As a facilitator of a very large Chihuahua community, I have seen many instances where children in the family (even babies and very young kids) get along great with the family Chihuahua.
But there are just as many, if not more instances where people ask for help because their Chi is snapping at their toddler.
If you plan on having kids or already have young children, it’s best to wait until they are older before getting a Chihuahua. Chihuahuas tend to be snappy towards children and Chihuahuas are fragile and can be easily injured by a child that is to rough with them.
Older children, age 10 and up, tend to do just fine with Chihuahuas as long as they are respectful and do not tease your Chi.
Chihuahuas typically do not do well with young children. It’s understandable when you put yourself in your Chi’s place and realize how scary it is to have this loud, jerky little person grabbing at you. They are frightened and just trying to protect themselves.
If you already have a Chihuahua and young children come into your household, you will need to train both your child and your Chihuahua how to act with each other.
Training Your Child:
- Always supervise your child and your Chihuahua when they are together.
- Teach your child how to be gentle when petting or holding your chi.Use calm, slow movements.
- Use a calm, soothing tone of voice. Use a catch phrase. For instance, when I was teaching my granddaughter how to pet my Chi Kilo, I would say “Be gentle” over and over as I was showing her how to treat Kilo. Continuous reinforcement is needed until you are sure they understand.
Training Your Chihuahua:
- Puppies are easier to train than adults of course. If your Chi is a puppy, you can place him/her in your child’s arms to get them used to your child.
- If the Chi is an adult, wait until the dog is comfortable with your child before trying this. Work on allowing your Chihuahua to be petted by your child first.
- Praise both dog and child if they are getting a long well together.
- If your dog snaps at your child, tell the Chihuahua “no” in a firm voice, and put them in a “timeout” a way from everyone.
- If your dog growls at your child, it’s a warning. It’s time to separate the dog from the child. You can try again with the training later.
- If your dog is a puppy, and does the typical puppy thing by trying to chew on you or your child, tell them “no” and give them a chew toy instead. It’s important that they learn at a young age, that biting is a no-no.
If attempts to train your kids and Chis are just not working, then it’s time to get the advice and help of a professional dog trainer.
Chihuahuas and children together can work out but it usually will require some effort and work from everyone involved.