Do Chihuahuas Like To Be Held?
Specific images often come to our minds when we think about different dog breeds. For example, Golden Retrievers are often associated with while fences of American Suburbia; a Sheppard is a noble and brave dog that looks best at K-9 service. Most of us tend to think of Chihuahuas as lapdogs who barely ever touch the ground.
Just like any stereotypes, those images were mainly created buy media and pop culture. Chihuahuas mostly got their “lapdog” glory thanks to Tinkerbelle – a Chihuahua who belonged to Paris Hilton in the early 00s and appeared on tabloids` front pages even more often than her owner.
Since then, a Chihuahua glancing out of a designer purse or sitting on owner’s laps became the solid image of the breed. But do Chihuahuas like to be held?
Continue reading, and you will learn what your Chihuahua really thinks about being held and whether there is such a thing as “lapdogs” at all.
Do Chihuahuas Enjoy Hands?
Spoiler alert: they usually don’t. To understand what your Chihuahua thinks about hugs, smooches, and the perspective of being carried everywhere, you have to accept the fact that above everything, Chihuahua is a dog.
He is cute, furry, sassy, and delicate and has those unbelievable puppy eyes, but your Chihuahua is not less of a dog than your neighbor’s Doberman. And except for his weight, there are many other reasons why you would not want to carry a Doberman all over.
Just like fishes are born to swim, and birds are designed to fly, dogs are meant to walk on solid ground. Here is what happens when you pick them up:
- You violate a dogs` natural habitat, which confuses them greatly
- You become in control of a dog physically, which leads to insecurity and fear
- You physically put a dog over other animals and even humans (children), which calls for a sense of dominance.
All those various emotions eventually end up with one – aggression. No wonder that an image of a Chihuahua viciously growling and barking from his or her owner’s hands is so common and familiar to all of us.
However, it does not mean that your Chihuahua does not like hands at all, and you should never hold your furry friend. There is a huge difference between violating the natural course of events and healthy physical contact, which is the highest reward for any dog.
Let’s go over this matter to understand if, how, and when you should hold your Chihuahua.
Wrong and Right Ways to Hold Your Chihuahua.
The main reason why Chihuahuas hardly ever like being held is that we simply do it wrong. If your Chihuahua behaves aggressively on your hands, tries to get out, barks or growls, there is a strong chance that he or she is simply trying to draw attention to discomfort and pain.
Here are the main things to know about picking up your Chihuahua:
- Never try to pick up any dog by front legs, like you would do it with a child’s hands. Unlike our arms, Chihuahua’s front legs are simply not designed to hold their body weight. In this case, you can cause your pet serious pain due to muscle stretch and joint dislocation
- Don’t pick up your Chihuahua by the scruff. Yes, that is precisely the way mother dogs hold their puppies. But first of all, they do it only while the puppies are small and they don’t hold them like this for a long time. It is more of a discipline matter and a way to move a pup from one place to another really fast. Anyway, while the dog grows, his or her scruff cannot hold the whole body weight anymore. Even such a small one like a Chihuahua’s.
- Avoid picking up your dog by the collar. The idea is pretty simple – this way, you can either choke a dog or traumatize his or her neck. Your Chihuahua will instantly see it as a danger and won’t feel comfortable with your holding him anymore.
Once you make a mistake picking up your Chihuahua, you will instantly break the trust, which is crucial for healthy and comfortable cuddles. Most probably, you will notice the signs of discomfort and stress right away.
However, there are safe and secure ways to pick up your Chihuahua, which will make the further holding experience much more pleasant and comfortable for both of you.
- Create a verbal command. The worst thing about being picked up for a Chihuahua is the element of surprise. Introducing a certain command and saying the word before you are about to pick up a dog will let him know what is about to happen, which is crucial for a calm and relaxed state of mind. Use “up”, “go”, or any other short and clear word that won’t confuse your Chihuahua. Don’t forget to reward your pet after he or she approaches your hand calmly and willingly.
- Support. While picking up your Chihuahua, make sure to support his or her chest area thoroughly.
- Safe hold. Holding your Chihuahua, place a dog on your arm thoroughly so his or her chest would rest on your palm while the rear end is tucked between your arm and body for full support. This firm and safe grip will give your dog a sense of safety and steadiness, which are crucial for a calm, relaxed state of mind.
Chihuahua's Body Language. Learn to Understand Your Fur Baby.
Even if you pick up your Chihuahua observing all the rules and he or she seems to approach your hands willingly, there is still no guarantee that your furry friend really enjoys the holding.
The good news, dogs have very lively and expressive body language. If you learn to notice and interpret the basic signs, you will instantly understand what is really on your dog’s mind.
Decoding body language is crucial for building a solid bond between you and your Chihuahua. Believe us, your pet can read you like a book. Wouldn’t it be nice to reciprocate?
Let’s try to analyze your Chihuahua’s possible body language regarding the holding situation. There may be three possible scenarios:
- I want you to hold me
- I want you to leave me alone
- I am unsure.
Now let’s go over each situation.
Chihuahua: I Want You to Hold Me!
Despite the fact that being held is an unnatural condition for a dog, many of them still really enjoy it. You Chihuahua may actually beg to be picked up. It may happen due to several reasons:
- You managed to build a strong, trustworthy bond between you and your Chihuahua, so he or she sees your hands as an escape from any danger
- Your Chihuahua is used to be pampered, and your hands become an embodiment of his dominance over other animals or people around you
- Chihuahuas that are being held since the youngest age usually see it as the main source of human touch and affection. As we have already mentioned, it is the highest reward for any dog.
Depending on the temper and situation, your Chihuahua may pawn your leg, start wining, barking, or just stand in front of you, looking directly in the eye as if he or she expects something.
If, after such behavior, you pick up your Chihuahua and your furry friend seems calm and relaxed on your hands, you have read the body language right. In case a dog shows the slightest signs of unrest or aggression, you might have misinterpreted the message.
Chihuahua: Leave Me Alone!
Even the most pampered lap dog may not always enjoy being held. It may lead to various reactions – from trying to get away from your hands to serious cases of aggression. However, your dog’s body language will always warn you if something goes wrong:
- You Chihuahua may simply try to hide from you. Once you notice that your dog is hiding inside the crate or crawls under the furniture, it is definitely not the hug time! However, it is important to understand the reason for such behavior. On the one hand, your Chihuahua may just be not in the mood, but your pet may also be in pain or traumatized, which may require additional attention.
- Chihuahua does not look too enthusiastic. Sometimes a Chihuahua won’t try to avoid you physically but may still seem not too enthusiastic about the perspective of being held. If your dog looks away when you approach, cower, yawn, or gives you the “whale’s eye”, don’t pressurize. It is probably not the best time for cuddles.
- Aggression and anxiety. Those signs are most clear and understandable. Barking, growling, or snapping at you is the obvious way to say that your Chihuahua does not want to be held. Another thing is that such behavior cannot be spontaneous and may root in any psychological or physical trauma in the past. Remember, any case of aggression should be investigated and solved before it grows into a crucial behavior issue.
An unsure Chihuahua.
Some Chihuahuas actually enjoy being held but hate picking up. Others may seem to ask you to pick them up, but reconsider instantly and ask to get down.
It is most common for Chihuahuas adopted from shelters or those taken out of unsafe environments. The only way to deal with such behavior is to be patient and consistent. Don’t try to break their will and enforce your cuddles. Demonstrate that you only mean good, gain your dog’s trust, and then you can count on healthy and comfortable physical contact with your furry friend.
It is only natural that you may want to hold your Chihuahua, cuddle with him and carry him everywhere with you. After all, they are truly cute and cuddly dogs. But it is still important to understand that you are dealing with an animal that has its own nature and understanding of safety and natural behavior.