Maria and I got a Chihuahua puppy last week. Before you laugh or make "rat dog" comments, please let me explain..
We had been looking to get a dog for months. We did a lot of reading about different breeds, and we narrowed the field down to Miniature Schnauzers and West Highland White Terriers. We thought the size, allergy rating and trainability would make for a great dog.
The problem is, we live in Bend, Oregon. In the summer it gets very hot and dusty here. Over the last couple months we ran into a lot of Mini Schnauzer and Westie owners and their dogs, and to be honest, we didn't think the dogs liked the heat all that much. They all looked dehydrated, tired and, here's the kicker.. very, very dirty. Westies especially. We ran into a Westie on this one trail over here and the poor thing looked like a white mop dipped in grey paint. His fur was extremely matted and we bet that it was gonna take his owner several hours to clean him up. Exciting!
All throughout our dog hunt we kept running into Chihuahuas. They didn't seem to mind the heat. They didn't seem to mind the dust. On one hike up in the Three Sisters Wilderness we ran into a Chihuahua who had been up two mountains already that summer. Chihuahuas appeared to be right in their element out here.
So we got a Chihuahua. His name is Miguel, and this week he's 8 weeks old.
Thoughts so far: He's about what I expected. He has a lot of energy, he's very affectionate and he can be yappy.
The energy level can be a bit frightening at times. The first time he spazzed out we didn't know what to think--I had been reading the night before about dogs with epilepsy and I was wondering if that's what it looked like. He ran out into the center of the room and started jumping and spinning, falling over, rolling around and then springing up and jumping around again wildly. I don't think he had any idea what he was doing because he kept running into things. After our eyes settled back in thier sockets we thought to give him a toy and he instantly snapped back together and started playing tug-o-war. Maria and I thought, "oh God.. what have we just gotten ourselves into..." Things are better now, I think we've figured out the signals he gives when he wants to play so he hasn't resorted to "seizure dog" behavior again (yet).
The yapping/barking I think we're doing a good job curbing. So far I've only really heard him bark when he was scared or from separation anxiety. The separation anxiety we're "curing" by simply ignoring him and not making a big deal when we leave the house. It's been only one week and now when we leave the house he doesn't make a sound. Barking when he's scared has only happened a few times and in those situations we're trying to get him used to whatever it was that frightened him. We also try to not use protective body language or voices that make him feel like he should be scared.
On the plus side, I've never known a dog to be as affectionate as he is. Most pups we met were easily distracted by other things going on in the house when we were petting them, but not Miguel. When it's affection time, it's affection time. It's not hard to get him to be submissive either. Of course, keeping some crushed dog treats in your pocket doesn't hurt. :-)
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