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13 Shocking Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are So Aggressive & Mean

Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive Mean

Is your Chihuahua intense and protective?

Barking and growling seem to be their second nature.

Do they snarl and nip when they’re not getting their way?

Keep reading to learn:

  • How to help your Chihuahua cope with new situations.
  • 5 tips on training them to be more calm and obedient.
  • How to know if aggression is due to serious conditions.
  • 13 reasons why Chihuahuas are so aggressive & mean.
  • And a lot more…

Why are Chihuahuas so aggressive?

Chihuahuas are so aggressive because they are territorial. They like to guard their resources. They get fearful of bigger dogs because of their size. Chihuahuas can also get aggressive when in pain, seeking attention, bored, anxious, depressed, or adjusting to a new way of life.

13 reasons why Chihuahuas are so aggressive & mean

#1: Size

One of the reasons dog parents get a Chihuahua is because of their size.

They’re cute and tiny, but you might be in for a surprise.

Study says that Chihuahuas are the smallest breeds of dog but they are also one of the most courageous.

They’re vulnerable, and an easy target, but Chihuahuas are unafraid to defend themselves.

They act aggressively to protect themselves from others bigger than them.

Chihuahuas can develop a small dog syndrome.

It refers to small dogs who often misbehave. These behaviors are not acceptable for bigger dogs but are tolerated with smaller breeds.

The behavior includes:

  • Biting.
  • Barking.
  • Yapping.
  • Growling.
  • Jumping at people.
  • Not listening to commands.
  • Possessive over their things.
  • Aggression towards other dogs.

How does it develop?

Let’s say your Chihuahua is growling at a bigger dog. Instead of asking them to stop, you pet and cuddle them.

You start saying, “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.”

Your dog may get it wrong. For them, it means it’s okay to bark at other dogs.

When we start tolerating these behaviors, it can lead to more difficult habits in the future.

You might also want to know: 7 reasons why Chihuahuas like to be held

#2: Fear

You want to bring your Chihuahua anywhere you go. It’s one of the reasons you got a smaller dog.

But the moment they see other people and cars passing by, they start getting aggressive.

A fearful Chihuahua can exhibit aggressive behavior, especially when exposed to their triggers.

The most common triggers that they are afraid of are unfamiliar people, bigger dogs, and vehicles.

Loud noises can be a source of fear and might make them aggressive.

Take note that their fear is not always baseless. They probably had negative experiences associated with their root of fear.

How can you tell if your Chihuahua is fearful? 

Aside from being aggressive when meeting their triggers, they can exhibit other behaviors.

Observe for the following:

  • Whining.
  • Shaking.
  • Growling.
  • Escaping.
  • Cowering.
  • Excessive barking.

Read next: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Afraid Of You + 3 Tips

#3: Territorial behavior

Chihuahuas are very protective of their territory and possessions.

Dogs are naturally territorial, but a Chihuahua is on their own level.

They’re protective of their space and possessions.

As their fur parent, your Chihuahua naturally wants to protect you.

They’re also not welcoming with unfamiliar faces. It’s best not to get near a Chihuahua if they don’t know you.

They can be adorable with their fur parents and protective at the same time.

How do they show their territorial side?

  • Stiff tail
  • Growling.
  • Stiff body.
  • Muzzle punch.
  • Exposing their teeth.

A relaxed body posture and a wagging tail mean the Chihuahua is happy.

When you see a stiff body plus a tail that stops wagging, it’s time to retreat.

It means that the Chihuahua is getting territorial.

You might also ask: Why is my dog peeing on me all of a sudden?

#4: In pain

Aren’t we irritable and grumpy when we’re in pain?

The same is true for our dogs. Being in pain is truly uncomfortable.

Dogs that are in pain tend to bite and act aggressively to whoever comes their way.

The pain can be visible. You can see your Chihuahua’s wounds. At times, they are limping.

But there are instances wherein we can’t see the cause of their pain.

They may feel sick internally, such as tummy problems or painful joints.

Most dogs like to rest and be alone when they’re in pain.

When they suddenly begin showing gestures that signal “off-limits”, your Chihuahua might be in pain.

Aggression can be one of them but check out for other signs:

  • Crying.
  • Limping.
  • Panting.
  • Shaking.
  • Wincing.
  • Stiffness.
  • Low posture.
  • Grumpiness.
  • Flattened ears.
  • Avoiding touch.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Licking too much.
  • Uninterested in playing or exercising.

Further reading: My Dog Is Moving Slow (With Head Down): 7 Reasons + 3 Tips

#5: Past abuse

Past Abuse Makes Chihuahuas So Aggressive And Mean

Most dogs that have behavioral problems have experienced abuse in the past.

It’s not only for Chihuahuas but for all dogs in general.

The memory of their hurtful experiences can make them mean and aggressive. 

Dogs have associative memory. They cannot remember the actual event that happened.

But they can associate a person, an item, a scent, or a sound with a bad experience.

A good example is when you put on your shoes, they may associate it with you leaving the house.

If they were abused in the past by a male who wears caps, they might associate all males who wear caps with that painful experience.

Children can also hurt small dogs unintentionally. A Chihuahua that has a bad experience with kids can be aggressive towards them.

It’s not your dog’s fault. You can help your canine friend cope and move on.

Aside from aggression, an abused dog will show the following signs:

  • Limping.
  • Whining.
  • Fur loss.
  • Tucked tail.
  • Whimpering.
  • Too submissive.
  • Avoiding contact.
  • Obvious wounds.
  • Frequently urinating.

Reading recommendation: Why is my dog scared of me but not my wife?

#6: Lack of training

Training our canines takes time, effort, and patience. But with enough hard work, having a well-trained dog is definitely worth it.

The most critical time for Chihuahuas socialization training is between 7 and 16 weeks of age.

If you spoil and just let your dog be, they may grow up to have behavioral problems.

Chihuahuas are well known as protective and aggressive dogs.

If they’re not appropriately trained, disaster will be the outcome.

At the early stage of Chihuahua’s growth, it is a must that we train them properly.

Chihuahuas’ proper training is essential when we want them to interact well with other people or dogs.

Being obedient and respectful dogs can only be acquired through proper training and discipline by their fur parents.

How do we start training our dogs to have good behavior?

Create a plan and schedule on how to train them. It is a slow process and will have a sure positive outcome.

Training a Chihuahua is a hard responsibility, but it is a very rewarding feeling when we get to let them listen and follow us.

Ask yourself what kind of furry friend would you like to have? A confident yet obedient Chihuahua sounds like a great idea.

We will also give you tips on how to train your Chihuahua later on.

In no time, they will be happy and secure dogs who can calmly greet unfamiliar faces.

#7: Genetics

What are the traits you have that you got from your Mom’s side or Dad’s side?

Indeed, as their offspring, we have some attitudes and habits that we inherited from our parents.

The same is true for our beloved canines. Your Chihuahua can’t say, “I got it from my Momma.”

As a fur parent, you could ask your breeder for more information about the parents or grandparents of your dog.

What were they like? How are they with humans and other dogs?

If one parent or grandparent was naturally aggressive, chances are your Chihuahua inherited the temperament.

Is this permanent? Certainly not.

If you have a pooch, you can train them to have better behavior.

A senior dog can be quite a challenge already but is still highly trainable.

#8: Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is common in dogs. If your Chihuahua is clingy and too dependent on you, they won’t be happy when you leave for work or to get groceries.

How do you know if your canine has separation anxiety?

Do they whimper, bark, cry, or growl when you leave?

Do you come back to a messy house because they chewed on a lot of stuff?

These are common signs of dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

Our senior dog used to destroy my stuff when I would leave for work.

I’d come home to a messy house and an aggressive dog.

Your Chihuahua may have the same issues if they also do this behavior.

Take note as well of other behavioral signs of separation anxiety:

Learn more: 17 reasons why your dog is clingy all of a sudden

#9: Guarding resources

Chihuahua's Guarding His Resources

Is your Chihuahua only aggressive and mean to others but extra sweet with you?

One of the main reasons is that your furry friend is guarding their resources, which is you.

It is natural for our canines to guard their resources. It means protecting the source of their needs and wants.

If your Chihuahua becomes aggressive when other people or dogs get near you, for them, it’s a way to protect their lovely hooman.

But it can be distressing if you want to go out and socialize, right?

Or if other family members can’t take care of your Chihuahua while you’re away.

Resource guarding can also be exhibited when you try to go near them while they’re in their space.

Your Chihuahua might bark and growl, thinking that you’re invading their space.

There are instances wherein your canine may growl when you try to get near while they’re eating.

It means the dog can’t recognize who is passing by and who will intentionally get what they are guarding.

In your dog’s eyes, you may take away their food or their possessions.

How can we identify if the dog is in their resource guarding mode?

Check out their body language for:

  • Barking.
  • Lunging.
  • Growling.
  • Stiffening.
  • Hard stare.
  • Baring teeth.
  • Lifting of lips.

Although it’s their nature to be protective, you can train your Chihuahua only to guard what needs to be protected. 

#10: Attention seeking

Is your Chihuahua not normally mean and aggressive? Did you notice the change of attitude these past few days?

Have you been busy lately that you don’t have time to bond with your furry friend?

There is a big chance your Chihuahua is seeking attention.

Dogs have a lot of ways of expressing that they need you to notice them.

Attention-seeking behaviors usually start when your dog has been left alone for quite a long time.

Your time and attention are essential for your Chihuahua. 

Lack of it will cause behavioral problems such as:

As fur parents, we need to give ample time and attention to our beloved dogs so that they grow up secure and well-behaved.

You might also like: 11 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Wraps His Paws Around You

#11: Boredom

If you have a Chihuahua, you should also be able to match their activity level.

Don’t let their size fool you. This dog breed is packed with high energy.

They tend to act out when they’re bored since they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

If they have a lot of stored energy, you are in for a long night.

Your Chihuahua may keep on barking or running around.

It’s important to schedule them for playtime or exercise.

What does a bored Chihuahua do?

  • Pacing.
  • Digging.
  • Panting.
  • Barking.
  • Chewing.
  • Escaping.
  • Scratching.
  • Pulling toys.
  • Over licking.

Thank heavens the cure of boredom is to provide enough time for play and exercise.

Read also: Why do dogs scratch the couch? & Why does my dog scratch at the wall?

#12: Depression

Photos of sad Chihuahuas are pretty popular in memes.

It can be pretty funny, but it’s not a laughing matter when your Chihuahua is actually depressed.

Yes, dogs can get depression too. They may have a hard time coping with significant life changes.

Aggression can be a sign of depression. Look back on what transpired in your lives recently.

Is there a new baby in the family? Did you move into a new town?

Did a family member go away? These are just some instances of why your Chihuahua can get depressed.

They are probably having a hard time coping with the recent life change. It can happen, especially if it disrupts your dog’s schedule.

Our dogs thrive on a consistent schedule. The most prevalent cause of canine depression is when a family member or a dog companion leaves or dies.

It’s genuinely heartbreaking even for us. It’s also difficult for our canine friends since they can’t express themselves verbally.

How to know if your Chihuahua is depressed? If you recently went through a significant life change, observe for the following signs:

  • Inactive.
  • Whining.
  • WIthdrawn.
  • No appetite.
  • Whimpering.
  • Low energy.
  • Squinty eyes.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • No interest in playing and exercising.

You can help your furry friend cope in a lot of ways. Depression is something you can get through together.

#13: Adjusting

Moving to a new place can be exciting, but it can be stressful for your Chihuahua.

One thing that’s important for your doggo is security. Your Chihuahua can be adjusting to new faces and new environments. That’s why they’re acting out.

We need time to adjust, don’t we all? Getting around the old house was a routine for your furry friend.

But now that you’re in a new home, they don’t know what to expect.

Your Chihuahua may get overwhelmed with the new life you’re building.

You may know by now that a routine and schedule are essential for your dog.

It’s vital to regain your usual schedule now that you’re in a different place.

Slowly but surely, they will be able to enjoy the new environment with your guidance.

How to train your Chihuahua not to be aggressive & mean? 5 tips

#1: Distract your Chi

If your Chihuahua is not yet trained, the initial thing to do when they turn aggressive is to distract them.

How do you exactly distract your Chihuahua?

Do you have visitors over? If your Chihuahua starts to get aggressive, the best distraction will be a squeezy toy.

Squeeze the toy and ask them to come near you. Reward them with a treat when they follow.

Another way to distract your furry pal is to ask them to do something else when they start to get aggressive.

You can ask them to roll over or stay in place. When you walk around the neighborhood, luring them in another direction is a great way as well.

Keep in mind that distraction is a temporary resolution. It’s still best to train your Chihuahua not to be aggressive that can result in behavior improvement.

#2: Socialize your Chihuahua

Study states that socializing your dog early has its rewards. Socialization enables your dog to adjust well and develop good habits as they grow.

Your Chihuahua’s socialization skills rely on you. If you keep your dog at home at all times, the result will be a poorly socialized canine.

They can turn aggressive at the sight of unfamiliar faces or new sounds. Aside from that, they can grow up to be fearful and anxious dogs.

We don’t want that, of course. How do we properly socialize our Chihuahuas?

If you have a puppy, you’re in for the easy road. It’s best to start socializing them as early as 7 or 8 weeks.

You can follow the tips below:

  • Put them in a carrier for a stroll.
  • Start with observing people from afar.
  • Let them play with dogs that you trust.
  • Introduce them to new tastes and sounds.
  • Allow them to play with well-behaved kids.

Take note that it should be one at a time. Do not overwhelm your pup by doing it all at once.

Forcing your Chihuahua to get used to new things immediately can result in destructive behavior.

How about your adult dog? Is it too late to socialize them?

It’s never too late. Success is on your way if you are determined to put in the effort, time, and patience.

It’s best to determine first what makes your adult Chihuahua aggressive. Is it with kids or bigger dogs? 

Do they get aggressive upon seeing a car and hearing new sounds?

After identifying the trigger factor, slowly expose them to it.

Start with watching kids or cars passing by from afar. If they get aggressive with visitors at home, ask your guest to sit quietly near them first.

Reward your doggo with treats and praises if they behave well. 

You can do it 3 times a week. Move a little bit closer each day.

With enough patience and effort, your adult Chihuahua will be able to get used to being around people and other dogs.

#3: Help them cope

If the aggression is caused by anxiety and depression, it’s vital to help your Chihuahua cope.

The life changes can be overwhelming for your dog, who is used to a secured environment.

Your schedule might have been disrupted by the recent changes. Your Chihuahua is feeling blue because of losing a loved one.

How to get your Chihuahua back on track? Try these tips on how to help them cope:

  • Exercise daily.
  • Keep a routine.
  • Spend quality time.
  • Give them a healthy diet.
  • Give cuddles and belly rubs.
  • Reward them for good behavior.
  • Schedule mealtime and playtime.
  • Prepare a comfortable rest area or a crate.

Don’t forget to bring your canine to the vet for regular checkups. When all else fails, your vet can prescribe medications to relieve them from anxiety and depression.

Some fur parents share stories that their dogs could move on by letting them enjoy activities like riding cars or strolling by the beach.

Most dogs recover in a few weeks or months. Be hopeful and stay patient.

#4: Train them

Training starts at home, but there are also dog obedience classes where you can take them.

Dog trainers are capable of training your dog to improve their behavior.

However, starting the training at home will do wonders as well.

You can teach your Chihuahua basic commands such as bark, stop, or come.

Reward them with treats when they obey. It’s also best not to spoil your dog at an early age.

Don’t give treats out of the blue. Your furry friend should work hard to receive a treat by obeying.

It’s advisable to ignore bad behavior rather than disciplining them by yelling.

But if it’s something alarming like jumping on your visitors, remove them from the scene.

Do you need more tips on how to help your Chihuahua become less aggressive?

Click this video on how to train your Chihuahua to be more friendly.

#5: Set rules

Rules are meant to be followed, and your Chihuahua is no exception.

We know how tempting it is to cuddle and pet our lovely canines when they do something naughty.

But taking the high road of setting rules is more rewarding.

In time, you will reap what you sow when your Chihuahua becomes a well-behaved adult dog.

When setting rules, it’s crucial to involve the whole family.

You can’t be successful if not everyone is on board.

When we set boundaries, we don’t only train our dogs from misbehaving but also it protects them from danger.

What are the areas wherein we need to set rules as fur parents?

You can start discussing where your Chihuahua is allowed to roam around the house.

The kitchen may not be a safe place. The garbage area is a big NO.

Aside from that, you can set rules about these things:

  • Potty training.
  • Bolting on doors.
  • Jumping on guests.
  • Being polite with visitors.
  • Not drinking in the toilet.
  • Laying down on the furniture.
  • Not chewing on valuable items.
  • No rummaging through the garbage.

Take note that these are just suggestions for setting rules. You can discuss as a family what’s best for your setup.

People also ask:

Why are Chihuahuas so unfriendly?

Chihuahuas are so unfriendly because they’re protecting themselves. They tend to fear anything that may seem a threat to them. Their size is also a contributing factor to why they behave aggressively. If someone suddenly carries them against their will, they growl or lunge to protect themselves.

Are Chihuahuas more aggressive than Pit Bulls?

Chihuahuas are much more aggressive than Pit Bulls. Chihuahuas have it in their nature to not socialize with larger dogs than them. As we brand them to be the most aggressive dogs, Pit Bulls turn out to be calm and one of the least aggressive. 

Are Chihuahuas the most aggressive dogs?

Chihuahuas are rated to be the most aggressive dog out of the 35 most common breeds. In a survey done with 4,000 dog parents, Chihuahuas were branded as aggressive, especially with bigger dogs. The other dogs in the survey are Pugs, Collies, and Pit Bulls.

Are Chihuahuas genetically aggressive?

Chihuahuas are genetically aggressive because they’re naturally protective, but you can train them to be calmer. Like other dogs, they can become aggressive due to poor socialization, anxiety, fear, or abuse.

Continue reading: These 13 Signs Show That Your Dog Is Protective Over You

Why are Chihuahuas so mean?

Chihuahuas are so mean when they’re not trained. They are loyal and protective dogs. 

As with other dogs, they can get mean when they experience abuse or anxiety. Proper training and socialization can improve their behavior.