My secret to owning two of the happiest Chihuahuas in the world comes down love, good food, and paying attention. Chihuahuas are not just pocket accessories, they are truly forces of nature. If you are not ready to spend your life, and I mean 20 years worth, with them as constant companions, then these are not the dogs for you.
They are loud, self-centered, demanding, temperamental, and especially expensive if you're going to buy all the clothes and toys. They are not content to be locked in an apartment for 8 hours while you're at work or petted once in a while as you chat for hours your phone. They not only want your attention, but need it in order to be healthy and functioning and not turn into that child that everyone can't stand to be around.
With all that said, in my opinion a Chihuahua is the most loving, most intuitive dog alive, they are old souls. They will see right through your antics and are always thinking one step ahead of you. Chihuahua owners have to be savvy, intelligent and patient. You must absolutely have the ability to communicate with them beyond screaming, swearing or believing hitting a dog is good, because if you can't expand your abilities, please give them back before they get hurt.
I started this website in an effort to share my journey with two little 10 year old sweet hearts. On the very first day they arrived, I swore to them that I would dedicate my life to their happiness and well being. This website is meant to capture the secret to their successful long life.
Having a Chihuahua means you have to be no nonsense and pay attention to the effect your actions have on them. You have to see through your own codependency and emotional issues, and your need to be on your phone 24/7, because they will pick this up and become tyrants and completely dysfunctional. You've got to be a disciplined owner, be thoughtful and alert, which sounds tough, especially over 20 some years, but if you are smart you can use it to your advantage.
Disciplining someone or something else is easy, but disciplining yourself is tougher, but it is what needs to be done. Start with the easy things, like always sticking to a time to let them out for potty. Or, if you are trying to get him to eat all their dinner, be consistent with giving him a reward each time. Now, you may not have the discipline to never give them people treats like ice-cream, fine, but if you are one to go back and forth on your punishments and rewards, I can guarantee that your Chihuahua will pay the price. They don't like insanity, they need structure.
If nothing else is gained here, the one take away is that good health equals long life. Good food, clean water and a toxic free environment will truly make the difference in the quality of life. It has nothing to do with genetics and honestly, everything to do with staying away from the vet as much as possible. Nothing will kill your dog faster than giving him or her store-bought dog food, straight-from-the-tap water, and regular trips to an over zealous vet for toxic-laden unnessesary cancer-causing vaccines.
One last mention about owning these dogs. They don't have to be socialized, they don't have to be the perfect little pocket dogs that run up to everyone with kisses. Please don't expect that. There are some that just don't do this. I explain the purpose and genetics of Chihuahuas on another page, but in short, they are not meant to be sweet little dogs. You'll be the luckiest person in the world to have a sweet, non-barking, lap-loving dog, they are just few and far between. Even then, let's face it, they grow up and who knows what they will become, good or bad, and all because of you. Many many times, people told me that I just had to give Roxy back, that she was uncontrollable and would not be worth the effort. Roxy was uncontrollable from birth, she was food aggressive, barked and lunged incessantly at other dogs, and all with an ear-pearcing scream every time I left the room, but there was no way in hell I was going to give up on her. Today, she is so loving that it breaks my heart everyday to consider a life without her, barking and all. All I have to say is that if you have a problem with her, well, that right, it's your problem.
I wish everyone great success and a long healthy life!