For 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.
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.
Introducing 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!
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.
Tuesday 25th of April 2023
My flat mate & myself have a 16 month old male chihuahua, "Charlie" & now she just brought home a 9 week old female puppy, part yorkie, part chi, "Tater Tot". Charlie is so Alpha with her, yet today, her 3rd day here, he acts terrified of her. He is crate trained, she is not & no matter how we try, cannot get her in a crate or playpen so are taking shifts. We've ordered new toys; they have separate beds & crates, but apparently she has never been in a crate. Any suggestions on getting them used to each other, as well as crate training her?
Tuesday 25th of April 2023
The puppy is 9 weeks old and you can't get her in the crate? You should be able to just pick her up and put her in there. Not to say she won't cry for quite a while. Most dogs don't like crates at first and a few never do. But being as young as she is, now is the time to crate train her if you want her to use a crate. Read this for some crate training ideas: https://ilovemychi.com/to-crate-or-not-to-crate-that-is-the-question/ With them getting used to each other, time will take care of that. It usually takes at least 2-3 weeks for dogs to get used to each other and occasionally longer than that.
Friday 3rd of December 2021
My Chihuahua (Lord Xavier Chub Chub the Vicious.) is a 6 year old male who I socialized with humans and other dogs, from the time I rescued him at 6 months old. He is the model of little dog syndrome, but he is a 10 Pounder and thinks he is a Pit, as soon as he could walk the people who had him before me put him outside to let him run loose with their pits and its one of the reasons i got them to let me buy him and rescue him because he just ran loose. The issue is since I have had him, he has done well with other dogs as long as they are bigger than him and female, but he tries to fight and snap at larger male dogs. I attempt to correct his behavior but we had some people move in with us with a larger hound mix and Mr. Chubs will not let this dog in the same space as him with out growling and attempting to attack. I know he is just trying to show dominance and feel out the other dog, but I stop his behavior and put him in the other room and keep them separate. The other dog seems fine with him, until Mr. Chubs growls and snaps at him, and Mr. Chubs has bit him in the face and got saved before the other dog snapped on him. Any ideas?
Friday 3rd of December 2021
Yeah, he's definitely trying to show his dominance. One thing that worked for me with one of my past dogs that was like this, was I kept a spray bottle of water nearby and when my dog would act aggressive, I would make a sharp "ack" sound and spray her with the water. After awhile, I didn't have to spray her anymore, just made the "ack" sound and she would stop. She eventually got used to the other dog and accepted him.
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.
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??
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.
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!
Wednesday 27th of June 2018
You're welcome. Let us know how it goes.