Many owners have a problem with their Chihuahua biting or snappy out in aggression towards other people and pets. While this is a common trait among the Chihuahua breed, it's something that you must control if you want to provide a safe living environment for them and everyone inside your house. Allowing a Chihuahua to continuously act this way could result in serious injury. If your Chihuahua were to lash out and try to bite a larger dog, it could provoke an attack in retaliation that causes serious injury to them.
Ideally, it's best to start teaching and instilling the principals that biting is NOT okay when your Chihuahua is still a puppy. These teachings will then carry on into their adulthood where they are naturally less likely to bite unprovoked for no reason, but this isn't always an option. Some owners may have adopted an adult Chihuahua from a rescue, or they may have simply "overlooked" this part of training. Thankfully, though, even adult Chihuahuas can be taught not to bite. It may take a little more time and effort, but you can still teach them the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not when it comes to biting.
Like all dogs, Chihuahua puppies will go through a teething stage where they will likely try to bite and chew on anything they see. This feeling is a direct result of their teeth erupting through the gums, which draws them to chew to help alleviate some of the discomfort. Some Chihuahuas may simply gnaw on food, toys and treats, while others will eat everything in sight. In fact, it's not uncommon for owners to come home only to discover their teething Chihuahua has torn up the furniture, curtains or carpet.
Teaching your Chihuahua not to bite starts during the teething stage. Owners that allow their Chihuahua pups to chew on their fingers and hands will have a greater chance of raising a biting Chihuahua. A small Chihuahua pup gnawing on your hand with dull teeth may seem completely safe and harmless, but it send the wrong message that biting is okay. For this reason, it's recommended that you give your Chihuahua pup something else to bite on instead of your fingers.
If your Chihuahua is going through the teething stage, here are some things to remember:
- Don't allow your Chihuahua to bite or gnaw on your fingers.
- Kong toys are some of the toughest dog toys on the market, making them perfect for a teething Chihuahua.
- Keep your Chihuahua confined to a crate or gated area of the house when you aren't able to supervise them.
- Rope toys are also durable and make great toys for a teething Chihuahua.
- Give your Chihuahua rawhide chews as tasty treats to help soothe their discomfort.
Punishing Bad Behavior and Rewarding Good Behavior
Whether your Chihuahua is young or old, you should always punish their bad behavior and reward their bad behavior. When your Chihuahua bites, gnaws or attempts to lash out at you in aggression, say "NO" in a firm manner and immediately take them to their crate for a time out. Under no circumstance should you spank or physically hit your Chihuahua, as this will only make it more difficult to teach them the difference between right and wrong. Instead, a firm "NO" followed by a timeout is all it takes to get the message across. Allow your Chihuahua to remain in timeout for about 15-20 minutes before letting them back out. If they still try to bite you, repeat the process and take them back to their crate.
In addition to punishing their bad behavior, you should also be rewarding their good behavior. Does this mean you have to give your Chihuahua a treat every minute they aren't biting you? Not necessarily, but you should give them a treat when they lick or nose you. Chihuahuas will oftentimes try to show their affection by licking you. Even if you don't particularly enjoy being licked by your friendly Chihuahua, you should still give them a treat for being gentle and not aggressive.
Toys, Toys and More Toy!
I can't stress just how important it is to have plenty of toys for your Chihuahua to play with. Many owners fail to realize that their Chihuahua's biting is a direct result of a lack of toys. When there are no toys around for your Chihuahua to play with, they will naturally try to play with some of the more fragile items and accessories in your home. Unfortunately, things like rugs and the carpet aren't built for a Chihuahua to play with, and as a result they will likely get destroyed. If you haven't done so already, take a trip to your local pet supply store and pick up several different toys for your Chihuahua to play with. My personal favorites are the stuffing-less furry squirrels that have built-in squeakers. They will gnaw and chew on these toys for countless hours, offering them a safe and enjoyable way to relieve some of the tension and desire to chew.
Another common reason why Chihuahuas bite is simply due to boredom. When owners don't take their Chihuahuas outside enough, they will try to let out their energy in other ways, one of which is through biting. I know it's hard for some owners to take their Chihuahuas out every couple hours, but you need to get into the habit of allowing them to run free for at least two 30-minute sessions each day. This will give your Chihuahua much-needed exercise that allows them to release some of their built-up energy, and besides, outside time also doubles as exercise.
Following the tips listed above should help teach your Chihuahua not to bite. Just stay consistent and never let up in your training efforts. It's all too common for owners to grow complacent and start slacking on their training. Keep giving your Chihuahua treats when they are good and making them go to timeout when they are bad.