As a Chihuahua parent, you know the important lesson:
Don’t underestimate them because of their size…
Yes, they remain loved all over the world…
But, Chihuahuas have a reputation for being short-tempered. Plus, they might get bitey…
That’s why the contents of this article might be essential for a Chi parent like you.
You’re about to discover:
- 17 tips to stop a Chihuahua from biting.
- What’s the usual reason why Chihuahuas bite.
- 5 signs that your Chihuahua’s about to bite you.
- And much, much more…
Table of contents
- How to stop a Chihuahua from biting?
- 17 simple tips to stop a Chihuahua from biting
- #1: Watch their body language
- #2: Redirect them with a chew toy
- #3: Hand-feed them from time to time
- #4: Exercise them
- #5: Keep them productive at home
- #6: Supervise!
- #7: Give them time to get used to new beings
- #8: Don’t punish the behavior
- #9: Start ignoring them when they bite
- #10: Don’t tolerate growling
- #11: Keep them socialized
- #12: Use desensitization
- #13: Work on their resource guarding behavior
- #14: Mimic a puppy’s cry
- #15: Give them timeouts
- #16: Consider spaying or neutering
- #17: Seek a professional’s help
How to stop a Chihuahua from biting?
To stop a Chihuahua from biting, you need to train their bite inhibition. You can use desensitization and lessen resource guarding. Other ways include exercise, socialization, redirection, hand-feeding, increased productivity, and ignoring them. You should also watch them and their body language.
17 simple tips to stop a Chihuahua from biting
#1: Watch their body language
To stop a bite from happening, you have to be alert.
Luckily, there are signs that your Chihuahua intends to bite.
Dogs communicate using their bodies. That’s something to take advantage of in this situation.
Closely watch your Chi’s body language. Especially if they’re starting to show the following signs:
Sign #1: Growling is the most obvious indication that a bite’s about to occur.
This is a sign that your pup’s unhappy. And it’s like a warning for you to back off.
Sign #2: Wagging their tail.
Usually, a wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog…
But not this time.
Your Chi might be wagging their tail as a sign of an impending bite.
Their tail will move back and forth in a quick motion.
How do I know it’s not a happy tail wag? It’s when…
Sign #3: Their body is stiff.
They might be wagging their tail, but their body is rigid.
Note: That’s the difference between an excited and aggressive tail wagging. An excited dog would not keep it to themselves, so they bring their body along with enthusiasm.
Their body posture is something to note, too.
You would see that they’re holding tension in their body by the stiffness of it.
Sign #4: Yawning and licking their lips.
It’s not the time for a nap nor a meal…
But your Chi yawns and licks their lips.
You might need to back off.
That’s because such behaviors are performed to release tension.
It’s like your dog’s way of calming themself down…
However, if a threat or stimulus persists, they will not be hesitant to bite.
Sign #5: Their fur is standing up.
There are only a few scenarios where a dog’s fair will stand up. Those cases are fear and overstimulation.
Both of those situations could make your dog want to bite.
That’s why you’d see the hair on the back of their neck is raised.
Also read: Chihuahua Bite Force PSI: 5 Facts, Statistics & Fatalities
#2: Redirect them with a chew toy
Dogs are both complex and simple creatures…
In this scenario, they’re the latter.
That’s because you’ll just use simple redirection to your Chihuahua. Once you do that, you could be free from a bite.
The redirecting object is a chew toy.
Your Chihuahua will be encouraged to bite on the toy instead of your hand or finger.
With that, it’s a great opportunity for me to remind you not to offer your finger or hand alone to your Chi.
Make sure that you don’t put your hands near their mouth. If you do, your Chi might disregard the knick-knack and go straight for the hand…
You wouldn’t want that…
So, the next time you play with your Chihuahua, get a chew toy ready on the side…
#3: Hand-feed them from time to time
Hand-feeding is the action where you give food to your canine with your bare hands.
And, as opposed to the popular belief, hand-feeding dogs could be a helpful thing. AKC tells us so.
That’s why, from time to time, you should try hand-feeding your Chi.
How exactly is hand-feeding helpful in this case?
I would provide 3 answers for that…
Effect #1: It teaches your Chihuahua to control their impulses.
In this, you’d have to close your hand a little bit or totally.
This will make your dog back up a little. After that, you must open your hand fully and offer them the treats.
Doing so will make your Chi think that mugging you won’t be rewarding.
It’s like teaching a child about greed. Your Chi will learn that they won’t need to be eager to be fed.
Effect #2: Hand-feeding encourages slow-eating.
Since you’re in control of their food in this, you get to choose how much to give per chew.
By doing so, your Chi would eat slowly. Then, that would prevent them from bloating and having bad gas.
Warning: It’s important to encourage dogs to eat slowly. I mentioned that it prevents bloating, which could be a fatal condition for canines.
Effect #3: It builds trust and strengthens the relationship between the two of you.
It makes your dog think that approaching you will make good things happen…
Like being fed!
Hand-feeding is also an effective distraction method. It keeps your Chi focused on you and the food that you gradually provide.
Now, there’s actually an effect #4 for this…
However, I’ll save it for later. That’s because I’ll be using a separate section.
I don’t want to spoil you as I’ll be explaining it further in the article…
#4: Exercise them
As a Chihuahua parent, you know how it feels sometimes…
It’s like you have a tornado for a companion…
I say so because they’re dogs with high energy.
Which is such an anomaly for some people. Chis are small dogs, but they have such huge personalities…
Oh, how dogs work in mysterious ways…
Going back, it’s because of that energy that your Chi could be too playful. And sometimes, they go way overboard and begin acting aggressively…
Maybe they’re that way because they didn’t have the chance to burn their stamina for the day…
With that, even a little attention from you over-stimulates them…
Remember: An over-enthusiastic dog might not have any breaks.
That’s where the importance of exercise comes in.
Your Chihuahua must get enough.
If they do, the activity might lessen playful or aggressive behaviors.
Not only will exercise burn their towering energy, but it will also help your Chi to be more:
“How much exercise do they need, then?”
Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
If that isn’t met, biting is not the only risk. According to PetMD, an under-exercised dog shows the following:
- Weight gain.
- Persistent barking.
- Sudden withdrawal.
- Destructive behavior.
- Lack of interest and reluctance to activities.
#5: Keep them productive at home
Your Chi’s daily exercise routine is done for the day…
However, they’re still packed with stamina.
They leap here and there. Then, they jump on you and become too playful…
It makes you ask:
“What’s up with my Chi?”
They still have too much energy because they do!
Apparently, the exercise isn’t enough for the day.
Or maybe, your Chi took a nap and regained their spirit.
Whichever it is, how could you prevent such from happening?
I have an easy hack for you:
Keep your Chi productive at home.
Not the kind where you make them do chores around the house, though…
What I mean is to keep them busy and stimulated throughout the day.
You can provide them with toys that are interactive and cite their curiosity.
Moreover, such toys are beneficial for their intellect. It’s an exercise for their mind and keeps it sharp.
Here’s a list of terrific recommendations for your energetic Chi:
- Check this beginner dog puzzle for your curious Chihuahua. It hides treats in easily-accessed compartments.
- Want something more advanced for your pooch? This strategy toy puzzle called ‘The Mini Mover – Level 3 Dog Puzzle’ will be a fun challenge.
- What StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy does is more than wobbling. As it does, it dispenses treats for your persistent and excited Chi.
Note: Make sure to switch between toys every other day. By doing this, you keep your Chi interested with their knick-knacks for a long time.
Now, why is this necessary?
I advise this because there’s this thing called neophilia in dogs…
What is neophilia?
It’s a hard-wired condition in your canine.
It makes your pooch grow tired of the old things that they have. With that, they begin to desire brand new toys.
Take it from this study:
Out of all the scenarios, the unfamiliar object is chosen by the subject dogs 76% of the time.
With that, researchers are able to conclude one thing. And it’s the fact that dogs have a strong preference for new items.
A method for preventing bites is always to supervise your Chi…
Furthermore, doing so will also help you do my tip #1 (Watch their body language).
Now, this is important, especially if a child is present. Regardless if your Chi is familiar with the kid or not.
The point is, you must constantly keep an eye on your pooch.
Note: You could still let your Chi socialize with other people and fellow canines. I’ll explain the importance of this later in tip #11.
For now, I want to clarify that your Chi could still be part of the group.
They just need extra supervision when other beings surround them.
But with enough training and getting used to it, your Chihuahua can properly behave. That’s why you should…
Continue reading: Are Chihuahuas Good With Kids? 7 Dangers + 5 Tips
#7: Give them time to get used to new beings
This is essential as Chihuahuas are usually a one-person dog…
That means that they’re centered on their dog parent. And that attitude is what makes them reserved with other creatures.
With that, your Chi would need a little time to get used to new beings.
It’s only at first that they’re not friendly with other people or their fellow puppers.
After a bit of time and patience, your Chihuahua could earn new friends.
Now, how exactly would you help your Chi to pull this off?
Introducing your Chi to new people
Method #1: If your friends are coming over, prepare your Chi accordingly.
Make sure that your pooch is fed and exercised.
Once your group arrives, put your Chi in a different room first.
Let your guests settle for a while. The greeting fiasco, all that hugging, and handshakes can trigger your Chi to react.
If your friends are already settled in the house, you can introduce your Chi to them calmly.
Method #2: If outside, put your pooch on a loose leash.
This allows you to control their movements and keep them close to you.
Method #3: Let your friends or strangers give your dog treats.
This makes your Chi think that interactions are rewarding and not threatening.
Method #4: You have to keep yourself calm.
Your dog learns from you. With that, if a stranger is around and your Chi starts acting up, remain calm.
Level with them and use a happy voice to encourage them to be gentle, too.
Moreover, advise your friend or the stranger to keep their cool.
Reacting suddenly and with a loud voice could only escalate things.
Method #5: If it’s the first time your Chihuahua meets this person, keep the interaction short.
After a while, every time you make your friend and furbaby meet, they become used to each other. With that, interactions should grow longer every time it happens.
Introducing your Chihuahua to another dog
Method #1: Let your Chi take the wheel.
Watch your Chi closely as you practice this method.
You should let them decide on the pace of their getting-to-know stage.
Dogs are different from each other. Some will prefer to play right away. Others would seem to be having doubts.
With that, remain patient.
Start with reasonable proximity between the dogs. If your Chi advances calmly, they’re ready to take it to the next level.
However, if your pooch shows signs of stress or discomfort, take it down a notch for a while. That’s because your Chi might need more time.
Method #2: Introduce them on neutral grounds…
Outdoors will be the perfect place for a meet-cute for your Chi and another canine.
Doing this will prevent territorial behaviors from both dogs.
Method #3: Reward them for behaving.
During walks, bring a little bag of treats for your Chi.
In case that they come across a fellow canine and behave, reward the behavior.
This’ll encourage your pooch to be less reactive.
Reading tip: Are Chihuahuas Friendly, Loving and Nice? 9 Facts Revealed
#8: Don’t punish the behavior
Let’s play a hypothetical scenario:
During play, it might be shocking to be bitten by your Chi…
Without any warning at all, they gnaw at your fingers.
Due to the sudden action, you weren’t able to control your impulses. With that, you smacked your Chi…
Doing so only escalated the tension between the two of you…
That’s because smacking is a form of punishment. Whether you intended to do it or not, it sends the wrong message to your Chi.
It could only intensify the situation. Plus, it increases the likelihood of the behavior from happening again.
According to research, the punishment could only increase and encourage unwanted habits.
Moreover, it tells us that punishment’s a welfare concern. That’s because it might be an effective training method, but it causes anxiety to the punished dog.
For further reading: 7x Why Chihuahuas Are So Aggressive + 19 Tips To Stop It
#9: Start ignoring them when they bite
Since punishment’s off the table, you could resort to ignoring your Chi.
There’s a tendency that your pooch intends to bite you playfully…
Regardless, you should remain dismissive of this behavior.
It’s not to act like your Chi doesn’t have wrongdoings. You do this so that your pup would be discouraged from doing it again.
For a dog, a reaction is attention.
And for your furbaby, the latter is such a reward.
You might be saying:
“I can’t always ignore them forever, right?”
Yes, that’s why this tip isn’t done yet…
After ignoring your Chi, who intended to bite you (or they playfully bit you already), wait for them to calm down.
Once they’re still, that’s where you give them attention.
This conditions your dog that behaving is more rewarding. And that biting you would cause you to stop playing with them.
#10: Don’t tolerate growling
Make your place a ‘no growling zone.’
That’s because growling could be an initiation of an impending bite.
First, let’s get familiar with the 2 types of growling:
This is a positive type of growling.
Grunts and grumbles often accompany it.
You’d notice this when your dog’s playing with another canine.
This growling is an indication of aggressive intent. It aims to threaten or show concern.
It’s what you should look out for if you aim to stop your Chi from biting.
If you remember from tip #1, growling is the first sign of an impending dog bite.
So, if you create a ‘no growling’ environment in your place, you might lessen this instance.
“How can I do this?”
An authoritative and straightforward ‘no’ can make your dog back off.
If not, you could ignore them and wait for them to stop. Once they do, that’s where you approach them again.
Note: Do this consistently, and your Chi will eventually learn that growling is a no-no.
You might also like: Are Chihuahuas Mean? 5 Chi Owners Share Their Experiences
Humans don’t just learn in school. We continue to learn every day with even the little interactions we get with other people…
It’s one of the many amazing things that we experience in this world…
Moreover, this genuine fact is true for dogs, too.
Your Chihuahua could learn a lot from their interaction around the world.
Frequent socialization will teach them how to react to their environment. And it’s you who will guide them through it as well…
Why is socializing important?
It’s because it could eliminate unnecessary fear and aggression.
Your Chi would learn how to react around them healthily.
Note: You should do this tip as early as possible.
That’s why experts recommend socializing your dog starting from when they’re a puppy.
But, how about adult dogs with poor socialization?
Don’t worry. Contrary to popular belief, there are still things that you can do…
How to socialize your adult Chihuahua
Method #1: Keep their experiences positive.
This is a little challenging. It’s because you never know what the world has to offer for the day…
Regardless, it’s a significant task that you must ensure.
Choose the right people, canines, and places for your dog to interact. Doing so might guarantee a positive experience and build your Chi’s trust.
Method #2: Walk them regularly.
Walking is not just an exercise to make use of your Chi’s energy…
It’s the perfect routine to meet fellow canines as well.
If you come across a new dog in one of your daily walks…you know what to do. (Follow ‘Introducing your Chihuahua to another dog’ under tip #7)
Method #3: Introduce your Chi to dog parks and follow their pace.
Like I said in tip #7, dogs differ from one another.
Some would want to play immediately, while others would like to do a recon first.
On the other hand, dog parks are the epitome of dog interactions.
There, many canines enjoy playing with one another. Moreover, dog parents come together and play around with other doggos, too.
With that, it’s the perfect place to let your Chi socialize.
However, if your pooch is shy, you’d have to introduce them to dog parks gradually.
Maybe one day you could pass by it on your walk. Then, the next day, you could stop for a few seconds.
After a few days, your Chi might start leading you to go to the play area…
There begins numerous beautiful adventures in the dog park…
#12: Use desensitization
Your Chi’s biting behavior might be due to fear and anxiety.
Such emotions could confuse your dog. And because of that, unwanted behaviors could manifest.
Thankfully, many methods are developed to help with such issues.
One of those methods is desensitization.
It would help decrease a reaction from your anxious Chi. Moreover, it could altogether get rid of their anxiety – given that it’s used correctly.
How to desensitize your Chihuahua
Step #1: You have to expose your Chi to their usual stimulus.
Although, you only have to present it to them for a short while.
Once a reaction is given, remove the stimulus.
Step #2: After a short while, reintroduce the stimulus. Only this time, expose your Chi to it for a little longer.
Step #3: Do step #2 again and again. Every time you do, the length of exposure should increase.
As time passes, your dog could grow used to the stimulus.
#13: Work on their resource guarding behavior
Oh…if food is in the equation, then your Chi will definitely be ready to bite.
That behavior is due to their innate drive to guard their resources.
In the wild, Chihuahuas have to protect their food. If they don’t, they would need to either hunt again or starve…
Now, despite domestication, dogs still show this possessive attitude towards their belongings.
Yes, not just with food. This also includes their toys and even their dog parents.
However, it’s not a lost cause. There are ways to lessen resource guarding behavior in your Chi.
First of all, this is the effect #4 of hand-feeding that I was talking about in tip #3.
You could try hand-feeding your dog their kibble. By doing so, your pup will be relieved that you don’t take food but actually give it.
Moreover, the ASPCA gives us one method, and I’ll call it:
“What have you got there?”
I call it that way because that question is repeated in the method.
Here it goes:
It’s the same as desensitization. Only this time, you’re the stimulus.
Every meal, greet your Chi and ask them, “What have you got there?”
Make sure to use a calm and conversational tone.
And at first, you should keep your distance.
The less that your dog reacts, the more you go near them.
Once you’re near them, take precautions. Start to try and put your hand near their food.
You could also try adding more treats or kibble to their bowl.
If they allow it, pick it up and raise it a little.
Also check out: Are Chihuahuas Dangerous? 7 Facts About Chis and Aggression
#14: Mimic a puppy’s cry
Yet again, you’d use the dogs’ language to your advantage.
You should squeal like a puppy when your Chi bites you. This might stop them on their tracks…
“How exactly can I squeal like a puppy?”
Every time your Chi bites you, let out a pitchy ‘ouch!’ or ‘ow!’
Moreover, after that, you should ignore your Chi…
And I repeat, once they finally behave, that’s when you pay attention to them.
#15: Give them timeouts
If your Chihuahua bites you during playtime, don’t tolerate it. Go and give them a time out.
It’s an effective negative reinforcement training method…
“I just have one concern. It’s a negative method…”
I understand. However, by negative, it only means that you’re taking something from your dog. Doing so will help you reduce or eliminate unwanted habits.
And in this method, that something you’re taking from them are freedom and company.
But, to make it effective, you have to do it the proper way.
Here’s how you could use time outs properly on your Chi:
Reminder #1: Watch your timing.
In this method, timing is everything.
Put your Chihuahua into time out immediately after they bite you or someone.
Don’t hesitate for a second or two…
It’s because waiting for longer might be meritless. The time-out would be nothing more than a change of scenery for your Chi.
They won’t be able to associate the unwanted behavior with the consequence.
Reminder #2: Remain consistent in practicing this method.
Once you start this, you should continue it for every instance.
So, every time that your pooch bites, they receive a time out.
If you have a multi-dog household, apply this rule to every canine. Doing so will eliminate confusion between your fur babies.
Reminder #3: Choose the most boring room or corner in your place.
Putting them in an exciting room would be no consequence.
Instead, place them in a room where no one goes in and out so much. The laundry room will do.
If such is not available, a plain-colored corner will do the trick as well.
#16: Consider spaying or neutering
If your Chi is still intact and you’re thinking of spaying or neutering them…
I’m here to tell you that it’s great that you’re considering it.
It will help reduce aggression. Therefore, it decreases the chances of your Chi from biting.
Not only that, spaying or neutering could also:
- Eliminate sexual frustration.
- Decrease destructive behaviors.
- Minimize humping and mounting.
- Reduce your dog’s desire to roam.
- Diminish urine marking tendencies.
- Your home will be cleaner as your female dog won’t go into heat periods anymore.
This tip could help lessen the birth of unwanted litters, too. With that, the occurrence of euthanasia decreases as well.
Did you know? Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dogs. That’s because of high birth rates.
There are also so many Chihuahuas in the shelter due to the same reason.
#17: Seek a professional’s help
If all else fails, your Chihuahua might need help from a professional.
First, seek a vet’s help. Tell them about your Chihuahua’s biting issue.
Then, they might assess your dog. That’s because some medical conditions could contribute to sudden aggression…
The VCA Hospital gives us a few examples of those conditions. They are:
- Dental diseases.
- Hyperkinesis or muscle spasms.
If your pup doesn’t have any of these, then it might indeed be a behavioral issue.
With that, you could ask the doctor for any animal behaviorist recommendations.
That professional would help you deal with your Chi’s issue in the most suitable way.