It's tough sometimes being the smallest dog on the block. If your Chihuahua growls at you or anyone he crosses paths with, it may be because he's unsure of his place within his world. Building up your Chihuahua’s confidence and making sure he understands his place is key in teaching him not to growl.
Chihuahuas have been bred to be companions for their owners. By nature, they are not automatically social dogs. They need to be trained to be social. Otherwise, they will come across as aggressive. Your Chihuahua may be growling at you or others because he needs training on how not to do this natural behavior. Teaching your Chihuahua to relax a bit around you and others will help to teach him growling is unacceptable.
Training your dog to relax isn’t as easy as simply telling him to relax. You are going to need to teach him that not growling is your expectation. Your Chihuahua will act aggressively and growl unless he knows other ways to act. The first thing you’ll need to do is socialize your Chihuahua. Once he knows his job is not to protect you and he is allowed to accept others in his world, people or pets, he’ll be better about reacting aggressively when around others. This is easier to train with a puppy, but you can redirect an adult Chihuahua as well. Training will just take more time and dedication with an adult. No matter the age, remember to reward good behavior and redirect poor behavior. Do not yell or hit your Chihuahua; these actions will only reinforce poor behaviors.
High-value treats are key in training your Chihuahua not to growl. Be sure to set aside some socializing time for your Chihuahua as well as short training sessions to build up respect and listening skills for your Chihuahua. Keep these training sessions short and only socialize at the beginning with people and dogs you know and are comfortable with. And always offer treats for your Chihuahua as well as the other animals you are socializing with.
Just got the dog and he growls at my husband and adult son
Hello Barbara, It sounds like pup may be fearful of men - possibly do to a lack of early socialization around men, a timid temperament, or poor experiences with a man. Watch pup's body language and your husband or son (starting with your husband, stay far enough away that pup stays relaxed. As the person passes pup and pup is reacting well (don't reward while aggressive or acting fearful), then have the person toss several treats gently toward pup's paws and continue walking; Do this in lots of different place - without your husband or son approaching pup after. You want pup to begin to associate the the guys with something fun happening and take the pressure of petting away at first before pup is ready for that part. As pup improves, have them gradually decrease the distance between them and pup. Once pup can handle the guys walking right by and dropping treats, practice the protocol from the video linked below, keeping pup's leash short enough that if pup were to lunge while practicing this, they won't be able to get to someone to bite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip her leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup and your husband. If pup is nervous, have your husband stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first - with you (or whoever pup is most comfortable with at that point, holding the leash). As pup relaxes during the walk, gradually have your husband get closer until you can hand the leash off to your husband and let him walk pup alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without pup stopping or tensing up when your husband gets close. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Definitely practice in a fenced area if available, even though that will mean walking back and forth a lot. Once pup will walk with your husband and get close to your husband and you to eat, practicr hand-feeding her the dog food and walk her regularly to develop trust. When you get that far, also teach her commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting her into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ I highly suggest working with a trainer because additional training will be needed, but you need someone who can monitor how pup is doing and tailor the training plan based on that. Finally, during all of this, practice desensitizing pup to handling and touch using their food. As often as you can, feed pup their meals one piece at a time. Gently touch pup in an area while feeding a piece of food. Touch their should - feed a piece. Touch their back - feed a piece. Touch an ear - feed a piece. Touch their collar - feed a piece. Touch their paw - feed a piece. Touch their belly - feed a piece. ect... Do it gently and start with areas pup is most comfortable and work up to the other areas as pup improves. When pup enjoys your touches and is generally doing well around the guys in your family, add in other people pup knows touching, like your husband. When pup can handle your husband, add in your son very carefully once pup is no longer fearful or aggressive toward him. Only allow your son to do this with you help and watch for signs of tensing or aggression - wait to do this part of training until pup is not a bit risk due to other training that's been done already and pup being comfortable with your son now. Don't rush these things but do practice very often and with lots of different people. Watch pup's reaction and go at a pace where pup can stay relaxed - the goal isn't just for pup to act good but actually feel better about people - so pup staying relaxed and happy around people is what you want to reward, which will mean going at the pace or distance pup an handle. During all of this, keep your interactions with pup calm and confident. Don't pet or comfort pup when they act aggressive. Avoid yelling and overly harsh reactions, but give consistent boundaries, calmly enforce household rules, and provide calm leadership for pup. Calm leadership can actually boost a dog's confidence and building trust and respect can help with aggression issues - especially if pup is resource guarding you from your son or husband. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Ruby is the youngest of 3 dogs. She has started growling as the oldest Chihuahua which is 8 years old. Both her and Yaani would sit on same bed together when inside, but the other day it started where anytime Yaani moved Ruby would growl causing Yaani to stop and not move. I got another bed out for Yaani which seems to help there. But when Yaani goes outside Ruby wil growl at her or keep walking around her. I dont know what to do as my husband is at the point to sell her. All chihuahuas are full blood siblings from 3 different litters
Hello Karae, For this issue I do recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to help you. Working with the trainer I would start by increasing Ruby's respect for you through obedience commands and a lot of structure in the home. I would have you be the one to make and enforce all rules between the dogs. You may need to keep Ruby on a drag leash or wearing a basket muzzle if she has ever shown any form of aggression toward you as well, even if that aggression was redirected toward you while they were fighting with your other dog. When Ruby then tries to control your older dog I would calmly step in, picking up the drag leash and make Ruby be the one to leave the area. If needed I would also do impromptu fast paced obedience drill session, where you run through all the commands Ruby knows in quick succession with little praise or treats - just a calm, matter of fact attitude, to get Ruby's focus back on you and into a calmer mindset again. Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M 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 Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She’s starting to growl when we’re just trying to move her from her naps or when I’m holding her and my boyfriend try’s grabbing her and vice versa. Is this normal? I just don’t want her to be aggressive.
Hello Celesta, Without being there in person to hear pup's growling and see pup's body language I cannot say for sure - is the growling aggressive or playful for example? I suspect that pup is becoming overly sensitive to being touched because of some bad experiences with being touched or being a more sensitive pup. It's not something you want because it can lead to aggression, but it's not uncommon with some puppies if you don't practice the right king of touches. If you are using any methods that involve physical roughness with your hands, then I would switch to a different method. Work on getting puppy more comfortable with touch and handling. Use puppies daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold her collar and give a treat. Touch her tail gently and give a treat. Touch her belly, her other paws, her chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Each time you pass pup to another person, have the other person offer a treat first so that pup associates the hand-offs with treats, and begins to look forward to another person reaching for them gently. When you must move pup while they are napping, gently wake them up without touching first, such as by saying their name and tossing a small treat over to them when they look. You want to avoid scaring pup by touching them and startling them while sleeping. Some puppies are more sensitive to being woken up while asleep and can feel like they are in danger if they don't realize its you at first. Feeling stressed about being woken up over and over can cause them to act more defensive about being bothered while sleeping in general. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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