Looking for a Chihuahua...but you have kids. By Cara Ryckman
If you have kids – especially young children – and you are looking for a Chihuahua puppy, you may be having trouble finding a breeder or rescue to work with you. Some Chihuahua breeders will not sell to a home with young children, while others will not sell to a home with any children at all. Some rescues also have no young children with a Chihuahua as a rule. A Chihuahua can be a wonderful family pet, even with your children. The key is to teach your children to be respectful and gentle with a Chihuahua, to set down certain rules that must be followed, and to convey that to your prospective breeder as to what your plan is to keep the Chihuahua puppy safe.
Breeders and rescue personnel have good reason for concern with young kids and Chihuahuas. Some kids are out of control and completely unsupervised. Parents do not understand why it is a bad idea for their child to pick up their chi, squeeze it, toss it in the air – until they get the $3000 vet bill for repairing broken bones. Young children do not understand about the molera, the soft spot on a Chihuahua’s head that is sensitive to injury. Young children can love a toy puppy so much, they can love their puppy to death. One drop on a tile floor. One leap from a bed or couch. A running child stepping on a Chihuahua baby or slamming a door on her. A child without instruction, supervision and a concrete plan is a risk that some are just not willing to take.
I grew up with Chihuahuas. My mother had a Chihuahua when I was born, but I acquired my very own Chihuahua at age 4. I had already been taught how to handle my mother’s Chihuahua. My love of dogs turned into my memorization of the AKC standards (not just Chihuahuas, but all of them!) and a great desire to judge dog shows. My mom would not let me get a show dog. She felt that our two dogs were enough. I met a teacher named Mary Sue Gill who recognized my love for dogs and my huge desire to show Chihuahuas. She took me to shows for years and gave me a great base knowledge about the breed and dog shows in general. My mother made me show our pet Chihuahua for two years before she would let me have a show dog. Show after show, I dragged Bandit around and she lost and lost and lost. But I was persistent. I kept going. And at the end of the two years, Mary Sue Gill helped me to get a puppy from a man named Gerald Rutledge, our of the Jay N Dot lines. My puppy became CH San Antonio Rose of CLC when I was a young teen.
Just like when I was growing up, my kids also grew up with toy dogs. They are loving, careful and respectful with dogs and I feel that their involvement with dogs has enriched their lives.
When I met Joe, Lyla was not dog friendly. She would pull and poke and pick up and run in the house and jump and dance – all of the things that are so unsafe around a tiny dog. We had to teach her how to behave with small dogs – with any dogs. She was only two years old when I met Joe, and so we set down hard and fast rules. She was never around the dogs unsupervised. She could not pick any dogs up – she had to sit down on the floor and let the dogs come to her. She could not hold a dog up on the couch because young kids tend to leave dogs up on furniture to find their own way down. We showed her how to gently pet a dog, how to make friends with treats and toys, and how to be quiet, calm and gentle when around the dogs. No running. No stepping backwards. No dancing. No yelling and screaming. I am sure it was longer than I remember, but it seems like almost instantly she figured it all out and the dogs started loving her. They knew that when she was around, there was going to be treats and toy time. She had unlimited time to give love and affection, sitting on the floor and letting them come to her – and they came!
There will be breeders and rescues who still may not come around when you explain your plan for keeping the Chihuahua safe, but many people will listen. You have to find that right person who you can work with, who is willing to work with you.