Whether your Chihuahua turns out to be a perfect little dog or a perfect little monster depends both on his innate temperament and how you train him. Chis tend to be one-person canines, so your little guy's world revolves around you and he might be overprotective.
Bright and alert, the Chi is not a timid guy. He might shiver, but that's because his little short-haired body is cold, not because he's scared. This Mexican native doesn't care for cold weather, so clothe him appropriately in fall and winter. He doesn't think of himself as a tiny dog; in the Chi mind, he's your ultimate protector. That's kind of cute, until he doesn't let loved ones and significant others approach you without a fuss or even attacking them.
Kids and Other Pets
Because Chis are so tiny and fragile, they don't mix well with small children. Little kids don't know how to handle such little dogs, and Chis may react to them with growling or snapping. For the same reason, think twice before bringing a bigger dog into the home. Even a well-mannered large dog can inadvertently hurt a Chi while playing, while a dog with bad intentions can easily kill or maim him. The individual Chi may or may not get along with felines, but no self-respecting cat will put up with nonsense from a tiny terror.
Training benefits all dogs, and with a Chi it can make a difference in the way other people in your life perceive him. He loves to cuddle with you, and since he's so adorable it's easy to spoil him. Resist the temptation. Would you allow him to get away with something if he were 10 times larger -- say, a 60-pound dog rather than a 6-pounder? Unacceptable behavior in a dog is unacceptable behavior, whether they're small, medium or large. Chis are smart and can pick up basic obedience training quickly. Housebreaking can take some time, but be patient and he'll get there eventually.
To avoid some of the Chi's negative behavior, socialize your puppy properly right from the beginning. Since he's so portable, take him with you on visits to friends. Reward him for good behavior with a small treat, such as when he lets a stranger pet him without growling. On the other hand, don't overwhelm him with too much stimulation at once. Correct any nipping or snapping immediately. With the right socialization and training, you'll have a little dog that others like as much as you do.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.