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

How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Get Along With Other Dogs
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon6-12 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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. 

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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.

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The Socialized Chihuahua Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Conditioning Method

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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.

2

Treat

Each time your dog sees another dog, give your Chihuahua a treat.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Obedience Commands Method

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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.

2

'Sit'

As soon as your Chihuahua meets another dog, have him sit.

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.

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.

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.

6

Eye contact

Allow some time for the two dogs to look at one another and sniff if they choose.

7

Treat again

As they are getting used to one another, offer them both a treat.

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.

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.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 12/19/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Chewy

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Chihuahua/rat terrier

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One Year

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Question

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When in our yard and he sees other dogs he pulls on leash while growling/barking with tail wagging.. only have had him 4 weeks and not sure if he is protecting/being aggressive or wanting to play with other dogs. He has been raised around other dogs. I'm thinking he is protecting but wants to play.. your opinion

Jan. 31, 2023

Chewy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Does his tail look relaxed and loose while wagging or tense, high, or stiff, like quick stiff movements while the tail is high? If the tail is relaxed, the barking might be excitement and a bit of uncertainly, leading to a little defensiveness, but there is a good chance he likes other dogs in the right situation. I would still evaluate carefully, like on leash walking past another dog, gradually decreasing distance until walking together as long as he stayed happy and calm, potentially with a basket muzzle on - which you introduce ahead of time with treats so its not a source of stress, then let the dogs get to know each other calmly while walking instead of a head to head greeting. If the tail is stiff, then the wag means arousal - which can mean protective, aggressive, or excited. It doesn't mean pup is bad with other dogs but it also isn't a friendly sign, it just means pup's emotions are high. Having pup walk past other dogs somewhere away from his property could be informative, seeing if he is more relaxed in that situation or still tense and reactive - if he is fine there, the response might be related to being territorial of the property. Being raised with other dogs helps with social skills but doesn't necessarily mean a dog is good with other dogs. Imagine being raised in a large family but never leaving the home - that example is extreme, but its a bit similar with dogs. They can be great with those they lived with all their lives but still not know how to interact or be comfortable interacting with new dogs outside of their family if they weren't exposed to other dogs or taken to locations with other dogs around as a puppy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Jan. 31, 2023

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Mia

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Pomchi

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4 Years

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Question

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She does not come when I call her and if we are outside she runs away.

June 16, 2022

Mia's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Patty, Check out the article I have linked below. I would work on teaching the premack principle and use a long training leash. You will find sections in that article covering both of those things. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Also, check out the Reel In method from this article, which covers something similar. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 16, 2022


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