A neighbor asked me the other day ‘where do Chihuahuas like to be pet?’
It was a good question since my Chihuahua Bella is rather finicky about it. She does not like it when people try to pet or pat her on her head. I believe she perceives that to be a threat.
Like most dogs, she loves being scratched behind her ears. Also, she loves it when you give her a good scratch under her collar. And when she is in the mood, she will sleep (like a person!) on her back and demand a good belly rub.
In this guide, I will tell you exactly how this lap dog loves being petted!
Where Do Chihuahuas Like to be Pet?
1. Different preferences
No two Chihuahuas are the same. Many Chihuahua rescues do not like being touched at all by strangers. They might only allow being held and touched by their owners.
This smallest dog breed often loves being held and petted by anyone – they are very generous in giving attention and getting it in return.
2. Avoid the head area
Most Chihuahuas dislike being petted on their heads. A human looming over them with their hand hovering over their heads might seem scary and threatening to this tiny dog.
3. Behind and under the ears is the safest place
Most Chihuahuas won’t mind being scratched behind and under their ears. You can also pet a Chi just under its collar or harness – those are its itchy spots.
4. Back is a good place too
Chihuahua breed, like most dogs, likes being scratched on their backs on either side of the spine. You can also pet a Chihuahua near its front end – neck and shoulder instead of near its tail and hind legs. Friendly Chihuahuas also like being touched under their jaw (by familiar people but not by strangers).
Also Read: Do chihuahuas like to be kissed?
What are the Best Spots to Pet a Chihuahua?
Most Chihuahuas love being petted on:
1. Under the Chin
Most Chihuahuas love being scratched here. Avoid touching their muzzle or snout. Gently scratch right under the snout and on the neck and chest area.
2. On the chest
If there is one answer to ‘where do Chihuahuas like to be pet’, this is it. It is one area you can stroke that is least threatening for a Chi. Remain in full view of the dog when touching it on the chest.
3. Some Chis will ‘show’ you where to pet them
My Chihuahua loves to be scratched under her ears. She tilts her head to one side and literally moans when you do that. Sometimes, she will turn and show me her rump. This is her way of asking to be scratched just above the tail.
4. Under the collar
This is an area that Chihuahuas cannot reach. So if you scratch them there, it will be welcome. You can also remove the collar (if its your Chi) and scratch it there.
5. Gentle massage on the shoulders
Most Chihuahuas love a circular massage on the shoulders. This is another area that your Chi won’t feel vulnerable in.
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Which Spots Should you Avoid when Petting a Chihuahua?
Most Chihuahuas hate being touched on the following areas:
1. Head and face
Even a loving family dog might pull back and let its humans know not to touch this personal space. Avoid looming or hovering over your Chi’s head and body as that can seem very threatening to it. Do not touch or pat any dog’s muzzle or snout.
2. Private regions
Even when bathing your Chihuahua, avoid touching your pet in the genital area. If there is an issue like anal gland impaction, have your vet do the needful. Many Chihuahuas won’t hesitate to bite if you touch them in their private area.
Paws are another no-touch zone for most little dogs. Only while grooming or trimming their nails should you touch these areas. Avoid touching their paws otherwise.
How to Pet a Familiar Chihuahua?
Now that you mostly know ‘where do Chihuahuas like to be pet?’ you can use the following steps to pet a Chihuahua that you know. If you are a Chihuahua owner, you can even use these steps to pet your dog:
1. Pay attention to your Chihuahua’s body language
As you get familiar with your Chi, you will learn its likes and dislikes. Some dogs like belly rubs, others like to be scratched behind their ears, still others being petted on their neck. If your Chi likes any of these, it will have a relaxed body and muscles. It might wag its tail. Your pet might even whine when you stop petting it!
2. Massage your pet
Using gentle, circular motions and massage your pet from neck to the base of its tail. Some Chihuahuas also like being massaged on their legs.
3. Gently touch your pup’s paws
Most Chihuahuas will not let you touch their paws. However, if your Chihuahua puppy allows it, then gently touch its paws and massage them with circular gentle strokes. This will also get your Chihuahua pup ready for grooming and nail trimming later.
How to Pet an Unfamiliar Chihuahua?
Not all Chihuahuas like being petted by strangers. Use the following steps to safely pet an unfamiliar Chi:
1. Seek the owner’s permission
Even if a Chihuahua looks cute and friendly, it might feel threatened if you approach it suddenly and touch it. Some Chis won’t hesitate to growl, snap, bark, or even bite if they perceive you as a threat. Always seek the owner’s permission before petting.
If the Chihuahua is without its owner, then it is best not to approach it.
2. Abandon attempt if the dog shows aggression
If this little dog shows any sign of aggression like growling, baring its teeth, or barking, then it is best to stay away from it. Other signs of aggression are:
- Signs of discomfort, fear, anxiety
- Licking lips
- Holding the tail low
- Heckles raised
- Ears pulled back.
3. Allow the Chihuahua to sniff you
If the Chihuahua approaches you with its owner, bend down to its level. Allow it to sniff your hand. Never squat down to a Chihuahua that has shown the above signs of aggression or when its owner isn’t present.
4. Do not make eye contact
Avoid making eye contact with an unfamiliar Chihuahua as it could perceive it as a sign of threat. Instead, do the following:
- Speak in soft voice.
- Look down or sideways.
- Avoid making sudden movements.
- Do not make loud noises.
- You can turn to one side to make your body seem smaller to the Chihuahua.
- As stated before, offer a closed fist (never the open hand) to the Chi to sniff.
- It is a good sign if the dog licks you.
5. Observe the dog’s body language
If the Chi appears relaxed it will show the following signs:
- Relaxed muscles
- Tail wagging
Note that tail wagging can also be one form of aggression so do not let your guard down. Offer your closed fist to the dog to sniff.
6. Know where do Chihuahuas like to be pet
Once the Chi is still relaxed you can now:
- Stroke with one hand around its ears. Always approach from the dog’s side and not over its head.
- If the Chihuahua allows it, start stroking it on its back. You can slowly make use of both the hands. You may stroke the Chihuahua on either side of the spine.
- It is best to limit the stroking near the dog’s front end (neck and shoulder area) and avoid the hind legs and tail area.
- If the Chihuahua is friendly, you can even pet it underneath its jaws.
How to Pet a Shy Chihuahua?
The ASPCA recommends the following steps to pet a shy Chihuahua:
1. A shy Chihuahua needs a different approach
Instead of smothering a shy Chihuahua with cuddles and affection, use a different approach. Let the dog approach you. Play hard to get.
2. Squat down
Squat to the Chi’s level and turn your body sideways. This will help the dog understand that you aren’t a threat. You can also sit down on the floor and read a book near the Chihuahua’s kennel or crate.
3. Avoid eye contact
Do not look directly at the pet. Instead, look away or down. This will reinforce to the shy Chihuahua that you are not a threat.
4. Use treats
Place some treats all around you so the Chi can have them as it pleases and without depending on you. When it comes to eat the treats, let it just eat them and do not loom over it or try to touch or pet it.
5. Repeat the above steps for several days
Once the Chihuahua is familiar with you, let it approach you on its own terms. Do not pet the dog until it approaches you. You might need to use these steps and tricks for several days until the Chi feels comfortable with you.
Do Chihuahuas Like to be Hugged?
Most Chihuahuas do not like to be hugged.
Hugging is an act of threat and an invasion of the dog’s personal space. To a tiny dog, the act of hugging can seem like a show of dominance.
Your family Chihuahua might tolerate it but avoid hugging an unfamiliar dog as it could get aggressive and even bite. Also note that a Chihuahua might accept the hug from one member of the family but not from another member.
Unsure whether your companion dog loves to be hugged? Observe its body language: Does it tense up? Does it try to back off? Maybe it leans away from you or avoids eye contact.
All these are signs that your Chi does not like to be hugged.
Do Chihuahuas like to be Stroked or Pet When They Are Asleep?
Most Chihuahua puppies love being stroked or touched while they are asleep.
In a dog litter, all of the puppies huddle together and sleep touching each other. That is why most Chihuahua puppies mostly love being stroked or pet while they are asleep. A puppy might even fall asleep while you stroke or pet it.
An adult Chihuahua with separation anxiety might also like being stroked in sleep.
The important thing is to not startle your dog while it is sleeping. When a dog is in deep sleep, it can get defensive if you suddenly touch it. This can even cause it to become aggressive too. That is why it is best not to disturb a dog when it is fast asleep.
FAQs on Where do Chihuahuas Like to be Pet?
1. Do Chihuahuas like to be held?
Yes, most Chihuahuas like being held although some might try to wiggle out as they could perceive being held as a threat. Some Chihuahuas tend to associate bad memories with being held- such as a bath, or a trip to the vet’s clinic, or the groomer’s.
All these associations could form a negative memory due to which a Chi may not like being held. However, a vast majority of these tiny dogs love being held because they feel warm, protected, and safe in their owner’s arms.
2. How do Chihuahuas show their affection?
Chihuahuas show their affection by rubbing themselves against you, becoming clingy, and following you all around. They might also lick you excessively to show their love and affection. Licking is like kissing to a Chihuahua.
3. How to know if a Chihuahua is happy?
A Chihuahua will show it is happy by having a relaxed posture. It might also have a ‘smile’ on its face and may even lick you, wag its tail, bring its toys over to you to play with.
Conclusion – Where do Chihuahuas Like to be Pet?
Chihuahuas like to be petted or scratched under their ears and in the neck and shoulder area under the collar.
These smaller dogs also like being petted on their neck or under the snout. A familiar Chihuahua also loves belly rubs.
Avoid petting a Chihuahua on its head and face as it might perceive it to be a threat. We hope this guide helps you do more of what your Chi loves!