Many times you ask yourself: why is my Chihuahua aggressive towards me? Aggressive Chihuahua behavior in many cases may extend beyond the food dish. Some Chihuahuas demand sole ownership of their favorite chairs, their end of sofa, or even their snuggle spots on the bed. And when anyone tries to sit in their spots, the resentful dogs snarl a warning and in some cases, may even snap. Granted, Chihuahuas tend to be sassy-but surly is unacceptable.
You should never, ever be afraid of your dog. Not even for an instant. Don’t ignore or excuse threatening behavior because it ended quickly. If you do, next time your Chi’s threat will be even stronger. And yes, if he got away with growling at you once, there will be a next time.
Most Chihuahua owners react with surprise the first time their petite pooches growl a warning at them. They don’t realize that the growls (which, if unchecked, can escalate into snapping), only happened after their dogs established dominance over them in several subtle ways. For example, does your Chi badger you into petting him by pawing at you or nudging your hand? Do you sit where you did before you got him, or has he taken over your favorite corner of the sofa? Do you feed or give him treats when you want to or when he demands.
If he’s already calling some of the shots, you’ve lost round one; it may be only a matter of time before he’s ready to test you at another level. Perhaps you’ll be in a rush to clean up before company arrives, so you reach for his food dish before he licks the last morsel. He goes rigid and stands over the dish with his eyes looking directly into yours. You shrug it off and say something like, “Okay, just hurry up and finish it.” You’ve just lost round two. When round three comes, it could be a growl. You know there’s a problem, but you’ll probably think that he never did anything like that before.
Okay, now that you know what can happen, you can start preventing it immediately.
If possessiveness is becoming a problem, encourage other members of your household to make your Chi earn his rewards by obeying commands. Otherwise, he may learn to obey you but still challenge your spouse, for instance.
Possessive pup adjustment
The same techniques both prevent and cure possessiveness. One of the best ways is to make your Chihuahua work for his food and privileges. If you haven’t taught him the basic commands, start now. Us ether in every day life. “Sit” when he wants a treat. Sit and “Stay” before you allow him up on the sofa. “Enough” when you’re tired of petting him and he paws you for more. You get the picture. At the first hint of possessiveness, make these acts privileges, not rights.
Establish dominance by inviting your Chi to sit beside you by saying “Come On Up” and patting the sofa when you say it. Then lift him up beside you if necessary. At the same time, teach him to “Get Down” by giving that command while pointing at the floor. He will figure out the signal if you place him on the floor every time you say it. Eventually, he’ll jump up and get down on command under his own steam.
Young puppies can’t jump up on the sofa themselves and shouldn’t be allowed to jump down because they can damage their legs or shoulders. Using the cues Come On Up and Get Down before your puppy matures is a good idea, but place him on the furniture and always lift him down while he’s young.
Changing your attitude
Changing your attitude can have a huge impact on your Chihuahua’s aggressive behavior. Instead of taking the path of least resistance, like backing away when your Chi growls (which teaches him that growling gets him what he wants), resolve to take command of the situation.
Make him work for every bit of attention. If he growls when he’s on the bed, don’t allow him on the bed. The same applies to the sofa, chair, or wherever he displays dominance. After several days of making him earn attention, you can let him share your chair again. But only on your terms-by invitation only-from now on. It could take months of not allowing him on your bed or chair before the aggressive dog behavior changes.
Don’t pity him because he has to go through this. You’re doing him a favor. When you train your Chihuahua and let him know how to please you, he becomes happier and more content. After all, he can relax. The household is in good hands-yours!
Dealing with hard cases
If your dog has been the boss for a long time and is serious about biting when you try to reform him with the tactics I describe here, don’t try to deal with him yourself anymore. A Chihuahua may be small but he can still do damage-especially if he snaps at your face. Instead, ask your veterinarian to recommend a professional trainer or behaviorist. The investment you make is worth it. A good pro knows how to deal with aggressive dog behavior and puts your relationship with your Chihuahua back on the right track and teaches you how to maintain it.
Trading for treats
Some Chihuahuas become possessive over treasured objects- anything they have that you want to take from them, such as pencil that fell off your desk. You can try to prevent possessiveness over objects by teaching your Chihuahua what “Out” means:
- Get a small plastic container with a lid, break up a few of your dog’s favorite biscuits, and place them inside.
- Shake the container, open it, and give him one treat. Do that two or three times a day until the mere sound of the shake excites him.
- Graduate to shaking the container while he gnaws on his favorite toy.
- Say “Out”, give him a treat when he drops the toy, and walk away without touching the toy.
After several days of this, pick up the toy when you give him the treat, hold it for a second or two, and then put it down again. Soon you’ll be able to get him to open his mouth and trade any object for a treat.
When the object is a taboo item, be sure to keep it after making the trade and then show your Chi his own chew toy.
Want to learn more about training a Chihuahua? Click Below!