Puppy’s First Weeks at Home
Havi and I bonded very early after coming home. The hand feeding, basic training, and lots of positive reinforcement worked beautifully. He slept on my bed in his soft sided kennel to ease his normal puppy anxiety. Within a few nights he was no longer whining. He was sleeping for 3-4 hours before needing to get up to use the potty. Every day he relaxed a little more and his personality started to shine through.
He quickly realized that food with training was a good thing. The more he paid attention, the more food he received. SIT and DOWN were easy to lure with food, and I learned other ways to lure him into a new position or trick easily. By the end of the first week, he was twirling, giving me a high 5 (or high 10!), and learning what “up” means. When he easily learned to use soft steps to access the couch, it unleashed a Pandora’s Box of ability. His “box” was full of tricks. I noticed he loved to climb, appeared quite balanced and fearless as he walked on the top edge of the couch.
I brought out a yoga block and asked him to jump “up” onto it by tapping the block. He jumped up easily. I asked him to come “off” by tapping on the ground. He jumped down. I challenged him more by asking him to “jump” over a little bar on the ground. No problem! It was clear that he was ready for more of a challenge. With the help of additional yoga blogs, I built a short beam. I asked him to jump up and walk the beam. Havi did it without a second thought. He then looked to me as if saying, “is that all you got?”
Mindful Training Options
Agility was fun with my last Chihuahua, Rico. I know how much he loved it. Havi was proving himself a natural athlete, a miniature agility course was built in my house for his stimulation and to advance that growth. By the end of several days, my 10 ½ week-old Chihuahua was completing a full course. He was jumping over a 3-inch bar, up and down a little ramp, through a soft cat tunnel, and even mastered a homemade tiny teeter totter. One benefit of agility was his focus. It helped me teach him even more commands and tricks. He soon started to learn to “heel” off leash at the young age of 12 weeks. I have been amazed daily by his progress.
Doing all these activities helps him calm down during the day and sleep at night. In the evening, I take the opportunity to work on touch desensitization. I massage all four paws which will make clipping his nails easier. I put my finger in his mouth and feel all his teeth. Chihuahuas NEED to have their teeth cleaned daily so getting him used to it now is essential. Soon I will add a gauze and doggy toothpaste. By the time his adult teeth come in, hopefully, he will think nothing of it.
Lastly, the battle of biting and chewing started right away! Havi is a typical puppy. He uses his mouth and teeth to explore his world. I had bought chew toys, but it wasn’t really helping. My neighbor gave me “lamb’s ears.”. You can probably find these at your local pet store – or for sure online. What a complete salvation! He now chews on these for 20 minutes three times a day. There is much less chewing on the furniture or me! Lamb’s ears don’t break off or cause issues like rawhide – a much better alternative. However, the vegan in me is conflicted. I hope it’s only a short-term necessity during teething.
What about potty training this puppy?
I know you all are wondering about the potty training. Well that is a whole article unto itself.
Coming soon – How to potty train a small dog.
Lots of effort for years of ease!