In May of 1862, the French army was in Mexico, fighting its way to Mexico City, where they hoped to force the Mexican government to honor some previous debts. The French army was destroying all resistance on its march to the capital. However, outside of the town of Puebla, Mexican soldiers, most of them with no training and poor equipment, defeated the French. The Battle of Puebla is remembered every May fifth. Cinco de Mayo (May fifth) is celebrated in Mexico, the United States and around the world.
In honor if this fun day, I thought this would be a good time to spotlight one of TLC’s more common breed for adoption, the Chihuahua, the most iconic dog breed to emerge from Mexico. According to the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics, Chihuahuas rank among the 20 most popular dog in the United States.
Chihuahuas are well-known for their small size. They have rounded heads in what the AKC describes as an “apple dome” shape. They have large, dark, round eyes that are set well apart and do not protrude. Their large ears perk up when alert, but flare out at about a 45-degree when relaxed. Tails are moderately long, but shorter than the length of the body. Their feet are small, even dainty, according to the AKC breed standard. Chihuahuas may have short, smooth coats, or long coats.
Chihuahuas are excellent companions, because they are highly affectionate and loyal. A typical Chihuahua is energetic, lively and adventurous, with a terrier-like temperament. Chihuahuas tend to form very strong bonds with their owners, and demand a lot of attention from them. The dog-owner bond can also make some Chihuahuas extremely protective of their humans, even bordering on aggressive behaviors toward any perceived “intruder.”
Here are some tips to enjoy your Cinco de Mayo celebration with your four-legged family member:
- Traditional Mexican foods, like guacamole, nachos and burritos are NOT good for your pet. Keep all food out of reach from your pooch. The temptation can be too much when snacks are in reach and they smell so good. Be sure to feed your dog before company arrives to ensure that she eats the right foods.
- Alcohol is not good for pets, so keep your margaritas out of her reach. Dogs do not absorb alcohol the same way people do. It is very toxic to them, so leave the libations to you and your people friends.
- Try a festive costume such as a sombrero. Everybody loves decorations, but make sure they are not choking hazards for the dog or that they are up high with the food.
- Having friends over can be fun for your pets too, but sometimes it is a little overwhelming. Make sure your dog has a safe place to go if she wants to get away.
- Ensure ID tags are on and readable. With people coming and going during parties, your dog or other pets may get out. Make sure they get home safe with proper ID tags and microchips.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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