Meet the Chiweenie: Anya Schira AKA The Farm Chiweenie

Anya is a roughly 13 pound, black and tan, chiweenie I adopted from the Noah Project in the middle of January. Prior to meeting her, I’d never heard of chiweenies. Now I think they’re marvelous. She’s a year old, has 4 inch legs, and loves to run. She’s affectionate and does well on her own.VIDEO0146_0000137264

Even though I keep hearing about how stubborn chiweenies are, I have to admit that Anya has been pretty trainable, which is good considering I’ve been kind of hit and miss in the training department. As long as I have a treat, she’s willing to do what I ask. So far she’s learned sit, sit pretty, down, she sort of crawls on cue, and swats at my hand when I tell her to say hello. Currently we’re learning how to roll over. The biggest training challenge I’ve run into is her short legs. It’s hard to get her to track a treat downwards when her neck is twice as long as her legs. The good news is that she has a strong desire to please and loves phrase.the pack

While I wouldn’t call Anya stubborn, she does occasionally exhibit something I call “Queen Anya moments” where it’s very clear she would rather be doing something else and questions my authority. I think if given a chance, she’d love to rule the place.

Personality wise, Anya seems to be an interesting mix of both a typical dachshund and Chihuahua. I’d say the Chihuahua nervousness balances out the dachshund fearlessness. She often shivers even when it’s not cold. She spooks sometimes, but doesn’t have any trouble with anxiety and will usually check out whatever startled her. She’s very social and Anya blanketloves people (I’ve put a lot of effort into socializing her) however, she’s often introverted when she goes somewhere new or first meets someone new. I’ve learned the best way to get her to warm up to new people is to have them look away from her. She’s much braver when they’re not looking at her.

Anya is a high energy puppy. I’m often grateful that she’s in the barn all day with me where she’s free to romp and play to her heart’s content. The all-day play sessions mean she’s ready to curl up on the couch and chill once we do go inside. We also go on a long walk at least once a week. Don’t let her little four inch legs fool you, this little chiweenie can walk 5+ miles without getting tired.IMAG2656

My biggest fear with Anya is that she’ll get lose and run into one of the horse pastures and get stepped on. There’s a strict barn rule that the horses and dogs aren’t allowed to mix because we don’t want the K9’s getting stepped on, bit, or kicked. There are also parts of the barn where dogs simply aren’t allowed to go. At this point Anya is still learning the rules and sometimes forgets which side of the gates she’s supposed to stay on. I’m a little worried that someday she’ll slip outside with someone and because she’s so small, they won’t notice her and lock her out of the barn.

Even though I’d never heard of chiweenies prior to this year, now I can’t imagine my life without Anya.

Written by Jess Schira who was under the supervision of Anya Schira, The Farm Chiweenie, at the time.

All photos posted belong to Jess Schira

My Surprising Discovery About Dog Collars and Chiweenies

When I first met Anya, one of the first things the employee at Noah’s warned me about was leading the Anya by a collar. She said I needed to make sure I used a harness.

I was startled. I’d always used a collar when leading dogs and never had a problem. I managed to swallow my instinctive sarcasm and not point out that at that very moment, the only thing Anya was wearing was a bright green collar.

Luckily, The Noah Project is run by wonderful people who not only want to find homes for the dog and cats they take in, but who are also interested in making sure all adopters are properly educated. She said that toy breeds, such as chiweenies, are prone to a medical condition called collapsing trachea, and that when a small dog yanks against a collar as some are prone to doing, it can cause the trachea to collapse, leading to problems.

Since I’m not the type of person who takes anyone’s word for anything, I went home, booted up the computer, and did some research. It turns out that pulling on the collar isn’t the only thing that can cause a chiweenie’s trachea to collapse. Coughing and over-exertion is also a problem. The condition is most common in toy breeds who have passed their 5th birthday.

Anya
“No collar on me!”-Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

The good news is that most dogs who have a collapsing trachea are able to live long and full lives, provided their monitored and otherwise remain in good health. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that not all dogs are so lucky. Some struggle to enjoy a high quality of life after their trachea has collapsed and require a great deal of medical care and attention. In some extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.

Rather than deal with a serious and potentially life threatening problem, I suggest you fit your chiweenie for a really nice harness. If you have a little one who likes to pull, look for an anti-pulling harness. There are some really nice front leading ones that are a great choice for a Chiweenie who is just learning how to walk on a leash.

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“Okay,  full disclosure. Mom does make me wear a collar sometimes when we go on walks, but the leash is attached to my harness, not the collar.”-Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

Oh yeah, before I forget. The friend who was with me at the time asked about using a dog head halter on Anya, which was also discouraged because they have a tendency to slide into the little dog’s eyes. Chiweenie noses just aren’t long enough to manage the halter.

Good luck and don’t forget to give your chiweenie an extra cuddle from me.

Written by Jess Schira

Is it Time to Make a Chiweenie a Member of your Family?

Let me guess, you’ve been looking at my photos of Anya, and now you want a little Anya of your own. I get it. She’s pretty darn irresistible. I’ll let you in on a secret:

Anya
“Yep, I’m pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.”-Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

She’s even more delightful in real life!

It’s important to remember that just because Anya is a 13-pound bundle of happiness and has been a really easy dog to care for, falling in love with her doesn’t mean it’s the best time to make a chiweenie a member of your family.

 

The bright eyes, cheerful expression, short legs, and wiggly walk that so often characterize chiweenies makes them pretty irresistible. One meeting for you to feel an overwhelming urge to rush to your local animal shelter and beg for one. Before you start filling out the adoption applications, you need to stop and ask yourself if you’re really ready to add a Chiweenie to your life.

Benefits of a Long Term Relationship with a Chiweenie

anya sleeping
“Yep, cute even when I sleep!”-Anya, the  Farm Chiweenie

You’ll be thrilled to know that there are several different and exciting ways a Chiweenie will improve your life.

 

  • Kids raised in the same house as a chiweenie or other type of dog are far less likely to develop allergies than kids who aren’t allowed to have a family pooch.
  • The act of taking your chiweenie out for a walk two or three times a day not only boosts your physical health, but also puts you in a position to meet lots of people each trip, which improves your social health.
  • Anyone who struggles with anxiety will discover the presence of a chiweenie helps them stay relaxed
  • People who own dogs have lower blood pressure levels than those who don’t have a dog
  • Dog owners are less likely to develop depression than non-dog owners.

Let me guess. Now that you’ve heard this small sampling of ways a chiweenie or other type of dog will improve your quality of life, you’re more eager than ever to rush out and pick up a chiweenie.

Not so fast.

There are still some more details you need to consider before getting a chiweenie.

Are You Really, Truly Ready for a Chiweenie

Before you start searching the globe for a chiweenie of your very own, you need to make sit down and consider whether now is the best time to bring a dog in your life. It’s an enormous decision and can’t be taken lightly. Don’t forget, you can’t base things on your current life, a dog is a lifetime commitment. While you might not have a crystal ball telling you how the rest of your life will proceed, you need to be confident you’ll be able to provide a loving and happy home to a chiweenie for the rest of its life, and chiweenies are a toy breed (unless you get one of the bigger ones) so you can reasonably anticipate their life span being anywhere from 13-20 years. If you’re not ready to make that long a commitment to a chiweenie or other toy dog, maybe you should consider a type of pet with a shorter life span. Another choice would be to adopt an older chiweenie, which has another set of pros and cons to consider and will need to be a future blog topic.

Here is a list of things to consider before searching for the chiweenie your heart desires:

  • Your living arrangements-first are you allowed to rent? Renters aren’t the only ones who are sometimes forbidden from getting a chiweenie or other types of pets. Many housing communities also restrict the type and size of the pet residents are allowed to have. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a dog and bring them home only to learn you can’t keep them.
  • Are you prepared to help a pooch stay active-Yes, chiweenies are small. Yes, they do quite well in smaller spaces, such as studio apartments, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about how to keep them fit. Anya’s an active chiweenie. I’ve heard other chiweenie owners have stated that their chiweenies are also bursting with energy. If you don’t have a fenced in yard, you will need to take them on a daily
    Anya in the hay
    “Taking a very short rest between play sessions.”-Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

    walk, no matter how bad the weather conditions get. Anya and I go on regular walks, and she also spends her entire day hanging out in the barn and running around the area, and there are still times when she’s raring to go when I’m ready to settle in for the evening.

  • You can’t ignore your financial situation-Once you bring a chiweenie (or any other type of dog) into your life, the expenses start adding up. You have to get food, yearly vaccinations, flea control, heartworm tests, heartworm preventive, toys, treats, grooming supplies, and more. In addition to these expenses, you also have to be ready to handle the financial burden of potential veterinary requirements (which hopefully, you’ll never need!)
  • What will Happen to your Chiweenie if you’re Unable to Care for Them-No one likes to think about it, but again, we can’t accurately predict the future. It’s possible that something could happen that makes caring for your dog impossible, which is why it’s best to have a contingency plan in place, just in case. In Anya’s case, I have plenty of friends and family who will take her in. (the only problem is that a fight might break out over which one gets her. EVERYONE loves Anya)

You should also think about what you’ll do with the Chiweenie if you’re traveling and unable to bring your pet with you.

After having a heart to heart discussion with yourself and deciding that yes, you’re ready for a Chiweenie, you should contact your local dog rescues and see if they have the perfect best friend for you.

Good luck!

Feel free to share your thoughts about adding a Chiweenie or other type of dog to your life. Just post a comment.