Establishing Good Behavior and Manners

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • Turning your Chi’s crate into a home
  • Housetraining without havoc
  • Teaching a few essential words
  • Eliminating barking, nipping, and other little problems

Do you know why Toy dogs have a bad reputation for being yappy, hard to housetrain, and possessive? Because so many owners let little pets get away with rudeness. I’m sure glad you’re not one of those owners. How do I know? Because you’re reading about manners right here! After you train your Chihuahua with the tactics I present in this chapter, he’ll become a good ambassador for this bright breed.

In this chapter, I help you raise your Chi to be a polite pup. You discover how to housetrain him — including crate training — introduce him to simple commands, and nip problem behavior in the bud before it becomes nasty habit. Not only will your dog love the positive attention that comes with training, but his well-behaved nature also will make him welcome in many more places. And going places together is one of the best parts of having a canine companion.

Tip

Dog training methods go in and out of style almost as often as hemlines, but the positive motivation method that’s so popular today has always been my favorite. Positive motivation works because dogs adore attention, and they’ll perform encore after encore of any act that elicits your positive interest. Catching your dog doing something right and then praising him for it is the crux of positive training. See how many good habits you can instill in your Chi through praise, petting, and good timing.

Warning!

Never punish your Chi for something he did when you weren’Tip supervising. He won’t know why he’s being punished, which leads to all sorts of anxiety problems. If you didn’t catch him in the act, let it pass. Keep it from happening again by using prevention, not punishment.

Making the Crate a Home Base

Besides serving as your pup’s private den and his home away from home, your Chi’s crate is your best housetraining tool. But before you teach him his bathroom manners, you should teach your Chi to accept, and even enjoy, being crated. Here are some simple steps to follow:
1. Every time you put your dog in his crate, toss a favorite toy or special treat into the crate ahead of him.
2. Say “Crate” or “Kennel up” and gently, but firmly, put him inside and shut the door.
3. Now walk away. Don’t wait around to see how he responds, because that entices him to react.
It won’t be long before your Chi learns what “Crate” means and enters his little den on his own.
Your Chi may cry the first few times he’s introduced to his crate, but if you leave the room and don’t retrieve him until he settles down, he’ll soon learn to relax in it. The worst thing you can do is rescue him when he cries, because that teaches him to control you by whining and howling. If he still complains in his crate after a week or two, head to Chapter Keeping Your Place as Head of Household for help.
At night, make sure your pup relieves himself before you crate him and then put his crate in your bedroom, right beside your bed. No, a young dog won’t make it through the night, but he should be okay for three or four hours. If he cries in his crate as soon as the lights go out, sing or whistle soothingly to him (to let him know that someone is near), but don’t take him out of the crate. The first few nights are the hardest on him (and you), because your place won’t feel like home yet. A young pup is used to snuggling with his mother and littermates, and he misses them most during the wee hours. Be prepared to lose some sleep.
Eventually, your dog will fall asleep and so will you, but expect him to wake you with his cries after a few hours. Like it or not, you must get up quickly and take your puppy outside to relieve himself. Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping quarters, which is why a crate is such a good housetraining aid. But if you ignore his plea to go potty, he’ll have to soil his crate. Puppies just don’t have much holding power. If crate accidents happen too often, he’ll adjust to living with filth instead of maintaining the clean habits he was born with.

Warning!

Never use the crate to punish your dog, and be careful not to use it too much. Your dog doesn’t need to spend the majority of his time in a crate. How do you know if you’re doing it right? Watch his reaction as he matures. Eventually, his attitude toward his crate should become neutral. If he either resists going into it or loves it so much that it’s hard to get him out of it, something is wrong.

Tip

When your Chi matures, you may want to leave a crate in a corner of your living room with the door always open. He may appreciate a private place of his own where he can chew a toy or take a nap when he needs one. Let your kids and friends know that when he curls up in his crate, he’s tired and wants to be left alone.

Housetraining — Avoiding Problems

Dogs are naturally clean critters, yet having accidents in the house is considered one of the biggest behavior problems in the Toy breeds. However, Toy dogs have an undeserved bad reputation when it comes to housetraining. The truth is, Toy dogs are every bit as bright as larger breeds (okay, often brighter), and they can control themselves just as well as big dogs. Thousands of Toys are extremely reliable in the home, and yours can be one of them — if you follow the guidelines in this chapter. Here I show you how to avoid the problems in the house and housetrain your Chi from the start.

Tip

Even if you’re lucky enough to get your puppy while you’re on vacation, you should introduce him to a schedule you can live with and stick to it (see Chapter Welcome Home, Little Amigo). Don’t confuse him by putting him on one schedule during weekends and vacation days and another on workdays.

Common Toy dog misconceptions

Do Toy dogs have poor plumbing systems? Not at all. Toy dogs are considered hard to housetrain because so many owners don’t get around to training until their dogs have already developed bad habits. Then they face the enormous job of breaking the habits rather than the much easier task of establishing good ones. Here’Technical Stuff why Toy dog owners let their puppies get away with leaving puddles and poops on the floor:

– Because the accident is so tiny that it can be cleaned up quickly

– Because the dog is so small, he probably doesn’t understand

– Because he hates to get his feet wet and it’s drizzling outside

– Because no one in the house feels ambitious enough at the time to walk the dog

People love to give those excuses when letting their little dogs do it on the floor just one more time. Bet they wouldn’t think that way if a Saint Bernard just did his duty on the floor!

Remember

To clear your head of that kind of thinking, remember the following:

– The accident may be easy to clean, but do you want to clean up accidents several times a day for the next dozen or more years?

– Being small isn’t the same as being stupid. Chihuahuas are smart. Your dog will understand if you take the time to teach him.

– Toy dogs are still dogs, and yours needs to learn to relieve himself in the right place, rain or shine. Most dogs do their duty real fast during bad weather.

– To housetrain a dog, you must train yourself.

Your Chi may take longer to be reliably housebroken than a big dog because Toy dogs see the world differently than large dogs do. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a long way from the kitchen to behind the living room sofa, so they can squat there and still consider themselves clean critters. Keep your dog close to you until he understands exactly where he’s supposed to go potty (see the later section “Keeping to a routine”). And keep in mind that Toy dogs have to relieve themselves a little more often than large dogs.

Warning!

Never train your pet when you’re in a bad mood. Puppies are just learning how to learn, and your earliest teachings color their lifelong attitude toward training.

Keeping to a routine

The keys to housetraining are a regular routine and an alert trainer (that’s you!). A housebroken dog is simply a dog with a habit — the happy habit of eliminating outdoors.

Remember

Simply put, you need to feed (see Chapter What’s on the Chi Menu?), water, exercise (see Chapter Chirobics: For Fitness and Fun), groom (see Chapter Grooming the Body Beautiful), and take your dog outside to eliminate at the same times every day. Besides being healthier, a routine makes housetraining easier. Dogs are creatures of habit, so sticking to a schedule from day one helps your Chi make sense of his new environment. As he begins to recognize his daily routine, he’ll learn to understand your expectations. And because puppies love to please, the habits he forms will be good ones.

When housetraining your Chi, take him to the same outdoor area to go potty every time, and repeat the same words — “Go Potty” for instance — as he eliminates. Routine is so important, so taking the same route to the potty place every time is a good idea (for example, go out the same door and turn the same direction).

Tip

If you live on the 20th floor of a building or in a place where the snow drifts as high as a Chihuahua’s eye, you can try the litter-box method of training. Instead of using cat-box filler, line the box with several thicknesses of newspaper. Use the same housetraining routines I recommend in this chapter, but when I tell you to take your dog outside, take him to the litter box instead. Soon your Chi will be litter-box trained. Pet shops also sell chemically treated pads that attract dogs and entice them to squat in the area you choose.

Chihuahuas are naturally clean dogs and don’t want to soil their living quarters. When housetraining your Chi and establishing a routine, take advantage of that trait by confining him to a dog crate every time you’re away or he’s left unsupervised. Then as soon as you arrive home, take him outside and praise him for eliminating. If he soils his crate, clean up the mess immediately. Besides being dangerous to his health, a wet or dirty crate teaches your Chi to live with his mess — an attitude that hinders the housetraining process.

Training yourself, a.m. to p.m.

Staying on a schedule makes or breaks housetraining, so plan ahead. To adjust to housetraining your Chi, you may need to get up 15 minutes earlier; come home for lunch (or hire a dog walker); and come straight home from work until your pup is a little older. The following sections present a tentative schedule to keep with young puppy.

Morning

1. First thing in the morning, take your Chi outside for several minutes and praise him for a job well done.
2. When you bring him in, feed and water him (see Chapter What’s on the Chi Menu? for tips).
3. Take him outside again after he eats breakfast. Young dogs almost always have to relieve themselves soon after eating.
4. Now he can spend time with you to exercise or have the run of a puppy-proofed room if you’re at home but unable to supervise. If you’re leaving for work, confine him to his crate.
5. Take him outdoors for elimination midmorning if you’re at home.

Afternoon

1. Take your Chi outside as soon as you get home at lunchtime.
2. Give him lunch and fresh water.
3. Take him outdoors after he finishes eating. Confine him again if you can’t keep an eye on him or must leave.

Evening

1. When you arrive home, take your Chi outdoors right away and enjoy a nice walk (weather permitting).
2. When you get back, let him watch you fix dinner or join you for the evening news.
3. Feed him for the last time each day between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
4. Take him outside after he finishes eating. After he relieves himself, enjoy his company for the evening.
5. Take him outside just before you go to bed. Confine him for the night.

Recognizing the signs of need

Sometimes (possibly many times), your Chihuahua must relieve himself more often than what the sample schedule in the previous section suggests. When housetraining, prevention works wonders, so watch him closely. Take your Chi outside immediately if he exhibits the following behavior:
  • Begins walking in circles and sniffing the floor
  • Starts panting when he hasn’t been exercising
  • Suddenly leaves the room

Remember

Play, heavy exercise, and a nice massage act as on switches for puppy plumbing. So if you just finished a playing or petting session, it’s a good idea to take your Chi outside.

Does it sound like you’ll be running in and out as often as a confused cat? Well, for awhile, you will be. But it isn’t a life sentence. As your pup gets older, he’ll need to eat only twice a day and his holding capacity will increase, so he’ll need fewer trips outdoors.

Dealing with accidents

All puppies (and often dogs in new homes) make mistakes. If you get home too late and your Chi already had an accident, don’t make a big deal out of it. Your puppy won’t understand why you’re so angry with him when he was so glad to see you, and that leads to far worse problems. Pointing at the poop while screaming at him won’t help. You’ll surely scare him, which may lead to anxietyrelated problems.
If the dirty deed was done before you got home, take your pup outside anyway. Eventually, he’ll learn to expect and to wait for the opportunity to go outside. Have patience and understand that he may still be too young to control himself for the length of time that you were away. Clean up the soiled spot as soon as you can, using an odor neutralizer or plain white vinegar.

Tip

Buy a good odor neutralizer and stain remover (UrineOff is a good one). Removing the evidence of your dog’s mistakes immediately keeps your house looking and smelling like home, not a kennel. An odor-free floor is an important part of housetraining. Dogs tend to eliminate where their noses tell them they went before, so quick cleanups help prevent future accidents.

Warning!

Never use any cleanup product containing ammonia, for the crate or the carpet. The odor of ammonia makes dogs seek out the same spot to go potty again.

If you catch your Chi in the act of an accident, you may be able to stop him mid-squat with a firm “No!” or a loud noise like clapping your hands. Pick him up, hurry him outside to the right spot, and praise him if he finishes what he started. Contrary to old wives’ tales, swatting a dog with a rolled-up newspaper or putting his nose in his mess won’t work. Punishment teaches a dog to eliminate behind the sofa where he thinks you won’t find it, not to go outside and do it proudly in front of you.

Teaching Words that All Good Dogs Obey

Imagine how nice it is living with a dog that always comes when you call, sits and lies down on command, stays in place when told to, and respects the words No and Enough. Making this happen is easier than you think. I show you how in the sections that follow. Conditioning your Chi to respond to the commands Come, Sit, Down, Stay, No, and Enough can start at any age, but younger is better.

Remember

Conditioning Chihuahua puppies (or adult dogs) requires a trainer with an upbeat attitude — one who gives plenty of praise and positive reinforcement, with absolutely no punishment. If that’s you, go ahead and get going! When teaching the meaning of the following commands, praise or reward your Chi every time he gives you the correct response, and simply ignore him when he doesn’t. Dogs will do virtually anything for attention, so yours should quickly learn the lingo.

Tip

How often do you and your Chihuahua need to practice simple commands such as Sit, Down, and Come? Every day. But you don’t need to set aside a special time for it. Instead, you can use the commands during daily life: Sit, for the dinner dish. Come, for a treat. Down, for petting. You get the picture.

Coming when called

Use bribery to teach your Chi what Come means. For instance, you can follow these simple steps:
1. Introduce the word at feeding time by saying his name and then the word “Come” in a happy voice (“Pepe, come!”).
2. Show him his dinner dish.
3. Walk backward a few steps while holding it.
4. When your pup follows, praise him and then let him eat.
5. Repeat the process every time you feed him.
When conditioning your Chi to Come, call him only when you know he wants to come — not when he’s sleepy or busy with food, a toy, or another person. Later, when your Chihuahua is older, you may want to attend obedience school (see Chapter Keeping Your Place as Head of Household). There you discover how to teach him to Come no matter what the distraction. In the meantime, practice often. Call him for all the good stuff — dinner, treats, and cuddles — and he’ll soon respond happily.
How soon should you start training your puppy to Come? As soon as he settles in. He loves the attention, but keep the training sessions short (like puppy attention spans) and always be cheerful and upbeat.

Tip

Puppies love to chase, and chasing games help them learn what Come means. Touch your Chi on his rump playfully, say his name followed by the word “Come,” and then run away a few steps while clapping (not too loudly) and talking happily. Let him catch you and then play with him for a few seconds before giving him another playful tap and starting over. Three times is plenty for one session.

Warning!

Never sabotage your training by calling a Chihuahua of any age to give him a pill or chastise him for something. Go to your dog for the upsetting stuff, and keep his Comes carefree.

Sitting pretty

To teach your Chi what Sit means (see Figure 10-1), follow these simple steps:
1. Hold a treat in front of his nose, say “Sit,” and then move the treat upward and back over his head.
When his eyes follow the goodie upward, his head will tilt back and his rear end will lower until it reaches the floor.
2. Give the treat immediately while he’s still sitting and praise him.
3. Try it three or four more times, but be sure to quit while he’s still having fun.

Tip

A soft treat, such as a nibble of cheese (provided that your Chi isn’t lactose intolerant), makes a good training tool. It’s healthy, and a Chihuahua can eat it fast so you can continue training. Tiny pieces of soft, moist dog treats also work well.

Going down

To teach the Down command, start with your Chi in the Sit position (see the preceding section). Now follow these steps:
1. Hold a tasty treat right in front of his nose and say “Down.”
2. Make a movement shaped like a capital L by lowering the treat straight down, just in front of his paws, and then slowly pulling it forward at ground level.
As he reaches for the goody, the front half of your pup’Technical Stuff body should move downward.
3. If his body doesn’t lower completely to the ground, put gentle pressure on his shoulders with your free hand, but don’t mash him down.
4. The instant his whole body is in the Down position, give him the treat (see Figure 10-2).

Teaching stay

Your Chi probably bounces up from his Sit right after you give him his treat, but now you’ll prolong that process by teaching the Stay command:
1. Stand on your Chi’s right side, with both of you facing the same way, and hold a treat in your right hand.
2. Tell him to “Sit,” but this time don’t give him the treat as soon as his butt touches the floor. Instead, move your left hand sideways, stopping just in front of his nose (palm facing him), and say “Stay” at the same time.
3. Let a long second pass before giving him the treat.
Gradually — very gradually — work up to a ten-second Stay before presenting the reward. Decide how many seconds each Stay will be before you start, and vary the time. Otherwise, your Chi will soon outguess you.

What should you do if he moves before time’s up? Absolutely nothing. Don’t reward, don’t pet, and don’t punish. Just try again later and praise your dog when he does it right. After he learns to stay in place in the Sit position, you can use the same procedure to teach him what Down-Stay means.

Figure 10-1: Manchita sits on command with eyes focused on the reward yet to come.
Figure 10-2: Manchita downs for a treat.

Remember

Staying in place isn’t a puppy’s forte, so when conditioning your young Chi, begin with two- or three-second Stays and don’t try to make him remain in place longer than ten seconds (use a watch; you’ll be surprised by how long ten seconds actually is). If your ultimate goal is for him to stay in place for several minutes, an obedience school is your best bet (see Chapter Keeping Your Place as Head of Household).

Making “No!” and “Enough!” effective

Your petite pup may amaze your friends by walking on a leash like an obedience champ and performing Sits and Downs on command. But if he’s a brat when show-off time is over, he isn’t the pure pleasure he can be.
All dogs need to respond to two words: “No!” and “Enough!” No means “Stop that right now and don’t ever do it again.” If you bark out the word No in a sharp tone, your attitude won’t be lost on your Chihuahua.

Remember

Just don’t use No too often, or your Chi will get used to it. Reserve the word for really bad behavior like teething on a table leg or nipping at feet or clothing. If your voice isn’t emphatic enough, clap your hands (once) right after you say No.

What if your Chi ignores you and continues chewing the chair leg? Go to him, pick him up, move him away from the temptation, and give him something he’s allowed to chew. Then praise him for chewing the proper item. If he heads back to the forbidden object later, bark your firmest No yet, followed by a clap of your hands, if necessary, to get his attention. If he persists on trying to mouth the chair leg, tap his nose lightly as you say No, and then take him to a different closed-off room where he can play with his own toys.
Always keep your cool, and never touch your dog in anger. If you have a temper (you know who you are), stick with a verbal No.
“Enough” means “What you are doing was just fine for awhile, but you’ve been doing it for too long, so stop now.” Use Enough when you don’t want to pet your Chi anymore but he keeps pawing your hand. Say Enough if he gets too wound up during play or continues barking long after the meter reader leaves. Said firmly but without anger, Enough works on puppies, adult dogs, and the kids that play with them!

Preventing Common Problems

Besides housetraining issues, common puppy problems include destructive chewing, persistent barking, jumping, nipping, and possessiveness. Okay, that’s the bad news. The good news is that if your Chi is still young, you can prevent most of the typical pitfalls of puppyhood. And prevention is a whole lot easier than correcting problems after they become bad habits. Yes, that’s possible, too (see Chapter Keeping Your Place as Head of Household), but why do it the hard way when prevention is so much easier? The following sections help you prevent the common behaviors before they become problems.

Techichis believed to be true soul mates

During the 12th century in Mexico, the Aztec Indians wiped out the Toltec nation but spared their dogs, the Techichis, because the dogs had such an impressive job description. Believed to be holy, their task was to guide their dead owner’s soul to safety. This concept appealed to the Aztecs because they needed all the help they could get. After all, they believed the dead had to cross nine perilous lands and a treacherous underworld river before their souls reached safety. So when the Aztecs burned a dead warrior, they burned his dog with him. They thought the little holy dog would race on ahead, fight off evil spirits, and wait on the far bank of the raging river until it saw its master, and then swim back across, guiding him safely to the other side.
Sacrificing a dog with red skin by burning it along with a human corpse was also popular with the Aztecs. They believed the sins of the deceased were transferred to the dog and not taken out on the person. No doubt that’s why archeologists discovered a number of graves in Mexico containing both human and Techichi remains.

Warning!

All dogs need toys, but don’t overdo it. A dog with too many toys may begin to believe that everything is a toy. Then he won’t learn to discriminate between his toys and all the taboo items in the house.

Teaching what’s okay to chew

Your puppy needs to chew, but teaching him what to chew isn’Tip always easy. This section presents a nifty training aid, compliments of my friend Amy Ammen, director of Amiable Dog Training in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and author of several dog training books. She calls this training exercise “Shopping Spree.”
After your puppy knows how to walk on lead (see Chapter Socializing Your Chihuahua), teach him to discriminate between his toys and taboo items by taking him on a shopping spree right in your living room:
1. Choose a word that means “get that out of your mouth” (most people opt for “Out” or “Drop It”).
2. Place some personal objects — such as a wallet, slippers, or purse — and some paper products — like napkins or a roll of toilet tissue — on the floor along with two of your puppy’s toys.
3. With the props in place, put a leash on your puppy and let him explore the clutter.
4. When he picks up a taboo item, say your command along with giving a tiny jerk on the leash (just enough so he feels it — if it moves his body, it’s too hard).
5. Walk toward an appropriate toy and encourage your puppy to play with it.
Take your puppy shopping a couple times a day and he’ll soon take pride in leading you to one of his correct objects. When he does, be sure to praise him and let him keep his toy. And now that he knows the command for releasing an object, you should use that command, and only that command, whether he’s holding a slipper, a finger, or a dead mouse.

Controlling barking

Chihuahuas make good watchdogs because they have excellent hearing and a loud bark, considering their size. Some barking is a good thing. Most people are glad when their dogs tell them that strangers are approaching their homes. But it’s best to be glad quietly, taking your Chi’s protective tendencies for granted instead of praising them. For example, the first time he goes into a prolonged barking fit at a door-to-door salesman, don’t act like it’s adorable unless you want him to bark long and hard at visitors all his life. Instead, let him know right from the start when he’s barked long enough by saying “Enough.” (I discuss this command earlier in this chapter.) It isn’t barking, but rather excessive barking, that drives people mad.
The problem is, even if you take your Chi’s warning barks for granted and don’t bother to praise him for giving you advance notice when a visitor arrives, he usually feels rewarded anyway. That’s because every time the meter reader or the salesperson leaves (after being barked at, of course), your Chi thinks he chased them away. And that makes him feel real macho.
Trying to thwart a Chihuahua’s natural tendency to protect his family only frustrates him. Worse yet, he may learn to keep quiet no matter what instead of acting as your early-warning system. Countless Chihuahuas have alerted their families about fires and scared off burglars with their shrill bark. The trick is being able to turn off your live alarm on command.
Use the command Enough to let him know when he’s done his duty and it’s time to quiet down. If that doesn’t work — and only as a last resort — buy a small spray bottle. Keep it handy and give him one surprise squirt, right in the face, to enforce the Enough word. You should avoid the tendency to threaten him with the water treatment, though. It’s best if he thinks his barking, not you, flooded his face.

Remember

Don’t punish your Chi after the fact. Not even if he has a guilty look. The truth is, dogs don’t feel guilt. That’s a people thing. Nor do they remember what they did five minutes ago. Sure, there’s poop on the rug and your Chi looks worried, but what you’re seeing in his eyes is confusion. He senses that you’re angry with him, but he doesn’t know why, which makes him apprehensive. Hence, the guilty look.

Deciding if jumping is okay

Only you can decide if jumping is an okay behavior for your Chihuahua. After all, Chis weigh hardly anything, so the danger of most people being knocked over is nonexistent.
Some people like having their dogs joyfully jump on them. If you’re one of those people, nothing is wrong with jumping as long as you enjoy having your Chi jump on you no matter what you’re wearing. Your Chi isn’t clothes-conscious enough to understand that jumping on you when you’re wearing jeans is okay, but it isn’t okay when you’re dressed to impress. The point is, don’t let him do something one day that you don’t want him to do another day. Decide right away if jumping is okay or not; if it isn’t, read on.
You’ll have to change your Chi’s method of greeting people when you teach him not to jump. For instance, teach him to Sit on command (see the previous “Sitting pretty” section), and then tell him to sit (in a happy but firm voice) as soon as you open the door. When he does (even if you have to put him in the Sit position), kneel down to his level and give him plenty of praise. A Chi will want to jump on you for instant attention, but if you withhold your attention until after he’s sitting, he’ll soon learn to Sit for your approval.

Nipping nipping

Puppies use their mouths to investigate things, much the same way humans use their hands. They also use their mouths in play and sometimes to vent their high spirits. But needle-sharp teeth hurt, so you must teach your puppy that nipping isn’t nice.

Warning!

Resist the urge to jerk your hand away from your puppy when he clamps down on it. That’s the canine version of an invitation to play, so pulling away just makes him come back for another nip.

How can you tell your pup that clamping down hurts? Say ouch! And say it like you mean it. Screech it out in a high-pitched voice that lets him know that he hurt you. Most pups will lick you in apology. If a week or two of yelping “Ouch!” doesn’t make a difference, choose a command that means “Don’t Bite.” Say it every time your Chi touches you with his teeth, and put your finger on his button nose and press gently while you say it.
A last resort (use only on confirmed nippers) is dabbing a Bitter Apple spray on the part of you your puppy nips. This works especially well on shoelace and sock chasers.

Preventing possessiveness

Most puppy possessiveness starts over the food dish. That’s because puppies compete with their littermates (brothers and sisters) for food. Sometimes they have to be deprogrammed when they enter a human family. Nothing to it. Just mix up these four choices — using one during one meal and a different one at the next meal, and so on. After a couple weeks, your Chi should stop being possessive of his bowl:

– Feed your Chihuahua his kibble a nugget or two at a time from your hand with your hand in his food bowl.

– Give him only 1⁄4th of his dinner. Then just as he finishes the tiny portion, put the rest of his meal in the bowl.

– Put a cushion on the floor and sit down beside his food dish. Pet him for a minute or two as he begins his dinner, and then walk away and let him eat the rest of his meal alone.

– When he’s nearly finished eating, walk up to him and place a tiny, but very special, treat in his dish. A slice of hot dog, a sliver of cheese, or a bit of burger will make him happy that you put your hand in his bowl.

Tip

I recommend dropping a very good treat into your puppy’s food bowl as he’s eating his food so that he thinks adults/children approaching his bowl is a good thing. This can prevent serious bites near a food bowl — especially if a baby crawls too close.

by Jacqueline O’Neil

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