If you’re wondering whether Chihuahuas are good with kids, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will answer that. And also give you an understanding of:
- How the age of your Chihuahua influences the relationship with your kid.
- How having a Chihuahua and a kid at the same time can be a double-edged sword.
- What the number one mistake that kids make with Chihuahuas is (#7 is a must-read).
- Why Chihuahuas and kids enjoying each other’s company is not always a good thing.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Are Chihuahuas good with kids?
- 7 dangers of bringing your Chihuahua and kid together
- 5 tips to make your kid and Chihuahua get along
Are Chihuahuas good with kids?
Chihuahuas are good with kids. However, they will need some time to be trained, since your pet can get defensive around kids. Start by introducing your Chihuahua to your kids gradually. Keep their spaces separate and have them meet at fixed times during the day until they’re friendly.
7 dangers of bringing your Chihuahua and kid together
#1: One touch, one (medical) bill
Much like puppies, kids use all of their senses to learn more about the environment. This instinct for learning is why they move around often when they’re young.
However, Chihuahuas do the same thing too – at all stages of their lives. When you take your Chihuahua out for a walk, they will regularly sniff and pace around you.
This can be a problem for kids and Chihuahuas alike. If left alone, your Chihuahua might feel intimidated by your kid and start being aggressive.
As for your child, it’s possible that they can hurt your Chihuahua’s limbs by twisting or pressing on them too hard.
Your child might also try hugging your Chihuahua. Research shows that dogs don’t like it, so your child might only make them more uncomfortable.
In either case, both of them can get hurt and you may lose a lot of money on medical bills. There might be long-term consequences if you aren’t thorough.
Thus, you need to do the following things to help both your Chihuahua and kid:
While your pet and kid are not seeing each other, prepare some distractions for them within their space. Give your kid their own room to play with toys or games on your phone. Keep your dog within their space and give them chew toys.
Note: It’s crucial that you go with non-squeaky chew toys. They will attract less attention from your child, thus keeping both safe until their next meetup.
Let your kid approach your pet first
You can let them pat your Chihuahua’s back once or twice on occasion. This will let your pet know that your kid is as gentle as you are. Break off if your pet shows signs of aggression.
Note: You can’t let your Chihuahua touch your kid yet because they might accidentally bite or scratch them. If you want, let your Chihuahua sit on your lap and tell your kid to pet them gently.
Assign a meeting schedule for both of them
Having a proper schedule for them both to bond means that you won’t have to be concerned about them being left unsupervised. You can also decide the most comfortable schedule for you, your pet, and your kid.
#2: Germs, Ticks, Allergens
Although it’s possible to keep your dog clean, we have to be realistic. Chihuahuas attract dirt all the time.
From sniffing dust underneath the sofa to stepping on their own poop, Chihuahuas can really come back to the house messy.
Worse still, it’s not advisable to bathe them everyday. Otherwise, it will dry up their skin and attract further infections or parasites.
Chihuahuas are also known for shedding quite a bit about twice a year. This means your house will be gathering excess fur and dirt. Both of these can be unsafe for a curious kid.
Some common diseases that your child might catch from dogs include:
- Pet allergies.
With the risk of these diseases being too great, there are even more things you should do to keep them away from your child. You should:
Vacuum the house daily
Ingesting fur is a risk that toddlers often have. However, even 4 or 5-year-olds might get interested with fur and start playing around with it. As such, it’s always a good idea to clean up the house daily.
Hire extra help or get one of your family members to do it with you. This will make the task easier.
Wipe off dirt from their paws
Your dog’s paws tend to gather dirt really quickly, especially if you take them out for daily walks. Once you reach home, remove the dirt from their paws with paw wipes. Be sure to include the gaps on their paw.
Note: You don’t have to rinse their paws this way since the wipes are wet already.
Another tool you can use to clean your dog’s dirty paws is a portable dog paw washer. It’s easy to use and practical.
Keep in touch with your vet
Chihuahuas are vulnerable to infections and pests especially while they’re puppies (below 1 year old) and senior (10 years old and above). Set appointments with your vet yearly or if you spot any ticks while you clean them.
They will be happy to give your pet proper medication and even useful long-term advice.
#3: They can enjoy each other a little too much
Although it’s a good thing to see pets and Chihuahuas bond together, it can get rowdy inside the house.
Noise will be one of your first problems as your pet and kid will struggle to understand each other. Toddlers may be more prone to crying if the Chihuahua gets near them.
This can then stress the Chihuahua and make them return the noise by barking. Both of them can end up amplifying each other’s noise, causing disruptions at home.
As such, it’s best if you take a few measures to help lessen the amount of noise they can make together, such as:
Ignore and send away
Your pet will often bark as a way of requesting attention. Sometimes, they may request your kid’s attention. Since kids are often playful, they will be happy to reciprocate.
The first thing you have to do here is to send the kid away and ignore your pet at the same time. Put your kid in a separate room and tell them about your dog if they can already talk. Don’t forget to tell them what time they can hang out with your pet.
Teach your kid how to train dogs
If your kid is able to stand and talk properly, it’s a good time to teach them how to communicate efficiently with dogs on their own. This will lessen their dependence on you to keep your Chihuahua in line.
Start by teaching them the “Quiet” command. Before you do though, make sure your puppy is familiar with the “Speak” command first.
Once they can bark on command, do the following:
- Ask your kid to observe closely.
- Say “speak” slowly and audibly.
- Reward them for barking.
- Say “Quiet.”
- Reward your dog if they don’t bark for 1-2 seconds.
Gently explain to the kid what happened. Let them try after repeating the command 3 times. To prevent biting accidents, reward the dog yourself.
Note: It’s important that you mix the Quiet command with another sound like “shhh.” Some kids may find it harder to use words and instead prefer sounds. Reward your dog when they respond to the “Shhh.”
Keep personal spaces as far as possible
Kids and dogs may find it difficult to keep their distance if they can hear each other from afar. If possible, make sure that their personal rooms are located on the opposite corners of the house.
During their downtime, keep them in their rooms to limit the sound they can hear from each other.
#4: They might fight for your attention
Kids and Chihuahuas can be firmly attached to their owners. This means that if you are not able to make time for them, their relationship with one another can be in jeopardy.
For example, if you hug your kid in front of your Chihuahua, they might growl or bark at them.
Similarly, kids may also cry more often if you spend more time with your dog. As such, there is a careful balancing act here.
It’s still possible to make them bond despite the risks, but only if you take certain actions.
For one, you should divide your time evenly between your dog and child. Ideally, you should play with each one separately, while the other one is asleep.
This happens usually during the afternoons since Chihuahuas take quick naps before resuming their day. You can then play with your kids at this time.
With your Chihuahua, you can play before tucking your kid in for bedtime and in the early morning. It will also help them sleep better by preventing obesity.
You should also play games that require saying a few commands.
Examples of these include:
- Cup games.
The idea behind this is to make your dog work for their rewards – including your attention.
By playing obedience-based games and rewarding good behavior, your dog will be happier and less jealous of your kid.
Lastly, avoid taking too long to say goodbye for the day. If they howl or bark, do not respond. This will encourage independent sleep.
Note: Mind your Chihuahua’s time limit. Ideally, you should play with them for 30 minutes to prevent exhaustion or bone damage.
#5: Twice the fun, twice the stress
One of the worst problems involving pets and kids is that it can really take much of your time.
You may find yourself bathing your Chihuahua on vacation or changing your kid’s diaper at night to stop them from crying.
You also need to think about what to feed your Chihuahua or how to make your kid less scared of your dog.
All the little details involving taking care of Chihuahuas and dogs can eventually overwhelm you. When this happens, you could slip up with both your dog and kid.
Studies have shown that dogs know when their owners are stressed.
Once they see that something’s wrong with you, they will be just as stressed too
Your responses may also change when you’re stressed. You may become more forceful when pulling your dog by the collar, and you might even yell.
These punishing behaviors can affect your dog’s mental health greatly and accelerate anxiety problems.
Thus, it’s crucial for owners to have the means to unwind and get away from all the responsibility every once in a while.
Start by hiring a sitter or at least staying in contact with family and relatives. The key to managing dogs and kids together is delegation. Have your sitter deal with cleaning and keeping your dogs company while you’re away for the day.
Next, you should prepare a planner for vacations. Over time, you’ll discover that you need time away from home to relax– even just for a few days. There is no shame in doing this as long as you plan everything properly.
Make sure your dog will be taken care of by someone like a sitter or preferably a close relative or neighbor.
You can bring your kid with you, but it’s also okay to leave them to someone you trust for a while.
Note: What’s important here is your mental health. Remember that your dog and kid think of you as a role model. It’s okay to relax if you need to recharge; it’s for the best.
Before taking your vacation, be sure to take note of your routines. Be as detailed about it as possible. The more specific your daily time frame, the easier it will be for everyone.
#6: Age matters more than you think
Behavior changes with age. Puppies tend to be more open-minded and active. Adult Chihuahuas (1-10 years old) are less open-minded and even more active.
Senior Chihuahuas (10 years old and above) tend to be more mellow, but can nonetheless be active. Depending on their mental health, they might also act more erratically.
The same is true for kids as well. Toddlers often wander around and aren’t able to process language fully yet. Children around 4-5 years old are more able to listen to you and take orders if needed.
These differences in behavior can be a problem for both your dog and your kid.
Read also: Chihuahuas And Babies: 5 Risks You Should Be Aware Of
If you are not careful enough, they can become less friendly with each other.
As such, you need to remember a few things:
Just like humans, dogs are also capable of reaching puberty. This can change the way they behave to other people, such as being more aggressive or stressed.
If you have 2 unneutered dogs from the opposite sex, it can also lead to unwanted pups being born. Both situations can make living with dogs harder for kids.
Preventing these means removing their ovaries or testicles. Consult your vet as soon as your dog comes of age.
Start with a young adult
Well-settled dogs tend to be more agreeable and bite less. Consider introducing your kid to a Chihuahua that’s at least 2 years old. Supervise them while they interact.
Caution: Avoid introducing your kids to puppies since they tend to bite and nibble more often as a playful gesture.
Prepare your pet before introducing new kids
Some Chihuahuas need to be conditioned before they meet kids since they might see them as strangers.
If they’ve been with you since they were born, prepare them slowly. Introduce them to cribs, play ambient baby sounds and add new baby-themed decor.
If you are planning to adopt, find out as much as you can about their phobias. Get rid of triggers before they get home and be as friendly as possible.
#7: Kids can underestimate Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are among the smallest dog breeds out there. This can cause 4-5 year old kids to mistake your Chihuahua for a simple toy.
In fairness, this is understandable. Chihuahuas can be really gentle, friendly, and welcoming when trained properly. However, the problem starts when your kid thinks it’s a weakness.
They might try to intimidate your Chihuahua by grabbing onto them or lifting them. Worse, they might actually try to injure them and act strong.
However, they might realize that Chihuahuas are also vicious in their little way. When your Chihuahua becomes distressed, their first symptom is aggression.
This can manifest in the following ways:
- Raised tail.
- Showing teeth.
- Steady posture.
- Aggressive barking.
Since kids often aren’t fully aware of the dangers of dogs, they might continue their behavior and get wounded in the process.
As such, it’s best for you to explain to your kid what is going on. Tell them about Chihuahuas and their temper before letting them play together again.
If your kid gets bitten, don’t let them see your dog until your kid is ready or their wounds are healed. Just reassure your kid that everything will be okay.
According to the CDC, approximately 59,000 people die annually of Rabies. Vaccinate your kid anti-Rabies shots before meeting your pet.
Do the same for your dog to prevent problems later.
You should never leave your Chihuahua alone with your kid. This is because your kid might bully your pet and stress them out.
This can cause them to fear-bite or urinate submissively in front of your kid. If this happens long enough, your pet might distrust people altogether.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
They might also develop PTSD if treated poorly by your kid. This can cause them to avoid your kid and ignore your commands until your kid leaves.
If your dog has PTSD, it may take several months of desensitization depending on how severe it is. Keep your dog away from your kid in the meantime and ask your vet for treatment.
Note: If your kid starts to show signs of bullying, you should prevent them from meeting each other immediately. Educate them about the dangers of bullying until they understand thoroughly.
5 tips to make your kid and Chihuahua get along
#1: Be the third wheel in the relationship
Despite its dangers, Chihuahuas and kids can really hit it off if you do it right. However, this means you have to be the third wheel.
When you teach your kid new commands, be sure you’re there to supervise them. It’s recommended that you give them the treats yourself. However, you can also guide your kid’s hand gently to give them a treat.
Note: Remember not to pull their hand abruptly. Check for signs of aggression (see danger #7) before guiding your kid’s hand. Only do this if your kid is okay with it and not afraid.
When walking together, remember to use the “heel” command if they go too far. This will help you keep them near your heels and prevent any pulling.
You can also teach your kid the heel command. This is essential to keep your dog from tugging against their leash.
However, this only applies if your kid is strong enough to tug a rope. If this isn’t possible, hold your kid beside you and use the heel command.
Here’s a video showing how you can train a dog to heel (although it’s not with a Chihuahua, it could work fine for a Chi):
Note: In general, always keep a close eye on your dog and kid no matter what you do. Assist when necessary and use commands often.
#2: Get insurance for your pet and kid
This is an absolute must for owners with pets and kids.
It’s already expensive just preparing your Chihuahua’s equipment. In fact, just spending on cribs and brushes for your kid and Chihuahua can cost hundreds of dollars.
What’s worse, your expenses can reach 4-5 digits if your kid or dog gets sick from the other.
You should prepare the insurance money before you raise your Chihuahua and kid together to get maximum value. It would also be helpful if you have multiple streams of income.
You should also establish some contacts with vets, trainers, and sitters beforehand. Take advantage of as many special offers as possible.
Ask for recommendations, bundles or combo packages. Always try to work with established professionals and study every option.
However, don’t depend on insurance alone. The best insurance policy will always be keeping your dog healthy through exercise and a steady diet.
Note: Chihuahuas mostly eat up to ½ or ⅓ cup of food twice a day and exercise for 30 minutes each day. Spread exercise times during the day and make sure your kid is around at specified schedules.
As long as your Chihuahua and kid are healthy and happy, so will your bank account.
#3: Do a thorough background check on your pet
Before getting a Chihuahua into your home, always check where they came from.
All adopted Chihuahuas have varying kinds of experiences. By doing this, you’ll be able to find out if they have traumas or health conditions.
If possible, secure paperwork from owners. Typically, it’s best to adopt dogs from rescues instead of pet stores because rescues always do background checks.
In fact, some rescues will even recommend Chihuahuas for you based on your circumstances.
Tell them everything because they will usually ask for these questions:
- Are you a dedicated owner?
- How much time do you really have?
- Are you expecting or raising a child?
Make use of their advice if they offer it since they’re usually spot on.
If you’re buying one, make sure your chihuahua comes from a licensed breeder. This ensures that they aren’t from potentially unsafe and unregulated puppy mills.
You should also ask for their previous vet’s contact information, so you can inform yourself further about your dog’s background.
Note: It’s highly recommended that you adopt a pet for their personality instead of appearance. Grooming is always easier than handling aggression.
#4: Be patient
Many owners often only buy dogs on impulse and realize too late just how much commitment is required here.
It’s easier to take care of your kid and dog separately, but together it can be difficult. Some owners will find themselves multitasking several times a day.
You may find yourself changing your kid’s diaper while you’re still wet from bathing your Chihuahua. You also have to be meticulous in how you issue commands while protecting your child from bites and scratches.
Furthermore, it can take months for a dog to master a command depending on its difficulty. For example, teaching your dog to sit may take just a few short days of sitting and treating.
However, putting them inside crates can take years of effort since you need to change your dog’s crate as they grow older.
Note: Thankfully, Chihuahuas are often okay with larger crates. Still, you should be mindful of cost (or building time if you want to make your own).
You should never resort to punishing your dog or kid. If you feel like you’re about to lose your temper, go out and take a deep breath. Come back in once you feel calm.
Yelling has consequences for both your kid and dog, so refrain from it. Do not gesticulate angrily or grab them, too.
If you must assert control, say a command quickly with a low, deep, forceful voice. This will be enough to tell your dog who is in charge.
#5: One pet rule
One other reason why Chihuahuas and kids can have a hard time bonding together is if you have multiple pets.
The reason is that socializing is generally a stressful affair for most dogs. Chihuahuas have acute hearing. They are constantly exposed to noise even if they just want to rest.
Having multiple pets is also a problem if you want to keep your house quiet for your neighbors. Chihuahuas can develop a pack mentality and howl for the rest of the night.
As such, you should keep only one family pet if you can help it. If you want to keep more, be sure that you have twice as much room in your house.
It’s also useful to have family members around. If your residence has multiple people, train them all on Chihuahuas and kids. Have them read this article to enlighten them.
You can even post reminder leaflets at home about basic dog instructions. Just be sure to keep them high on the walls so your dog can’t reach them.