When your little Chihuahua is just a pup, it may seem cute to have them lick you. But as he gets older and bigger, those teeth will start to hurt! Teach your pup to nip and bite gently, and if he doesn’t learn, watch out… he may inflict serious damage.
There are many ways to stop a chihuahua from biting, these include gentle reprimands, training, and desensitizing the dog with hands-on exercises. Squealing like a puppy, playing with chew toys, wearing gloves with bitter substances, and letting your chihuahua know you’re in charge are all also tried and true methods of preventing your chihuahua from biting.
Let’s take a look at the reason why these dogs bite and each of these methods to keep them from being aggressive.
Why Chihuahuas Bite
You might be surprised to learn that Chihuahuas are one of the breeds with the highest tendency to bite people.
Chihuahuas have a “clannish” temperament. They enjoy being around their family and friends, but they don’t take well to strangers. In fact, it’s this aloofness combined with small size and large egos that can make these little dogs seem like they’re trying to be dominant.
One of the most common reasons that Chihuahuas bite is simply because they are territorial. Depending on the individual dog, some chis will just love everyone and want to be petted all day long. Others will feel threatened if someone invades their space, even by accident.
Biting is also the natural response to pain or fear. Your Chihuahua may bite if he fears someone in his home if he’s ill and hurting if you pick him up in a way that scares him, or even when you’re simply petting him too hard.
How to Stop your Chihuahua from Biting
One of the best ways to stop Chihuahua biting is through gentle reprimands. These are basically like warning your pup that if he doesn’t stop, you will give him something less pleasant.
When he bites, even in play, say “ouch!” and immediately take away the toy or end the game; this makes them associate biting with an end to the fun.
To train your Chihuahua not to bite, you need to teach him what is acceptable and what isn’t. Biting can be a sign of playfulness or possessiveness, but it should never be allowed. Be very consistent in punishing behavior that you don’t like.
If your Chihuahua is biting you or a member of the family, tell him “no” in a firm voice and then either end the game or take away his toy for a few minutes. Then try playing again at another time. This will let him know that it’s not okay to play roughly.
Desensitizing Your Dog
To desensitize your chihuahua to hands-on play, place your hand gently on the top of their muzzle. If they don’t react, you can start to move your hand slowly down their neck and body. Do this several times a day for several minutes at first.
As your dog becomes more used to being touched across his entire body, you can begin to pet him more quickly.
If your Chihuahua is still getting over-excited, step away from petting for 10 to 20 seconds before touching him again. This will help him learn not to bite when he gets too excited.
Squealing like a Puppy when Biting
Some people don’t like the idea of not allowing their dog to play roughly or bite during playtime.
If this is the case, you should try training your pup to associate squealing with games and biting. When your Chihuahua bites, give an enthusiastic yelp (or squeal) as if he’s really hurt you.
Your pup will quickly learn that if he plays roughly, you’ll make a lot of noise. If the biting stops, reward your dog with lots of congratulations and affection. You can also try offering him a toy as a distraction when the biting gets too intense.
If your Chihuahua continues to bite even after training, it may be necessary to avoid playtime or anything that encourages rough behavior.
Playing with Chew Toys
If your Chihuahua enjoys chewing while playing, try using chew toys. These are specifically designed to be chewed on without breaking apart. This will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and his jaws strong while teaching him that there are appropriate times for chewing.
Wearing Gloves with Bitter Substances
If you find your Chihuahua bites during play, try wearing gloves with a bitter substance on them. Your pup will learn that those hands don’t taste good and stop biting!
If you’re consistent about wearing gloves every time you play for a few weeks, your pup will learn not to bite during playtime.
Letting Your Chihuahua Know You’re in Charge
Many owners also find that their dogs bite because they are trying to establish who’s boss — or at least test the waters.
To make it clear that you are in charge, avoid physical punishment and always let your pup win during playtime. This will show him that you’re not a threat and he doesn’t need to try to be dominant. When Chihuahuas understand who’s in charge, they often stop biting.
Although Chihuahuas are known for their spirited personalities and feistiness, this will naturally decrease as your pup becomes more socialized with other pets and people. Training them well will greatly reduce any chance of your dog biting.
Train early, train well, and you’ll have a happy, well-behaved Chihuahua in no time.
Above all, remember that Chihuahuas are very intelligent little dogs; if you’re consistent about training and make sure your pup knows who’s the boss, he’ll quickly learn what behaviors are acceptable.
Dogs, like children, respond to the tone in your voice. Avoid screaming at your pup when correcting his behavior; this will only make him fear you and bite more often.
If you are extremely displeased with your pup’s behavior, it may be best to consult a professional dog trainer about your specific situation. Training early and often is the key to having a well-adjusted pet in the future.