Who are the Potty Gang? They are brothers that we are fostering for a local rescue shelter Fuzzy Friends. The brothers are a Chihuahua mix. Their mother is a Chihuahua and Rat Terrier mix named Cheyanne. She is available for adoption. The Potty Gang will also be available for adoption when they are old enough.
When considering adopting an animal, look for a reputable rescue in your area. An good animal rescue will be concerned about matching the right dog with the right family. They may ask you to sign a contract with stipulations about how you care for the dog. That’s a good thing. In our area, we have had great experiences with the people at Fuzzy Friends.
My preconceived notions about Chihuahuas was that they are small yappy dogs with added bonus of being highly intelligent, small yappy dogs who think they are highly intelligent big dogs. So, you would be right, if you guessed that a Chihuahua would not be on the top of my list when selecting a family pet. Yet, fostering these rescued pups seemed like a good way to get to know something about this breed (even if they are a little mixed up).
My own experiences with maligned breeds and watching The Dog Whisperer (Amazon Instant) keeps me open to the possibility to that my assumptions about a breed may be based on popular presentations and human failure. So, I already had my suspicions that the Chihuahuas that I have encountered have been yappy and nippy because the owners allowed them to be yappy and nippy.
As I suggested in a previous post, small dogs are often allowed to get away with things that would never be tolerated in a larger breed. A Chihuahua can’t do much physical damage and can be quickly removed from a situation. I say physical damage because even a small dog can instill fear in a small child. As I have often seen, owners of small dogs apologize for their dog’s excitability as they whisks the still excited dog away to the “safety” of their lap. That would not work so well with a larger breed like our German Shepherd mix Toffee.
“I’m sorry she bit your hand off. She is excitable and that’s her way of showing affection. Let me just pull her off you and I will hold her here while we talk. Don’t mind the growling and barking. Just speak up. She’s just so sweet and protective of me. She’s not like this normally.” With a large breed this little speech would seem ridiculous, yet it is often the kind of thing one hears from an owner of a small dog. Yet, it is equally ridiculous.
Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations
As these small dogs are in our care, we will try to set rules, boundaries, and limitations for these little dogs. In a previous post, I noted that in our house, it is not okay for a dog teeth to intentionally come in contact with human skin. We have other rules which we try to enforce.
For instance, dogs are not allowed on the furniture. With Chihuahuas, we are adjusting that rule. Dogs are allowed on our laps. In their future homes, this practice may help the dogs request to get up on furniture.
Barking in the house should be reserved for notifying us that someone is at the door and need not be excessive. I would love to control their barking outdoors as well. I would prefer that they only bark when someone comes onto our property not whenever someone walks down the street. We haven’t achieved this dream, yet.
When food is dropped on the floor, it still belongs to the humans. So, wait until you are told that it is “Okay” to eat it.
This list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea.
Changing Perceptions of Chihuahuas
The Gang has not really started barking, yet. We heard a bark last night when they were wrestling. So, I am not sure how much they will bark when they find their voices. Still, despite my earlier prejudices, I am hopeful that while these puppies are in our care that we will be able to keep the barking to a minimum. Having our bigger dogs around will help in this regard, I hope.
Chihuahuas are indeed clever dogs. They are good problem solvers. Their intelligence makes them very fun to be with at playtime. However, their intelligence means that a Chihuahua owner will need to provide mental stimulation for their dogs because if it is not provided, they will find their own source of stimulation which will likely be destructive or frustrating behaviour.
Chihuahuas are far more snugly than I expected. Although I see this trait especially in Chewie, do not get the impression that Roscoe and Powder don’t like to just sit quietly in someone’s lap. All three dogs seek out this kind of interaction.
The labels that I have put on them in the pictures emphasize aspects that I see as slightly more dominant in their individual personalities. Yet, Chewie and Roscoe can instigate wrestling matches. Roscoe and Powder also like to snuggle on a lap. And Chewie and Powder like to explore.