Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home?

My Chihuahua is not adjusting to his new home! About 10 days ago we got an 11 month old Chihuahua. We already have a 3 month old Chihuahua who has adjusted just fine. The 11 month old is terrified. It was three days before he ate, and he still will only eat a few bites. He has gotten better at going potty outside. He will only go potty for me. When other family members take him out he just freaks out and runs away. He will not go potty on a leash, I have tried over and over, he just stands there.

Unfortunately, he will not go to anyone else but me. He constantly whines and freaks out over every little sound or movement. Everyone says it will take time, I just don't know. This guy is terrified all the time. I'm afraid if we keep him too long and it doesn't work out it will ruin any chances with a new owner. Not sure if we should keep him or return him to the breeder. Any thoughts?

Malia from CA

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By Red (Guest Post)
December 3, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Malia,

I just adopted a 5 year old chihuahua 8 weeks ago and your current experience was similar to mine. I also felt the same way you do about sending the dog back to it's breeder/rescue group. She was whining and crying a lot, always looking out the window for her foster family - she was terrible with the walks - always freaked out and wouldn't pee on pee pads which was a big deal to me because it does get cold in the winter and there will be days she can't do it outside. Quite frankly, it was frustrating.

But my husband said "we have to give her a chance." And so, we did. Besides, it took her 3 months to feel comfortable with her foster family.

It's her 8th week with us now and she's doing great. She adjusted well on the 4th week.

Chihuahuas need security, lots of gentle, positive training and a lot of time before they come around to trust you back.

It wasn't easy for the first few weeks, but that's just how things are at first.

Give your chihuahua a chance. But if you're not happy about the situation, do what you feel is right for both you and the dog. Otherwise, he'll just keep feeding through the negative energy and both of you will be unhappy.

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December 3, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Malia,

I found a chihuahua in our backyard six months ago, and he is still fearful. He has come around a lot, but it has been very slow. You have to be patient with chihuahuas. When you go outside with him, give him plenty of time to explore, before bringing him in. Our chihuahua spent a long time in a crate in the dining room, where he could see into the kitchen, especially me. Eventually, he started resting somewhere else, and the crate is now back in the basement, but we left it out for a long time. When he came into the house, he cowered all the time and still runs if you reach down to pet him. Six months. They pick one person to follow and in our house, it's me. At first he wouldn't let me out of his sight, but now he'll sleep upstairs for hours without checking up on me. Our vet says he's seven or eight years old. He must have suffered a lot. Good luck. They deserve our love.

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December 3, 20080 found this helpful

Chihuahuas are a different kind of dog for sure! They do like to be held and like to be touching you if possible. They like blankets to bury themselves in even in quite warm weather. They also like to have alone time in a place they feel safe. My latest is 16 and will still act like a pup and a BIG dog! She knows she rules the roost.
If I am gone for a while she is mad at me and shows it.

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December 4, 20080 found this helpful

Maybe you have the same problem my parents did. THey wanted another poodle and got one from a breeder, something I wouldnt recommend anymore. They lied said he was a house dog and very loving. Turned out he was older than they said, had been in a kennel his entire life and never loved on. He had medical problemds, which they made the breeder pay for. They refused to return him, which is what the breeder wanted, after the vet turned them in. It took a very long time for him to be comfortable with anyone. He would always go to my mom, but no one else. Now he just loves us, he still wont have anything to do with strangers. Also he doesnt eat much either but its just the way he is, so your little guy just may not be much of an eater. Teddy cracks me up, he will go get one peice of food, bring it into the living room, eat it and go back and get another, lol. If you havent taken him to the vet yet, I definetly would.

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By Bev (Guest Post)
December 6, 20080 found this helpful

I find that dogs relate to our feelings. This dog has come to you with problems that need to be resolved. Just be yourself with the little guy and his personality will come shining through when he is ready.
Patience is so important. It is like a warm cuddly blanket. Sometimes there is pain that we cannot even imagine and this affects your dog in many ways.

We have a 5 year old Pom, Willis, and on Wednesday we got a young German Shepherd from Dog Control in a town about 25 miles away.We named our princess, Sasha. We love her already and we know she is bursting with energy so she will keep us busy. Have you thought of taking a short break from your dog and see how you feel without her. You may learn a lot. You might be belong together or your might be the wrong mix. Good luck to the doggy and the human sides of this heart pulling question.

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December 9, 20081 found this helpful

My friend had a similar prob it turned out. The people she got her chihuahua from spoke Spanish to the dog and it took a while for him to learn English. Be paitent he is scared and needs love.

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December 2, 2008

I just took in a chihuahua that is about 2 to 3 yrs old because the owner was moving. He is a male and he won't eat or go to the bathroom. I have had him only 1 day. My other dogs, a mini Italian Greyhound and a Dobi/Rot mix have excepted him with no problem. If you hold him he's fine, he will just lie in your lap. If you put him down, he goes under the table. Please help me.

Cheryl from Kissimmee, FL

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home


Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

Hi, your lil' guy will come around, he's frightened in his new surroundings. I would give him some time...believe me when he gets hungry, he'll eat. Before you know it, he'll be tearing up the house. (03/05/2008)

By JoAnn Phillips

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

He is adorable. I think if you had a little doggie crate, with something soft and cuddly, afghan, baby blanket, or even an old sweat shirt, he would feel more secure and like he had his own place. I would probably sit and hold him too. It will take a few days, but with love, patience and attention he will know you love him and even if he misses his people a few days, he will love you. Good luck. (03/05/2008)

By Ima

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

Here is a good web page that covers transitioning adult dogs:

The behavior he's exhibiting is quite typical. Talk to him (and yourself) often so he gets used to your voice, be warm without overbearing, cuddle him if he lets you, and give him a treat and lots of calming love whenever he comes to you.

Schedule a well-check visit at the vet for next week (be sure the owner gives you all his info, or at least the contact info to his previous vet). While you are at the vet's, schedule a neuter for ASAP if he's not already "fixed."

You might consider putting his crate under the table (leave it open so he can come and go freely). This way, he'll have his own "safe haven" when he needs it. You can also try feeding him in his crate. Good luck! (03/05/2008)

By LuvMyGingerKids

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

Bless his heart, he's depressed. He's in a new environment so it will take some time to fully adjust. Dogs are den animals; they need their own sanctuary to feel safe and protected. Perhaps you could designate a special spot with a dog bed, toys, & a water bowl, in a quiet spot in your living/family room (wherever you & your other dogs spend the most time) and dedicate it as a "den" area for the chihuahua. That way he'll still be part of the group but he can get used to his new environment at his own pace. (03/05/2008)

By Denise

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

I agree with all the above and would only add to place an item you have worn already unwashed and keep it with the dog like an old tee shirt, socks or slipper you don't mind parting with. Your new addition to the family will soon be content and knows your scent and will feel safe. Adjustment is difficult on animals as much as it is for some people and a little time with lots of tlc will do the trick. (03/05/2008)

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

A strange place, people and animals surround the new comer and adjustment will take time. In the meantime, provide a warm cozy bedding down area where the little fella feels safe when not on your lap. Place a piece of clothing you've already worn or an old slipper in it and the dog will associate it with you and soon will be doing fine. Talk to the dog frequently as this will help remove a lot of fearfulness. Having the dog's toys inside and food dish nearby also will give the dog its own spot to go to when he chooses. (03/05/2008)

By Myrna

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

He is slowly coming out of his shell. He sleeps and follows my daughter where ever she is or goes. He mopes and waits by the window until she comes home from school. What's funny is my husband goes to kiss my daughter good bye in the morning while she is sleeping and the dog growls at my husband. The dog is protecting my daughter. Thanks for all your help, he is coming around. (03/06/2008)

By Cheryl

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

Don't allow him to growl at anyone, ok? He's testing his boundaries and you don't want this to progress into fear aggression. When he growls, tell him NO in a firm voice. It's very important that you let him know this is not going to be tolerated. (03/06/2008)

By LuvMyGingerKids

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

He's probably scared and it will take some time. You might get a piece of clothing from the previous owner to place in the dog's bed or sleeping area. A lot of attention will help too. I wouldn't wait too long before taking him to the vet if he is not eating or going to the bathroom. This can lead to serious problems. You might try hand feeding him. Try baby food. (03/06/2008)

By Linda

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

He needs a shell to come out of, a crate his size with the door off, so he can hole up when he feels like sleeping with peace of mind. Put food nearby so he smells it, and he'll soon nibble. You could temporarily buy super-appetizing canned food and mix with dry, gradually switching over. (03/06/2008)

By Kim Churchman

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

I dog sit, so I see a lot of this. All of the advice is great. Dogs do need a place where they feel safe and is all there own, our doggie has a dog carrier with comfy blankies in it and the door remains open so she can come and go as she pleases. Most dogs (when their owners leave) stop eating, a husky that I care for usually goes two and a half to three days without eating. Even treats won't entice her, but the more time I spend with her, talking to her, which I pretty much talk to her like a human being, she will come around. She just wants to be sure I am not leaving her as well. If her owners have been gone two or three weeks though, she again becomes despondent so watch out for that. Good luck, your new baby will be fine! (03/07/2008)

By Debra.

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

I have a puppy mill rescue and it took a very long time for her to relax and come to me when I called her. Just give him lots of love and he'll come around. Do take him to the vet to make sure he's up to date on shots and that he's well. (03/07/2008)

By Linda Jones

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

But cuddling him too much when he is in such a state will teach him the wrong message. He needs to become part of the pack and be rewarded for "good" behavior. Good luck! (03/10/2008)

By Beth

Helping Chihuahua Adjust to New Home

He isn't going to the bathroom because he isn't eating. I raise and train a lot of dogs so I see this ALL the time. When I left for college my German Shepherd Husky Mix stopped eating for 2 days and then wouldn't eat when people were watching him. When I come home though, he is fine. Just relax. Don't pick him up all the time. Give him a few days and he should be ok. It's separation anxiety, most dogs do it because their family has left them and they NEED a pack! He will find his place among yours. Remember to take him out whenever you have time to spare. Also walk him for 30 min to an hour. He will catch the drift that he needs to go. We did this when I received my Yorkie/ Pomeranian Mix. It will all fall into place. (03/11/2008)

By Tiff

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