A 10-Month-Old Chihuahua (What To Expect)
It’s been a while since I posted an update on our Chihuahua puppy Ripley. As some of you may know we lost our older dog recently and for a few weeks before Holly died I was very preoccupied with monitoring how she was feeling. It’s still early days but I thought a little catch up on Ripley’s progress might give me something different to focus on. He is now 10-months-old and very much part of the family, I can’t even remember what life was like without him.
What Is It Like To Own A 10 Month Old Chihuahua?
Of course, I can only talk about my Chihuahua Ripley, all dogs are different, but I hope this helps other puppy owners.
Ripley is a little pocket rocket. He loves being outside, rooting around in the undergrowth, and chasing his older brother Darcy. He can literally run for hours then all of a sudden it’s like his batteries have died and he instantly falls into a deep sleep. An hour later and he is off exploring again.
He is a very mischievous little dog and loves to steal small personal belongings like hair bands, socks and book marks. He never destroys anything, he just loves making mischief and making me chase after him.
House Training & Scent Marking
He is now fully housetrained and has been for several months. I don’t know if that will continue in the winter months because he doesn’t really like going out in the rain.
One problem that we do have though is scent marking. This started at around seven months old and although it’s getting better he does still do this. The areas that he goes to scent mark are the corner of my husband’s leather armchair and the curtain to the patio doors.
I bought a very expensive pet cleaner which is designed to remove all the enzymes left by urine but it didn’t work for us. I have gone back to the old fashioned method of removing the stains with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, which has worked much better at deterring scent marking.
I know that neutering can help with this problem (although not always) but I feel that Ripley is too young for that yet. For now, if I catch him about to lift his leg I say ‘No’ sharply and put him outside. He knows that this behaviour is unacceptable but will try to get away with it if he can.
I take him to visit close family who have intact male dogs and have resorted to putting a belly band on Ripley whilst he is indoors. This is a temporary measure to prevent scent-marking until we overcome the problem.
I know that Chihuahua’s can be very fussy eaters. Luckily Ripley has always had a good appetite and always leaves a clean bowl. I feed him alone so that he can take his time and I alternate different brands of food so that he gets plenty of variation. Some Chihuahua owners like to leave food down for their dogs to graze on but Ripley is a little greedy and could become overweight.
It would be very unusual for the fur of a 10-month-old chihuahua (long coated) to be fully grown at this stage. Therefore Ripley’s fur has little tufts where the fur grows thicker like on his back and chest. His ears and tail are now beautifully feathered and his facial fur has deepened in colour.
He is always getting dirty so a quick bath has become part of his routine. I use a mild shampoo and towel dry his fur before he runs off to find more mud to roll in!
I like to gently comb his fur every few days and he loves the attention. This removes any loose fur and really makes his coat shine. So far, we haven’t noticed that Ripley’s coat sheds significantly but I know it can be a problem with long-haired Chihuahua’s.
We cut his nails regularly and he has no fear of this whatsoever. It’s lovely to see how much he trusts us not to hurt him.
Training A 10-month-old Chihuahua
Chihuahua’s are undoubtedly clever dogs but they also have a stubborn streak. I have found teaching Ripley basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ really frustrating. I’m sure he understands the commands but will only do them when he chooses to. One day he will sit beautifully waiting for a treat. the next he dances around like he has no idea what I’m talking about. Hopefully the next time I update on Ripley’s progress he will be more consistent.
Another thing that Chihuahua’s are renowned for is their incessant barking. Ripley is quite happy for his older dachshund brother to do the barking and rarely does so himself. In fact, the only time that he has barked is when he catches sight of his reflection in the mirror or door!
Training Ripley’s socialising skills has been a little different due to the Coronavirus pandemic. When he first came to us in February, aged thirteen weeks I made sure that he met lots of other people and dogs. However, when we went into lockdown we were not allowed to meet anyone outside of the family. I was worried that this would affect his confidence.
However, now that restrictions have been lifted slightly he has been able to be reintroduced to close family and their dogs. So far he has been happy to go to people and loves getting fussed over by my daughter when she visits. When we go for walks we have to avoid other dog walkers whereas in normal times I would try to introduce Ripley to dogs of all shapes and sizes, but sadly times have changed.
Walking A 10-month-old Chihuahua
Ripley enjoys his walks but he prefers to walk in quieter spots rather than close to busy roads. I haven’t let him off his lead because as I mentioned before, his command training is unpredictable. He walks nicely on a harness and likes to be given time to explore all the different sights and smells.
Struggles With Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, Ripley does suffer from separation anxiety. During lockdown he got used to me being there all the time and now he cries when I leave him, even if my husband is there. Luckily I don’t go out often and when I do he comes along with me. However for things like grocery shopping and medical appointments he has to stay at home.
I have been working on this separation anxiety by going out for very short periods and ignoring him when I come back. This is so that Ripley thinks that it is a normal thing for me to leave and return and no need for him to feel stressed.
I have a pet cam which I place close to him when I go out and he alternates between sleeping and crying, but he doesn’t get destructive or too distressed. I leave him in his crate with a soft toy and he can see his companion Darcy, so he is never truly alone. This way I know he is extremely safe and comfortable in his special place. I put the radio on so that he can hear voices and to block out noise from outside the house.
Chihuahua’s are companion dogs and Ripley is extremely affectionate. He comes to me for cuddles many times during the day and loves to give small kisses. Like most dogs he adores having his tummy tickled and will lay down beside me on his back, awaiting a tummy tickle. He has learned that standing on his back legs ‘meerkat style’ is a good way to get what he wants because it is just so cute!
I try very hard not to spoil Ripley. Many people treat Chihuahua’s like babies and that can bring on bad behaviour.I believe that he should know his place in the family pack and be respectful of his human owners and his canine companion. It is quite hard to get the balance right between being a strict disciplinarian and frightening such a tiny dog. I don’t shout at Ripley but lower my voice and change my body language to show that I’m not happy.
Becoming too Overdependant
I feel that at this stage he could become a ‘needy’ dog because he demands affection and it is difficult to resist his charms. Sometimes, I will say ‘not now’ gently or give him a toy to play with so that he doesn’t expect cuddles whenever he desires. I always make sure that my other dog gets the same amount of attention as Ripley and he must wait his turn.
Life has changed significantly for Ripley because we lost Holly who was a great example of kindness and gentle discipline for him. He didn’t react too much when we lost her, but he still has his partner in crime Darcy to share his days with. It will be interesting to see which dog will now become the pack leader (I suspect it will be Ripley). Darcy is a rescue dog with anxiety issues so I am hoping that Ripley stays calm and confident.
I’m so glad that we brought Ripley into the family when we did. Darcy needs a companion to make him feel secure and Ripley has helped me so much in the dark days after we lost Holly. He picks up on my moods and has licked many tears away in the last month.
I hope you enjoyed this recent honest update. I will enjoy looking back at this post to keep a check on how Ripley has progressed. He is a happy confident little dog and I am sure the little problems we are experiencing are entirely normal and can be easily rectified with patience.
Have you got a Chihuahua puppy? I would love to hear your stories and any advice is always appreciated.
Here is some additional reading from this blog, which you might find helpful.
Here are details of Chihuahua rescue in the UK
Thank you for reading.