How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Not Be Aggressive

Medium
1-2 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Chihuahuas are cute little dogs, but they are dogs nonetheless. It is easy to not take them seriously when they behave aggressively. A snarling, snapping Chihuahua may be thought of as “being cute” and the behavior dismissed as not important. This is a huge mistake. Your Chihuahua is a dog, and if he is behaving aggressively, he is not respecting your leadership or other people. Although a Chihuahua may not be as dangerous as a larger dog, a Chihuahua is still capable of biting and causing damage, especially to a child or older person. Chihuahuas are prone to acting aggressively for the same reasons any dog may behave aggressively, due to anxiety, territorial behavior, or to show dominance. It can not be stressed enough that Chihuahuas are dogs like any other dog, and should be treated similarly with regards to expectations for training and behavior; they should not be allowed to behave dominantly. Obedience expectations and positive socialization should not be allowed to slide as a requirement when caring for a Chihuahua.

Defining Tasks

If your Chihuahua is behaving aggressively, try to determine what is behind his aggression. Is your dog experiencing anxiety that needs addressing and requires confidence and experience to be developed? Is your Chihuahua acting dominant, trying to establish himself as a leader? If so, you need to make sure your dog views you as the leader and behaves respectfully toward you, family members, and friends by respecting other people's space and submitting to having toys or food removed. Some Chihuahuas become possessive of their owners, biting and snapping when someone else approaches them and their owners. If this is the case, replacing territorial behavior with appropriate, well-socialized behavior is required. Your Chihuahua should not behave aggressively but allow others to approach him and yourself and to take toys or food without a fuss. A Chihuahua should know basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'down' and 'come' the same as any other dog. This helps establish who is the leader and what is expected, which also helps reduce anxiety and territorial behaviors.

Getting Started

If your dog suddenly starts acting aggressive and they were not aggressive before, you should consider taking your Chihuahua to a veterinarian in case he is experiencing medical problems. Pain or discomfort can cause aggression that can be addressed by relief of the condition. Once a medical condition has been ruled out, make sure all members of the household are on board to counteract aggressive behavior, as consistency is important. Avoid punishing or yelling at a Chihuahua that is behaving aggressively, as this will only contribute to anxiety and aggression. Instead, be prepared to reward alternate behaviors and provide opportunities for positive socialization and to establish yourself and members of your household as leaders that need to be respected. This will require time, patience and consistency.

The Alternate Behavior Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Teach 'sit-stay'
Teach your Chihuahua basic obedience commands like 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' in a quiet place, free from distractions. Ask you dog to 'sit-stay' and provide a treat for compliance.
Step
2
Add distractions
Practice 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' in a variety of environments until well established.
Step
3
Change reward
Replace treats with praise and affection for performing 'sit-stay'.
Step
4
Use when aggressive
When your Chihuahua starts to behave in an aggressive manner, growling or snapping, or takes an aggressive stance, distract him and provide the 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' command.
Step
5
Reward alternate behavior
When your dog complies, praise him, this will provide a distraction from aggressive behaviors and provide your dog with a different response.
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The Establish Leadership Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Teach obedience
Teach your dog basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'down', and 'heel'.
Step
2
Be food provider
Establish that you are the food provider. Make your Chihuahua sit and wait while you prepare food. Put his food down on the floor and wait with your dog while he eats to establish you are the provider. Practice removing and returning food so your dog knows what to expect and accept it.
Step
3
Socialize
Socialize your Chihuahua. Introduce your Chihuahua to other people, other dogs and other animals in a positive non-threatening environment. Reward positive interaction, remove your dog if aggressive behavior occurs while you continue to interact with others. While socializing, keep your dog at floor level. Avoid picking your dog up or keeping him on eye level with yourself or others.
Step
4
Do not reward agressiveness
Do not soothe your agitated dog when he is behaving aggressively, as this is just reinforcing anxiety and aggression. Do not pick your dog up or hold him close when he is acting anxious or aggressive.
Step
5
Reward appropriate behavior
Reward your dog with praise and treats for behaving positively in a situation that previously made him anxious or aggressive. Increase his experiences, expose him to new sights , sounds and places slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for your Chihuahua.
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The Extinguish Aggression Method

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Step
1
Change situation
If your dog behaves aggressively when sitting on your lap and approached by other people, do not allow your Chihuahua to sit on your lap while others are present.
Step
2
Distract aggression
When your Chihuahua behaves aggressively, distract him with a noise maker, or firmly say "no".
Step
3
Reward calm
When your Chihuahua behaves in a calm, friendly manner, provide praise and a treat to reinforce that behavior.
Step
4
Remove when required
If your Chihuahua behaves aggressively, ignore him. Remove him from the situation if behavior is out of control. You can put your Chihuahua in a crate or another room.
Step
5
Increase expectations
Increase the amount of time you expect your Chihuahua to be calm before providing reward or praise, attention, affection, or treats.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Marshmallow
Chihuahua
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Marshmallow
Chihuahua
1 Year

My dog Marshmallow is unpredictable. Sometimes he will even bite us! He always barks at people coming over or at people walking past our house. When we have people over he will act innocent and then when someone tries to touch him he will attack.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Leah, I suggest hiring a professional trainer in your area who can help you at your home person. It sounds like there are several things going on with Marshmallow's issues. First, you need to work on his respect toward you in general. He needs to learn that biting will not gain him what he wants by getting him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle and desensitizing him to the situations that be normally bites in. He needs to be desensitized to touch with treats with other people once he will relax during your interactions with him. He needs to be desensitized to the appearance of other people through the window treats for his calm behavior around people, treats for seeing someone before he reacts at all, and through interrupting his bad behavior, combined with the rewards for the correct behavior. The corrections need to be done carefully and associated with his own poor behavior though and in combination with pleasant rewards that are associated with the people. Finally, he needs to be desensitized to people coming over to your home through practice, rewards, calm interactions where the people ignore him apart from tossing him treats, and finally touch desensitization while wearing a muzzle that has holes bite enough to receive treats through, while he is calm and relaxed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Macho
Chihuahua
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Macho
Chihuahua
2 Years

My daughters dog Macho lives in an apartment. she brings him to my home often to stay with my 15 year old border collie. he loves to be in our home as hes free to roam and has the yard. When she returns to take him home he gets very aggressive towards her and even attempts to bite her. what do we do ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Doreen, This sounds like an issue of lack of respect. If Macho has learned from past experiences that he will be left alone if he reacts aggressively, then he is probably trying to control situations to get what he wants, which in this case is to stay somewhere more fun. Check out the article that I have linked below and both she and you should follow those methods with Macho when he is at your and her home. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, spend time getting Macho used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle using lots of treats, and clip a drag leash on him when someone is home to supervise. Get him used to wearing the leash and the muzzle around, until they become normal to him. When he stays with you, occasionally put those things on him, and on the day when you know he will have to go home, clip the leash to him and put the muzzle on him, and then calmly let her lead him home. The goal is to show him that his aggression and avoidance do not work anymore. When he stops resisting and is compliant and calm, then she can reward him through the muzzle with small treats, or peanut butter, liver paste, or cheese on a straw he can lick. Practicing regular obedience with him at her house, giving him more structure at both places, getting him used to wearing a muzzle so that he cannot bite, and rewarding him when he cooperates. All of those things should work together. Practicing obedience with him at her home and leaving him with interesting puzzle toys, food stuffed chew toys, or automatic treat dispensing devices, such as Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer should also help him like her apartment better. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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