Furniture guarding: dealing with chihuahua behaviour


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.

Does your chihuahua growl when you move him off the furniture?

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.

He is not enjoying it

Your dog will start to take charge when he perceives his people are displaying weakness or lack of discipline, but it might be wrong to assume your dog wants this this role and that you are in a constant battle to be the dominant party. He does this because he is hardwired to protect the pack and when he feels no-one is in charge he will do what he can to step up to the plate.

Once you have re-established yourself as leader of the pack you may find your dog is more relaxed and happy.

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.

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 training leash in the house. This way you can remove him without fear of being bitten.

Move him off the sofa or bed using the leash if necessary and if he growls banish him from the room and sit in his place. Do this calmly and without drama.

Keep him off the couch in this way until he has accepted that you are the boss, direct him to his bed or a floor cushion when he comes in the room. It must be lower than you.

Be the boss

Once the equilibrium has been established you can ‘invite’ him back up. Start with making him sit before you pat the sofa with your invitation. This way your dog knows he is allowed back up on your terms.

Good basic training will often help stop these behaviours from establishing themselves as it teaches the dog respect for you, the person in charge.

Catch them being good

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.

You might like to read How to deal with:

Aggressive Chihuahua Behaviour

Possessive Chihuahua Behaviour

Socialising Your Puppy


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