Dealing with furniture guarding
Does your chihuahua growl or snap when you ask him to move off the furniture? Continuing our series on dealing with chihuahua behaviour we are looking at furniture guarding and how to deal with an aggressive chi who thinks he’s the boss.
Chihuahuas have big personalities and can often be seen bossing much larger dogs about and because they are small and cute we tend to baby them and spoil them with lots of cuddles and treats.
All this attention could skew a chihuahuas perception of who is in charge and have a negative effect on chihuahua behaviour. If your chihuahua starts to growl or snap when you try to move him from the couch or bed, then it’s a sure sign that your chi firmly believes he is in charge and the couch or bed belongs to him.
Who’s in control?
You may see behaviours like furniture guarding when your chihuahua has a skewed idea of who’s the boss. This can be down to lack to boundaries or possibly because your chihuahua has been babied and spoilt.
It is never acceptable for your dog to behave in this way, but many owners let them because they are small. Often owners just laugh and ignore it or spend their lives being slightly afraid of their dog.
But your chihuahua would much rather know who’s in charge and once you have re-established yourself as the guardian you may find your dog is more relaxed and happy. You can read more on how to take back control here.
How to deal with furniture guarding
First, you need to establish the rules on furniture from the beginning. Personally, I don’t mind the puppies on the furniture, but I have no hesitation to move them if it suites me or we have visitors. Neither would I expect to be challenged by any of the dogs when I did so.
If you don’t mind them on the sofa, then they need to understand that it is because you allow it and that the sofa belongs to you.
So, what to do if your chihuahua displays aggressive growling or snapping if you move them?
While you are working with your dog on correcting this behaviour put him on a harness and training leash in the house. This way you can remove him without fear of being bitten.
Move him off the couch or bed using the leash if necessary, with a crisp ‘down’ command. Ignore any growls. You can direct him to a cushion on the floor.
If he tries to jump up onto other furniture, then do the same again and repeat as necessary. If his behaviour deteriorates remove him from the room for a few moments. Do this calmly and without drama.
Keep him off the couch until he has accepted that he’s not allowed on the furniture. Now you can invite him up to sit with you on your terms.
What you are aiming for is being able to physically move him or direct him to the floor verbally and your dog comply without incident. When he does do as he is told then reward him with praise or a little treat.
It may take a couple of days or it could be sorted in an hour.
Good basic training will often help stop these behaviours from establishing themselves as it teaches the dog respect for you, the person in charge.
Never physically punish your chihuahua for perceived bad chihuahua behaviour, this will just make him more fearful and therefore more aggressive.
Training your dog needs calm and persistence and lots of praise for doing the right thing. Catch them being good and reward this behaviour.
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