Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog. They’re known for their disproportionately large heads and long pointy ears, along with their bravery in the face of bigger dogs. Other than that, they’re beloved for their adorable and quirky personalities. However, many Chihuahuas tend to be aggressive towards strangers, which can cause problems if you want your tiny companion to come with you when you travel or go on walks.
The key on how to make your Chihuahua less aggressive is to establish who the leader is, make time to introduce them to new places and people, train them, give them positive reinforcement, or if all fails, try a personal trainer or have your chihuahua neutered / spayed.
In this article we will first discuss the nature of your chihuahuas aggression and then go into detail on the solutions mentioned above.
The nature of your chihauhua’s aggression
Chihuahuas are known to be the most naturally territorial breed of dog. They will pursue anyone who walks too close and can become aggressive if their personal space is invaded by another animal or person they do not know.
If you happen to adopt a Chihuahua who has been abused, their aggression may be a result of fear. However, if you happen to have a aggressive Chihuahua who has been with you since the beginning, apart from their territorial nature, it is mostly likely they have not been trained properly at home.
Moreover, chihuahuas are known to attach to one person only. While they may be friendly towards their owner, they become aggressive if a stranger tries to touch him.
If your chihuahua is guilty of all these, worry not because we have solutions for you!
The solutions to your chihuahua’s aggression
Establish the alpha
Many owners make the mistake of treating their dog like a child. They’ll dress them up in clothes and carry them around everywhere because they find it cute. While that may be true, your spoiling your chihuahua and ruining the image of you as the alpha.
If your Chihuahua believes that they are the dominant one, then he will become aggressive with you or other people that tries to touch him.
You need to establish yourself as the alpha, you need to show him who is in charge. To do this, you may need to change a couple habits such as:
- Not allowing your chihuahua to take away your spot on the couch
You need to show him that he can sit on his own blanket while you take yours.
- Not allowing your chihuahua to sleep in your bed
If you let him sleep in your bed, then he will soon realize that he gets the best spot and even when you try to take it back from him, he’ll bark and bite.
- Not allowing your chihuahua to lick your face
This one is pretty self explanatory. Chihuahuas show dominance by licking faces and if you allow your Chihuahua to do so, he’ll think that he’s in control.
- Show dominance when your chihuahua goes out of control
One way that you can do this is by yelling ‘NO’ and firmly holding his mouth shut: “Don’t let them out”. You need to show that you are the dominant one.
Another way to establish you as the leader, is by training your dog tricks or commands. The simple act of obeying a command or a trick will make your Chihuahua see you as the alpha.
The leader is the person who has the power to give out treats and affection. Show him that you are in charge by saying NO! to his aggressive tendencies, not giving in to their impulses, and making him obey tricks and command. If you do all these, he will respect you more as he will see you as the alpha.
Introduce your chihuahua to new dogs, people, and places
One of the best things you can do is to introduce your Chihuahua to new places and people more frequently. You need to establish a routine schedule on when to do this, not when you only feel like doing so.
For example, try having your Chihuahua meet new people and friends at the park three to four times a week to socialize.
This will help him get used to different surroundings and rather than being territorial at home. He’ll learn that new dogs and people are not something to be afraid of.
As you repeat this process with more and more places and people, he should grow less and less aggressive to strangers.
Positive reinforcement is key!
When your chihuahua shows good behavior, reward him with a treat. If you’ve been following the schedule that we mentioned earlier, he should be able to meet new people and stay calm. He will learn that you are not angry at the things he does and as soon as he starts acting up. If you do this more frequently, your chihuahua should know right away what is right from wrong.
Also try praising your chihuahua when they are being calm around strangers. Your positive reinforcement will help your chihuahua learn to be fond of showing good behavior towards new people.
A professional trainer won’t hurt!
If you are not on a budget and still having trouble, consider taking your Chihuahua to a professional trainer. The right trainer will help your chihuahua learn what is the right way of behaving and what isn’t.
Professional trainers understand dogs more than most owners. They will know what your chihuahua is going through and how to help.
Not all trainers teach the same things so keep that in mind when hiring a trainer. Make sure to hire a trainer that focuses on proper behavior.
If all else fail, try having your chihuahua neutered or spayed
Neutering and spaying are the procedures in which a veterinarian will remove either your Chihuahua’s testicles or ovaries. These procedures are very common and most owners have them done to their dogs to prevent a number of diseases such as cancer or to prevent them from producing unwanted litters.
In our case, the reproductive organs plays a massive role on hormonal changes which creates behavior issues. If you are having trouble with your chihuahua constantly showing aggression, then taking him to the vet to get neutered or spayed may be worth it. It is recommended to do this procedure at around six months of age, which is usually when dogs start becoming sexually mature.
Although chihuahuas are naturally territorial, their aggression could be lessened to a favorable extent. The reasons for a chihuahuas agression may vary so it is important to pay attention and determine what exactly is it.
If you’re guilty on spoiling you chihuahua or submitting to their impulses, then try changing these habits and teaching them tricks or commands. This will help them see you as the leader and modify his behavior accordingly.
Also take them on frequent walks so that they could get used to socializing with other dogs and people. Remember, positive reinforcement is key! So show affirm them of their good behaviors by praising them or giving them treats.
If all else fail, consider taking your Chihuahua to a professional trainer. The right trainer will help you better understand what is wrong and how you can make it right. You could also consider having your chihuahua neutered or spayed as their aggression may be biological in nature. Their hormones are raging and making them aggressive so they may need to have this procedure done.