How Often do Chihuahuas Need to be Walked?
Most first-time dog owners often get confused about how often they should take their furry friends for a walk. You may notice that some of your friends and neighbors take their dogs twice a day, while others claim that their pets have to get our at least 3 times every day and even plan their work schedule accordingly.
Moreover, there are those who say that the biggest benefit of having a small dog like a Chihuahua is the fact that you basically don’t have to take it out. Yes, there are dog owners that train their Chihuahuas and other small dogs to do their “potty” at home like cats and consider walking an unnecessary pastime activity.
Let’s clarify from the very beginning. No Veterinarian, breeder, or dog behavior expert will give you a particular number of how many times per day you should take your Chihuahua for a walk. It depends on many factors such as:
- Dog’s age
- Health condition
- Your own accommodation, etc.
However, there is one thing every expert will tell you for sure: you Chihuahua has to go for a walk every day, and potty training is far not the main thing you should consider taking your dog out.
Continue reading, and you will learn why you should take your Chihuahua for a walk at all and how to determine how many times per day does your Chi needs to get out.
Why You Should Take Your Chihuahua For a Walk?
For many people taking a dog out primarily means saving their carpets and floors from potty accidents. However, walking has at least three fundamental purposes for a dog:
- Toilet needs
THE "TOILET" WALKS.
As for the toilet needs, everything seems pretty clear. Once you are housebreaking a Chihuahua puppy, it is essential to take your pet out as much as possible, encourage him or her with positive reinforcement, and plant in your dog’s head the whole concept of potty training.
As long as your Chihuahua is healthy and primarily does not have any genitourinary disorders or kidney conditions, 2 walks per day would be a perfect schedule for “potty” walking.
However, the amount of walks is not the only thing you should consider. Duration is another factor that determines the success of your Chihuahua’s potty training. The difference lies in the dogs` physiology and instincts.
Male Chihuahua may need longer walks. Instinctively male dogs are more prone to the idea of territory marking. That is why they subconsciously “separate” the urination process into several doses that would allow them to cover as much of a perimeter as possible. Once you deprive your male Chihuahua of exercising his natural instinct, you may start facing the marking problem in your own house. Even a neutered male Chihuahua may keep on marking the territory. The best way to deal with this problem is to provide your Chihuahua with a bigger outside territory to mark and fulfill their instincts. That way, you will save the carpets, furniture, and corners in your own house.
Female Chihuahuas rarely demonstrate the urge to mark territory. It mostly happens with dogs that have severe behavior issues and feel like pack leaders, those who have to watch over and protect their territory. Therefore your “potty” walk with a girl Chihuahua will be significantly shorter as urination is indeed its primary goal.
Talking about walking as the means of exercise, we should consider two types:
- Physical exercise
- Mental exercise
According to the vets` data, Chihuahuas appear to be among dogs that are most prone to obesity. Being super-cute with those huge eyes and expressive mimics, they often become professional baggers who get all the treats they want.
Unfortunately, obesity is one of the most common direct or indirect causes of death for Chihuahuas. It causes kidney and cardiovascular diseases, hormone and digestive dysfunctions, and excessive pressure on joints and overall motor system that leads to arthritic and other bone and joint conditions.
Walking is an important part of prophylactics of dog obesity, especially for such small breeds as Chihuahuas. Moreover, when we talk about Chihuahuas and other small dogs, walking appears to be the most efficient way to beat excessive weight.
Due to their small size, Chihuahuas have to make much more effort to keep up with other dogs or us during the walk. It means that an average Chihuahua has to make at least ten steps per minute. Eventually, a 20-minute walk at an average walking pace for you is a comprehensive workout for your Chihuahua.
But let’s say you live in a three-story mansion with a huge garden. It seems like it has enough place for a pack of Chihuahuas to run freely and fulfill their daily exercise needs. Does it mean you don’t have to take your pet for a walk?
Here comes the second essential type of exercise – mental exercise.
As you may already know, Chihuahuas, just like all other dogs, are pack animals. Their ancestors, as well as the closest modern relatives such as wolves and jackals, live in packs that constantly migrate from one place to another, searching for food, shelter, and resources. It is their nature and another instinct that has helped canines survive as a species.
And just like with territory marking, the urge to explore and conquer new territories has not gone anywhere even after years of selection and breeding. While you may see walking in the park as a fun but not imperative pastime, for your Chihuahua, it is a duty, a call of nature, and a powerful urge.
Chihuahuas, as well as other dogs, don’t walk; they migrate. This daily migration provides them with all the necessary information about other animals on their territory, change of seasons, available food, and water resources. Imagine that you are locked out in a comfortable house that has everything you might have ever wanted, but you are not allowed to step out of the building or learn about current events through TV, social media, or any other information source.
Big chances you would go crazy within a fortnight, develop paranoia, delusions of persecution, and numerous other heavy conditions. Basically, it is precisely what happens to your Chihuahua once he or she is deprived of the right to migrate all over the neighborhood collecting all the necessary daily data. We mostly call it behavior issues, but those are technically mental diseases that should be treated and addressed accordingly.
So, next time your Chihuahua demonstrates signs of separation anxiety, seems clingy, grumpy, or even aggressive; ask yourself, how often do you take the dog for a walk, and how long are those walks. Most dog behavior experts agree that at least 60% of issues can easily be eliminated with regular 20-30 minute walks at least twice a day.
The Social Aspect of Walking Your Chihuahua.
Last but not least, regular and thorough walks are critical for your dog’s socialization. Remember the example we described above. Let’s imagine that after several weeks of total isolation, you suddenly get a chance to communicate with others. In the best-case scenario, your interlocutors will think that you are some kind of a socially awkward weirdo and try to keep their distance.
In the dog’s world, the social rules, communication, and hierarchy are much more straightforward and severe than in human society. Anti-social behavior that may occur due to lack of communication with brothers is often seen as disrespect among canines. It inevitably leads to aggression as a means to correct such behavior. Eventually, even if your Chihuahua does not mean any harm, he or she may appear in the center of a dog fight due to the lack of necessary social skills.
The True Meaning of Walking Your Chihuahua.
Walking your Chihuahua is much more than letting it out to pee and poo twice a day. It is a fundamental social ritual for the animal that fulfills several basic instincts at a time. In other words, walking your dog is admitting his or her rights to be a dog.
It is an educational experience that allows your pet to learn about the outer world and introduce itself to its surroundings. It is an essential social ritual that works out habits and behavior patterns that make your little pooch a righteous member of the dogs` community and help your furry friend have a full and happy life. And, of course, it is the essential exercise that prevents numerous diseases and health complications, saving you a great deal of time, energy, and money on vets` visits in the future.
And last but not least, it is a powerful bonding experience for you and your Chihuahua. This tet-a-tet time is more efficient than the most advanced training or taming experience. It creates a special bond between a dog and an owner, develops trust, creates lifetime memories – all the essential components for your successful and joyful dog-owning experience.