If your chihuahua is snapping or biting when you try to take an item from her then read this!
Establishing Good Chihuahua Behaviour
As ever it is a good idea to establish good chihuahua behaviour while your chi is still a puppy. Get them used to you and other people taking toys and items from her, fishing stuff out her mouth and touching her food bowl.
Puppies are an open book and their behaviour patterns will be guided by you. Establish yourself as the boss from the start and make sure it stays that way.
Some possessiveness is to be expected and is inbuilt behaviour and harks back to their wild ancestors when dogs had to be possessive over food to survive.
But if your chihuahua is chewing on your Jimmy Choo’s or has something dangerous in her mouth then you need to be able to take it from her without the risk of being bitten.
Possessive chihuahua behaviour can be exhibited by snarling or grumbling under their breath, the curled chihuahua lip, snapping to full-on contact biting.
So, what can you do if your chihuahua behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t despair it is possible to nip this possessive behaviour in the bud.
It’s Not You It’s Me
First look at how much of this aggressive, possessive behaviour is your dog reacting to your body language.
She is not eating your Mulberry purse because she wants to be naughty, dogs have no real perception of right or wrong, she is doing it because it’s nice and chewy. But when you start jumping up and down and waving your arms about in horror and advancing towards her at speed, she will see this behaviour as strange and aggressive, making her fearful and defensive. We know that chihuahuas are fear biters, so the stage is set for a snappy confrontation.
If you constantly take ‘toys’ from your puppy and never give them back then she will become defensive, so if she has something unsuitable in her mouth exchange it for something else and make it more exciting.
Teaching puppy the ‘leave’ command as part of her basic training is also a good idea, but if your chihuahua is way past all of this then we need to do more to change her perception of what is happening. We looked at the advice from dog trainer and dog behaviourist Dr Ian Dunbar about how to deal with this tricky issue.
So, let’s teach her that good things happen when a person approaches her toys. This is going to involve high value treats, the kind that you dog will stab you in your sleep for!
Train her to take & let go
Find a toy or object that she likes that you both can hold and praise her when she takes her end. Don’t let go your end and instigate a game of tuggy. After a short game stop playing.
Have an end of game command like ‘thank you’ or ‘give’ and offer her a treat. She will let go of the toy to take the treat and this is the time to praise her as well as give her the treat. Don’t let go of your end of the toy.
Repeat this process for a few times until she is comfortable letting go of the toy.
Repeat & repeat again
Start again but this time escalate it by letting go of your end of the toy as well. Continue until you can let go of your end of the toy and retrieve it without consequence.
Praise her a lot when she takes up the toy and always when she lets go.
Repeat this activity two or three times on a regular basis and with different toys until she recognises that relinquishing the toy on command is a positive thing, then start to downgrade the treats until verbal praise is the reward.
If you are not confident that your chihuahua is not going to bite you at the start of the process wear a glove, because if you are nervous and timid your dog will pick this up and reflect your body language.
If you have absolutely no luck with this, don’t give up. Your future relationship with your pup is so important that it is worth investing in some 1:1 time with a local dog trainer. They will be able to observe you with your chihuahua and help you iron out any possible issues.
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