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Hi Everyone,

Okay so the Chihuahua puppies that my children found in the garden a few weeks ago are now acting like actual puppies. No longer are they little sausages that do nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. Now they are little sausages that wake up enough to follow you around pouncing your feet.

Now I've never had small puppies before. I've had small adult dogs that I have fostered or dog-sat for people but never puppies of this size at this age.

So I'm trying to figure out how to make sure that they get all the early molding that they need to turn into well mannered adults that don't want to attack people - because a lot of chi's seem to have pretty rotten temperaments. I know some of that is genetics but a lot of it seems to be lack of training and socialization.

The problem I am having is that everyone I know with small dogs is telling me to treat them like absolute glass. I have a list of things not to do - including:

Don't let them meet the cats - because the cats will eat them
Don't let them interact at all with the bigger dogs
Don't let my kids hold them because they are too fragile
Don't let them walk around on the floor because they might hurt themselves
Don't give them hard food EVER because they will choke and die
Don't let them go outside

Now some of these make sense. I have not let them outside as they will not get their first shots until Monday. However the rest of it seems like hogwash to me. How can you have a not neurotic dog if you never let them do anything?

I have let them run around - I am not going to keep them crated 100% of the time now that they are active. They are always supervised but I'd supervise any 5-6wk old puppy no matter the size.

They have met my cats (under supervision) and have done absolutely fine. The cats either groom them or ignore them completely.

I have let them interact with Amelia and Coraline - while I was either holding the puppy or with a baby gate between them. Neither Amy or Cora watch where they are going so we do take precautions.

My kids hold them, cuddle them, play with them all the time. The youngest has to sit down on a dog bed on the floor while doing so but my 11yr old is very gentle about picking them up.

They have not been introduced to hard kibble yet but I plan on doing that in the next couple of days. It will be itty bitty tiny kibble.

Sorry this got so long but I guess I am wondering if I am just doing everything horribly wrong or if people are giving me silly advice? I know they are super tiny but they are dogs and I feel they should be allowed to be puppies.
 

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dog brains are all the same regardless of size.

See here to learn about the proper steps and stages of socialization

Puppy Plan - Resources - Downloads

I agree that some of what you are being said is bunk. Bunk on both ends. Honestly for big breeds of dogs you'd not just randomly introduce the pups to an adult dog without careful supervision. Now, you need to be aware of the fact that because they are so small the risks are magnified, so as with ALL young pup meets new adult dog interaction you have to select the right adult dog, and you have to do it under careful supervision, I'd add the additional caveat that it would be great if the adult dog being introduced was also small.

So keep that basic thought pattern going. Analyze the risk taking into account that the tiny breeds are more fragile. But I see no risk on letting them walk around on the floor provided they are under careful supervision. Similarly hard food, break the kibble bits up to better match the fact you have very small pups and then feed it.
 

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I think you're doing fine by the sounds of it!
I think you're getting some advice that is kinda over the top! ;)

Even though they are tiny, they still need the same socialization larger pups need. Just continue to use your judgment and be safe about it!
 

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They're puppies they're not made of glass! You'd be foolish to not socialize them to cats and kids if you have the chance! It sounds like one of your kids is older, and you just need to monitor them around the children, cats, and in general. As long as you just keep an eye on them, I think they'll be very well rounded puppies. And god knows the world needs more Chihuahuas that don't hate everything!
 

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I agree with the above. If you don't want to crush the kibble you can also soak the kibble in the formula you are using to soften it to.

As long as you are supervising I see no problem with what you are doing. Oh can we get update pictures of the little rascles?
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you very much for all the good advice! It is nice to know that I'm not being irresponsible in wanting them to be exposed to all of the things!





I am trying really hard not to get attached to the smaller of the two but she is so funny and spunky that it is difficult not to!

The other girl has a home lined up as of today. She is going to be so spoiled rotten by her new parents! Though she will continue to stay with us for a couple more weeks.
 
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Ahhhhh! So cute!!!
 

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Sounds like you a doing a great job! So many of those precautions seem rather overmagnified to me. They're too cute as well! Best of luck w them.
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ahhhh too adorable. I love the apple-shape head of the two. I also love the light red/orange color of the pups. Would it be red or would they be tan?
 

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I agree with everyone else - the puppies are little but they're pretty tough. Introducing them to new things in a positive way will hopefully help a little in preventing the snappy chihuahua reputation. :)
As long as you're supervising, it seems perfectly okay for them to get to know that cats and kids and dogs of any size are friend, not foe. And when they do get their shots and are ready to be taken outside, they'll be ready to get to know other people and places. You're starting out great with these puppies and it's gonna save some headache for the future owners so that they don't end up in a shelter.
 

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The one piece of advice I'd give is to make certain that all their new experiences are good ones, same as you'd do with any puppy. It's not the number of experiences it's the quality of them. 1 negative experience can undo 10 positive ones, but it'll take many positive experiences to undo 1 negative one.

Other then that, if your kids are gentle and the pups enjoy playing with them let them interact. If the cat's not hurting the puppy, and the puppy isn't harassing the cat then letting them socialize is fine. If the dog is fully vaccinated and gentle then letting the puppies interact with him is a good thing. If they've pottied (you want to prevent accidents) and are in a puppy proof room or you are right there to keep them from getting into something they shouldn't exploring is good for them. If the kibble is softened, or made for small breed puppies kibble is fine for them, they may not have the teeth and jaw strength to chew larger kibble.

The only thing I'd caution against is letting strange people handle them. If the puppies are happy to go to a person it's fine, but if they are acting scared don't let the interaction continue.
 

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I think it´s the worst advice ever to not let them near the cats or bigger dogs.

With chi´s all dogs are bigger than them and it´s even more important than with larger pups to socialise with larger dogs from bichons to great danes. They need to learn dog body language to be able to communicate effectively. So when they are interacting and become overwhelmed they can give calming signals, tell the other dog please back off.

Ofcourse if the other dog is not socialised themselves and is rude thats not going to be effective. But it will mean that most of the time playtime with larger, trusted and socialised dogs will be fine in the future.

My mum´s yorkie was practically raised by a very gentle labrador subsequently Im never worried about him with other dogs. He met a Standard poodle this weekend, it was beautiful to watch them interact at first. It was like watching a conversation our Askur went up to shadow and said with his body, Im good, im not threatening you, wanna play! and they played the few times shadow was a bit too rough Askur told him so and shadow backed off. When Askur had enough he went to us. They played like that all weekend.

It just saddens me sooo much because I see so many undersocialised toy breeds that are unable to interact with other dogs because they basically don´t know dog language and come off in their reactive fearful yappy state as aggrasive to other dogs and effectively end up starting fights.

Im not saying throw them head first into the nearest dog park BUT its sooo tempting to coddling toy breed puppies but it does them a huge disservice. Of course the socialisation and interactions need to be supervised and positive but don´t be tempted to shelter them.

If I were adopting one I would be sooo super happy that you had introduced them to kids, cats and big dogs.

They have the same exact needs as Afghan puppies it´s just trickier to fulfil them because of their size.
 
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