When it seems your chihuahua hates your partner, it can cause a lot of tension and unhappiness in the household. But, don’t despair it’s more common than you think. ‘My chihuahua hates my partner and growls at him’ is one of the more common question that come into the blog. In fact our Prince had to go and stay with my daughter while the girls were in season. This is exactly what he did when her BF came to stay. Prince was growling and barking at him being a right PITA.
While any dog can take against any person, man, woman or child, in most of the cases we have helped it has been a chihuahua taking against a male partner. But the advice below is good for any gender and any age.
Don’t despair if your chihuahua growls at your partner we can help you turn your partner and your chihuahua into BFFs.
First you need to do a little detective work and decide why your chihuahua hates your partner
If she is barking like crazy, then running off to hide and refusing to interact, it probably a fear-based issue.
If she is growling and snapping at him when he sits next to you on the sofa, then it’s likely to be a resource guarding behaviour.
What to do if she is scared of your partner
If you think you are dealing with a fear based issue and your chihuahua is scared of your partner then, first, take the heat out of the situation. Give both your partner and your chihuahua a rest from the stress.
Your partner needs to ignore the dog. No eye contact, trying to coax her or pet her and no trying to force any kind of interaction. Do this for a couple of days.
Next your partner needs to sit on the floor and talk to you naturally. While he is doing this toss out a couple of high value treats. I mean high value, none of this kibble nonsense. Go for a nice bit of sausage or cheese.
The treats need to land far away enough that your chihuahua feels she can take them without being under pressure.
Gradually, over time have the treat getting closer until it is on your partner’s leg. Still don’t acknowledge or try to engage.
Move from this to eating out of a flat hand. Still no engagement.
Once your chihuahua is eating out of a flat hand your partner can start to talk to the dog in a calm soothing way. Don’t make direct eye contact. Dogs consider this aggressive and rude.
Progress to taking from fingers and calling the chi to you. You can try some contact but don’t try to pat on the head. Dogs consider this an aggressive action. Go for a tickle under the chin or a scratch behind the ears.
Build on this new found trust and get your partner to put down your chihuahuas food, take her for a walk and put the harness on, brush her and play games with her. Everything needs to be done very calmly and in stages.
I can’t tell you how long this will take, it depends on how deep your chihuahua’s issues go. It took Prince just a couple of days to realise what side his bread was buttered. Now him and the BF are BFF’s.
Some tips on avoiding getting off on the wrong paw.
Avoid picking up your chihuahua and presenting her to your partner for interaction. If she is already shy and fearful, she will hate this. Picking her up and you are pushing her into a social interaction she can’t handle then holding her there. Sure-fire way to get a bitten finger. Read more about picking up your chihuahua here
Does your partner comes home wearing outdoor clothing, big boots, high viz jackets or a hat? If your chi is a rescue from a puppy farm this type of clothes may remind her of the people who ran the farm. She may just find these clothes threatening. A lot of dogs dislike high viz jackets.
Avoid patting the dog on the head or making direct, staring eye contact, all dogs consider this aggressive behaviour.
When first introducing your chihuahua to another person, let her come to them rather than chasing her around insisting on a cuddle.
In summary, gently does it.
However, if your chihuahua never grows fond of your partner you may have to consider re-homing. It’s sad but eventually you’ll meet someone your chihuahua likes!
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