If you have a Chihuahua, you are no stranger to its aggressive nature. While he/she is a small dog, the attitude is big. In some cases, that attitude can get a chihuahua into trouble along with the owner. Below you will learn what to do when a chihuahua aggressive to other dogs.
About a Chihuahua’s Aggressive Behavior
Many people choose chihuahuas because they are small and cute, unbeknownst to them they are an aggressive dog breed.
The breed doesn’t think of it as small and cute, though. Chihuahuas often act like larger dogs throwing their weight around. This is referred to as small dog syndrome.
Small assertive dogs can come as a big surprise to larger breeds like pit bulls. It can, of course, then turn into a serious problem when chihuahua dogs face the reality of their aggression.
A Chihuahua’s temperament is a bit more active than many people assume. Most of them love to bark, especially at anything that threatens to poach their territory.
For Chihuahua owners struggling with their dog’s behavior, your small dog just needs some obedience training.
Common Causes of Chihuahua Aggression
Dog aggression can be caused by many different things. It’s important to identify what is causing your little dog’s aggressive behavior, so you can work on correcting it. The following are some of the causes of dog aggression.
Dog aggression is both instinctual and behavioral. Chihuahuas have a high prey drive because of their small size. They are highly intelligent, fast, and determined. While this is all great in certain situations, it doesn’t help in other situations, such as at the dog park with unfamiliar dogs and people. Interdog aggression can lead to anxiety for all involved.
Since the Chihuahua’s temperament roots in its instincts to capture prey for dinner and that’s no longer needed, behavioral modification can help. This is especially true if your little guy or girl has learned it’s okay to attack every animal in sight – even bigger dogs.
Chihuahua aggression can also come from trying to get their owner’s attention. Since small dog breeds can have trouble getting the attention of others, they have to do something drastic to get people to make eye contact with them.
Past abuse can also be a cause of aggression. When dogs have been hurt in some way, it’s natural for them to want to defend themselves. This is especially true when they are small.
Territorial behavior often results from having other dogs or people stealing their home base. That’s why some Chihuahuas are so adamant about protecting their space.
What to Do When Chihuahua Aggressive to Other Dogs
Leash-reactive dogs make going for a walk difficult and anxiety-provoking. The barking and lunging alarm other dogs and owners. It’s what ignites dog fights and dog owner injuries. That’s why it’s important to work with an aggressive dog in reducing its instinctual and behavioral responses.
Use a Professional Trainer
Obedience training takes patience, determination, and a stern attitude. A professional dog trainer can work with your dog’s aggression to encourage good behavior in a wide range of settings, such as during social interactions with other dogs and small animals.
The reason many pet parents decide to invest in professional dog training is that it’s easier. While a family will still have to work with their dog outside of training time, the foundation is set for a dog to be successful in changing its behaviors.
DIY Dog Training
There are many resources online to help people dealing with dog aggression. Most of the techniques have to do with exposing your pup to the stimuli that cause the undesirable behavior. When exposed, the dog owner gives a command such as “sit”. When the dog obeys, he/she gets praise and/or treats. Repeating this is what conditions a dog to stop reacting aggressively every time there’s another dog or small animal.
How to Tackle Aggressiveness in Chihuahua Early
If you have or want a Chihuahua puppy, you can make life easier later by tackling the aggression early.
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to train dogs (and humans). Punishment often makes the situation worse. Negative reinforcement can be too difficult to understand, making it ineffective.
As you’re training your Chihuahua to not be aggressive towards other dogs, praise and reward good behavior. Ignore the bad behavior.
Provide Proper Socialization
While dogs are born with a prey drive, they don’t always know what to do with it. At an early age, take your pup to the dog park and other places where there are other dog breeds and new people to meet. If you already have older dogs in your home, you don’t have to work so hard to expose your new dog to others.
Exposure is the most important part of keeping a dog’s aggression from becoming a problem. The more exposure your dog has and coaching to not bark or jump on top of them, the less like you’ll have a Chihuahua aggressive to other dogs later in life.
Other Considerations for a Chihuahua Aggressive to Other Dogs
- It’s always a good idea to check in with your vet because aggression can be a symptom of a health issue. If the aggression is worse, call your vet to ask questions or book an appointment to check for health issues.
- Dog owners who decide to get their Chihuahua from a breeder should do their research to find a reputable breeder. The first few weeks in a pup’s life are crucial in behavior development. A breeder can help keep the aggression at a tolerable level by making sure the parents aren’t exhibiting aggressive behavior towards other dogs. Past abuse from other dogs or even people can often lead to dog aggression.
- Identify the cause of the aggression. Knowing what is causing your Chihuahua’s aggressive behavior can make training easier. For example, if you know your pup has separation anxiety, you can work on that anxiety vs. trying to resolve some other cause of aggression such as protecting territory.
- CBD for dogs can help with training. It has a calming effect and is completely safe and effective. In addition to helping dogs remain calm during stressful situations, it can also reduce barking, destructive behavior, and more. Learn more about how CBD helps with dog aggression to decide if it’s right for you and your pup.
It’s difficult to deal with a Chihuahua aggressive to other dogs, but it’s nothing you can’t resolve. Use the information above to help your pup understand aggression isn’t tolerable. Determination and patience will prove to be worth it when you can finally take a peaceful walk with your pup.