Chihuahuas are small, but their size doesn’t affect what they can do. These tiny dogs can be loud, dominant, and unpleasant when deciding to behave that way. Very few people would connect such an attitude with these cute creatures since most believe that only large dogs can be aggressive and dangerous. What a mistake! I saw a Chihuahua attacking Great Dane that annoyed it! So, let’s see why are Chihuahuas aggressive and what to do to prevent such behavior successfully.
Are Chihuahuas Aggressive?
Atlantic published research results showed that more than 4,000 dog owners, responding to questions about the canines’ aggressiveness, reported Chihuahuas as the most aggressive breed among the 35 listed.
The statistics are implacable. In the US, Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized breed. They also make 30% of the population in San Francisco’s shelters, while only pit bulls are a more represented breed in Los Angeles’ shelters. The situation is not better in other cities.
People believe that Chihuahuas are mean little dogs, and their reputation worsens over time. The sad part is that the reason for their misbehavior is not a congenital defect but a lack of training.
In most cases, these small dogs show aggression toward men and bigger dogs. Unfortunately, such behavior is too often a result of inadequate socialization, which puts owners in a bad guys’ role.
Most of them consider their pets as small toy dogs and overlook the risks of potential misbehavior. That way, they get dominant, disobedient, and aggressive dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that all the breed is prone to aggression since every dog is unique.
The Root Of Aggression
When enthusiastic Chihuahuas don’t feel comfortable with people and other dog breeds, or their energy is not directed correctly, the result will often be aggression. The primary causes are:
Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world, which makes it feels vulnerable. Believe it or not, that is often the only reason for aggressive behavior. Therefore, you can see your lovely dog react inappropriately when someone picks it up against its will, for example. It seems that it feels trapped in such situations.
Chihuahuas fear anything large and unknown. For example, they will be afraid when facing a person in a wheelchair, a cyclist, too loud child, or another dog. On such an occasion, they will react aggressively.
Dog owners are prone to tease Chihuahua puppies because they find their reactions fun. Unfortunately, they unknowingly cause aggression in their dogs that way.
4. Too Much Attention
When you treat your Chihuahua as a baby initially, it will start behaving like a spoiled child. For instance, it will refuse to stay alone even for half an hour, demand to be in the center of your attention all the time, and become jealous. Plus, it will expect you to meet all its requirements immediately and react with aggression if you reject.
5. Luck Of Training
It is necessary to teach your Chihuahua all basic commands as you would do with any other dog, including:
- Leave it
When it comes to Chihuahuas, you should add a command ‘enough.’ Only that way, you will get a well-mannered, adequately socialized dog. Keep in mind that ignoring direct commands and leash pulling are reactions of a badly behaving dog, not the whim of a cute little doggy.
6. Small Dog Syndrome
It is a behavior characteristic for all small dog breeds, including Chihuahuas. Almost always, such behavior is a direct result of improper boundary establishment and includes typical symptoms like:
Resource guarding – Such behavior often occurs once you try to take a toy from your puppy. An inadequately socialized dog will start curling its lips and growling in such a situation. It is a highly dangerous reaction when the pet values the toy as necessary to survive and wants to prevent losing it.
Reactive barking – Constant barking includes overreaction to the sound, doorbell ringing, and a human or dog occurrence. That is why the command ‘enough’ is so crucial for this breed.
How To Handle Aggressive Chihuahuas?
The root of the problem with these small creatures is the owner’s expectations. Most people look for a toy dog and stay surprised by the bold personality they haven’t expected. The result is many abandoned Chihuahuas worldwide. So, you should establish rules on time to avoid unpleasant surprises.
An ideal time to start training is when your Chihuahua is 4 to 12 weeks. Another excellent moment is at the age of 7 to 8 months. Take advantage of this period to teach your furry friend how to respond adequately to various situations, including:
- Showing respect and preventing lousy behavior connected with its small size
- Setting the rules and showing it that aggression is not an option
- Making it clear to the dog that you are the boss and it is a pet
Your goal is to get the lovable dog you have chosen in the first place. The best way to achieve that is to start training it on time and choose the right way to get what you want. Let’s see.
Start with firm positive reinforcement training to prevent aggression. Make the rules from the very beginning to suppress dominant behavior.
Positive techniques include determining the food type, mealtime, and allowed sleeping space. Monitor Chihuahuas’ behavior and take care not to let the established lines to blur over time.
Once the problematic behavior occurs, you need to define tasks for your pet to fulfill. Determine what is the reason for aggression and react accordingly. Teach your dog the primary commands, establish expectations, and let it know who the boss is. That is the only effective way to handle Chihuahua.
Chihuahuas are a powerful character in a tiny body. The only way to get a kind companion is to treat your furry friend with love and respect. Otherwise, you will get an aggressive and unpleasant dog that will only bring nervousness and discomfort to your home. Since it won’t be good for both you and the dog, it is necessary to start with adequate training on time.
My name is Jovanka Panic. I am a writer, translator, veterinarian, humanitarian, and a passionate traveler. After playing with white bears and elephants in the Belgrade ZOO and dealing with Rabies virus in the Institute Pasteur, I enjoy writing. My five beasts are my ultimate love, including three cats (Clementine, Josephine, and Sophia) and their ‘mom’ American Staffordshire terrier (Malena).