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How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Chihuahua

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 Chihuahuas and other petsFor some Chihuahua owners, their family is complete with one delightful little dog, but for others, the addition of a brand new four-legged family member has the potential to be a fantastic experience for all. Getting through the actual introduction of new pets can be tricky, though – Chihuahuas are notoriously possessive of their owners, and these little Velcro pups may not want to share the limelight with another furry friend!

Once your Chi decides to open welcoming paws to a new family member, however, it can be smooth sailing, and many Chihuahua lovers notice that their petite pups soon become the best of buddies with the new addition (which makes for adorable photo ops too, of course!)

It is important to consider the personality of your current pup before bringing another pet into the picture however, so let’s take a look at how you can manage to get your Chi to mesh with the new addition.

Rottie with Chihuahua

Introducing a New Dog

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the first step to bringing in a new canine companion is to first think about how compatible they would be with your own charming Chi. Two young dogs with the same energy level might bond well, but bringing a puppy into a house with a grumpy old pup can be stressful for the senior dog, who may not want to deal with the excited antics of a young whippersnapper wanting to play all the time.

The new dog’s gender might be more important in your decision than you may think. Veterinary behaviorists note that dogs of the opposite sex tend to get along the best, followed by two males together. Surprisingly, female dogs, including Chihuahuas, tend to want to argue the most with other females!

Size is another factor that comes into play here too. A large, exuberant dog just might be too much for your Chihuahua, and even a moment’s unsupervised play could lead to potential injury for your wee pup. Many Chihuahuas enjoy snuggles with larger canine companions, however, so don’t necessarily discount a bigger pooch pal.

Before you actually walk in the door with your new dog, it’s a good idea to have an introduction ‘game plan’. Organize a relaxed meet n’ greet on leash between the two pups on neutral territory, like the park down the street, instead of in your home. Watch their body postures carefully for signs of stress or tension – hackles raised, growling, stiff body posture, lip licking, and avoiding the other dog are all signs that one or both dogs may not be comfortable with the interaction.

Once you actually bring your new dog into the house, make sure that there’s plenty of everything – water, toys, and comfy beds – in different spots to reduce the chance that there’s going to be a fight with your Chihuahua over something. If your Chi is particularly possessive of certain toys or treats, then remove them for at least the first few weeks, and give treats or chew toys separately, in different rooms or crates. It’s also a good idea to feed your new dog in a different place at first, too, so your Chihuahua won’t worry about a new dog stealing their food.

It can be normal, especially at first, for your dog to want to protect the things that are important to him, like a certain sleeping place, or even you! They may try to keep the new arrival from approaching. If you happen to be the center of conflict, get up and move, or distract each pup if they seem to be invading each others space; keep in mind that it will be normal for the occasional disagreement to happen, however.

Don’t punish either pup if this happens, since that could increase animosity between your Chihuahua and the new dog, but instead, distract and remove each of your furry family members to a different room to give them some space. Finally, don’t leave your Chihuahua alone with a new dog until you’re very sure that they’re comfortable with each other and can play without disagreeing. In time, most Chihuahuas can learn to accept their new canine playmates and often become the best of friends.

cat and ChihuahuaIntroducing a New Cat

For some Chihuahua owners, the idea of a kitty companion for their pint-sized pup is more appealing instead, and many cats might find that living with a Chihuahua friend is fantastic, too, especially as they’re close to the same size. Because our feline friends are so different from dogs, however, they do need some special treatment to help them become accustomed to a new environment and their new furry family members.

When your new cat first comes home, keep them apart in a separate room for the first few weeks with their own food, water, litter and toys. This way, your charming Chi and the new kitty can get to ‘know’ each others sounds and scents before actually meeting face to face, helping to ease the transition for both of them.

You can also feed both your dog and the new cat on opposite sides of the door, too, creating a positive picture of the other animal in each pet’s mind.

After a few weeks, you can let your cat out for short periods of time under your watchful eye. Keep your Chihuahua on leash as they meet, allowing your cat to approach your pup on their own, and rewarding both of them with tasty treats for calm and relaxed behavior around the other pet.

This is a pretty exciting time for your pup! Calmly remove your Chi from the room if they start to bark or chase their new four-legged family member, however, and they’ll soon learn that a show of bad manners means that they don’t get to interact.

It’s normal for the new cat to growl, hiss or even swat your Chihuahua at first, especially if they’re not accustomed to dogs or your pup seems overly enthusiastic about play. Make sure that your new cat has a separate area for their food, water, litter, and hiding spots for sleeping in that your Chihuahua can’t access, either – this will help your feline family member to feel relaxed and less stressed as they adjust to a new home.

In time, many Chihuahuas and their kitty companions learn to live in peace, and some even become snuggle buddies, too!

bunnies and chi Introducing Birds, Lizards or Pocket Pets

The addition of a bird, lizard or other small pet, like a hamster, rabbit, or guinea pig, can be a whole different ball game for your supervision is always key when your Chi is interacting with these pets, as they might tend to think more of this new animal as a toy or even food!

First, find a safe place for your new pet’s cage or enclosure – a restricted room with ‘no-dog access’ is best, if possible. Even if your pup can’t get into the cage, just being within your dog’s reach can be very stressful or even dangerous for smaller pets. Only allow your Chi into the room when you can be with them all the time.

It might take a little while for your pup to get used to the new sights and sounds that smaller pets or birds may make, and some Chihuahuas can get quite excited about them! If your small pocket pet or bird is out of their enclosure and being handled, keep your Chihuahua on leash for the first few weeks, and ask for (and reward) calm behaviors like sitting or lying down when they’re in the presence of smaller furry or feathered family members to prevent injury from rough play or mouthing by your Chihuahua.

Having multiple pets is definitely fun, and many Chihuahua owners find that their Chis are actually quite accepting of a variety of different creature companions. With time and patience on your part, all family members, whether two-legged or four-legged, fuzzy, scaled or feathered, can learn to live together in harmony.

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Cathy

Friday 22nd of March 2019

Oh Connie, I'm so sorry! That's horrible. I can't imagine what you've been going through. It's so sad that people can be so cruel.

Connie

Monday 25th of February 2019

I have a 2 years old Chi(Penelope) and I've had her since she was 9 weeks old gets a long with other animals never had an issue with her, we recently got a mom chi whos 4 yrs old(Rosie) and her 2 month old pup( Ariel) Ariel is totally in love with Penelope as Penelope is super playful. Rosie does not get a long with Penelope she throws jealousy tantrums if I'm holding Penelope or of Penelope is playing a little rough on Ariel. We've only had Rosie & Ariel for about 4 days now. What can i do for them to get a long better??

Cathy

Monday 25th of February 2019

It's only been 4 days so they may work all this out among themselves within a week or two.

I'm not sure you will be able to curb the behavior with Rosie getting upset with Penelope for being too rough with Ariel. That's just mother's instinct.

But you may be able to help Rosie to stop having tantrums when you pay attention to Penelope. First start when they are both relaxed. have some tiny treats in your pocket. Give one to Rosie and then pick up Penelope and love on her briefly. Now Pick up Rosie and give her some love. Put her down, give her another treat and pick up Penelope for another snuggle.

Do this several more times and then repeat the whole process several times a day over the next few days, gradually increasing your snuggle time with Penelope.

After awhile Rosie should equate loving and holding Penelope as something positive for herself too.

Kyra

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

I've been visiting her once a week since we first met her a month ago, and lost week I bought her a blanket to keep with her so that she would have something comforting when she first arrived, but maybe I'll get it early before I bring the cats over. Thank you so much for your help!

Cathy

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

You're welcome. Let us know how it goes.

Kyra

Friday 22nd of June 2018

I'm trying to find information on how to deal with my situation but can't seem to find it anywhere:

I am moving in seven days to a new apartment about 30 minutes away from my current apartment with my two cats: Artemis - 13 yo - female (spayed) - 7 lbs 6 oz Pompey - 2 yo - male (neutered) - 13 lbs 5 oz

Seven days after we move-in , I am officially bringing home Hazel, our newly adopted rescue chihuahua mix (mixed with Italian greyhound most likely), a 1-2 yo shy, submissive, spayed female who only weighs 6 lbs. She does well with cats (I've watched her interact with her foster mom's cats and she's very sweet to them), but do you have any suggestions for how to introduce them peacefully?

For some reason all I can find online is information on how to introduce a new dog to cats when it's the dog that is bigger, or for introducing a new cat to the family chihuahua. But I'm trying to figure out how to introduce this new chihuahua to our slightly & much larger cats in a positive way (cats don't get jealous, chihuahua doesn't get scratched).

Additional information - While I have already been approved, signed all documents, and paid her adoption fee, I asked her foster mom if she would be willing to keep her a little bit longer while we move and she graciously agreed. There are a few reasons for this: 1. I want to be able to focus entirely on her and her adjustment when she first arrives 2. I don't think the best time to adjust to walking around with a teeny tiny dog is when we're all carrying a bunch of extremely heavy boxes 3. Our new apartment building is a 10 minute walk away from where a huge 4th of July fireworks celebration will take place, which kind of sound like the worst thing for an already shy dog to deal with while she's already trying to adjust to so much change.

I've only ever owned large dogs till now, but I was a groomer for 4 years and also volunteered at my local humane society as vet assistant for initial animal intakes as well as a dog behavioral & socialization trainer, so I have interacted with a lot of small, scared dogs. I just want to do right by her and my kitties!! Any advice from people who have lived with chihuahuas and cats would be greatly appreciated!

PS - this site has been so helpful for me as a new small dog owner, and there has been lots of information on this site that I hadn't been able to find elsewhere. Thank you so much for all the hard work to put this site together!

Cathy

Friday 22nd of June 2018

I'm glad the site has helped you Kyra.

Are you able to see the new dog before you pick her up? If so I would see if you can get some items that belong to her ( a blanket, some toys, etc.) Or take her some new stuff and let her have them for a few days to get her scent on them. Then take them to your new place before you brig the cats in and put them in different rooms so when the cats move in. they will smell Hazel and think it is her house and she belongs there. It should help when you do actually bring her home of they are already familiar with her smell.

I can also ask on our facebook page for more ideas if you want me too.

Wendy Shumaker

Sunday 8th of April 2018

But Frisco definitely can be aggressive to Shorty. Oddly enough I also have a female pit who adores them both, and have noticed that if Shorty gets too close to Tinka, Frisco also gets short tempered. Randomly they all play together just fine. It's bedtime, or whenever Frisco wants mommy time, he becomes aggressive.

Cathy

Sunday 8th of April 2018

Sounds like Frisco is trying to be sure that Shorty knows that Frisco is the alpha dog.