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Q. We just got a second little puppy, an 8 mth old Yorkie weighing 3 lbs. I'm working on "potty training" her outside. She is doing pretty well with just an accident every now and then. Do you have any advise on this subject?

Also, I keep food out for both dogs all the time which means Maggie eats the adult food too.  Is this ok to do rather than having set mealtimes?  Carol, from PA

A. Sounds like she is doing pretty good for just being 8 mths old and still fairly new to your household. Good housebreaking requires good "timely" habits and these are a few standard "musts": outside first thing in the morning, immediately after eating, about every 10-15 min of playtime, as soon as you come home, and just before bedtime.

To answer your second question, please refer to my answer below regarding "free-feeding". She is old enough to be eating the adult food assuming you are feeding a good quality brand.

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 Q. Linda, Is it safe to be putting on "clotheson my 8 week old chihuahua puppy?
Another question is what clothes do you prefer to put on a chihuahua? (I adore using coats for the winter when its really chilly outside when we go on daily walks)

PS: I don't like to dress my chihuahua in anything that is uncomfortable so I find the best material of clothes I can possibly find.  Lily, from California

A. Lily, Putting clothes on an 8 wk old puppy can be challenging in itself  but as long as the clothing is properly fitted and only left on the puppy for very brief periods of time to get  used to wearing clothing while at home, this should not be a problem as long as you do not twist and over-extend the legs when dressing your puppy.

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 Q. (Follow-up questions from Lily...)  the breeder told me she is going to have a new litter in August so will both of the chihuahuas "behave" well together?     is it ok to be using a "pet carrier" when the puppy is of 8 to 12 weeks?

A. Since chihuahuas are basically pack animals, they will probably get along very well - once that initial introduction period is over - for some it is hardly noticeable and for others it could take a week or so.

What kind of pet carrier are we talking about and what are you using it for?  I think pet carriers are great for the crate training but not to use as an all day babysitter if we are talking about cloth ones. If you crate train your puppy to sleep in one at night, that's okay too.

If you are talking about the fashion pet carriers, they need to be one that is safe and your puppy can't fall or jump from. Proper supervision is the key. I like the pet "strollers" best myself but I have some of each kind. The stroller allows you to take your puppy out without  them getting on the floors/ground or in other people's reach.

Your puppy is much like a human baby in the fact that they can be susceptible to picking up germs where you least expect. Carry a bottle of sanitizing hand wash if some stranger  wants to hold  your cute little puppy.

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 Q. Linda, my vet wanted to give my little guy his "rabies shot" but he is sooo tiny and only two and a half months old. What do you think? Michelle, Wichita Falls, TX

A. Because these guys are really tiny, my vet suggests waiting until at least 4 mths and even up to 6 mths on the very small ones, so I prefer to wait. These little darlin's are not outdoor puppies and their is no real need to be overly aggressive at such a young age, especially since you keep such a close eye on all your pets.

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Q. My female is 3.5 lbs and the boy is 4.5 lbs. I  would like to "breed" them but I don't know what to expect. Can you give me any advice? Anonymous

A. I would suggest not breeding a smaller female to a larger male if you want to stay away from a potential  c-section or worse. When people do not pay attention to this,  it is possibly to loose both the female and her pups during labor/delivery.

It's also wise to check the history of the male to make sure he comes from a line of small breeding as well.

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 Q: Linda, What do I need to make "Lola"  (my new puppy) comfortable on the "car trip" home? Nikki, from San Antonio, TX 

A: Excellent question Nikki. I would suggest a blanket for her to snuggle in and a bottle of water to give her a drink - with cup if needed.  Since she is traveling with the puppy care package, she will have piddle pads, toys,  food and a bed. 

 *Safety Tip: If you are traveling alone and driving, it is always safer to place your pet in a carrier  to prevent any distractions or accidents.

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 Q. Linda, I "free-feed" all of my dogs. Is this a good habit or not and why?  From Danielle,  in MI

 A: I know that a lot of people prefer to free-feed their dogs for various reasons. But on these little guys it is important to know if your dog has eaten his/her meals that day AND how much. Also, if you are using any supplements in your food, is your pet(s) actually eating their right amount? When individual feeding,  you know exactly who eats what and you can monitor any "picky" eaters or "over" eaters.

 * * *
 Q: I am purchasing a chihuahua puppy locally and wanted to know if you could recommend the "food types" and the age they need it.  Anjealiq,  from NC

A: We have switched our feeding regiment for the kids to "Halo" brand puppy kibbles along with a hint of the "Halo" canned food. It's a holistic food that does not contain any 'by-products' or 'meal' of any kind. We find the dogs/puppies all do well on it; love the flavor and the size of the kibble.

We order it online for the auto-delivery convenience but if you live close to a Petco, they also carry it.

 Q: Linda, How old should a puppy be before you "start handling them" and picking them up? Cindy, Dallas, TX

A:  My theory is...the earlier you start the better. Reassure the mother that you are not going to take the puppies away or out of her sight. Pet them and hold them close to you, firmly so that they feel secure - but not squashed or too confined. Children should play with them while sitting on the floor. Puppies can enjoy children's gentle laughter and play when they don't feel threatened by their quick movements and loud voices.

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This page was last updated: August 28, 2018
Q. RE: Assistance in delivering my puppies ..."whelping": just curious, what are the chances of loosing one? what kinds of things could happen if you don't assist? zeliset, from YouTube
A. Thanks for asking an excellent question zeliset. I assist in all my deliveries and have not lost a puppy or mama in 30+ years. But even the most experienced can and will run into complications along the way. 
My Reasons for assistance: The chances of loosing one depends on several factors like - diet fed especially during pregnancy, size of female to male ratio when breeding, whelping experience of mom, unforeseen circumstances like an umbilical cord wrapped around another puppy, if it is a still-born, if the puppy is in the right position in the birth canal, has the labor lasted longer than expected etc. Note: This is not all inclusive. I'm sure there are many more reasons if I think hard enough.
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Q.  Linda, I am having a hard time deciding WHO to buy my chihuahua from. I have neighbors who have a litter and are selling them for $325.  I was also directed to a "breeder" near us who has pups for $650.  The one gives you a health guarantee in writing and the other gives you a verbal agreement, in other words if a puppy becomes sick they will take it back.  The $325 pups are not AKC, BUT the owner assures me that all her pups are healthy.  Is this a case of "you get what you pay for"???  I'm not too familiar with Chihuahuas but I'm learning. So what's the difference?????     Thanks, Diane
A.  Diane, I'm sure many people have asked the same question. Unfortunately, it could be a case of "you get what you pay for"...  If someone is not willing to put their guarantee in writing then I personally would lean towards the one who does. If you can convince the neighbor to put it in writing, then you may want to take a second look. How well do you trust and value your relationship with that neighbor?
Keep in mind, most Chihuahuas are such small dogs, that it really pays to know the background of the puppy, it's parents and the person raising them (whether they are a breeder or friendly neighbor). You don't want to be saddled with a lifetime of health issues and vet bills. Ask for the vet's contact information on each and try to speak to them about how the dogs are maintained.
I am a licensed breeder and put my vet's information right on my website for people to check out if they so desire. Hope this helps and good luck with your new puppy.
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Q. Hi, What is a safe product to clean dog room tile floor. It's ceramic tile.  I currently use bleach but wasn't sure how safe it was around animals. I have a pom & yorkie that we keep in the dog/utility room when we leave the house & put down peepee pads.   Also, I have two large dogs, that use the patio/garage entrance doggie door to keep warm & sleep in the garage during the winter.  So those two are on concrete and the garage floor gets dingy/dirty. Thanks, Shari 

A.If I have to use a solution,  I've tried several over the counter pet products for cleaning and I haven't been too pleased with them so my stand-by is a little Dawn Dishwashing liquid soap with a very light amount of diluted Pine Power in a mop bucket of water. Just do not mix the Pine Power with the bleach because that would really put off toxicity to both you and the pets.

My all-time preference of course is STEAM CLEANING. The secret to steam cleaning is not only the steam but to REGULARLY change the pads so you are always steaming with a clean pad.

Note: I do not allow my puppies on a wet or damp floor ... until it is completely dry.

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 Q.  Hello Linda, I just got a 13 week old chihuahua, i go to work early in the morning from 7-4 but i'm out of the house by 6. i get up at 5 and take my chichi out to potty, 
after i leave my boyfriend takes her out again for her last potty trip. how can i keep her from peeing and pooping in the house, right now she stays in my room, but when i get home i left run all over the house. she's already pee in one of my other rooms. do chihuahuas do well with crates? if i get her one would it train her to go potty when my boyfriend gets home? Also she keeps biting especially me and when i tell her no she doesn't listen and charges for my face. what can i do to make her stop biting me?? Please help :) Karina
A. If you are not going to be able to spend time in training her especially at this age, then you are not going to get her trained. She is only 13 weeks...just a baby and you, your boyfriend, your home - absolutely everything in her life is new and unknown to her. Don't expect her to change or know what to do on her own. She has been taken from the only home she has known, her mother, and possibly other siblings and I can guarantee she is lost! Plus you are leaving her home alone all day. You have set her up for failure from the very start. She can't  possibly know what to expect or even want to listen to a total stranger in her world. Think about where she is coming from and then put yourself in her place.
Training takes one on one daily work on both your parts. You will get out of your pet exactly what time you invest in training, loving, patience, and play. Incidentally puppies at that age are notorious for biting at the face because this is how their mother and siblings play, fight, communicate with them so they must learn this is unacceptable play. But the more frustrated you get the more aggressive she will become so you will need to exercise a lot of patience. When she starts the biting, just put her down, tell her firmly but rationally...NO, then ignore her for about 2-3 minutes before attempting to pick her up again. She will eventually catch on but be sure you are not intimidating her in some way to continue the habit.
If you have a large enough crate where she has plenty of room, along with her bed, water, food and piddle space, then she can be trained to a crate but expect to spend plenty of quality playtime with her when you get home after she has been cooped up all day.
I don't know where you live but you should invest in getting her into some sort of professional puppy training classes like at a PetSmart, Petco etc.
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Q. Hello ... I have one chi little girl Lucy Lu she is almost 2 years old when she gets her vaccinations - she acts like all of her joints hurt and she seems to have trouble walking for a day, is this normal? My husband trains field trial bird dogs and they get shots every year but Lucy seems to have such a hard time that I was thinking maybe every three years. I have done alot of research on shot schedules and this seems to be the new thing. I was wonder if you had experienced this before? Lilly
A.  I totally understand about the shot issue but I was wondering if this is for all of her shots or just one in particular?  Also, I do not know what state you are from and what the state's requirements are for shots in your area. Have you discussed this with your vet and what does he/she say about it if you have?
It is not uncommon for them to have a down day or so and be walking a little stiff after the shots, especially depending on where the vet gives them and the type. You may ask your vet to give them in a different location next time. Immediately after the shot is given, you may see the vet/tech gently rub the injection site...keep doing this as it helps disperse the vaccine faster, leaving less of a vaccine "lump". The more you can do this and the more active you can keep her, the better it will be. (Much like when humans get a shot in the arm. If you don't keep actively using that arm it can stiffen and get sore.) If it is a definite vaccine reaction, you would have other signs to go along with this. If she is lethargic or having any other reactions, please let your vet know immediately.
Possibly ask that she be "pre-medicated" next time - just prior to giving the shot. (Do not try to do this yourself before leaving home because it's the timing with the shot that's just as important.)
Q. Also Lucy loves when her little cousin Rosie comes over to play ( my daughter's little brindle chihuahua) and I was thinking of adding another little girl to our family should I have any concerns, it seems chihuahuas enjoy the company of other chihuahuas but will they still love too?  Lilly
A.  Chihuahuas are known pack animals and do love the company of other Chihuahuas. Once the initial introduction between the two is over and when done properly, should be relatively short, they seem to welcome the companionship of both you and the other dog. it is not uncommon in our house to have 4 or more on a lap at a time. They just love to feel loved.
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Q. Hi, We have a 3 1/2 month female that we are trying to housebreak. She urinates on pee pads in an area we have chosen for her. Unfortunately she will not use the pad to go potty unless we catch her in time and place her on the pad ourselves. She consistently goes potty on our carpets and over heating vents in our floors. She potties very discreetly (usually behind a sofa or reclining chair were she is out of our sight). I am reluctant to take her outside because she ingests any thing she sees on the ground and it is followed by an upset tummy the next day.
She is on a feeding schedule and taken to the pad on a regular schedule as well. What can we do to avoid accidents on our carpets? Please Help... Spending a fortune on pet odor eliminators. Rudy
A. Since you have only had her for a month, it sounds like you may need to go back to the beginning of her training (not everyone trains alike). So my suggestions  will have to be followed closely as Ginger needs to earn her reward of the house privileges.
Since you are at home with her  it will be easier, you will need to confine her to one room in the house - like the kitchen and place potty pads in 2-3 places. It's easier if you can lay them in areas where she already feels most comfortable going. Watch for signs when she needs to go and calmly place her on the potty pad if she is not already on it. When she goes on the pad, praise her a lot! And if she won't use the pads in the kitchen cut her area down even more to half or a third of the kitchen. As long as her area is not shut off  in another room where she feels isolated and rejected. 
Do this until she masters the kitchen then expand her area to the living room. If she has not mastered the kitchen do not proceed  to giving her freedom of another room because she will learn to wait and potty in the room she likes best. The secret will be "constant" supervision. If you do take her to the living room, make certain she stays on your lap or in direct reach then give her a potty break period in the kitchen every 20-30 minutes for just 5 minutes or so. (We have potty pads in almost every room of the house so there is no reason not to be able to get to a pad in time.)
At that age, if for some reason they are not house broken enough to trust, I use the puppy exercise pen too. I put it in the living room with us. They work great. Please see on my web site's "Available" puppy page...go down towards the bottom half. 
This may not sound like the magic bullet but believe me this is the best housebreaking technique and if you follow it, you will be amazed in a short time. 
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Q. My 7 month old Chihuahua does somewhat well, she pees on her puppy pad, but poops under the couch. I figured, maybe I would put a pad there for her to poop, so she will have privacy.  She won’t she poops on the hardwood floors. I cleaned the floors with Nature’s miracle, to remove any scents. I use a spray version when she does it to keep the area cleaned. When she does use the pads once in awhile I praise her and give her a treat.  Most of the time, she doesn’t poop on the pad. I am looking for advice, If you have time to give it to me, I would really appreciate any.            Connie in Fall River, Massachussetts

A. Since she pees on the puppy pad, she obviously understands what they are there for. (I have one in my hallway because it's a darker place with the spare room' doors being closed - must be more private for them.)

I would not suggest placing a pad under the couch as this will only encourage her to potty where she does not need to. If it is possible to block off the under portion of the couch - at least temporarily until you get her trained - that will help illuminate her access.

When she does make a mistake on the floor, pick up the poop with a tissue or whatever, place it on the pad for her to sniff and understand. Repeat as necessary. Also, limit her household freedom to just the room you are occupying at any given time so you have more control.

With nice weather now, take her outside if possible, immediately after she eats. Wait with her while she goes potty then praise her heavily each time. She will soon understand what going outdoors is all about. It is possible to train them for both pads and outside duty.

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Q. Last week at 4a.m. I let my 2 Chihuahua's out to use the bathroom.  I always go out with them, but I heard my son's asthmas machine running so ran upstairs to quickly turn it off.  I then heard a horrible horrible cry and knew it was my sweet little Windy.  A coyote had taken her and was already long gone by the time I flew down the stairs.  When the sun came up, we found her fairly close to the woods in the back of our sub-division.  I am just crushed.  She was by my side 24/7 and even though I have 4 kids, I really feel like I have lost a child and am just sort of lost right now.

I know I could never replace her.... 
Holly, Keller, TX

A. My total condolences to Holly and her family. This is hard to hear and even harder to go through...   

Let this serve as a reminder, the "predators" are around and searching for food. Unfortunately, if coyotes are hungry, they are been known to attack - especially at night - but even during broad daylight! Please watch your pets (or children) at all times especially if you live in an area condusive to "predators"...DON"T BE THE NEXT to experience such heartache and loss. It only takes a second!

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Q. We just recently adopted a puppy, he is a 12 week old, long hair chihuahua.  We are currently living with our in-laws and they have a small dog. Our dogs get along great, but we are moving out by the end of this month because our house is now finished. We worry that Tico, our puppy, will be lonely. We do not have any children yet, but we are planning a baby within 1 to 2 years from now. Should we get another puppy or will it be too hard to manage 2 puppies and a baby at the same time? How long should we wait to get another puppy? By the way we love your website and we will definitely buy our next puppy form you when the time is right.               

Martha, Miami, OK

A. When you do get ready to add a puppy to your family, it is just like children. They bond with one another in play, they compete with one another for attention, and they teach one another (both good and bad habits) but you will just need to work really well together in teaching your puppy(s) in the early weeks about your expectations in the house.

Then the earlier you have them spayed/neutered (4-6 months) the better it is in the long run. Are both you and your husband working or going to school full time? Whether you are a proud parent of one - or more - if not being there that first year to train and keep an eye on them - there is where your real problem lies.

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Q. My fiance and I moved into our new flat together. The move went well. The only problem we have is with my 4 year old little dashound, designer mix, and the love of my life; they seem to have become rivals with everything. I don't know how I can fix the jealousy on the home front. Can you help?                                                                                                                                                    Unnerved in England

A. Many battles have been won and lost due to jealousy amongst ...."fellow and fur" so to speak. However, this is not uncommon and very possible to fix with a little patience and a calm assertive attitude. I would suggest that you allow for your fiance to become the "provider" for the three of you. Instead of implementing acts of alienation with the canine kid, ask your fiance to "provide" the meals for your little doxy: this means to  prepare and serve doxy's meals, provide fresh water daily and walks with just the two of them in the beginning ...all of course with a cheerful, positive attitude.

You will soon be amazed at the difference this will make.

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Q. I would like to do some personal research for a class project and would like to know if you can recommend any web sites to further promote my career in the pet industry?

A. I always love to share as much information with my readers as possible that will benefit the health and well-being of our "pets" of any kind so let me recommend the following Educational links that you might be interested from the folks at Open    For more Animal Care Advice:
and for the Career Animal Care Industry visit:

Q. I am a dog person. Had my first dog at 5yrs and had one most of the time since. While in grad school managed the Washington, DC divison of Pets 'n' Plants the largest in home pet sitting service in the area. The brilliant woman,H.K. Foster Alvarado,who owned the business really gave shape and form to the whole industry. It is in my nature to research any thing that interests me. I am thinking about getting a Chi...from you.Love your web site and dedication to informing others all about your wonderful breed and dogs in general. Thank you very much. Got 2 questions...I am 70 is that too old to get a long lived dog like a Chi. Hate to see those adds where a dog is put in a shelter because of the death o f an owner. #2 I always like to visit the breeder from whom I am getting a dog. I live 60 miles north of New York city. While I"d love to visit Texas it is a long drive. Think it is traumatic to ship a puppy of any kind especially you little ones. I guess you don't or you would not do it. Do you sell older bitches? Is there any correlation between the size of a Chi and longevity. Do the bigger ones have a shorter life span ? Thanks so much for your time 79212 Dale (Mary)

A. Thanks Mary for your thoughts and concerns. I'm sure there are others who are asking their selves some of the same questions so I will try to answer them the best I can. Keep in mind this is my "opinion" and not necessarily shared by others. Your first, being 70 yrs old and getting a dog like a Chihuahua because of their longevity: If you are looking to get a puppy, their are many things to consider. Puppies are quick on their feet and can easily get stepped on by anyone - at any age! But most elderly folks that I know are not as quick to react and therefore I would be more concerned about an issue with "falling". 

Your second concern regarding logistics: Our door is always open if someone wants to schedule a visit and we have had folks from all parts of the country come in. I totally agree that people should visit where the puppy comes from and shipping these little ones should be a last resort whenever possible. There are other options to look into so be sure to do your homework ahead of time.     

Third: Our dogs are family, old or young. And as long as I can, I will love them until one of us passes. A thought I don't cherish I am glad they live much longer than most breeds. 

A final thought: Size of the Chi does not indicate it's longevity. Our family includes on occasion adoptees, rescues and fosters. Maybe you should check with your local shelter and rescue organizations for an older Chi that has lost their elderly parent. It's amazing how grateful they become just to have a home...again!

C. I love your site and watch your videos over and over!!! We purchased a Chi pup a few months ago. He’s 5 months now and has taken over our lives and our love! LOL
                                                    Collars or Harnesses
Q. I see your Chihuahuas wear collars. I am confused, as everything I’ve heard claims we should be using halters. I understand the halter argument; but it sure is hard to quickly put one of those on when you want to get your
puppy outside quickly to use the potty.

Are collars safe, and which type do you prefer?

Thanks so much for your dedication! Lynda B./Covington, LA

A. Thanks for asking this question because it is excellent and people should be very concerned about this especially with a small puppy.

Personally I prefer neither and most of the time my dogs don't wear collars. But with that being said, I do understand that a lot of pet owners don't have a fenced yard to let their puppy run in and when taking them out they need to be restrained.

For these little ones, it is best to use a properly fitted harness when going outside.You may want to have someone at the store who is knowledgeable with the different styles help you fit it on your puppy. When at home you can loosen it, allowing your puppy time to get used to wearing a harness for short periods or remove it - but never leave your puppy alone with it on especially during the training stage. (Same applies to a collar only I use a "break-away" cat collar - but I also save the collar training until they are adults. Their little "trechs" are too tiny and delicate...this way you will avoid potential accidents.)

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Linda, I wanted to touch base with you since you were so helpful to me. Your advice was very helpful and as a result I wanted to let you know that my little girl's pregnancy and delivery went well. Her pups will be 4 weeks old in a couple of days and progressing wonderfully. I have a wonderful vet, but am thankful for people like you who are honestly helpful and genuine. I am having my girl spayed just as soon as she is able, and although I have learned a lot from this experience, it is an area best left for professional breeders. 

My research and actual experience with this is something I will always cherish, however, the ins and outs of the ordeal are not something to take lightly or half-heartedly. Through-out my intense research I have a much fuller understanding of why breeders are breeders and all others should not be. There are some real idiots out there who breed for whatever the reason, mostly money I presume; and are not really interested in the breed itself; and do not do all it requires to properly become 'real' breeders.
Again thank you for your advice and have a blessed 2012.

Michelle in Brownsboro

A. Well Said!

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Proper Potty Training Pays off  in the long run    ... invest the time!
This page was last updated: August 28, 2018
Q. Training an Anxious Rescue... What Can I do?

I'm writing to thank you on behalf of my son Chris. About eight months ago, my family rescued an adult chihuahua mix. We fell in love right away, but Odin has a lot of anxiety. Even after obedience classes, Odin was still wreaking havoc in our home. It was extremely stressful, and I wasn't sure if we'd be able to keep him, but my son was determined. Chris came across your web page and we can't express how grateful we are for all the information and resources you've provided.

He's actually managed to get Odin under control, thanks in part to the tips and resources from your site. Turns out, what Odin needed was several weeks of constant supervision and training, not weekly group classes. We also got a lot of use from this helpful online guide on pet proofing your home, and I desperately wish I'd read something like this sooner. 
This experience has also inspired Chris to become a veterinarian someday, and I think your validation would encourage him to continue working toward that goal!
Thank you again,
Elise O


A. Elsie, I wanted thank you for sharing Odin's story, Chris' determination and your undying support. We never know what has happened in an animal's life that makes them tick the way they do. But it's people like Chris who see something that others may not and yes some day his devotion will help him become the very best at whatever he decides to do in life. There is always a need for skilled, loving veterinarians. I don't know how old you are Chris but I think you may be barking up the right tree!

I'm glad you found my site useful and most people struggling the way you have with Odin just need a little guidance and a whole lot of patience...

Q. I'm trying to get my new dog to come when I call him and he just ignores me. What can I do to change his response. We adopted him from a rescue about a month ago and he is approximately 3 yrs old.

A. He probably has never had the training he needed but you can correct that as he learns trust from you and feels secure with his new home and family. Patience is the most important tool you have to work with is consistency. He is probably having to learn a new name as well and sometimes if they do not respond to their given name, try changing it to one he likes better and stick to it, then call him by it often. Repeatedly changing will not help. Second, do not yell at him if you want him to come to you. When he starts to respond his new name reward him with a very special treat he really likes (just one or two pieces).  Third, stand a few steps away from him then call him. When he learns to come for the treat, reward him. Stay with this plan until he learns to "come".