Can a Chihuahua breed be a good service dog? What are the main skills of chihuahua dogs? To answer these questions, this post will talk about the main characteristics of chihuahua dogs that make them develop some service activities. In addition, we will talk about behavioral characteristics and care.
Chihuahua as service dog
Chihuahua dogs can be used as service dogs. However, they are not suitable to provide assistance to everyone, and people with pathologies such as blindness, or others who need an animal to help people in accessing the street. For these types of services, large dogs are indicated, which can, in addition to helping the disabled person, can also be a type of physical barrier for some challenges.
What is a service dog?
A service dog is a dog that accompanies people with disabilities in order to help these people in their day-to-day activities. Thus, avoiding accidents in addition to filling these tutors with love, affection and companionship. The service most developed by the dogs of the Chihuahua breed are:
- Hearing Dog: helps people with a hearing impairment or disability;
- Alert Dog: Alerts people to common conditions, e.g. people with seizure or diabetes;
- Help dog: helps people with organic or motor disabilities, looking for objects, opening doors, among other tasks;
- Emotional Help Dog: These are dogs that help people with psychological and/or psychiatric problems.
Teaching Chihuahuas to work as a service dog involves training a dog with a complex set of skills to access public roads, thus preparing the animals for the challenges that will be encountered on the streets.
In addition, dogs are trained to be docile, obedience and to identify and communicate situations that can lead to damage to the health of the person who has some degree of disability. So, these dogs are prepared to help a person with a disability.
The main tasks taught to dogs involve training the animal to control impulses, ignoring anything that can stress or hinder the dog from performing its activities in addition to training to make the dog always alert and patient with its owner.
How should chihuahua dogs be trained?
Training can be carried out by a professional specialist in canine behavior. Just like breeders can teach their dogs through daily techniques and activities.
Dog training involves obedience tests such as sit, lie, roll over, fetch an object, and be quiet. In addition, dogs can be stimulated with stressful noises like pops and fireworks to adapt to this type of stress.
Dogs can also be trained to associate a certain behavior with an action, for example identifying a human seizure and communicating it to friends, family, or neighbors. They can also be trained to respond to different smells.
Where can I find service dogs?
These dogs can be found in organizations that can be located on the internet. These organizations are responsible for breeding, training, and marketing these dogs. There is usually a waiting list to buy a puppy. These lists are often long.
The delay in getting a dog trained causes many breeders to buy a puppy and train it at home with the help of a canine behavior specialist. It is worth remembering that not all breeds learned the commands and became good service dogs.
About the Chihuahua breed
One of the theories about the origin of the Chihuahua believes that these dogs lived wild in Mexico. These small dogs were captured and domesticated by the indigenous people of the region.
The head is very round and small, and the eyes are round. The ears are large and are always on alert. It is a dog with a compact body, short and muscular limbs, its tail is moderately long, carried high, arched or in a semicircle.
The Chihuahua’s coat can be short-haired or long-haired and can be found in many shades and combinations except for the merle color.
Behavior / Temperament
Chihuahuas have a strong personality. They are small dogs but agile, alert, restless and very courageous. It’s a dog that can bark a lot. They can react to any strange movement, always calling the tutor’s attention. Therefore, it is considered a good guard dog.
Chihuahuas are very healthy animals, but they need to do physical activities such as playing and going for walks to burn off some energy. This breed can have some genetic diseases such as:
- Patellar deviation;
Patellar deviation is a disease where the animal may limp and feel local pain, as the patella leaves the anatomical place, which may lead to injuries from temptation and other complications.
Cryptorchidism is the disease present in males where one or both testicles are not observed in the scrotum. The puppies are born with the testicles in the cavity and until 8 months these testicles tend to be in the scrotum.
After 8 months of the absence of one or more testicles the animal is considered a cryptorchid. In these cases, castration of the animal is indicated, since the testicle in the cavity has a greater predisposition to become a tumor that can worsen the health of the animal.
Hydrocephalus, on the other hand, has no well-described causes. It is the disease that happens in the intra uterine life where there is a large accumulation of liquids in the puppy’s skull. Thus, the bitch may have difficulties when giving birth to the animal in a natural way, being a necessary cesarean section. Puppies often die due to neuronal complications generated by hydrocephalus.
Dogs with these genetic disorders are discouraged from breeding. And there must be veterinary monitoring for better resolution of the cases.
These animals do not have so many reproductive problems, but gestational follow-up with a veterinarian is advised due to the high incidence of hydrocephalus, which can lead to dystocia, resulting in the mother and the offspring’s death.
Animals must have a routine of being vaccinated and dewormed. In addition to care with ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks. When these preventive cares are not applied, the animals can present health problems.
Illness, happiness, excitement, or fear can cause the animal to shiver; this same sign can be seen when they are cold. If constant tremors are observed, a veterinarian should be sought.
Chihuahua dogs can be excellent work dogs because they are intelligent animals and can easily learn several commands. In addition, they are cute animals, which arouses the interest of several tutors in them. Chihuahua dogs are small dogs with unique characteristics. This breed was bred for guarding and as a companion dog, but nothing like good training to make it an excellent working dog.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Chihuahua service dog
How heavy is a chihuahua?
The Chihuahua’s weight should be between 1 and 3 kg.
How long does a chihuahua live?
Chihuahuas usually live between 12 and 20 years, depending on their genetics and general care.
Does the chihuahua bark a lot?
Yes, because they are dogs that have great hearing and any noise they find suspicious they will bark. Thus making them good dogs to guard.
CBKC – Brazilian Canine Confederation, 2015 Official Breed Standard: chihuahua. Available at: https://cbkc.org/application/views/docs/padroes/padrao-raca_187.pdf, accessed January 22, 2022.
Pictures from pixabay.com