Is A Chihuahua A Good Fit For Your Family?

Is A Chihuahua A Good Fit For Your Family?

Are you thinking about adding a Chihuahua to your family?

Well, buckle up, because I'm about to share my honest take on life with one of these pint-sized pups! Despite being a lifelong dog lover, I wasn't initially sold on the idea of a chihuahua, but then I met Zeus. ūüźĺ¬† Join me on this journey as I give an overview¬†on everything from their snuggly nature to their unique quirks. Spoiler alert: these little guys pack a whole lot of personality! Plus, I'll dish out some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. So, if you're considering adding a Chihuahua to your pack,¬†let's get into it.

When I was a child, my Grandad had a chihuahua named Giant. He embodied the typical chihuahua stereotype - grumpy, vocal, and fiercely loyal to Grandad. As much as I adored Giant, his demeanor stuck with me and made me hesitant to consider a chihuahua for our family. However, fate had other plans when I met Zeus. Instantly smitten, I did my homework and soon welcomed him into our bustling household alongside my two children, a kelpie x border collie, and two cats. Zeus quickly stole our hearts and proved that chihuahuas are so much more than their reputations suggest. He's brought endless joy and laughter to our home, and we couldn't imagine life without him.

 

So, what do you need to know?

Loyal and Loving: Chihuahuas are known for their unwavering loyalty to their primary human, and I'm absolutely Zeus' chosen one. But don't be fooled - these pint-sized pooches have much, much more love to give! While I hold a special place in my chi's heart, he's also formed deep bonds with my children and even enjoys cozying up with our other furry friends. Whether it's snuggling with the family, cuddling with our pets, or even charming guests with his affection, my chihuahua thrives on companionship. 

Chihuahuas need companionship. A chi is not right for you if he will be left alone for long periods of time, he will pine and be anxious. At least having another dog there (or even a cat!) will keep him happier. I read that chihuahuas prefer to stick to their own breed for companionship, but Zeus adores his huge kelpie brother and also snuggling up with a cat!

 

Cold and Burrowing: Chihuahuas might be small in size, but they have big feelings about staying warm! Living in Brisbane, Australia, where the summers are hot and the winters are mild, Zeus has it pretty good. But even on balmy summer nights, with temperatures hovering between 21-29¬įC (69.8-85.6¬įF), he insists on snuggling under a blanket beside me. Initially, I¬†worried¬†about him overheating or suffocating, but I've come to realize that he's just fine ‚Äď he simply loves feeling cozy and safe. When it comes to burrowing, Zeus takes the cake! Whether it's blankets, towels, or even clothes, he'll tunnel his way into any available fabric. I've learned the hard way to check for a chihuahua under the covers before settling down for a nap ‚Äď after all, Zeus might have already claimed¬†his¬†cosy spot!

If you live in a cold place, that doesn't mean a chihuahua isn't right for you! They love rocking the latest fashions, so stocking up on a few warm jumpers for outings and having a few places for him to burrow at home will make him warm and comfy. I've bought Zeus a bunch of beds, but he insists on snuggling up beside me overnight and will move to my daughters bed or the big dog's bed when I get up.  

 

Oh The Vibration: In addition to shivering from the cold, chihuahuas also tremble when they're anxious or frightened, resembling a vibrating toy. Witnessing this can be concerning, especially for new chihuahua parents. While Zeus has grown more assured in his surroundings over time and no longer shivers as frequently, I remember his younger days very well. Any new situation or meeting new people would set off uncontrollable shivering fits. It's a common trait among chihuahuas, but with patience and reassurance, they can overcome their nervousness and thrive in various environments. 

It's best to socialise and expose your chihuahua to new situations from when you first get them. This will help him grow more confident and less anxious. Also, even though they are small and cute and cuddly, avoid carrying them too much when out and about so they can have new experiences and gain confidence at the much larger world. I just reassure Zeus when he lets me know he's anxious by trembling, and it soon stops.

 

Toileting Troubles: Toilet training a chihuahua can be quite challenging. Compared to other breeds I've had over the years, chihuahuas are undoubtedly the toughest to train in this regard. I can't simply leave Zeus outside unsupervised due to his small size‚ÄĒhe could easily slip through the fence or become prey to wildlife. Instead¬†I need to rely on regular¬†outdoor potty breaks and the use of indoor toileting pads. It does help for me that my other dog toilets on command, and while Zeus won't go to the command he will copy his big brother's actions! While it's still a work in progress, I've noticed gradual improvement in Zeus's toilet habits over time.

A chihuahua is not a good fit for you if you are not willing to have patience and persistence with training, particularly in toilet training. I have successfully taught Zeus a few other basic tricks, but toileting continues to baffle when he goes where he shouldn't. Positive reinforcement is the key to training chihuahuas, not growling when they are bad and frightening them. 

 

Exercise And Adventures: Despite their small size, chihuahuas have a big appetite for adventure, especially when it comes to walks! Zeus loves nothing more than exploring the neighborhood alongside his larger canine companion, stopping to sniff and investigate every intriguing scent along the way. While Zeus may not be a fan of fetch (he's more of a spectator), he has a knack for collecting and hiding socks and underwear‚ÄĒconsider it his own quirky version of the game! And don't be surprised if you find him stashing treats in unexpected places around the house, like my bed. He's got a talent for saving them for later enjoyment!

It's important to remember that even pint-sized pups like chihuahuas require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They are clever and inquisitive and love to play games, so join in the fun and regularly engage with your pup with walks, toys, hiding things, fetch (if yours is a fetcher!).

 

They Have Smarts: Chihuahuas like Zeus are not just adorable cuddle bugs; they're also surprisingly intelligent and trainable‚ÄĒthough a touch of patience is key, given their stubborn streak! Zeus has mastered the art of waiting patiently for his meals, sitting and showing some impressive self-control until given the command to dig in. While he may have only scratched the surface of his training repertoire with "sit" and mealtime manners, there's no doubt he's eager to learn more tricks with a bit of encouragement. Who knows what other impressive feats he'll pick up with a little extra training time?

While it's not essential to train your chihuahua to perform tricks, establishing yourself as the pack leader early on is crucial. Despite their size, chihuahuas have big personalities and will assert themselves if not properly guided. It's important to assert your authority in a positive and gentle manner, reinforcing good behavior and teaching them to respect your leadership. While physical punishment should never be used, consistent training and positive reinforcement will help your chihuahua understand their place in the family hierarchy.

 

So, should you consider adding a chihuahua to your family?

While these pint-sized pups can easily integrate into most households, it's important to consider their needs and temperament. Chihuahuas, like Zeus, are loving and entertaining companions, but they do thrive on attention and companionship. They may not be the best fit for households with small children who could inadvertently roughhouse with them. Additionally, chihuahuas require plenty of socialization and training to manage their tendency to bark‚ÄĒa trait rooted in their protective instincts. With patience and consistent training, however, this behavior can be addressed over time. If you're seeking a loyal and affectionate furry friend and are willing to invest the time and effort into their care, a chihuahua could be the perfect addition to your family!

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