The beautiful Chow Chow, fluffy like a lion, aloof and distrustful of strangers, but loyal and loving to their family. Over the years the Chow Chow has somewhat developed a reputation for aggression and unpredictability. Is this true? What will they be like with kids? Are Chow Chows good with kids?
Extremely devoted and protective towards those they love, the Chow Chow can be great with children if exposed to them from an early age. However, without that necessary socialization, they can be aloof with outsiders both young and old. Clear, consistent training is a must with this breed to ensure a good family pet.
Here I will show you a bit about the Chows personality and try to give you a taste of what living with one might be like. I’m fairly qualified for this role as I have raised several Chows and oddly enough been raised by them. You see with a dog like a Chow, you belong to them just as much if not more then they belong to you. This is how Chow’s roll.
So prepare yourselves to meet this great lion-maned Chinese dog known as the veritable Chow Chow.
Chow Chow Personality
A quiet and mannerly dog, Chows can be extremely well behaved around both children and adults. To receive their respect, and yes the Chow Chow must give it to you, they must also be treated with respect. Otherwise one could see the more negative sides of this breed.
The Chow Chow is a dominant, stubborn dog. Not at all appropriate for first-time dog owners, or those of a timid disposition. Despite their intelligence, training could be made difficult due to this. This dog is not like others that are more eager to please. Chow Chows will require lots of consistency and a firm hand. Harsh and aggressive methods should never be used as their willpower is too great and will only result in retaliation.
Chow Chows are perfect dogs for those families of a more sedentary lifestyle. Daily walks are encouraged for all dogs, Chow Chows are no exception. However, large amounts of exercise will be unnecessary. Puppies are always a bit hyper, but as this breed ages expect them lay around the house a lot close to the family’s children.
Highly protective, they will guard those kids who they consider a part of their pack. Picture a person entering your house in the dead of night without your Chow Chow knowing who they are. Your Chow will block off the entrance to those dearest to them and stand their ground with a powerful imperviousness and a fearful snarl.
This happened to my own father when he got back from a business trip. Our Chow Chow Bear didn’t realize who he was and he stood in front of the doorway to the room where I and my mother was sleeping. Of course, once he realized who it was then Bear was ashamed. This is a perfect example of a Chow Chow’s personality; serious, loyal and protective, big on honor and can feel shame at mistakes like no other dog.
One major disadvantage of a Chow Chow, however, is that they can be rather drooly. My Chow Chow Bear was beloved by all but also dreaded a little bit. Because wherever his love and attention went so did his slobber. It could be so bad that my mother would drape towels over her legs to catch it all.
Socializing a Chow Chow to be With Kids
Chow Chow natural predisposition is to be rather aloof. This makes people exposure a top priority. Children, of course, should be included in this. From as early as a month old Chows should be exposed to kids and people of all stripes.
Finding a breeder who has kids definitely helps with this, since most breeders won’t allow you to take a puppy until its at least 2 months old. Because of this, choosing a Chow from a breeder with children helps a lot. That way they’ve been exposed from the beginning and can instill a life-long love of children in them.
Once you have your Chow from the breed than the socialization is all in your hands. It’s a big responsibility, how you do with this stage of your puppies life can determine their destiny.
Both of my Chow Chows Bear and Katy were exposed to countless children every day. Of course, it was much easier for us as my mother was a piano teacher who taught out of her home. Nevertheless, they both grew up with a humongous appreciation of kids. When going out on walks if they heard a child’s scream, whether, in the midst of fun or something upsetness, they would immediately tug with ferocious strength on the leash desperate to check up on the child and make sure they were okay.
So you may not be so fortunate as we were to surround your Chow Chow with a gaggle of children, but there are other ways you can get this done. Encourage your own kids to become best friends with the dog, playing with it and helping with dog training every day. You can also introduce the dog to your kid’s friends which will help expand the circle of people that they know.
Dog parks can be a great place to show your dog around. As well as daily walks. In any given 30 minute walk, unless you live out in the country, your dog should get to meet a series of people. Chow Chows will be a people attractor as everyone loves their big poofy fur and some might even ask if it’s actually a lion.
Kids Must Respect the Chow Chow
Chow Chows crave respect more than almost anything. Even food might be considered less in a Chow’s eyes than that people treat them with the dignity that they themselves display. It’s only what they deserve after all. A dog with the imperial stature of a Chow will be respected. Fail this and suffer the consequences.
Even so, Chows are quite good at telegraphing their intentions, but you must listen carefully to their language. If you’re doing something that the Chow doesn’t like, then often they will first begin with a low hum. This is your warning to stop and if you don’t it will escalate. Snarling barks are next and if these are not heeded than trouble is ahead.
The following rules are good guidelines for kids and your Chow Chow:
- Know the signs of your Chows displeasure and when they make it known to you, cease the action. This will help keep the peace.
- Though their fluffiness will just beg to be hugged, most are not fond of that. So while kids can pet the dog they should be discouraged from anything rougher or more confining. Chows hate to be confined.
- Tail pulling or pulling on any part of their body should be forbidden in the strictest of terms. They are not a toy even though they may sometimes look like a stuffed teddy bear.
- Needless to say, never throw objects at them and avoid yelling or getting right up in their face. They can be tolerant of loved ones but they do have a line that you shouldn’t cross. If any kids can’t be trusted to understand these things then do not allow them to interact with the dog unsupervised.
Are Chow Chows Good with Babies, Infants and Small Children?
Chows can be great with babies and small children. However, you shouldn’t leave them unsupervised with the dog. Babies and little kids often don’t know how to behave properly yet. All those things listed as things to never do to your Chow, young kids tend to do by sheer instinct.
Before introducing a new baby into the family, let your Chow sniff their blanket and crib so that they can get a hold of their scent. Seeing the similarity in smell between the baby and other members of the family, they’ll know as soon as they see them that this child is a part of their pack.
Of course a polite dog like a Chow deserves an equally polite introduction. The way my parents introduced me to Bear as a baby, was that they showed me to him and allowed him to sniff me. The whole time they told him that I was his child and that it was his job to protect me. Forever afterwards he always loved me and there are many stories of him guarding me from strangers.
Chows might seem like stuffy and belligerent dogs. They are a different kind of breed and much more independently minded than a labrador or golden retriever. They require you to treat them in a certain way. Clingy behaviors towards them tend to not be tolerated well.
Of course, how you socialize them and train them will make all the difference. My other Chow Katy loved to be petted and hugged, but yet still she always had a certain aloofness to strangers. If you don’t mind a dog that is dignified and keeps to themselves while being loyal to only their family, then Chow Chows can make great family dogs. They will love their human children and watch out over them with a distinguished noble eye.