Looking after a small dog

(19 Posts)
ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Tue 29-Jan-13 20:31:01

We have decided to rehome a 4 month old chihuahua, but never having had such a small breed before I wanted to see what advice I could get one here.

I really wanted to know what feed do you choose and any tips on training?

But also any other nuggets of wisdom from miniature dog owners will be gratefully received.

Mynewmoniker Tue 29-Jan-13 20:36:14

Little dogs tend to get more spoilt than larger breeds. Please don't treat like a baby or there'll be consequences from a confused canine.

Promise me you wont buy clothing for it unless a small jacket for a walk on a chilly day.

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Tue 29-Jan-13 22:27:10

Hehe, no, definitely not to be treated like a baby, just part of the family- she already has a coat for outside so I guess that will be enough. What about feed? Is the small breeds food a good idea or a con?

ruledbyheart Wed 30-Jan-13 15:33:12

I feed my 7mth old chi x puppy natures harvest puppy trays she only needs half of one a day and she has a beautiful coat and it only works out at 44p a day.

She will need a warm coat a they can get cold easily and chihuahuas also have a tendency to shiver but not just through cold but through nerves and excitement too.

Be extra careful with puppy proofing as they can fit through the smallest of gaps, mine can get through the stairgate and under the sofa very easily, as well as behind the tv unit etc.

Also on walks they will complain if they have to walk to far my chi x can manage about 2.5km then gives up.

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:31

well we are getting on very well so far, have a complete small dog puppy food recommended by the vet, and a warmer coat on the way as he came with one that was too big, he is very small (7" for coat measurement) so struggled to find one that wasn't covered in fake fur and crystals to fit. he really does get very cold and hates to go outside so have customized a sock until it arrives!
he isn't house trained and doesn't ask to go out or really give any sign he is about to go, although he is completely fine overnight. At th moment we are giving him lots of praise and a piece of his kibble (he is very food oriented) when he does go outside, and taking him straight out when he goes inside, although he is always done by the time we get there! What should I be doing to housetrain him?

Mynewmoniker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:09:14

Sounds like you're doing just what you should do re the training. smile

You may know that a dog will do a bit more than usual sniffing around in the same area when it wants to pee or poop so if he get's active and after waking try him outside. Loads of praise when he does (wont always need a treat.)

Love the sock idea!

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Sun 03-Feb-13 22:39:04

thank you- it's hard to know as it doesn't seem to have had much effect yet- we go for a walk and then 10 mins after we are back he has a sudden poo! I will keep at it and try to watch his habits more closely.

He's so little even a grown up sock was too big- my 8yo had to donate one!

Mynewmoniker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:45:35

Some people use crate training for house training too.

In the crate the dogs don't tend to pee as it's dirtying their own area but I guess other posters canines could disprove that theory.

In rescue kennels dogs dirty their own area quite a lot hmm

Aquelven Mon 04-Feb-13 15:57:31

You're doing the right things regarding house training. Just takes time, especially as he's a rescue so you don't know what habits he's got into,

I have small Yorkies.
They feel the cold too as they have a fine, silky coat with no undercoat like many breeds have. They have warm coats for winter as they shiver without.
I feed small breed kibble mixed with cooked chicken or the little Wainwright trays that I buy from Pets at Home.
Is he a long coat or smooth coat chihuahua?

I have a couple of dogs of a bigger breed as well but have to admit to a real soft spot for my Yorkies. They are SO affectionate, full of fun but well behaved. They're my little shadows.
Brilliant thing about little ones is you can take them just about anywhere. You never get refused ( except supermarkets) if you offer to pick them up. grin

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Mon 04-Feb-13 23:53:46

Yes! We have found that already- and we usually collect a little gang of old ladies cooing over him each walk, there are people coming out of the woodwork to see him as he trots by!

He is short coated, and I believe his mum was a miniature Jack Russell, although I understand this isn't a breed in itself?

I really didn't think I would want a small dog, especially such a small dog, but he really is gorgeous, such a happy little boy and snuggled up on my lap right now.

Is it ok to give him a little chicken when he is still young? We were wondering about that today. Also, his poo is rather solid so DH added water to his feed- he doesn't seem very good at drinking much, although we encourage him- is that ok? He seems so delicate I am worried about upsetting his digestion?
Perhaps I should be dividing his feeds between kibble and soft food? They did have the Nature's Harvest trays where I got his food, not sure about Wainwright's. Is it ok to change their food?

Not sure why I feel so nervy about it- I never worried with the big boy we had before, he had all sorts!

digerd Tue 05-Feb-13 11:10:32

Unless he is having trouble with his solid poo, then that is a good thing as doesn't smear and loose poos are never good .
Don't understand how a cute chiwawa could ever end up in a rescue centre?
When young, a pup often is too interested during a walk to even wee.
When taking him out into garden, I found that holding them in your arms until you are out, meant they did not wee in your arms or poo, but must be quick.
Wees are done pretty quick, but the poo, they often circle and always hunch up and get their feet settled first. The looser the poo, the quicker it will come out.
Doing a poo 10 minutes after getting home, you should time it and take him out again into garden just before.

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Tue 05-Feb-13 19:11:08

I know, I couldn't give him up, he is so sweet, I believe the owners were separating.

He doesn't seem to have any trouble getting it out I guess, he seems to stop pooing before he is really finished anyway iswim- too interested in everything else!

I will try taking him out in the garden after walk- good idea.

Aquelven Tue 05-Feb-13 21:23:34

You can change his food as long as you do it gradually, same as any dog really. I find it isn't size that makes for difficult digestion. One of my Yorkies does have a problem digestion but the other two don't. Be grateful for solid poos!
I'm amazed too that he ended up in rescue though I do know another couple who have three chihuahuas & one of their's was a rescue. She's the sweetest of the three & I want to kidnap her!

Amazon have a good range of dog coats & I've managed to get a couple for my tiniest Yorkie from there. Or if you google there are specialist sites for small ( toy group) products. I'm a mad keen knitter so knit little jumpers for mine if it's warmth rather than waterproof they need.
You'll get used to his size. They are more robust than you think the little ones. They usually live longer than big dogs too. Some of mine have reached 18+

MothershipG Sun 10-Feb-13 07:47:30

Congratulations on your new arrival!

I have 2 Affenpinschers (who are a toy breed, not quite as small as a Chi) and from my experience I would like to add that you need to manage their interactions with other dogs quite carefully. You can't expect all the bigger dogs to know that they have to be careful with yours because he's small, one of mine got bowled over so many times that he started to bark at other dogs to warn them off. Don't mollycoddle him but remember you need to make socialising a pleasant experience if you dont want him to become fear reactive.

Small dogs are often harder to house train as their internal designated 'clean' area is much smaller, be patient and persistent.

Watch out for complete strangers assuming they can pet or even pick him up without permission!

When he hits adolescence if he starts being naughty in any way treat it as seriously as you would in a big dog, he may be no threat but it is still unacceptable. One of mine started to growl at DH if DH moved him and DH just used to laugh at him but I insisted that we did proper training and sorted it that way.

Some small dogs like to be picked up, some don't, respect your dog's wishes, but if he's ok with it have a word the whole family use so he knows what's coming and isn't startled, we say 'pick'. One of mine sits back in the beg position or stands on his back legs when he wants to be picked up or if we say 'pick'. smile

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Sun 10-Feb-13 19:52:10

Thank you Mother, that last tip is especially useful, we will start doing that.

He really doesn't enjoy walking at the moment- I have to encourage him massively on the way out (or even carry him) and then his little legs are a blur on the way back, so hoping he will improve, but keeping walks short and frequent at the mo.

MothershipG Sun 10-Feb-13 21:46:31

I think the world can be a scary place when your head is only 6 inches from the ground! I already had my Mini Schnauzer when I got my first Affenpinscher so I'm sure she gave them confidence. She blocks other dogs if they get too rough with them (but tells them off herself !)

I really think small dogs are widely misunderstood. grin

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Mon 11-Feb-13 22:23:45

I completely agree, before this little guy totally wooed us I would never have thought we would get a small dog- I don't know why though. I am a total convert, he is the most loving and sweet boy and I must admit being slightly addicted to him! So far everyone who meets him has been lovely, but I'm just waiting for a rat type comment with barely sheathed claws grin

larlemucker Tue 12-Feb-13 07:36:01

Congrats on the new arrival. Not sure if they go that small but if you are looking for jumpers/ coats try equafleece, my poorly Yorkie had 2 of their jumpers and loved them

MothershipG Tue 12-Feb-13 08:17:24

I had the rat comment with my Schnauzer! Black scruffy terrier looking thing that she is - some people are just idiots. If you come up with a good response let me know, I usually just glare or say why are you being so rude? angry

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