Some people in forums say that Chihuahuas are more dangerous than Pitt Bulls.
But are Chihuahuas really that dangerous?
Keep reading to discover:
- 7 must-read facts about Chis and aggression.
- The real answer to “Are Chihuahuas dangerous?”.
- How you can prevent your Chihuahua from showing aggresive behavior.
- And more…
Table of contents
Are Chihuahuas dangerous?
Chihuahuas are not inherently dangerous or aggressive. Like all dogs, they can develop bad or aggressive habits through improper care, lack of training, or mistreatment.
To have a well-mannered Chi, you must understand the reasons behind their aggression.
Below we will explore…
7 facts about Chihuahuas that contribute to their aggression
#1: They are naturally suspicious
One of the most common causes of aggression in Chihuahuas is fear. They are typically wary of new people and animals.
This natural suspicion is a survival instinct. A new presence of a person or animal could pose a threat.
Suspicion is an inherent character trait for your Chi. What is important is teaching them not to express this through aggression.
Fear-based aggression can be tough to tackle. It takes lots of correction of many behaviors.
So, what now?
You should start by observing your Chi’s body language.
According to the ASPCA:
‘A fearful dog might not show her teeth or growl to warn the victim off. In this kind of situation, the only warning is the dog’s fearful posture and her attempts to retreat.’ASPCA
Learning what your Chi does before being aggressive is key. This will help you identify when they are about to act out.
#2: They are protective
Chihuahuas can be both protective and territorial. This ties in closely with their natural suspicion.
Dogs of any kind can assume the role of the ‘protector.’ This is sometimes called the ‘leader’ or the ‘alpha.’
Your Chi will take the protector role if they feel you need protection. It is crucial to show that you are the one protecting them.
Obedience training is a great way to teach your Chi that you are in charge.
Here are 5 commands to master:
- Look/Look at me.
- Leave it.
Getting your Chi to listen to you and not react to other stimuli is key.
The more willingly your Chi listens to you, the more trust they will have in you.
Positive reinforcement training is much more effective than punishment.
Caution: It is important to never physically punish your Chi. This will only teach them to distrust you.
Instead, focus on teaching and rewarding good habits. Teach corrective words, such as ‘no’ and ‘bad’ for when your Chi disobeys.
Focus on correction, not punishment. For severe aggression, consult a veterinarian or a specialized dog trainer.
#3: They are fiercely loyal
Once you have your Chihuahua’s trust and cooperation, they will be loyal.
Loyalty can be detrimental without boundaries. It can quickly turn into territorial aggression.
Socialization helps in minimizing a territorial attitude. Socialization will also help manage their suspicion.
Your Chi needs to have an openness to new people, animals, and places. Otherwise, they will have difficulty accepting newness in the home.
There are many ways to socialize your Chi:
- Schedule play dates.
- Take them on walks in popular areas.
- Take them to dog parks with small dog enclosures.
- Bring them to restaurants with dog-friendly patios.
- Introduce them to friends, family and other pets regularly.
Any dog owner wants a loyal dog, but that bond still needs boundaries. Besides socialization, you can also set boundaries such as:
- Not allowing your Chi to approach others before you.
- Making your Chi sit and stay when answering the door.
- Making designated “No Chi allowed” spaces in the home.
You are in charge, and you make the rules.
#4: They have ‘small dog syndrome’
Your Chi wants to prove they are small but mighty!
Purina defines small dog syndrome as:
‘A collection of behaviors displayed by small dogs, behaviors that have the effect of overcoming any deficits caused by being small in stature.’Purina
Examples of these behaviors include:
- Leash pulling.
- Reactive barking.
- Jumping on people.
- Excessive growling.
- Confrontational attitude.
Small dog syndrome can be unlearned with proper training and socialization
It all ties back to showing your Chi that you are the protector and leader.
Small dog syndrome behaviors can be much more excessive, however. Therefore, training and boundary building may require more effort.
The keys to teaching better habits are:
Building a daily training routine can work wonders. Plus, it gives your Chi activity to look forward to each day.
#5: They are communicating
Aggression is often a sign of poor or lack of training.
However, your Chi may be aggressive as a means of communication.
A dog cannot express themselves in the same way as a human. When they are in pain, they must find a way to let us know.
Dogs will usually alert us to pain through whimpering and guarding an area of their body.
Sometimes we misunderstand these signals and touch or aggravate the painful area.
This can cause our dogs to lash out at us
It is important to not let aggression go unaddressed. It is also important not to teach our dogs that communicating pain is bad.
In this scenario, a veterinarian visit is your best option.
Figuring out where the pain is coming from will be key.
If you cannot immediately go to a vet, try to soothe your Chi by petting other areas. You will want their utmost trust so you can investigate.
As for the aggression, firmly but calmly correct the behavior. Remember that they are acting out of pain, not disobedience.
Do not push your Chi. Stop touching them in the painful area if they continue to lash out.
#6: They have mood swings
Chihuahuas may be fierce, but they are also sensitive creatures!
Chis are smart and highly aware of their surroundings. Changes to their environment can cause changes in their moods.
This can include:
- New scents.
- New or loud noises.
- Layout rearrangements.
- Absence of a person or pet they are used to.
Just like humans, Chihuahuas can react negatively to change. This can result in aggressive or depressive mood swings.
Chihuahuas are homebodies. When a change occurs, it is important to help them acclimate.
If they are depressed, a little extra attention or a special treat here and there can help.
Reinforcing mealtime and training routines is crucial
Your Chi will find familiarity in these, which can help to make them more comfortable.
Keep in mind:
Mood swings can also indicate health issues. There are medical conditions that can affect your Chi’s mood and aggression levels.
- Thyroid issues.
Any health condition can also cause changes to your Chi’s mood…
You want to watch out for mood changes that do not have an apparent cause. Other signs to look out for include:
- Lack of focus.
- Loss of appetite.
- Excessive licking.
- Irregular bowel movements.
Of course, if you think your Chi has a medical condition, contact your vet. If you’re unsure of the problem, you can always have your vet do a full physical exam.
#7: They don’t like teasing
We’ve talked a lot about Chihuahua’s behavior. Let’s talk a moment about human behavior.
Teasing Chihuahuas can be a comical practice, especially when they have dramatic reactions.
It’s easy to take this too far, and purposefully upset or anger your dog.
This is unfair to them. No one likes being teased relentlessly.
If you push them too far and then punish them, this will only teach them to fear you. In turn, this makes training your Chi that much harder.
Chihuahuas do not have the same reasoning capacity as humans. Another human may get the joke, but your Chi will not.
Here are a few examples of bad teasing:
- Blowing in their faces.
- Poking or pushing them repeatedly.
- Offering treats and then snatching them away.
There are lots of cute way to play with Chihuahuas. Purposefully angering them does not have to be one of them.
A good alternative to teasing is teaching your Chihuahua to play games! Chihuahuas can learn lots of games, including hide and seek.
Here is a great video on how to play with your dog:
You might also like: 25 Simple Ways To Make (And Keep) Your Chihuahua Happy
Aggression in Chihuahuas is no laughing matter.
However, your Chi doesn’t deserve the bad rep! They can be as obedient and gentle as any other dog.
Proper training is crucial to setting your Chi up for success.
Remember these five takeaways:
- Correct bad behaviors and reward obedience.
- Teach your Chi that you are their protector.
- Socialize your Chi early and often.
- Be mindful of when your Chi may be sick or in pain.
- Treat your Chi with respect when playing.
Setting up healthy habits and routines will make for a great life for your Chi.
Consult with local dog training experts or veterinarians on how to best train your Chihuahua.