that normal? Will he always do that?
The "puppy apartment" is a good idea- personally, I prefer to use an X-pen over a crate, but either works.
For the outdoor training- right now, the puppy likely thinks he's supposed to be going in his litterbox. Continue with bringing outside, waiting for him to go, and then praise AND give a treat for going outside every time he does. Make sure you're exceedingly uninteresting while outside with him.
For the leash- I'd have him practice wearing a harness and leash inside as well, to get him used to the feeling of it. It's not uncommon for pups to not like the feeling at first. One other note: I would avoid having him in a collar, given the breed's predisposition to tracheal issues.
On peeing when he gets excited: puppies will almost always pee after play. Really little ones, with really little bladder, pee more than bigger ones (IME/O) and it's a good idea to bring outside more frequently and give pee breaks in the middle of rough play. Likely, though, it is mostly due to age- pups this young have very little control of their bladder, and when they gotta go they gotta go.
Also, important question, is it too soon to start taking him for walks to the lake? He's had one set of shots and is getting his second sometime next week (have to look at the paper). I'm mainly worried about parvo, do you think he'd be okay or should I wait? I want to socialize him as much as possible but how do I do that before he gets all of his shots? Also how much energy do chihuahua's tend to have? Are they good with a 30 minute walk a few times a week or do they need an hour walk 5 times a week, etc.? |
Anyway, sorry this is so long but I was wondering am I doing everything okay? Is there anything special you need to do for a small breed vs a medium or large breed? Thank you for all of your help!
I'd recommend bringing him in to the vet for a health check sooner rather than later, and asking them about the risk of parvo in your area. Personally, I'm overly concerned with vaccinations having had a pup die of parvo when I was a kid. Since he's so small (and for reasons I'll talk about below) I would prefer carrying him places over having him walk.
On length of walks- chihuahua energy tends to vary dramatically. Some are hyper, some are laid back, and some are in between. Because they're so small, its also easy to exercise them inside vs on a walk (you can exercise a 10lb dog with the same energy needs as a 50lb one much easier inside than you could the 50lb one). I hesitate to say "walks are better" for them for reasons I'll go into below...
One thing to keep in mind with this breed, IMO, is that a genetic predisposition towards fear are very common. There is a reason why you see so many aggressive chihuahuas, and while it partly has to do with the difference in socialization and training small dogs often get compared to big dogs, I feel strongly that it also has to do with a tendency towards anxiety and fear in the temperament of some lines. This is compounded by the fact that a small size relative to the rest of the world makes things seem much scarier, even for a confident animal. This is something else to keep in mind: always remember to judge the dog's response to a situation based on what is reasonable from their perspective, not from yours. If you're introducing him to a laid back, 50lb lab you know would never hurt him and he's afraid, realize that that is a very reasonable fear. For all he knows, that dog will kill him, and that dog is very capable of doing so. This leads me to another breed trait I have noticed- Chihuahuas tend to be naturally bad at reading the body language of other dogs. I could explain the scientific basis of this, but suffice to say: they do not give normal signals to other dogs, and they are bad at understanding the body language signals other dogs give to them. This can get them in trouble with interactions with other dogs, so keep that in mind.
Now, if this is a confident dog then bringing him out for socialization trips willy-nilly will likely be beneficial. If he's a bit more anxious, then a more thoughtful approach to socialization may be better. I would say bringing him for a trip around the lake would be great so long as he's comfortable, though I would carry him and keep an eye on him to make sure he isn't getting overly anxious. Bringing some fun, tasty treats and/or toys he likes that you can use to interact with him is a good idea, as well.