How To Teach a Chihuahua Not To Bite

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.

Teething Chihuahua Puppy

Teething Chihuahua Puppy

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

Biting Chihuahua

Biting Chihuahua

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 ignore them. 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 lack of attention is all it takes to get the message across. Maintain eye contact to convey your dominance.

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.

Happy Chihuahua

Happy Chihuahua

Avoid Boredom

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.


28 Responses to “How To Teach a Chihuahua Not To Bite”

  1. michele carson says:

    i thank u so much for putting the words up so i can try to have and love my pet more he is driveing my crazy i had him sense he’s been 5wks. i love him and i have put a lot of money in him his name is papi thank u again for your kind words to help me.i will give him away befor i hurt him thank u again i hope to here from u

    • Hang in there Michele! Training isn’t always easy, but your Chihuahua will eventually come around if you remain persistent and focus on positive reinforcement. Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with.

    • Paul Valerio says:

      We just got a long hair chi that is 3 weeks away from getting his first set of shots, (sorry forgot how many weeks he is), we are trying to train him not to bit and chew on everything and was also wondering what kinda of treats to buy him like brand wise and do we buy biskets or what? We did buy some but he won’t even eat them.. we mainly need tips on the chewing and bitting ( which I think is because he is teething) and what kind of toys are best for him?

  2. michele carson says:

    oh i think a have done a good job for a few things .he is puppy pad trained for both it was a lot of work but we made it and i feed him three times aday he eats very good and he do have alot of toys the ones that u r talking about i live in a apartment so he don’t no how to potty out side i fell i’m half way there it hurts when he bites me so i need help thanks again

  3. Olivia Peters says:

    I believe my dog is a chihuahua and was miss treated before I got him so I am wondering how to stop his biting? My dog has bit there daughter and they want him gone.I am staying at relatives for now and they want my dog gone. I do not want to give him away . But I don’t know what.

    Olivia peters

    • Be patient and focus on positive reinforcement rather than punishment. When your Chihuahua begins to show signs of aggression (growling, showing teeth, tense body, etc.), tell them “NO” in a stern manner followed by ignoring them. It’s your tone of voice that will tell them who’s the leader (YOU!). On the other hand, when your Chihuahua is docile and affectionate, show your appreciation with petting, praise and the occasional treat.

      • Giacci says:

        So you say to reward by petting and what not. I rescued my dog and I believe she was abused. She gets aggressive sometimes when I go to put on her jacket to go outside for a walk. And when she gets to the point of being mad and lashing out, she sees red and sometimes wont come back from it for a straight minute or so, so saying no doesnt always work. I dont know what else to do. I love her so much but she has made me afraid of her.

  4. E.M says:

    You should NEVER use your crate as a punishment or time out! Time outs are human psychology!! If your dog bites a firm “NO,” and put the dog on the floor if hes on the couch, otherwise ask your dog for a behaviour you DO agree with, sit, down, etc; and REWARD that behaviour!! NEVER hit your dog!

    Your dogs crate should be a positive and safe place for him/her. As this is their version of a den. They need to be able to go in and out as they please to insure that they feel safe in their own environment!!

  5. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    If you want your dog to prevent biting, you have to spend some time with your dog.. Knowing dog’s behavior is the perfect idea to know the reason behind dog’s aggressiveness. This will help you and your dog in a playful mood..!!

    Thanks for writing on this wonderful topic on a specific breed too.. I would love to have Chihuahua as my new pet :D

  6. WPRCJCPA says:

    Ive been teaching my 3 month old basic commands and he is learning it fairly well. Here are only two things i cant teach, to stop him from biting and where to poop or take his leak. I hope this article helps me on the biting problem.

  7. Brindy says:

    I have a 10 month old Chihuahua mix. She is cute, playful and somewhat trained. I did have a hard time training her not to poop in the house at first. Then I observe her on how long it takes her after she eats that she has to poop and pee. Once I know that ( for her, its two hours), I take her out. Now I don’ have a problem. At night, I put a pee pad in the bathroom and she pees on it if she needs to. My only problem now is how to stop her frm biting even playfully

  8. Jennyb says:

    I have got a male chi who is probably about 1 1/2 I’ve never had a problem, he’s always been “my boy” I tap him on the bum if he wees up something but then again I always have but not hard litterelly like a tiny tap. Recently same scenario he peed on my clean washing I went to tap his bum and he ran away since then the has tried to bite me several times and now doesn’t want to know me. I have a 4 year old and I don’t want to risk her getting bitten but at the same time I don’t want to give up on him. His tail is always curled under when I’m in the room, he won’t look at me anymore it’s really getting me down he will turn his head as far as he can to avoid looking at me. He seems fine with my daughter although I’m not letting her get too close at the moment and is fine with my partner. Any tips or ideas?? I do have another chi that is pregnant but I don’t think that can be anything to do with it as he is fine when I’m around her he doesn’t react or anything?

    • Giacci says:

      my chi does that as well… when I yell at her or tell her no, she wont look at me for hours. try sweet talking? it works for my girl. They hold grudges for some reason.

  9. Enaida says:

    Hi my pinky (her name) chihuahua is 3 months old she she weight 1pound go to the pad to do her stuff i have her in a playpen and the grate inside shes been good the only think is the bitting and wen i put her sweter omg she get so tense and start bitting me she needed were i live is cold shes ok after im put it on, im confuse, maybe she do not like? What should i do? Thanks.

  10. Irish says:

    What would you suggest for a hand-shy and food-aggressive biter? I recently adopted an 18 month old failed show prospect (he was cryptorchid, and although otherwise a perfect conformation candidate, could never be shown because of the hereditary nature of the condition). I had him neutered within a couple of weeks of adopting him, and he has now been neutered for approximately 2 months, so he is about 21 months of age, now.

    His biting occurs either when you try to pet him from the front, or pick him up, and/or when he’s eating or wants to eat something you may have. He is improving with the hand-shy issue, and getting easier to approach from the front or from above, at least with me. Not so much with others–but I’m the one training him, and rewarding him with a treat when he allows the touch of a hand without shying away or trying to bite. However, nothing I’ve tried seems to be working with the food aggression. It’s bad enough that he’s food aggressive if you (or one of my other toy breed dogs) get near him while he eats, but he will also sometimes come all the way from across the kitchen to attack your feet (a distance of 6’10’, depending on which part of the kitchen you’re in) if he happens to be eating. Physical punishment is not an option. My preference is for positive reinforcement for good behavior, and simply ignoring (with or without a sharp “NO” if he’s doing something he shouldn’t) the behavior, when possible. It can, however, be difficult when it comes to a biting dog. Even a tiny one can cause problems if they bite a human, and this little guy can actually draw blood. I know this from unfortunate esperience!

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  11. Jasmine says:

    Hi. When my 4 month old chi nips I tell her NO and put her down which is when she goes to her crate to sulk. I make a point of NEVER reaching into her crate. I always call her and have her come out on her own. I think this is why she willingly goes there. It’s her own special place to hang out or sulk or for her to be alone if she wants to.
    The problem we’re having now is her growling when she sleep and we want to mover her ie. from the couch or our laps. Any suggestions?

  12. BRAELYNN says:

    so this is a real problem i mean but i have been trying to do this for 10 weeks and i just well she went to bite me and i looked her straight in eye and i said NO and u will never guess this is what happened and i felt really bad but she gave me that sad look and bent down and went to her bed i guess since well i have never yelled at her like that before and she actually listened i was just so surprised cause she has never listened to me like that.

  13. Julie says:

    So I just got a Chiweenie two days ago, it was from my godmother so I’m not necessarily sure how old it is. Her name is Mitzi Lee and she is very small. She’s a dachshund and a chihuahua and she loves to bite. She’ll nip at my hands, my feet, my ankles, my thighs, my ears, anything really. When she nips at my hands I was told to make a yelping noise, but it doesn’t work. Ever. Whenever I pull back or ignore her she just comes back and bites harder every time. I’m forced to gently push her away. Her toys are always on the bed for her and I feed her regularly. She goes outside quite often, around four or five times a day for about 5 to 10 minutes each. Sometimes she has moments where she’ll get wild and hop off the bed, bite my fingers, run all around and just be a pain, may I mention that I’m typing this at 6:14 am. I got absolutely no sleep and I just had to put her in her crate and put her down stairs because she was attacking me. She doesn’t hurt much, but she repetitively bites over and over and it’s irritating. My mom smacks her in the face but I tell her not to. She tells me she knows best, but not when it comes to animals.
    I’m usually great with all animals.
    Please help me! I don’t want her to be a biting dog and if she continues I can’t have her stay.

  14. Zoee says:

    @Julie, from what I understand from your story was Mitzi are trying to dominant over you. My Chi used to behave this way when he was 2 months old. Is Chi nature to nip or bite. You will need to consistently correcting Mitzi behavior unfortunately only repetitive training can help. Because of their small nature is kind of hard to chase or correcting them. Best would be on collar and chained when correcting any unwanted behavior till repetitive

  15. sue says:

    My chihuahua richard is 10 and had his shots 3 days ago when I went to pick him up he went to bite me. I’m so upset I cryed. He has never done that before. Thank u for the infoe I feel better.

  16. Wiley says:

    We have a chi is about 3 1/2 years have had him for 1 1/2 years. He was a rescue dog heartworm positive. We got him thru all of that, healthy and happy, but having problems with biting us. Is very lovable and affectionate but if we allow him to vary from his routine, re sleeping, etc. he bites. If he gets too tired and doesn’t sleep at the exact time he is used to he bites us. If we take him outside with a coat on (we are in a colder climate) and bring him inside where it is warm and try to take his coat off, he bites us. We have been trying the social isolation method to correct this but have been slow with success. Is this common behavior with these dogs? Other than this he is very affectionate and intelligent and obedient

  17. Irene says:

    My Chihuahua Tipsy will not stop biting my Mum want him out of the house but i love him soo much i don’t want to part with him. I used soo much money to get him but now he is disappointing me.Ave tried even silent treatment but Tipsy bites everything including my Mum sofa set. kindly advice am not ready to loose him yet

  18. Silver says:

    Hello, okay so I just recently got a 3yr old, female Chihuahua ( Possibly mix ) From a Friend, of a Friend. Her previous owners, could no longer take care of her, plus they had her outside and it was getting cold. So they chose to give her away, rather then bring her in.

    Much to my surprise, when I bring her home. I find out, that she is an extremely timid, and shy Girl. And isn’t fond of loud noises at all. She also wasn’t very fond of my other two Dogs. Angel, a 7yr old Chihuahua mix, and Katsu, a Beagel/Dachshund mix. Since she’s so scared, she attacks them for no reason.

    I’ve been working on this, her former owners hadn’t allowed her to interact with any other Animals at all. She is getting a lot better. And she’s even began playing with Katsu.

    They also had been feeding her Human food, nothing but table scraps. And they wonder why she hadn’t been eating her dog food. It was also, an extremely cheap food. If I was a Dog, I wouldn’t eat it either. It’s proving to be difficult breaking her of that Habit, but she’s slowly becoming acustom to chowing down on her own food. Kibbles and Bits.

    Now, you’re probably wondering what the problem is. It’s a biting problem. And it’s only towards my Sister. She’ll be sleeping beside her, and when she goes too move her, to get up or shift around, etc. She growls and bites at her hands. Now my Sister doesn’t take it well, and places her in the floor. In an angry mood, and I try to explain to her that it’s in a Chihuahuas genes. And that we just need to work on it.

    It irks me, that her former owners did nothing at all to train her. But if you’d please, offer some friendly advice I’d thank you kindly.

  19. kelly says:

    i have a 1 year old chi who has recently started to snap at people and kids in the street, he only started doing this when our other chi got attacked and killed by another dog in front of him and then a few months down the line a couple of teenage girls were trying to antagonise him.
    Im not sure if its because he is now alone, we are getting another puppy next year so am hoping it will calm it down but cant let this carry on, is there any training tips anyone can give me to help stop this behaviour? he is usually such a loving dog and hate seeing him act up in this way.

  20. amanda says:

    My chihuahua is 2 yrs old and she keeps attacking my 10 yr old tea cup poodle. She has just started doing this and I don’t know what to do? I love them and would appreciate any ideas.

  21. Leasha says:

    Hi I have a 13 weeks chi she just keeps biting my 4 year old daughter what do I do

  22. Tim McG says:

    I seriously do not get this don’t physically punish a chihuahua for biting. In the wild, how do animals show their dominance over another dog? Answer: They bite, they snarl they act physically agressive. And you’re telling me we humans should not? Why? I have found that in addition to verbal commands like saying “No” if Fido still isn’t getting the message a sharp tap on the end of the nose does the trick. It is a dog, not a basket of raw eggs, OK? Now I am NOT talking about beating the dog. Beating an animal is wrong and it is always wrong, but to take away the best physical tools we have to use as a last resort is sheer foolishness. They need to know who is boss and the animal way is through physical touch or control. Think like a dog not a psychologist.

  23. April says:

    I have a ten week old chiweenie named Cinnamon, she is very aggressive and bites my hands and snaps at me on a daily basis, she had plenty toys.I’m afraid to take around anyone or my grand babies because I don’t want them to get bit.

    Help me!!

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