If you bring a precious little Chihuahua into your life, you expect a loving furbaby you can snuggle up with and shower with love. So, if they start biting, it’s understandable that you would be upset and frustrated. 

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

Even though Chihuahuas are tiny dogs, them biting isn’t funny. It can still cause a harmful wound for humans or other animals and can be stressful for the Chi. They’re usually trying to tell you something!

If you have this problem, don’t panic – we’ll go over how to stop your Chihuahua from biting so you can get things back on track. 

Why Do Chihuahuas Bite?

Before we talk about how to stop it, it’s crucial to understand why Chihuahuas may bite. 

Contrary to popular belief, Chihuahuas aren’t ‘angry’ or ‘aggressive’ little dogs by nature. They’re actually incredibly sweet and can be very gentle.

If your Chi is biting, there’s a reason behind it and the first step to stopping it is to try and get to the route of the problem. 

Lack of Training

Dogs learn as they grow up, just like humans. They need us as owners to teach them what’s expected of them and what they shouldn’t do. 

If a Chihuahua hasn’t been properly trained, they might not understand the rules. They may not know that they shouldn’t bite, or how to express their feelings in other ways. 

Trauma and Fear

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

If your Chihuahua has had a difficult past, they may bite to protect themselves. If you rescued them, it’s hard to know exactly what they’ve been through previously – sadly many dogs have been abused or neglected. 

Don’t worry though, over time you can rehabilitate a traumatized dog. My Chi is a rescue and although she never bit, she has had a lot of behavior issues that we’ve had to work through over the years. Now she’s a very well-behaved, happy, and balanced dog!

Since Chihuahuas are so little, it can be all too easy to forget that they’re ‘real’ dogs, just like any other sized dog. If people don’t respect their boundaries or if they treat them like toys, the Chihuahua may be afraid or uncomfortable and lash out to tell you “Hey, I don’t like that”. 

The American Kennel Club states that the most common cause of dog aggression is fear-based. 

Being a Puppy

If your dog is a puppy, they will still use their mouths to explore the world around them. They may not have learned that biting people isn’t allowed yet, so you have to teach them. 

If they’re teething, they may be biting to try to soothe their sore mouth. This is a normal process and will pass. 

Pain and Illness

Some dogs bite when they’re unwell or in pain. For example, if you touch an area of their body that is sore, they may nip to get you to stop or to try to communicate to you that they are hurt. 

Some illnesses can trigger aggression in dogs, such as hormonal imbalances, genetic issues, and metabolic disorders. 

Territorial Instincts 

Chihuahuas can be fairly territorial, although this depends on the individual dog. They may become aggressive when trying to defend their home or their owners. 

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

How to Stop Your Chihuahua Biting

Understanding why your dog is biting can be very helpful. Once you do, you can move on to trying to correct the behavior. Let’s look at how to stop the biting!

Learn to Read Body Language

Dogs will typically give plenty of other warnings before they bite, but many owners miss them because they don’t know how to read their dog’s body language. 

Learning how to interpret your dog’s body language is a valuable tool in helping you communicate with them. 

If your dog is unhappy and about to bite they may:

  • Have a very tense body language
  • Have their ears pinned back and look concerned
  • Have their tail tucked under their body or straight out, rather than upright
  • Try to get away from you
  • Growl
  • Twitch their lip
  • Bare their teeth 

Respect Their Boundaries

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

Once you learn to read the signs that your dog is unhappy, it’s vital to respect their boundaries. 

If your Chihuahua exhibits signs that it may bite, stop what you’re doing and reevaluate the situation. 

If it’s something that has to be done, for example, grooming, try taking breaks, offering treats, and taking it slow with your dog so they don’t get too distressed. You can teach them that situations they don’t like might be unpleasant but they aren’t scary. 

If they’re telling you they don’t like the way you’re handling them, petting them, or lifting them, then change the way you interact with them. 

I know we all want to cuddle our Chihuahuas, but just like people they’re individuals and will all have different preferences. If your dog doesn’t like something and it doesn’t have to be done for their health or wellbeing – don’t do it. 

It’s important we respect them, just like we expect other people to respect us when we say ‘no’ to something. 

Reinforce Bite Inhibition

Dogs learn bite inhibition from their mother – this means they learn how to bite in a controlled way such as during play.

If you bring a puppy into your home, you may have to reinforce the bite inhibition they have learned.

You can do that by reacting to a painful bite with a high-pitched noise or a firm ‘no’. Then walk away and don’t give your puppy attention for a few moments

Be consistent with this every time. They will quickly learn that biting doesn’t get them the attention they crave. 

Socialize and Train Your Chihuahua

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

Socialization and training are key for a well-rounded dog. It’s best to start as soon as you bring your Chihuahua home. 

The aim is to get them used to the world around them so they aren’t afraid and to teach them basic commands and rules. 

If you are struggling to train a traumatized dog, don’t be ashamed to seek help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. 

Meet Their Needs

Unhappy dogs are more likely to lash out so one simple thing you can do to reduce the risk of biting is to meet your dog’s needs. Ensure they’re getting enough exercise, a proper diet, mental stimulation, and plenty of attention. 

How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Biting

Redirect Biting and Chewing

If your Chihuahua is biting you or chewing things in your home because they’re teething or trying to regulate their emotions, you can redirect the behavior. 

Give them an appropriate chew toy or treat to satisfy their need to bite. There are specific puppy toys for teething that can help to soothe sore gums. 

Get a Vet Check 

If your dog has never been aggressive before and suddenly starts to exhibit aggressive behavior, get them checked by a vet. 

Even if they don’t show any other symptoms, this is crucial because no dog starts to be aggressive out of the blue without reason. 

Your vet will be able to rule out any physical reasons for the aggression and guide you further. 

Spay or Neuter Your Chihuahua

Getting your dog spayed or neutered may help to reduce aggression behaviors, particularly territorial behavior. 

This isn’t guaranteed, but there are many proven health benefits to getting your dog fixed so it’s best to get it done anyway. 

Can You Stop a Chihuahua Biting?

Getting to the root cause of your Chihuahua’s behavior and focusing on the steps we’ve mentioned can help to stop your Chihuahua biting. If you are struggling, seek a professional dog trainer to help you. That way, you can both live happily together and thrive. 

FAQs

Why is my Chihuahua so aggressive?

Many Chihuahuas are aggressive because they are afraid or feel they need to defend themselves. There are multiple other reasons for aggression, but there’s always a cause. The good news is, in most cases, it can be corrected. 

Do Chihuahuas have anger issues?

No, Chihuahuas often have a bad reputation but they’re not naturally angry or aggressive. It’s usually because they are badly treated, afraid, or haven’t been correctly trained and socialized.

No dog breed is ‘bad’ by nature. There is always a reason for a dog to exhibit aggression.