Would You Let a 100-Pound Dog Do That?
Toy-breed owners are notorious for letting their little dogs get away with absolute canine murder. Perhaps it is because Chihuahua puppies are so small that people mistakenly assume their antics won't amount to much trouble.
Wrong. This misconception of how to rear a toy-breed puppy is largely the reason that a portion of the general public views the Chihuahua as ayappy, ill-mannered dog. In reality, the Chihuahua is a great breed, but individuals will behave only as well as they've been raised. If you don't let your dog know how you expect her to behave from the get-go, she'll behave the only way she knows how — as a dog with dog behaviors.
Here's another way of looking at the situation. Why, if you would never allow a child to bite you, shred a pillow, or scramble past you to get out the front door (and run away), would you allow your canine companion to do these same things? You shouldn't. To succeed in raising a puppy, you have to consider that what might look cute right now will develop into a nasty habit later.
What harm can an excited, jumping Chihuahua cause that would make you wish you'd worked on training her not to jump up on you or other people? Let's consider a couple of scenarios.
Scenario One: You've just dressed for work, you're in a hurry, and your Chi comes barreling into your room and starts jumping up on you, succeeding in: a) tearing your hose or scratching your legs, b) snagging your slacks, c) dirtying your clothing, or d) tripping you.
Scenario Two: Your friend comes over to visit and brings her young niece. Your Chi is very excited and starts jumping up on the little girl, succeeding in: a) scratching the little girl, b) toppling her over, c) tearing or otherwise messing up her clothes, or d) biting her on the hands, which she is flapping around because the dog is jumping up.
There are three solutions to getting pups (and dogs) to stop jumping up. First, ignore the jumping and the Chihuahua until the dog is calm. If jumping up doesn't get your Chi the attention she wants, she won't do it. Second, exercise her more. If your puppy gets enough exercise, she'll have less energy bottled up and will be calmer. Third, provide an alternate behavior. When your Chihuahua is most likely to jump up, give her the “Sit” command or put her in a sit-stay. Reward this behavior. It won't be long before you'll find that your Chihuahua will automatically give you the good behavior in instances in which she normally would have jumped up on you. Reward her!
Oh, who can resist those beautiful brown eyes? You can — unless you want your three-pound Chihuahua to become a small nine pound table, as broad as she is tall. She may look as if she is starving every time you are eating something; however, if you are feeding her correctly, she is getting all the nutrition and calories she needs. Breaking down and giving in to those soulful eyes will only serve to escalate your Chi's begging. (Next it will be pawing, and then it will be whining, crying, and barking.)
The solution? You can do one of several things, and all will involve ignoring your Chihuahua. First, don't give in, and don't reward your Chi with attention of any kind for begging. Second, you can put your Chi in her crate with an activity toy or favorite chew to keep her busy. Third, if your Chi is good with her commands, you can put her in a down-stay for the duration of your meal.