Adopting a Chihuahua from a Rescue Shelter

Chihuahua’s are lively, loyal and adorable little dogs who make great companions and life-long friends. Chi’s are smart and strong-willed who can live up to fifteen (or more) years of age. However, because of over-breeding and owners who do not take the time to properly train their Chi, there are a significant number of Chi babies in the world who need a warm, loving home.

Adopting a Chihuahua is a commitment that you have to be willing to make. Adoption is truly an amazing feeling, but it comes with obstacles and challenges. It’s important to be prepared for adopting your new Chi from a rescue shelter.

Make it a Family Affair

Before picking up your new Chi from the rescue shelter, hold a family meeting to establish ground rules. Everyone in the family needs to be on the same page about where your Chi will sleep, who will feed and water them and who will do the training they require. Make a checklist of necessary items that your new pup will need such as ID tags, a collar and leash, food and water bowls, proper food, toys, grooming tools and bedding. Each family member should have a role to play in your rescued Chi’s life.

A Smooth Transition

You may have been told your new Chihuahua’s previous life history, but you may not know the entire story. For the first few days in your home, your Chi should be limited to one room or area of the home. This allows them time to become familiar with smells and noises. The first few days are important to your Chi’s transition because they need to get to know you and feel comfortable in their new home.

Even though you just rescued this beautiful new Chi, you immediately should start training techniques. You can do so by keeping your Chi on a leash while inside you home for the first few weeks. This will help them understand acceptable behavior and it will show them who is in charge, which is vital for Chihuahuas. Never leave your new Chi unattended with other pets or children. Aggressive behavior could be a hidden trait of your Chi due to their past life.

Expect Accidents

It’s a given that your new Chi will be excited, anxious, nervous and scared about his new home and life. All of the unexpected stress may cause your Chi to pant, pace, chew, bark and potty in the floor. You will know if your Chi is housebroken before you rescue them. If they are not housebroken, this should be immediately resolved. Once your Chi begins to settle into their new routine and relax, they will adjust to acceptable behavior.

Medical Conditions

You never know how your Chi was treated or trained in their past life. If not properly cared for, Chihuahuas are prone to certain health issues and medical conditions. Always have your Chi checked-out by a professional, but some of the underlying conditions can include rheumatism, gum problems and secondary glaucoma. Mandy Chihuahuas will also have symptoms of low-blood sugar which you will need to be properly trained to treat on a daily basis.

Behavioral Analysis

Just because a Chi is in a rescue center does not mean that have behavioral issues. If your potential new Chi is acting shy, or quite the opposite and yaps like crazy in their kennel, does not mean that he has anxiety or behavioral problems. An ideal situation is to spend time with the pup you want to adopt. Many rescue organizations will set up meetings or have visiting rooms where you both can become acquainted.

No matter how well your Chi adapts to you, there will always be an adjustment period. Never mark your Chi as having behavioral problems from the beginning. They may seem anxious, restless and exhibit some unacceptable behavior, but given proper training and time, your new Chi will quickly become part of the family.

If you happen to encounter behavioral problems that you are unsure how to handle, have your veterinarian give advice. They may advice you to find a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help your new Chi adapt to their new life.

What You Need When Adopting a Chi

Each rescue organization will expect a different set of requirements before you can adopt a Chi. Most organizations will require that you have a stable and safe home for your new Chi and some will even ask for a home inspection. Do not be surprised if the rescue asks for a background check and references before that allow you to adopt a Chi. There are also characteristics many rescues look for in a potential adopter. They watch your actions to see if you’re willing to dedicate time each day to your new Chi and if you’re eager and willing to train them.  A lot can be said with body language alone!

Why Choose a Rescue Organization

Rescue organizations are not like animal shelters. Rescues will not euthanize Chi’s if no one adopts them and they work hard to provide excellent care for all their Chihuahuas. Rescues will spend time properly training your Chi and learning their individual behavioral issues. Most rescues make it a mission to potty train Chi’s and teach them basic commands before they are adopted.

To help find a Chihuahua rescue in your area, go to or visit our Chihuahua Rescue page which provides a list of Chihuahua rescue organizations.

When adopting a Chihuahua from a rescue shelter, take into account their history and your living situation. Many rescued Chi’s will require more love and attention than most puppies. Adopting a Chi is a life-long commitment that you must be willing to perpetrate. After all, you are saving a life!

Chihuahuas are amazing little dogs but unfortunately their popularity has led to over breeding. Many people have bought Chihuahuas and then not spent time to train them properly which has resulted in  many Chihuahuas being abandoned. The net result of this has been that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Chihuahuas looking for a new home. If you’re considering a new pet then consider adopting a Chihuahua!

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