A lot of people hold their Chihuahua, but…
Do Chihuahuas like to be held?
In this article you’ll discover 5 things that every Chi owner should know.
- The dangers of carrying your Chihuahua.
- How to tell whether your Chi wants to be held or not.
- The correct way vs. the wrong one to pick up your Chihuahua.
- And more…
Table of contents
- Do Chihuahuas like to be held?
- 5 things you should know about holding your Chihuahua
- Bonus: Teaching your Chihuahua to like being held
Do Chihuahuas like to be held?
Chihuahuas do not enjoy being held. They could learn to accept it if their owner starts getting them used to it during early puppyhood. Chihuahuas do not like being held by strangers – they feel uncomfortable and can become aggressive.
5 things you should know about holding your Chihuahua
#1: Chihuahua body language
What can tell you better if your Chihuahua enjoys being held or not other than their body language?
This is an important thing to know because it directly affects the bond you have with your dog.
Once you decode your Chihuahua’s body language, you can work towards strengthening the bond.
Let’s dive into what your Chihuahua is trying to tell you.
There are times when your Chihuahua could be begging for you to hold them.
If your Chihuahua is used to being pampered, they might come closer to you and beg you to take them in your hands.
It’s up to each individual Chihuahua how they will show they want to be held.
Some will whine, others will bark and look you straight in the eyes. Or, you could notice them pawing at you, standing up in front of you, or just looking at you with affection and expectation.
After you do what they ‘asked’ of you, try to see whether they stay relaxed n your arms. When they do, it means they want to be there.
Leave me alone
Chihuahuas are smart and you can expect them to pick up your intention to hold them by your body language. In cases when the dog doesn’t like it, they will make an attempt to avoid being held.
This could mean heading to their safe space – it could be their crate, or a hiding spot under a chair, the space between the couch and the wall, and so on.
In addition to trying to get away from your sight, they could:
These are the more discrete signs of discomfort and disapproval. As to the more obvious ones, they’re usually:
- Snapping at you.
Some Chihuahuas that have been taken from the animal rescue, could associate being held with unpleasant feelings.
They could have experienced some kind of trauma in the past due to how their previous owners were treating them.
Maybe the previous owners handled them too rough. Or they attempted to trim the nails but did it incorrectly.
So, after you’ve taken the Chihuahua to its new loving home, they will need some time to adjust.
They might allow you to pick them up but then soon after become uneasy in your arms and want to come down.
Another scenario is your Chihuahua wants to be picked up but as soon as you approach them, they move away. It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘I reconsidered, I’m scared’.
Last but not least, the Chihuahua might want to be held but doesn’t like being picked up. This deserves our attention as being picked up and being held are conflicting in the Chi’s thoughts.
With that in mind, let’s look at…
#2: The wrong way to pick up your Chihuahua
There are multiple ways to go wrong with picking up your Chihuahua.
Don’t pick them up by the front legs as they’re not made to support the weight of the dog’s body. By doing so you could give your Chihuahua’s legs a nasty stretch.
Another danger is that this could lead to a dislocated shoulder or elbow which is very painful.
Besides that, lifting the dog in such a way makes it easy to drop them.
Caution: Children tend to do this, as that’s how they would hold their plush toy or a doll. Supervise your Chihuahua during interactions with children.
What you also want to avoid is picking up your Chihuahua by the scruff…
Yeah, it’s a small dog. And yeah – mother dogs do lift their young like that.
But…and that’s a big BUT…mother dogs only do this when the puppies are small. This behavior does not continue for a long time. It’s not natural and if you apply it, you risk injuring your dog. Plus, it’s a hurtful process.
The same goes for picking up the Chihuahua by the collar or harness. Just don’t. Some owners do it but that’s because they don’t know better.
Lifting your dog by using the collar as a handle could cause your Chihuahua to be out of air and choke. And it’s likely you’ll damage the throat, larynx, and trachea.
Caution: If your Chihuahua doesn’t show any evident signs of discomfort with the way you’re picking them up, it doesn’t mean they’re okay with it. Look for the signs we talked about in #1 and be careful.
But what if you still want to hold your Chihuahua and make the process of picking them up pleasant for them?
This brings us to…
#3: The right way to pick up your Chihuahua
Just like with anything that requires a certain amount of skill, you should get the hang of picking up your Chihuahua.
Put your dominant hand under the chest of your Chihuahua. Your Chihuahua’s rear part should be tucked between your arm and body for full support.
By following this method you will ensure you have a good grip of your dog and won’t risk dropping them. It’ll also help your Chihuahua feel more secure in your arms.
What you can also do to ease up the process of lifting your Chi up is teaching them a verbal command.
The aim of this is to prepare your Chihuahua before lifting them up.
It’s easy for us to pick up a small dog but it could be scary for them if it comes out of the blue.
After all, imagine one minute walking on firm ground and then the other, being lifted up several feet off it and hanging in the air. Hint: It’s not the best.
Make your Chihuahua aware of what you’re about to do by teaching them one word to associate with being lifted.
Use no more than one simple word if you want your Chihuahua to get it.
When you say the word, put your hands on your Chihuahua as if you’re about to lift them, apply a bit of pressure and give them some time to process what’s going on.
Do this consistently before getting your Chihuahua up in the air. Over time they’ll learn to recognize what’s about to happen without being startled.
So far so good but…
Tip: Click here for 101 Chihuahua Memes (I challenge you not to laugh)
#4: Why is my Chihuahua yelping when I pick them up?
If you’re wondering whether your Chihuahua is trying to communicate with you by yelping, you’re right.
A lot of times dogs would keep quiet even if they have a reason to yelp. So, what does it mean when it actually gets to yelping?
In general, yelping is a pain or fear response.
If your Chihuahua has recently fallen down while being carried, they might have developed a fear of falling down.
Consider whether age could play a role in your case. Older Chihuahuas can suffer from arthritis. When you pick them up to hold them, they could be in pain.
Another cause could be lung problems. When lifting up your Chihuahua, you’re pressing the rib cage and that’s what could be bothering them.
Tip: In case you notice often yelping, bring your Chihuahua to the vet.
#5: The dangers of carrying your Chihuahua
Besides your Chihuahua disliking being carried around, there are other reasons why it’s better not to do it. Above all, it’s a dog. Not a toy. Not a baby.
When you carry your Chihuahua around all the time, you’re forcing them to deal with:
By holding your Chihuahua, you’re limiting their movement. They can’t run around, jump and sniff. They could feel restricted and thus, not enjoy it.
What could also be painful for your Chihuahua are temporary injuries. Go to your vet regularly to make sure your dog is in good health and physical condition.
Not enough socialization
Puppy socialization happens in the first three months of early puppyhood.
This period is crucial for how well your Chihuahua will get along with other dogs and people in the long run.
You don’t want to limit their contacts by holding your puppy.
Note: Not treating your Chihuahua as a dog could result in behavioral issues.
A Chihuahua needs to get themselves in different situations with other dogs. Part of developing confidence is by allowing your dog to play with others.
When dogs play there are winners and that can boost your Chihuahua’s confidence level.
Lack of exercise
Running, digging, jumping, chasing balls, playing tug of war are all forms of healthy recommended dog exercise.
Your Chihuahua will be missing out on them and could start destroying things in the house to get that energy out of their system.
Forming wrong habits
If you teach your Chihuahua to rely on you at all times, it will.
Dogs are adaptable and before you know it you could end up with a Chihuahua that sees you as their means of transport.
Don’t spoil your Chi that much. Instead, try to teach them some commands and let them be more independent by walking beside you and encountering new smells and dogs.
Bonus: Teaching your Chihuahua to like being held
Two things: time and patience.
Start while your Chihuahua is a puppy. Introduce the actions of picking them up and holding them gradually. Do it for short periods of time in the beginning.
Split the process into two steps. Spend the needed time to emphasize on each step and see how your Chihuahua reacts.
Feel free to reward with small snacks.