There is one book that I highly recommend (I wish I had written it!) that goes well beyond what most dog trainers talk about and gets to the heart of how your dog feels about and experiences life. In the book The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell, you’ll read that dogs naturally feel like they still belong to a pack and they want to interact with you as part of the pack.
Our Chihuahua is named Yoda (our son is a huge Star Wars fan) and he’s so happy now that he doesn’t have to worry about leading the pack anymore. He’s no longer “top dog” …unless of course we change our behavior in a way that promotes him up to leader of the pack again. But then it’s easy enough to change positions again by performing our newly learned Chihuahua training methods!
You can try some simple things the book recommends yourself to see how they work, like making it look like you’ve eaten some food first and then giving your dog his/her food to eat. Then, if after 5 minutes or so the dog hasn’t eaten the food, take it away. This lets the dog know that you’re in control of the food supply…a classic top dog role! And the next time you feed your precious pet they wil be sure to gobble up whatever leftovers you’ve provided for them. With a small breed like the Chihuahua it’s also important not to overfeed them, but that’s a subject for a Chihuahua Health article.
Another thing to try is to ignore (this can be very hard with Chihuahuas since they’re so cute!) your dog for the first 5 minutes after you come home. The top dog never makes a fuss over the pack when returning home. But it’s OK to worry about and make a fuss over your Chi when it returns home (like after going outside to “do it’s duty”).
It’s amazing to see the difference in Yoda’s behavior when we follow a few simple rules of how to live life in a [Chihuahua] dog pack. Chihuahua training becomes easy!
If you’re like me (I’m not known to be a patient shopper…I want it now!) you’ll want to go out and pick up the book at your local bookstore today or check out your local library to see if they have a copy. I don’t know the author and the only reason this was written is we both feel it can do so much good for so many people and their pets. Especially if you may be thinking your dog is out of control and may have to be put down. Please, please read this book before taking any such drastic action!
Joan & David Anderson are creators of a site dedicated to pictures of Chihuahuas, plus Chihuahua resources. Visitors and Chihuahua picture submissions are welcome. Please visit Chihuahua-Pictures.com.