How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Get Along With Other Dogs

Medium
6-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Chihuahuas are often known for their stubborn personality. But when it comes to being with their owners, they are sweet and tender dogs. Many Chihuahuas don't often get along with other dogs. They would rather be the sole pet in the house and the only dog on the planet. If you have multiple dogs, you're going to need to teach your Chihuahua to know how to get along with them. You're going to want all of your dogs to be comfortable in your home. If you take your dog out to dog parks or to a pet store, or even to the veterinarian's office, your Chihuahua is going to need to know how to behave and not be overly aggressive. Even a small dog such as your Chihuahua can get into trouble if his attitude is not in check. You don't want to be responsible for your Chihuahua biting another dog because he doesn't know how to get along.

Defining Tasks

The key to teaching your dog to get along with other dogs is to ensure the Chihuahua is social. As early as you can, socialize your Chihuahua. If you get your Chihuahua as a puppy, start as soon as he has all of his shots. You can socialize your puppy Chihuahua with people before his shots are done, but wait until he's had all of his shots before you introduce him to dogs you do not know, such as dogs at the dog park or a pet store. If this is an older Chihuahua, you are rescuing and bringing into your home with other animals, introduce your dogs to your new Chihuahua slowly and methodically. Getting your Chihuahua to be social is key to having him understand how to get along with other dogs. Remember, the commonality between your Chihuahua and other dogs is they will both do just about anything for delicious food. 

Getting Started

Bring your Chihuahua together with other dogs slowly. Be sure to have lots of tasty treats for both dogs. If there are multiple other dogs in your home, you may ask a friend or partner to help with introductions. If you plan to bring your Chihuahua around other dogs outside your home, start with dogs and owners you know. Chihuahuas tend to do best on a harness instead of a collar and leash. If your Chihuahua is aggressive or in danger or harming another dog, pulling him away with a harness is safer than tugging on a leash attached to a neck collar. These little guys can become injured easily with a leash and collar.

The Socialized Chihuahua Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Plan ahead
Plant scheduled social times for your Chihuahua. This should include times with other dogs his size as well as times with other dogs who are larger than he is. Before you head out for social time with your Chihuahua, be sure he has been fed and is well rested and ready for some playtime.
Step
2
Neutral space
Set up a meeting or a playdate with other dogs your dog will be around, but set this up in neutral territory. If you don't know other dogs but you still want your Chihuahua to be social, you can go to a dog park. Just be sure to start with a small dog area before you introduce your Chihuahua to the bigger dogs' area.
Step
3
Harness
Harness your Chihuahua with an appropriate harness and not just a collar and a leash. Be sure the harness is the right size and on your dog correctly.
Step
4
Voice and tone
When you introduce your Chihuahua to a dog you know or a strange dog at a dog park, keep your tone and your voice calm and even. You don't want your Chihuahua to pick up on any anxieties from your voice.
Step
5
Aggression
As long as your dog is properly harnessed, if he shows any aggression at all, you can gently pull back on the harness pulling him away from the other dog. Do not do this if your dog is not wearing a harness and is wearing a leash instead. If you do so with a leash and collar, you run the risk of collapsing his trachea so be sure to harness your Chihuahua.
Step
6
Commands
Before you introduce your Chihuahua to other animals, teach him some commands such as 'sit' and 'down.' You can use these commands as he is meeting new friends. As you're introducing your Chihuahua to another dog, ask your dog to sit. Provide treats for both dogs as they are meeting one another so they can both be rewarded for good behavior and following commands.
Step
7
Ignore
As the two dogs are meeting and greeting, ignore them unless you see either becoming aggressive. Again, your Chihuahua will pick up on any of your anxieties, so if you are playing helicopter dog parent he is going to expect you to save the day instead of working things out on his own. Remember, the goal here is to keep him from being aggressive and get along with new friends.
Step
8
Rewards
Every so often while ignoring the dogs you are socializing, give them each a reward in the form of a treat. Be sure to treat them both at the same time and make it a high-value treat that they will both want to earn again with good behavior.
Step
9
Practice
Practice socializing your dog with several dogs but only one at a time. Making your Chihuahua social around other dogs as well as people will make him a kinder, friendlier dog.
Step
10
Good behavior
Be sure to reward your Chihuahua for good behavior anytime you see him socially interacting with another dog. Having your Chihuahua learn how to socialize will keep him from being so aggressive around other animals.
Recommend training method?

The Conditioning Method

Effective
3 Votes
Step
1
Walk
Harness your Chihuahua and take him on a walk where you know he will see and smell other dogs. You can walk around your neighborhood, go to a dog park, or goto a pet store where you are likely to run into other dogs.
Step
2
Treat
Each time your dog sees another dog, give your Chihuahua a treat.
Step
3
Aggression
If your dog growls or lunges forward toward another dog, distract him with a high-value treat. This is not acknowledging his poor behavior but rather distracting him from his anxieties or fears of the other dog.
Step
4
Practice
Continue to take your Chihuahua near other dogs or in areas where he will see other dogs but not interact with them. Each time your Chihuahua acknowledges the presence of another dog, give him a treat. Do not let the other dogs get close to your dog at this point.
Step
5
Up close
After some practice conditioning your Chihuahua to seeing and being near other dogs, introduce him to a dog you know and trust. This dog can be any size, just make sure it’s one you are familiar with.
Step
6
Neutral territory
Have your Chihuahua and the dog you know and trust meet up in one of the places you and your dog have been visiting.
Step
7
Meeting treats
As both dogs get closer, offer both a treat. You have conditioned your dog to associate treats with other dogs, be sure to continue this conditioning as dogs get closer.
Step
8
Greeting
As long as the dogs are getting closer without aggression, continue to offer them both treats. If your Chihuahua is at all apprehensive about this meeting, give him a treat and walk away with your pup.
Step
9
Keep trying
Keep trying to introduce your Chihuahua to other dogs or the same dog on neutral ground with treats until he allows their interactions to be closer. Each time they meet, try to get them closer and closer. Be patient. If your Chihuahua is aggressive or anxious, it may take time, but he will get it with patience, tolerance, and lots of tasty treats.
Recommend training method?

The Obedience Commands Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Basic commands
As soon as you bring your Chihuahua home, begin to teach him basic obedience commands. This will set the tone for your relationship in the future as well as give you tools to use when he meets other animals or people.
Step
2
'Sit'
As soon as your Chihuahua meets another dog, have him sit.
Step
3
Treat
Once your dog sits, offer him a treat. If he does not sit because he’s on edge with another dog nearby, show him the treat and command him to sit again. Once he sits, give him the treat and treat the other dog as well.
Step
4
Down
Once your dog is sitting and earning treats, have him go into a 'down' position. If the other dog knows this command, have him lie down as well.
Step
5
Reward
Once your Chihuahua is in a down position, offer him a treat. At the same time, give the other dog a treat as well.
Step
6
Eye contact
Allow some time for the two dogs to look at one another and sniff if they choose.
Step
7
Treat again
As they are getting used to one another, offer them both a treat.
Step
8
Repeat
Try to ignore the dogs as they get used to each other. Keep them in a 'sit' or a 'down' position to keep them focused. As long as they are not being aggressive, treat them both.
Step
9
Practice
Use this method each time your dog meets another dog. Always pair a meeting with treats and commands. Consider making the treats you use when with other dogs a bit more high value than training or everyday treats.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Coco
Chihuahua
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Coco
Chihuahua
4 Years

My chihuahua has lived with multiple owners and has a few issues. I'm not sure which 2 tackle 1st. She barks at everyone and it takes her a while to accept certain people. Some she is good with quickly, others it can take weeks, if not months.
Her other issue is we have a German Shepherd and she hates him. Sometimes he tries to be nice and play with her but she almost always barks and growls at him.
She doesn't know any commands.
I've always had trouble dissaplining animals and children, i guess u could call me a push over.
What should I do??

Thanks for reading my problems and I hope you can help me.

Sue

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Emma
Chihuahua
4 Years
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Question
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Emma
Chihuahua
4 Years

She has separation anxiety . How can I leave her and reassure her I’ll return.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
124 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Petra
chiwawa pecanese mix
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Petra
chiwawa pecanese mix
4 Years

My challenge is she does not get to socialize with other dogs she gets along with some but not a lot what can I do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
704 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I recommend looking for a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. Which is a class for dog reactive/aggressive dogs, who are intensively socialized together in a structured environment while wearing basket muzzles, which are introduced ahead of time. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s I also recommend practicing the Passing Approach and Walking Together methods from the article linked below with lots of different friends and their well socialized dogs, one at a time if pup is safe enough to walk with another dog - if not wait until pup is doing better after a G.R.O.W.L. class then you can continue their socialization with walks. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bandit
Chihuahua
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Bandit
Chihuahua
10 Months

How do I get him not to bark at my neighbors because I live in an apartment he barks at any sound he hears people coming in and out?? He barks at any sound he hears the mailman, people coming in to visit,

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
704 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shellie, Check out the videos linked below on desensitization. Desensitization method and Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Barking videos for desensitization examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g When you are away, you may also need either a high quality bark collar (not citronella though because the smell lingers making it confusing for pup), or an automatic treat dispensing device, that can be set up to reward pup for quietness, such as a Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer device - make sure its one that can be set to detect quietness and reward then. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dorito
Chihuahua
6 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Dorito
Chihuahua
6 Years

I rescued Dorito and gave him to my girlfriend. He’s a great very chill pup. I have since rescued a new puppy that is a lab mix. She’s 7 months and so seeet and playful and Dorito just snaps at her and growls and treats her terribly. All she wants to do is play with him and he doesn’t want any of it. What do i do now that they’re living together?!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
704 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jesse, First, I highly suggest crate training the puppy. The crate can help prevent future separation anxiety issues, dangerous destructive chewing habits, and other issues. Almost all puppies will cry the first two weeks of crate training - it is new to them and they have to be given the opportunity to learn to self-sooth and self-entertain to prepare them for environments they will have to be in late. Use the Surprise method from the article linked below to gradually help her learn to be calm in the crate and to relax by using rewards for being Quiet. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate pup at night and when you leave, and you can use an exercise pen with some toys in it also. When you cannot directly supervise the dogs together, puppy should be crated or in the pen. When you are supervising, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your older dog when she is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If she obeys, praise and reward her. If she disobeys, stand in front of your older dog, blocking the pup from getting to her, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your older dog. If your older dog growls at your pup, make her leave the room while also disciplining pup if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your older dog - you want her to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for puppy to learn respect for your older dog because you have taught it to her and not because your older dog has had to resort to aggression. If you want pup to be free but don't want to chase after her while you are home, you can also clip her to yourself using a six-foot leash, so that she has to stay near you and not wander near your other dog. Whenever puppy enters the room, give your older dog a create before they respond poorly. Whenever you catch them being calm and tolerant near pup, also reward. Reward without puppy seeing, so that she doesn't run over and overwhelm the older dog - which could lead to a food fight. Don't expect them to be best friends. Work toward calm co-existence. Many dogs will come to like each other later if you set boundaries and help the process while young. It will often take pup becoming calmer as they age though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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