In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can Chihuahuas be service dogs? We will talk about the qualities of a service dog, and whether a Chihuahua can be a good service dog or not.
Can Chihuahuas be service dogs?
Chihuahuas can be service dogs as long as it is properly trained for it. Any dog can be a service dog, and Chihuahuas are courageous and affectionate dogs. It adapts very well to different types of people, especially as a first dog. Its adaptability allows Chihuahuas to live happily in a house or apartment, with a single master or as a member of a family.
Chihuahuas love being caressed and are very attached to their owners. Their behavior can be ideal for many types of people, which also makes them great service dogs.
For its sake it is important not to overprotect or treat it as a fragile animal; otherwise, you could develop behavior problems.
How should a service dog be?
It is not essential that service dogs be of a specific breed, although it is advisable that they be docile, calm, affectionate, and predictable to be able to live in a society without problems. Some of the characteristics of assistance animals are:
- Great learning ability;
- Low aggressiveness;
- Good reaction to sounds and signals.
Among the breeds that are usually selected to become assistance dogs and therapy dogs are the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois Shepherds (intelligent and with many physical abilities), and Alaskan Malamute (loyal, hard-working, and very noble).
Training a Chihuahua as a service dog
Training service dogs and therapy dogs is usually long, at least 8-10 months, although it can take up to two years. Generally, the animals are selected from puppies and their owner adopts them when they are already in the process and even fully educated, although sometimes an attempt is made to educate an animal owned by the disabled person.
Some associations also work with abandoned or protective dogs if they meet the characteristics to become assistance dogs.
The training of assistance dogs consists of teaching the pet to perform tasks that help its future owner in their daily life, such as picking up and bringing things, opening or closing doors, ringing bells, turning lights off or on, opening and closing drawers or helping the person remove clothes or shoes. They are also educated to protect their owner, ask for help, or pull the wheelchair for short distances.
Types of service dogs according to the disability
- Service dogs for people with physical disabilities. Ready to pick things up from the floor, turn on switches, open and close doors, and drawers, etc.
- Service dogs for the hearing impaired. They trained to notify their owner of various sounds (bells, telephone, crying of a baby, voices, alarms, alarm clock, etc.) and take her to the place where the sound is coming from.
- Service dogs for the visually impaired. Also known as guide dogs.
- Assistance dogs for alerts and emergencies. Trained to keep the elderly company or assist people who may suffer from diseases such as diabetes or epilepsy, and ask for help if necessary.
- Assistance dogs for people with autism. They are a type of therapy dog capable of avoiding or reducing disruptive behaviors and stereotyped behaviors typical of autism. These animals, which establish a very strong connection with their owners, improve communication, sensory stimulation, and the safety of their owners.
- Dogs for animal-assisted therapy. This type of intervention includes the person-animal bond with a therapeutic and/or educational purpose. Therapy dogs are used in people with intellectual or mental disabilities, psychological disorders, as well as in homes for the elderly, social centers, and drug addiction centers.
How can I request a service dog?
The request for service must be very thoughtful and the user must assess the impact that the presence of their new pet will have on their lifestyle. Even so, a high percentage of disabled people choose therapy dogs because, in addition to helping them, they also keep them company until they become good friends and companions.
The application process for assistance dogs is often lengthy due to high demand. Associations dedicated to the education of these assistance animals assess each request individually, looking for the correct pet for each person.
In the case of children, the minimum age is usually required for the dog to recognize him as the owner. It is also important that the child can assume some responsibilities with their service dog such as taking it for a walk or brushing it.
The unique features of a Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are very dynamic and active dogs. Be careful with children or large dogs, who could mistreat them and even hurt them unintentionally. Despite being a dog with a lot of energy, Chihuahua will know how to adapt to the rhythm of his mentor’s life. If you take him out for a daily walk, he will know how to stay calm at home.
The intelligence of this little animal is noticeable in its ability to adapt to different types of people. However, it is not the most docile pet of all, a factor to take into account before adopting it.
This breed of miniature dog has no other function than that of a companion animal. That is why it does not have predatory instincts and would make a good service dog.
On the other side, A Chihuahua’s energy and character leads it to be relatively suspicious of strangers. It will not let them get close to it easily, and it will be able to bark to ward off anything it considers a threat. However, once it feels confident, it will approach people in search of affection.
The Chihuahua is extremely attached to its master and rarely takes the initiative. Despite their sometimes strong temperament, Chihuahuas does their best to please their family. In order for this dog to be able to endure short periods of solitude without breaking things, it is necessary for him to get used to it as a puppy.
The Chihuahuan is quite obedient and likes to please their owner. To avoid misbehavior, it is best to start your education as a puppy with short training sessions throughout the day.
The Chihuahua is also characterized by its easy barking, especially if a stranger approaches. For him, it is a defense mechanism, although it can be quite annoying for his master. The ideal will be to help him socialize from a young age so that he loses his fear of people.
However, this sort of behavior makes the Chihuahua a good guard dog.
Are Chihuahuas good dogs?
Chihuahuas are good dogs, being a faithful friend like almost all dogs. The Chihuahua is a dog that will focus all its attention on a single person, especially its owner, and is possibly jealous of anyone who wants to put it aside. They are very intelligent, so we will have to be especially careful if we underestimate it.
Does that mean there will only be a single owner? No, possibly his owners are you and your partner, or the family that lives with him at home. It is easy for your Chihuahua to get jealous when a baby appears at home and attention changes, so careful with that.
Chihuahuas do very well when they are the only pet in the home. They are very active, restless, playful, and curious. So if we have a child who has recently arrived there will have to be socialization from day one or our dog can get jealous of the baby.
These little angels make traveling with a pet as easy as possible. Your chihuahua will be comfortably seated in your purse and will adapt easily and just about anywhere. Because unlike other bulky dogs, chihuahuas are never bothered by tight spaces, on the contrary!
Because, by nature, they like to be in small, comfortable spaces. In addition, their ideal small size will allow you to take them everywhere!
Although we firmly believe that all dogs can be service dogs, it is important to mention that Chihuahua would not be the first choice for many, and there is a reason for that. For a service dog, we must select one that has a positive and predictable character, to later work with him until he can be part of a therapy program.
Before considering adopting a dog, we need to go to a canine educator specialized in therapy dogs to help us choose the most suitable dog and work with him so that he can live with an autistic child or hold sessions with him on time.
There are trainers and companies that are dedicated to therapy with dogs for autistic children, so it is always advisable to start our adoption or trial session there.
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FAQ on Can Chihuahuas be service dogs?
Is a Chihuahua a good dog?
A chihuahua is a very good dog, especially for active people. Although they are known to react aggressively when feeling threatened, Chihuahuas can also be great family pets.
Are Chihuahuas easy to train?
Chihuahuas are easy to train, but you need a lot of patience, as they are known to be quite disobedient. Of course, you have to keep in mind that each dog has its own character and uniqueness.
Are Chihuahuas needy dogs?
Chihuahuas are indeed needy dogs. They enjoy being petted, groomed and being taken care of 24/7 if possible. Additionally, they are very protective of their owner and their territory and can easily attack.
Are Chihuahuas good house dogs?
Chihuahuas are good house dogs, being a faithful friend like almost all dogs. The Chihuahua is a dog that will focus all its attention on a single person, especially its owner, and is possibly jealous of anyone who wants to put it aside.