Since the vast majority of Chihuahuas - if having a problem with aggression - will fit into the mild to moderate category as explained above, the following steps are to correct this type of issue.
Before you begin, all members of the household must be in agreement. This training will not be successful if the dog knows that he can simply go to another human if he is not happy with what the other is doing. The goal of these guidelines is to teach a Chihuahua that it is his humans who are in charge.
Once a dog learns this, he develops respect for his owners. It is at that point, that aggression will stop. It is important to continue to follow these rules even after a dog has calmed down. In most cases, these things will be done for life.
This is because a dog may test things out again if he has any sense that the hierarchy may be weakening. You will find that keeping things orderly makes for a much more peaceful and harmonious household.
What Not To Do
Many times, owners will act out in frustration. No one plans on obtaining an aggressive dog; the goal was to have a friendly canine family member. When a dog snaps, growls and nips or is not cooperative, owners can sometimes respond without thinking and it can make things worse. Therefore, avoid doing the following:
- Withholding food (there is right way and a wrong way to give meals to a dog, but denying sustenance is not going to help at all
- Yelling - Screaming to intimidate a dog will only lead to him fearing you (when you want him to respect you) or an aggressive Chihuahua may see this as the owner being willing to fight for the Alpha position.
- Threatening the dog physically (holding up a magazine and making a motion as if you were going to smack him, etc.)
- Locking him in a room (this takes away the opportunity to learn good behavior)
What Will Help
Teach all basic commands. This consists of Sit, Stay, Come, Down and Heel. This will be done gradually, as other steps are followed.
An aggressive Chihuahua may not be open to taking commands from an owner at all. However, the Sit command will need to be followed and others will fall into place as leadership is established.
Food plays an integral role in leadership. The leader supplies it. He decides when it is given out. Quite literally, he makes a decision every day about whether a dog will survive.
Therefore, when a Chihuahua truly knows that his survival depends on his owner, he will learn to have a deep respect.
While owners do buy and prepare it, a dog does not understand that it comes from his owner if it is just placed down and the person walks away. Another bad behavior that can develop with an untrained Chihuahua, is guarding his food
and snapping if anyone comes close while he is eating.
For any meal and for any snack, the rule is that the dog must obey the Sit command before his food is placed down or given to him.
Be very firm in this regard. If your Chihuahua has no idea what Sit means, you will need to gently push down on his rump, while repeating the word. It may take one try or twenty, however when he finally holds position for a count of 3, place down the food
Dogs are very territorial and even puppies develop a strong understanding of the property lines of the house. To a dog, the house is the den. The surrounding yard is the territory. Out of all of the humans and all of the pets, the one enters the den first and the one who exits it, is the leader.
It is very easy to mistakenly tell a dog that he is in charge - or the topic is up for debate - when entering and exiting. Dogs are often excited to be taken out and as soon as the leash is on and the door is ajar, they will bound outside.