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

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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

ribbon-method-3
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

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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?
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Mia
Pomchi
4 Years
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Mia
Pomchi
4 Years

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 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

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Coco
Chihuahua
8 Years
0 found helpful
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0 found helpful
Coco
Chihuahua
8 Years

I was wondering how could I start getting my dog to get used to other dogs? He’s good with people, but it’s just with meeting new dogs he gets aggressive on walks or even going to the store. I would like to add a new dog to the family one day but I need him to be more friendlier to other dogs first.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angela, I would see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area you could join with pup, which is a class that works with dog aggressive/reactive dogs, to intensively socialize and desensitize them to other dogs with safety measures like basket muzzles and a structured environment and rewards. For less severe cases, practicing the passing approach with friends with social, well mannered dogs can also be a good exercise. For aggression, avoid a nose to nose greeting though and work on getting to the point where they can just walk down the side walk together without direct interaction, calmly. Once pup is good with that dog, then practice with a new dog, working up to lots of different dogs over time to help pup generally become good with lots of dogs, and not just one other dog. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Check out Kikopup on youtube, and Thomas Davis from America's Canine Educator, on youtube for some different ways to counter condition and address aggression. The trainers train very differently, and what works best depends a lot on the specific dog, type of aggression, and what you are comfortable with and can be consistent doing. I always recommend professional help when addressing aggression however, but those resources can at least educate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Boo
chiwawa jack russell
1 Year
0 found helpful
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Boo
chiwawa jack russell
1 Year

she lunges and trys to bite the cats n other dog. i dont think she’s trying to be mean i dint think she knows how to play not so rough

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bonnie, I recommend teaching an Out command and Leave It command. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Practice those commands in places with distractions on a long secure harness and training leash to build pup's self-control, like at a park where there are other dogs and scents you are telling pup to leave alone then rewarding for obedience. Once pup is really good at Leave It and Out on the long leash, recruit a friend and their friendly dog, or someone in your home and one of your other dogs who likes your dog. Have the dogs play in a controlled, fenced area without other dogs around, while they are wearing a back clip harness and drag leash. Periodically call the dogs away from each other when they are not entangled wrestling. Have each other call their dog from different areas of the yard so the dogs go in different directions when they disengage. Use the drag leash to carefully and quickly reel pups in to each of you if they don't obey when you call. Once your dog gets to you (because they obeyed or because you reeled them in with the leash), have pup obey a couple commands like Sit or Down, and give high value treats - this is why the dogs are being called to separate locations, you don't want competing for the same food while aroused from playing). After both dogs are focused on their people and calm from the obedience practice, allow the more timid of the two dogs to go first, telling them "Go Play" and releasing them. If they still want to play, let the second dog go also, telling them to "Go Play" as well. Practice this for 10-30 minutes a training session, often, until your dog will obey Out and Come consistently while in the middle of playing without having to be reeled in. While doing all of this, I would utilize keeping pup tethered to yourself with a hands free leash more often, and crating pup at night and while you are away, so they aren't practicing being too rough with the others without being given any feedback on it when you aren't there. Learn how to read the body language of other dogs if you do not already, so you can easily spot when the dogs are getting too aroused or one dog wants to stop and isn't being allowed to, and be able to intervene. If pup is truly aggressive or drawing blood while being too rough, I recommend hiring a professional trainer to work with you in person for this, taking additional safety measures like a basket muzzle, pup is desensitized to wearing, and teaching pup to leave the other animals alone completely, adding more structure into pup's day like a long Place command, so help facilitate giving that space to other animals. Place can be a great command to teach anyway, to facilitate everyone being calm while in the same room when you don't want to have to moderate the interactions calmly, you just want all the animals to keep to themselves for a bit. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
Chihuahua
3 Months
0 found helpful
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Bear
Chihuahua
3 Months

We rescued our dog about 2 years ago we already had a doxie and they get along well, they are both males. We have now adopted a Great Dane puppy (currently 65 lbs). My Chihuahua does not like her. He rarely tolerates her and often nips, growls or tries to bite her. We have only had her 3 days, what can I do to get him to accept her? My doxie is fine with the Great Dane.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello DiAnn, First, I highly suggest crate training the puppy. 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 later and prevent dangerous destructive chewing habits that happen without confinement. Use the Surprise method from the article linked below to gradually help pup learn to be calm in the crate and to relax by using rewards for being Quiet if pup isn't already used to the crate. 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 (which will be mostly puppy at this age). Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I also recommend teaching Leave It. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite 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 they are trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If puppy obeys, praise and reward them. If puppy disobeys, stand in front of your older dog, blocking the pup from getting to them, 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 your older dog leave the room while also disciplining pup by having them leave the area too if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your older dog - you want puppy to learn respect for your older dog because you have taught it to pup and not because your older dog has had to resort to aggression or has to hide all the time. If you want pup to be free but don't want to chase after them while you are home, you can also clip them to yourself using a six-foot leash, so that pup has to stay near you and not wander near your other dog. Whenever puppy enters the room, give your older dog a treat while pup is not looking. Whenever they are calm, relaxed or tolerant of puppy also give them a treat. Try not to let the puppy see you rewarding them though so that they don’t run over and overwhelm your older dog. If you can take the pressure off of their relationship and help their interactions to be calmer, then they may adjust to pup's presence as pup grows, especially when they calm down when older. Don’t expect them to be best friends. The goal right now is calm, peaceful coexistence. Enrolling pup in a puppy play group, class with play time, or moderated puppy play time with other friends' puppies, can also help pup learn how to control the pressure of their bite and give breaks when another dog indicates they need one. Keep your attitude calm but firm. Don't sooth or act sorry for either dog, but give clear directions and expectations. Calmly leading can decrease things like possessiveness and competing in a multi-dog household at times. If your older dog doesn't respect you, I would also pursue improving that part of your relationship, to build that trust and respect so pup is more willing to let you handle the puppy and will relax. Even though this article was written for a larger breed, the principles should apply to most size and breeds still. The Obedience method especially: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If things are unsafe, not improving, or getting worse, I would reach out to a professional trainer with experience with aggression, who comes well recommended by their previous clients, for training help in person at your home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tia
Chihuahua
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tia
Chihuahua
6 Years

Got her from a rescue 3 months ago. She weighs 5 pounds. When we go outside and she can see us she is fine. When we get out of her site she will cry and howl. We stayed out of her site for an hour thinking she would stop but she never did. We tried some treats that are suppose to help with separation anxiety but didn't help. We are thinking about getting another small Chihuahua for a companion. Would a male or female be better? I read where 2 females might fight. Would this help with anxiety separation if she had another dog. The rescue she was in had about 13 small dogs varies genders, age and breeds in one big room.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bonnie, Its hard to say if another dog would help. Some dogs are stressed more by a second dog, others do well and enjoy the company. As a general rule, a dog of the opposite sex is more likely to be accepted by your current dog; however, more than the sex, the type of personality that the other dog has will make the biggest difference. Often a middle of the road dog, that is not too dominate not overly timid and submissive, but a bit laid back, somewhat confident, and adaptive tends to be received most easily by many other dogs. Because you do not know whether another dog would help or not, and because the second dog could actually learn to act anxious also from your current dog, I would work on the separation anxiety from a training point first. Once it's improved, then you can consider a second dog if that's what you want. I don't recommend getting another dog for the sake of your current dog, but only if that's what you want. You current dog may or may not want another dog, but if they are in a good place themselves they are more likely able to adapt to being alone more or a second companion - whichever you prefer. I would work on building independence with pup through things like Distance Down-Stays, working up to 1 hour Place commands where pup stays while you go about your business, instead of following you around as much, a structured heel, more jobs and boundaries and structure at home in general (anxious dogs tend to benefit from work and structure), and working with a trainer who has a lot of experience dealing with separation anxiety specifically. Desensitizing pup to anything they are nervous about outside and to alone time in general through crate training and crating at points with a dog food stuffed chew toy, could also help. Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from the Canine Educator on Youtube to learn more about anxiety and the need for structure. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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