If you’re familiar with the smallest of the small when it comes to dog breeds, you’re probably keenly aware of the tiniest breed’s tenacious reputation. The Chihuahua is generally the king of the Napoleon complex, carrying himself with a certain amount of power and strength that is obviously apparent… to no one except him. Chihuahuas can seemingly take on anything, even dogs much bigger than themselves.
There are, however, quite a few individuals who sit on the other end of the spectrum. Timid and shy, these Chihuahuas prefer the comfort of one or two people and little else. For an outgoing owner, a shyness may hinder their Chihuahua from being social and interacting with other people or dogs. Or that shyness may eventually develop into fear and aggression. Luckily, though they may be stubborn, Chihuahuas can also be fairly receptive to training and, with enough patience, can blossom into friendly and all-around polite companions.
Training a Chihuahua who is set in his ways may prove to be a bit of a challenge. Smaller breeds can be hard headed and very rooted in their habits, though that’s not to say that socialization later on in life is impossible. While beginning your dog on socialization sooner rather than later is always preferable, there are steps to take towards a much more gradual method of getting him used to being friendly with others.
It’s worth keeping in mind that late socialization of any breed may take longer than if it were done during the puppy stages. For Chihuahuas, in particular, you may need anywhere between one and three months before you see some progress. Though it may be tempting to rush, don’t push beyond your dog’s ability. Your patience will eventually be rewarded with positive progress.
For starters, you’ll want to get together plenty of treats and toys that your dog loves. These things should be especially fantastic and should be able to draw your dog’s attention even when there are distractions. Special treats like dog-safe meats and veggies that have been cooked are particularly useful and keeping a solid rotation of new or interesting toys can come in handy. Keep these items on you during your training sessions to use as rewards and reinforcement. After all, you’ll want to keep your socialization sessions fun.