Chihuahuas are adorable, fun-loving, and smart little puppers. But if you’re thinking of getting yourself one, you probably want to know more about them. For instance, are Chihuahuas protective?
Do they bite? Can you train them? Do they enjoy being dressed up?
Before you acquire a Chihuahua, it’s important that you know what to expect in terms of the breed’s temperament, trainability, and behavior. You’ll want to make sure that a Chihuahua is a good fit for your household.
Curious about this clever breed? Read on.
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Chihuahuas are friendly and devoted. They will melt your heart with their expressive eyes, silly antics, and attentive nature.
Bred to be human companions and “purse dogs,” Chihuahuas love nothing more than to spend time with their owners. They tend to fixate on a particular person, becoming clingy. They can become so emotionally attached to one of their humans that they will ignore the rest of the family and even try to “protect” their favorite person from his family members.
Chihuahuas may be tiny but they have such bold personalities that they often dominate bigger dogs in the household. They are smart and can follow commands easily. But they can also be stubborn, which means you may have difficulty training them.
In general, Chihuahuas get along well with other dogs and with other animals in the household, including cats. Owners have observed that these dogs prefer the company of their fellow Chihuahuas over other breeds. In households where there are multiple Chihuahuas, these diminutive pooches tend to travel and play as a pack.
Chihuahuas are prone to “small dog syndrome” and have no problem standing up to much bigger dogs. They can be extremely protective of their owners and will often show aggression towards people and animals they perceive as threats.
How Chihuahuas try to protect their owners
Chihuahuas are very loyal and often become jealous and possessive. These tiny dogs take their job as guard dogs seriously. This is an endearing quality but it can also lead to unwanted behavior.
Chihuahuas can take their protectiveness to a whole other level. Because of this, they can become disruptive and may pose a threat to your, your family’s, and your neighbors’ safety. Here are some of the ways Chihuahuas try to protect their humans (and why they can be problematic):
- Yapping and growling
Chihuahuas have a reputation as yappy dogs. If they sense a potential danger to their owners, they will yap endlessly, trying to scare away the threat. These dogs are fearless when they’re in protection mode. They will run towards people and animals they think are intruders and growl or bark.
Unfortunately, your Chihuahua’s incessant yapping can disturb your neighbor’s sleep and disrupt the peace in your community. Fortunately, you can train your Chihuahua to stop barking or yapping on command.
Although rare, some Chihuahuas do bite when they are threatened or angered. This is why these dogs have a reputation for being “little ankle biters.” While Chihuahuas don’t have powerful bites like bigger dogs, they can still cause serious injury.
- Dominant behavior
Chihuahuas are prone to acting like they’re the masters and protectors of the household. This is especially true if the owner was not able to establish himself as the leader of the pack while the Chihuahua was young. Once your Chihuahua has developed a domineering behavior, he can become hard to train.
- Being clingy
Chihuahuas are lap dogs. They flourish on constant attention and love staying close to their owners. But they can sometimes take this behavior too far and become agitated when their owner leaves.
How to train your Chihuahua to be non-aggressive
Chihuahuas are innately protective of their owners. But this protectiveness can result in aggression, which can get both of you in trouble. Help your Chihuahua become less aggressive by:
- Exposing him to other dogs
Socialization is crucial to preventing aggression in any dog breed. Teach your dog to be comfortable around humans and other dogs so that they won’t become aggressive every time they encounter an unfamiliar person or animal.
- Showing him who’s boss
If your dog doesn’t recognize you as its master, it will be difficult to get him to obey your commands. From the day you bring him home, teach your Chihuahua that you are the pack leader.
- Giving him rules
Teaching your Chihuahua basic commands is important. Your dog should learn to bark and hush on command. Teach him to sit, come, and stay to prevent attacks on strangers and to establish the fact that you are the alpha.
- Using positive training practices
According to the American Kennel Club, Chihuahuas are highly intelligent creatures that respond best to positive rewards-based training. Don’t scold or punish your Chihuahua as these are sensitive dogs. If they are often punished or yelled at, they will become fearful and hard to train.
Are Chihuahuas protective? You bet they are. Just make sure your Chihuahua receives sufficient training and socialization so that his protectiveness doesn’t translate to aggression.