Monday, October 15, 2018

Do Chihuahuas Like Kids? Absolutely...IF! Tips for Socializing Your Chihuahua with Children.

One of the most common questions that I hear from people interested in Chihuahuas as a breed is "Are they good with kids?" 

My answer is most definitely yes....IF!  That "if" represents a few things.  First of all, your Chihuahua must be properly socialized.  This begins with the breeder, but does not stop after you bring your puppy home.  In fact, socialization is an ongoing process throughout most of your dog's life.  This includes the all-important aspect of socializing your puppy with children.  If you take your puppy home and he never sees a child, it is likely that your Chihuahua may grow to dislike children.  Our suggestion to continued socialization of your dog....take him with you every where you possibly can. Take him on outings in the park where there will be children around. 

While it is important to introduce your puppy to children, if your puppy is unsure about children, there is a word of caution associated with the process in order to prevent bad experiences for both your puppy and the children involved.  Be careful about how you allow children to approach your Chihuahua (hopefully the child's parents will be keeping an eye on their child too.)  If your dog seems afraid of the child, do not pick your dog up and cuddle him...this will reinforce his idea that there is something to be afraid of.  Instead, talk to the child in a calming voice (this will calm both the child and your Chihuahua) and be friendly with the child.  This will give your dog the idea that the child is ok. If possible, have the child sit down on the ground near your puppy to make the child appear smaller to the puppy and to reduce unanticipated movements that could startle your puppy.  

Don't allow the child to approach  your dog though until your dog takes an interest in the child, usually by sniffing in the child's direction or possibly moving in the child's direction a little bit. Once your dog has taken an interest, allow the child to reach for or approach the puppy gently while you continue to talk to the child in a friendly tone, but do not allow him to touch your Chihuahua until he is comfortable with the child's proximity.  

Once the dog seems comfortable with the child being near, allow the child to offer your Chihuahua his hand to sniff.  Always allow your puppy to sniff first, before ever trying to touch! If your dog is alright with that, allow the child to put his hand on your Chihuahua's head, and once your dog demonstrates that he is alright with that, the child should be able to pet your Chihuahua after that with no problems. 

If you're concerned about your Chihuahua biting the child, you will definitely want to have the basic obedience commands in place (such as sit, stay, no, down, and so forth) before you attempt this, as it will give you much more control over what your dog will do.   

If you have children in your home, it's important to understand that it's just as necessary to train the child how to behave around the Chihuahua as it is to train the Chihuahua how to behave around the child.  If you allow your child to abuse your Chihuahua by pulling ears or tail, using the Chihuahua as a pillow (although some Chi's love this...some don't), or worse, using the Chihuahua as a football, you should hardly be surprised if your Chihuahua comes to hate your child. Chihuahuas will protect themselves if they feel the need too.  Teach your child to be calm when the Chihuahua is around.  Teach him how to handle your Chihuahua properly and you shouldn't have any problems with your Chihuahua and your child getting along.  Chihuahuas often attach very strongly to children and act as their protectors. 

So, in short, yes, Chihuahuas can be wonderful with children if they are properly trained and socialized.  Most Chihuahuas love children very much, and children love Chihuahuas.  Start off on the right foot with your child and your Chihuahua and before you know it, they'll have a bond that may make even you a little envious!

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