Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

General discussions about Chow Chows.

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Frostymuffin
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Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby Frostymuffin » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:46 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum but have been up late many nights reading through the information on this site. Thanks so much to everyone for your contributions, very helpful. I am seriously considering adopting a Chow Chow but have some questions and would love a bit of input. A little bit about me and my situation: I'm a single woman that lives alone with two small male dogs (a 4 year old shih tzu and a 14 year old maltese) and am in the process of moving from the suburbs to a rural location. I have learned the hard way that property crime is a real problem in the area (I've been burglarized twice already and have yet to move in) and decided to start looking at larger breeds that would offer me a bit of protection rather than me having to protect them, as is the case with my two little dogs :)

I have now researched every breed in depth and am drawn to the Chow Chow's lower energy level, quiet nature, protective abilities, and beautiful appearance. What worries me is the fact that I am, by nature, quite aloof and solitary myself, and I'm moving to an area where I don't know very many people. It won't be a problem to take my new puppy to socialization classes and daily walks around town, but will it be enough? It's doubtful I will have many people in my home initially which will coincide with the crucial socialization stage. Will a Chow that isn't used to people coming into its territory react aggressively towards people even if I've socialized her outside of my home? I do date, and have friends and family that visit occasionally, and some of them have small children so it's important for them to be able to visit without worrying about being bitten.

My other concern is for my two little canine companions who I love with all my heart. My Maltese isn't long for this world, and I know my Shih Tzu will mourn him when he goes, they're like two peas in a pod. My Shih Tzu is gentle, quiet and a bit timid, my Maltese is a bit neurotic and quite aggressive. Will adding a female Chow Chow into the mix endanger my small dogs? Will a Chow Chow make a good companion for my gentle natured Shih Tzu? I work mostly from home and spend a lot of time with my dogs so I do have the time to really dedicate myself to training, but eventually I'd like to be able to leave for the afternoon and know that my dogs are keeping each other company, not killing each other!

Anyways, it's not my intention to write my first novel here :) just trying to explain my situation thoroughly. Thoughts?

ski
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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby ski » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:54 am

Of course, chows personality will differ from dog to dog, but our chows are very protective and great watch dogs. As long as we welcome someone onto our home, they are fine. They would never allow someone in the home uninvited.
Loki ignores most other dogs, but is fierce with cats! He gets along great with our chow/Newfoundland mix. We had Loki a year before adopting our second dog, Frisco. They are both great with kids even though we had them years before our first grandchild was born. I admit, I was a little apprehensive on our grandson's first visit, but the dogs were great. They welcomed our grandson into their pack with ease. We now have a second grandchild and the dogs sleep under her crib and very protective and loving. I know chows have the reputation of being aloof, but our dogs want to be with us all the time. We have had other breeds and never planned on getting a chow. It just so happened that Loki needed a home. That was over ten years ago and I have never regretted our decision. Having had Loki and Frisco I can't imagine having anything but a chow. good luck! Adding a member to your family is a serious decision!

Frostymuffin
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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby Frostymuffin » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:02 pm

Ski,

Thanks for the response. Yes, it's a big decision and one that I don't take lightly. My dogs have always been my family so I want that family to be as harmonious as possible. I'm a bit apprehensive about making the transition from small, companion breeds to a larger protective breed but it's a transition that needs to be made.

When I was living in urban and suburban areas and traveling a lot, small, portable breeds made sense. On a rural, fenced lot, it's a different story. I'll have to work to keep them from becoming prey and they do very little to deter thieves. At the same time my dogs are my constant companions and best friends.

Does anyone have experience integrating a chow into a home with small dogs? My Shih Tzu Monsty is tiny (only about 11 pounds) so I'm worried that a chow puppy might play too rough and hurt him. I've also considered adopting another smallish male dog as a companion to Monsty and then adopting a female chow, followed by a male chow a few years later. That way there will be two similarly matched duos who both have a buddy, and since the small dogs will have come first, hopefully the Chows won't show aggression towards them.

It's a dog family planning dilemma and I want to get it right!

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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby kingfluff » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:13 pm

Hi there
I think Chows are great guard dogs, I have 2 Chow mixes. I think if you socialize them well at a young age they won't have any of those temperament issues you may be concerned with. My wife has a little chi-weenie guard dog that sits between me and her whose really not fond of other dogs and quite timid in general with people so when we introduced Maggie & Bart, right away we were pretty concerned about if he would attack the two. But dogs right away already set rules for themselves about whose the beta in the house (if a dog thinks he's alpha then he doesn't have any respect for you!) They won't attack each other but one of them may get on the other dogs back so they can sniff him. Watch them like a hawk while they play, especially if you hear "squeaks" of pain. Feel free to flip one of them on their backs and let their belly show---dogs need to sort this order of the pack out and you are the alpha dog. My wife's dog was the dominant one of the 2 and just grabbed them by the necks, right away one by one Maggie and Bart tipped over and surrendered lol.

I suggest having the dogs meet in a neutral territory place like a park. Have them meet one by one with each dog on a separate lead--you'll probably need some assistance when you do this and just let them do their thing. My dogs have been around cats, other dogs, chickens, parrots, and of course kids when they were puppies. They do bark at the parrot when they get the chance and if a stranger comes in the house they come charging! I always tell my guests to face away and ignore them until they calm down and have my guests be the one to hand them a little treat. Other than that I say they're pretty well behaved

Oh by the way, I have one male and one girl. Bart is very calm and relaxed and Maggie is really playful and sweet, would of made a great mother. If you come in the door, Bart will not jump up but he will wait for you to come and greet him...walk past him and he starts barking! Maggie will be the first one to the door to greet you, and she's almost as tall as me when she stands up. Remember a dog may have a certain nature when they are born but depending how you train them their behavior will be responsive in that matter

Frostymuffin
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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby Frostymuffin » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:42 pm

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Reassuring to hear that your chow mixes get on so well with your wife's small dog, thanks for sharing! As I keep reading through this site I've come across a few people who've also described peaceful coexistence between their Chows and toy breed dogs so I'm feeling better and better about it.

Love this photo that I came across of a Chow and a Shih Tzu facing each other with their paws out in front of them. Two fluffy Foo dogs looking quite content with each others company, so sweet.

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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby Rory's Dad » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:36 pm

Yep, that's all well and fine, but I don't recommend flipping a Chow onto his back to show him who's in charge. I well conditioned or submissive Chow may accept that behavior, but most will resist physical dominance. Maybe Kingfluffs 'success' comes out of the fact that they are mixes. My Chows are very welled trained and socialized and would never tolerate that sort of treatment. Even the great and powerful Caesar Milan learned not to treat Chows in that manner.

The 'squeaks of pain' that is referenced is a very common dog behavior. They learn it as young pups in the litter. It's supposed to be a signal to STOP, you are being too rough. If ignored to the point that you have to intervene, then the dog has not been properly socialized.

Chows are a proud and independent breed. To suggest that they 'surrender' is ridiculous. Having a Chow in that frame of mind certainly wouldn't make him a good guard dog. What you have would be a dog that is eventually going to turn on you. Absolutely the wrong approach to training ANY dog.

So, now, back to the original question. You might be OK introducing a Chow into an existing structure. Most problems come when the dynamic changes after the chow is 'your dog'. And this is the way a Chow thinks. They are loyal to a fault. They belong to you (or you to them). They will want your attention when they want it. I have 3 Chows presently, 2 males and 1 female. My older male never barked a day in his life inside the house. Now, if I pay any attention to the younger male, its constant jealousy barking. The tolerate each other, but barely. With the female dog in the house, they also compete for attention. It's just the way it is.

Fortunately, they are fairly equal in both size and strength. I'm not sure what would happen if they didn't respect each other's ability to defend themselves. Personally, I would worry about a dog that is much smaller. With the right personalities, you might be OK, but be prepared for a lot of work and oversight. Even with equal dogs, we keep them separated when they are by themselves.

If the 2 existing dogs are male, then a female Chow would be a better option. I have issues with female dogs as a whole (different issues, different personalities), but that's just me and not an indication of the breed.

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Re: Is a Chow Chow right for me and my situation?

Postby Frostymuffin » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:28 pm

Rory’s Dad,

Thanks for the input, much appreciated. I definitely don’t plan on using physical domination, especially since I’m small framed and not very strong but it doesn’t sound like Chows respond well to that approach anyways. Though they have different temperaments than a Chow, both of my dogs follow my directions, heel when on leash, and recognize me as their leader. I think small dogs often get a bad rap as well, mostly because their owners coddle them and allow them to get away with behavior that would never be tolerated in a larger breed. Personally, I can’t stand yappers, so through consistent training I now have two very quiet and well behaved little dogs.

I understand that training a Chow is going to be more difficult, and have been reading about Chows specifically and how to establish dominance without being physical. I found these articles to be quite helpful:

http://www.chowwelfare.com/cciw/alpha.htm

http://www.chowwelfare.com/cciw/workfare.htm

I think you’re right about a changing dynamic being the main source of problems with many dogs. I can tell my older dog gets jealous when I give attention to the younger one, but the younger dog doesn’t bat an eye when I cuddle the older one because that has been normal behavior since the day he arrived. This is one of the reasons I’m still considering getting another smallish dog a few months before the Chow. My old dog doesn’t have much time left, and if the Chow will need to be separated from my Shih Tzu when I leave then I’d like him to still have a companion when I’m gone, so that would need to happen before the Chow enters the scene to reduce the risk of aggression.

I’d definitely adopt a female Chow, though I know what you mean, I also prefer male dogs. I think females are generally more moody and unpredictable as the hormone levels fluctuate much more. This is true of humans as well haha. But I wouldn’t risk introducing a male Chow into a family of small male dogs given their issues with same *Censored Word* cohabitation.

You said you’d still worry about the size difference. Why is that? Would you be worried about accidental injury due to rough play or out and out aggression?

It seems like there would be some worry with any "protective breed" and smaller animals, but would you say there is something more worrisome about the Chow in particular?

Out of all of the protective breeds the Chow is the only one that suits MY personality and preferences but I also need to think of the safety of my other dogs.


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