Chihuahua People Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello I adore dogs espec Chihuahuas - I dont own one yet - but hope to one day after much research I want to be ready.

Which is why I ask this question...............

What are the positive and negatives to owning a Chihuahua?

I want as many honest opinions as possible so I can weigh up all the odds and make my final decision.

I have read a lot about the breed but I need to hear from actual Chihuahua owners their opinions.

Thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
The ONLY negative I can think of is worry that they might be hurt by larger dogs. Other than that I can honestly say I can not think of any other negative reason for owning this breed. If you want a loving, loyal companion (what future dog owner doesn't want this?) a Chihuahua is just that and so much more! Good luck, on your quest to find the breed that is best suited to you!!
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
1,949 Posts
Positives:

-They love unconditionally

-Not expensive to feed very high quality food, as they require so little

-They are amazing companion dogs

-I can think of a million more positive things

Negatives:

-I would say the only negative is they really need to be socialized properly. While all dogs need to be socialized, I think chihuahuas are naturally a bit shy. I have seen some unsocialized chihuahuas, and they fit the stereotype of yappy, biting, and generally mean dogs. If you get one, be sure to socialize it very well!

-Worrying about large dogs hurting them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
hi i swould recomend getting a chih because there the gentle , sweet ,pleasent, loyal little dog ive ever owned i just love chihs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
There are far too many positives to start listing them off :D. One key point another member mentioned is how inexpensive it is to feed a super high quality food. It only costs us about 1 dollar a day to feed our boy high quality raw food(Organic Chicken/Beef/Llama/Bison/Turkey or Lamb MBO mix). I couldn't imagine the price trying to feed a Rottweiler or Mastiff puppy/adolescent raw diet.

They are not adapted to cold weather. I don't know what I am going to do to walk my boy this winter. It gets extremely cold here I'm talkin -30 to -40c. Thinking of buying a treadmill or doing laps around the inside of petsmart as much as I can before they kick me out LOL.
(This is only a negative if you live far north like me)

Also how delicate they are may be seen as a negative from my male perspective. Sometimes I just want to give my boy a good pat on the back or side but I gotta give him tiny little soft pats with 3 fingers instead of 4 :). Regardless I love him to death.

This kind of ties into the point above. They are so small they will be viewed as lunch by large birds of prey. Beware and always supervise when outdoors in areas with prey animals.

If you notice, none of these cons apply to everybody, only some people. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Positives:

-They love unconditionally

-Not expensive to feed very high quality food, as they require so little

-They are amazing companion dogs

-I can think of a million more positive things

Negatives:

-I would say the only negative is they really need to be socialized properly. While all dogs need to be socialized, I think chihuahuas are naturally a bit shy. I have seen some unsocialized chihuahuas, and they fit the stereotype of yappy, biting, and generally mean dogs. If you get one, be sure to socialize it very well!

-Worrying about large dogs hurting them.
Thank you - do you need to socialise the dog throughout its whole life?

Give me some ways of socialising?

Does this mean going out lots to places?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
wow your negatives dont seem like negatives to me LOL

I would be very protective of him from other dogs and birds of prey LOLOLOL

Ive heard from someone that Chi's are like 2 year olds all their life?

Do they chew/destructive?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Chihuahuas make wonderful little pets! I've owned them now for about 12 years. They are small, portable & easily fed.
You do need to keep them warm and do need to be mindful of their small stature.
They can be hard to find sometimes as well depending on where you live & also expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
To be honest I am not sure the answer to your question on socialization. I would like to know the answer to that as well. I will tell you my experiences though.

At first my Pablo was the SUPER SHY, TIMID type. He is still shy and timid, but not nearly as much as when we first got him. He has pretty much come everywhere with me since I got him. Only a handful of times has he been left at home alone for a short period of time. So that is a bonus he got to interact with every human I got to interact with aside from grocery store clerks and whatnot. He came to all my friends houses with me, he came on vacation with me which he got to friend up 2 brother dogs(a chihuahua and a boxer. Both extremely well trained so this helped. We did lots of activities together as a pack like hiking, swimming, hanging out at the lake, and just hangin around the campfire with a group of folks. While taking him for walks I try to introduce him to as many dogs as I possibly can. I think socialization applies to both humans and other dogs.

Now he is 11 months old and he is still shy, but he doesn't always avoid and try to hide behind me. He will actually sniff out other people and dogs sometimes. It can be a long slow process depending on how shy your dog is.

As for your question on constant socialization? I think that is proper. Imagine if you were only socialized as a youngster and didn't continue to socialize throughout your whole life. You wouldn't like that very much would you? And you definitely would forget how to act proper by the time you were an adult and surely display unwanted behaviors.

As for chewing and destructiveness I am not sure, again I can only give you my experiences as I am a newbie. My boy NEVER chews on anything other then his bones or toys, and occasionally one of my shoes :p. Be sure to provide your pup with lots of chew toys as it will fill their primal instinct to chew and gnaw on stuff. If you don't provide them things to chew I would imagine they would find stuff to chew on themselves, and you might not approve of what your pup chose to chew on.

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Hi there. I completely agree with the previous posts. I have always had big dogs before, mastives, rottie & labs. But I am completely won over by chi's!!
Pluses are so many but main ones are:
Super loving wonderful company
Very small meals meaning cheap to feed on high quality food
Tiny poops (all the friends I've walked with their larger dogs are so jealous of what I have to clear up!!)

The main negatives are
Worrying about bigger dogs, u always have to be on alert, what may be a minor incident for two larger dogs can be a distaster for a tiny chi.
Very delicate, have to be careful of them jumping off things, falling downstairs, being dropped
Strong personalities, could soon take over a household if not properly
Hope this helps :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I forgot to add one thing. Their small size is not a CON. It only poses few physical challenges for them like jumping on the couch or bed.

I took my chihuahua for a 4 hour intermediate hike up a small mountain on Vancouver Island which absolutely kicked my butt! My Chi boy who was only about 8 months old at the time beat me by about 20 minutes with the rest of the pack(a bunch of people, a boxer and another chihuahua). They are very capable just like a big dog. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,721 Posts
One con may be if you want a more aloof or independant dog, a chi is not for you. If you want a dog that follows you everywhere, and I do mean everywhere, then a chi is for you. I love this about them, but some people like to have time to themselves. Chis need to be with their humans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
The biggest con is probably their biggest pro. They are small so they are more likely to be easily hurt. Especially if there are small kids in the house.
Chi's CAN be barky but not always. They also CAN be sort of hard to housebreak, but not always. I find that they are pretty strong willed too.
I think chi's are sort of like your "problem" breeds such as pits, dobies, and rotties. They can be very very good dogs. Or they can be very very bad dogs (growly, nippy, territorial, etc). With that being said, that pretty depends on the owner and how they train from the beginning. A dog gone bad can happen with any breed, really. I really like Cesar's book "From Puppyhood and Beyond."

Chi's are really wonderful pets!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,713 Posts
I am also a recent Chi convert, having kept and worked with many different breeds over the years.
I agree that they are not the easiest to house train (our boy is useless, but our girl was clean within a couple of weeks.) Also the need for socialisation. Ours were taken everywhere with us and introduced to all kinds of situations as puppies. They now love everyone (kids, dogs, other animals) and take everything in their stride. People are always amazed that Chihuahuas are not all shy, snappy and yappy.
Other than that, it's all positives! They can walk miles, but if you don't want to, you can wear them out playing fetch in the house. Even the long coats only need minimal grooming, so very low maintenance dogs. Being so tiny also means you can take them into places that bigger dogs wouldn't be allowed.
Just thought of another negative. You can't walk for more than 5 minutes without being stopped by someone telling you how cute your dog is!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
Socializing your puppy can include first taking him to a SMALL DOG play group that is age appropriate and where all puppies are vaccinated appropriately for their age. Once your pup is fully vaccinated, take him/her to as many places as possible to meet as many different people as possible. The rule of thumb is "introduce your puppy to 100 new people by 12 weeks of age." Try to avoid situations where your pup's safety is beyond your control (like a dog park) because one bad experience can significantly traumatize a puppy for life. After the first few months, continue socializing as often as possible. The more the better. Introduce him to people of different ethnicities, people with beards, hats, canes, wheelchairs, baby strollers, (calm) children, etc.

This might be useful:
Developmental Stages of Dogs


"Negatives" and Words of Warning:

They may not do well with small children (under 11 years old or so). This isn't because of the dog, it's because many young children can be too rough with a chihuahua. They can accidentally step on them or drop them, breaking bones. They can corner them and terrify the dog, provoking it to bite out of fear. Most rescues won't adopt a chi to a family with young children.

Do your best not to protect your pup TOO much. You have to foster self-confidence and independence in these dogs, as they can sometimes be nervous or shy. If something scares them (like a scary-looking inanimate object) take your pup over and touch it yourself to show him it's safe, then let him explore it so it's not scary anyone.

Buy a harness, as they dogs have tiny delicate throats that are prone to trachea collapse if walked on a collar. Never use a choke collar on a tiny dog.

Enroll in a training class that uses positive reinforcement methods (ex. clicker training). Kikopup on YouTube is also a great resource and Dogstardaily.com (by veterinarian and animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar) is great as well. Victoria Stilwell's "It's Me or the Dog" is a great show on Animal Planet. Karen Pryor has amazing books about clicker training and what it can accomplish.

Chihuahuas can be yappy, so it's best to train them to bark and be quiet on command from a very early age. This can be done using clicker training.

If you don't want a dog that acts like your shadow and always wants to be in your lap, or if you're away from home a lot, a Chihuahua is not for you.

They are usually recognized as one of the top 5 most difficult breeds to housetrain. A puppy probably has to go out every half hour (AND right after eating, napping, or playing!), and an adult under 6 lbs should go out every hour or two. Their bladders are only the size of a shot glass. Males are usually more difficult to train than females.

Some tend to bond very closely to one or two people and act indifferent (sometimes even suspicious) of everyone else.

Some chihuahuas love other chis but hate dogs of other breeds. They also have no self-awareness so they can sometimes try to start fights with much bigger dogs.

They are prone to "slipped kneecaps" (luxating patellas), so you should avoid letting them jump off couches, beds, laps, etc. without assistance. Jumping puts stress on their joints.

They are prone to obesity so be careful not to overfeed them or give too many treats. Avoid people food unless it's dog-safe and healthy (ex. sweet potato, carrots, peas, chicken breast, etc.). Obesity puts stress on their joints as well.

They should never be left outside unattended, even for a short amount of time. Predators such as coyotes, lynxes, and birds of prey have been known to attack and eat chihuahuas right out of people's backyards.

They are sensitive to extreme hot and cold weather. Teddy shivers even if it's only 60 F outside with a breeze. They definitely require a doggy coat if you live in a cold climate, or you can just train them to use a litter box inside.

Positives:

They bond very strongly and make excellent companions. They are extremely loyal and sensitive dogs. Teddy is always at my side, especially when I'm sad or sick.

They are small, so they're easy to take everywhere. I have a carrier that I use to take Teddy on planes or into stores. I walk him along a strip mall and then when I want to go inside, I set down his bag, he jumps in, I zip him up and we're good to go in. He's so quiet that no one ever knows I have a dog with me until I put him back on the ground outside.

They're inexpensive to feed and board. This allows us to feed much higher quality food (which prolongs the life of your dog by reducing their risk for diseases, such as cancer and diabetes).

They are easy to groom--no cutting really required (unless you decide to trim a longhair chihuahua around its butt and genitals, known as a sanitary cut). They shed little and don't have that typical doggy odor. They are not prone to ear infections. Some experts label them as "hypoallergenic." The longhair chis actually shed less. The only grooming required is getting their nails cut once a month.

They don't require much exercise and so they make great apartment dogs.

They can be trained to use a litter box or a pee pad when you are gone. This allows you to leave your dog for a few hours and not worry that he will be uncomfortable. I sometimes put Teddy in the bathroom with his litter box, bed, food/water and toys and he's fine until I come home.

Smaller poops to clean up!

They have all kinds of adorable mannerisms. A lot of chis love to "kiss" the faces of their owners. They also love to sunbathe and burrow under blankets. :) Some do happy spins when you come home or when they anticipate going out for a walk. Two chis will often groom one another's ears affectionately.




So that's all the stuff I can think of. I'm sure I missed something, but hopefully this helped to give you a better idea of what living with a chihuahua is like!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,188 Posts
Chis definitely need to be socialized. Never let your Chi become a one-person, aggressive little lap shark--the kind you see in videos and the kind that gives Chis a bad reputation. Also, if you are a worrier (as I am), owning a Chi can take its toll. I almost never worry about my big dogs, but my Chis . . . my little babies . . . I worry so much. You have to be scrupulous about what's on the floor, for example--a big dog can eat something scary and probably be all right, but a little Chi could die from it. Or what could fall down and hurt your Chi. I have two Chi-proof rooms, and even that can be challenging to keep them Chi-proof (where did I put that bottle of Advil???).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,126 Posts
Positives:
*The are cheap to feed (and this coming from a girl who feeds raw diet; but even the top quality 6-star foods are inexpensive for a tiny dog)

*They can go anywhere with you

*They bond well with other pets

*They're so frickin adorable =D Ok ok that's obvious...

Negatives:
*You have to actually put in effort to potty train them. It seems that a lot of times with large breed dogs its really easy for them to identify the house as their 'den' and quickly learn to avoid soiling in it. You gotta keep in mind that to a tiny chi, one room to the next room is a whole world apart so they need your help understanding where is the bathroom is! I do NOT believe they are *difficult* to potty train though; I just think people often underestimate that they have to be diligent and make the effort.

*Unless you want the stereotypical shakey-fearful-snappy chi; you also have to be willing to socialize them properly when young. This doesn't just mean introducing them to your family and the dog next door... you gotta get them out as much as possible when they're young and as soon as it's safe to do so (vaccine-wise.) A simple trip to PetCo/PetSmart a few times a week is excellent; letting them explore, meet other dogs and people. Doggy daycare is EXCELLENT in getting them used to other dogs; but you gotta make sure you trust the facility that they are experienced in making sure she is safe as well. Our PetCo has 'puppy playtime' where they let you stay and watch as your dog plays with other pups; and they have a trainer moderating.

So those are my honest answers. As you can see the "Negatives" are all entirely avoidable... =D LOL

ETA: Yay I found it! This link gives great advice on socializing and exposure in general to make sure they're used to different things.
http://www.chihuahua-people.com/chi-chat/37457-socializing-puppies-rule-7s.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,144 Posts
I wouldn't trade my two for anything in the world, but I do not believe Chis are for everyone. Mine are both young, but very very demanding of my time and my attention...I love it, but I could see how it could drive someone else insane. They are stuck to me like glue...As I type this, I've got one on either side of me, under the blanket I have thrown over my legs. Should my husband decide he wants to snuggle too, he'll have a fight on his hands! They'll both come out and lick him in the face and make sure they stay in between us until he gives up and backs off. THEY will NOT back off.

Pedro is half Chi, half Cairn terrier. He has many Chi mannerisms, but he's more independent and he can handle being alone. As my daughter would say, he's not as 'needy'.

There's alot of personality (wonderful, lovable, irresistible personality) packed into these tiny creatures, most of which has been mentioned here, in this thread. You have to have a sense of humor or you won't make it through the first month!

I think you're doing a good thing...Doing your research before getting the dog...So many people don't...That's why the rescues are full of these little ones. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
I am a Chihuahua lover for many years and the only negative I can think of is that they shed, but keeping them clean and brushed keeps that at a minimum. They need to be socialized from an early age, as do all breeds, and they are small and need to be protected and handled carefully. They can hurt themselves climbing and jumping and think they are much bigger than they are! They are beautiful, lovable, fun and great companions. They thrive on love and give back so much more than we can ever give them.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top