I Love Sassy Little Chis!
One of the things I like best about Chihuahuas is their sassy little attitudes! No other dog breed does it quite like they do. Right? However, is your chihuahua sassy? or surly? That sassy little attitude can morph into surly real fast if you let it!! Surly, threatening, possessive behavior is unacceptable, period!
When I got my first Chihuahua, this was the first mistake I made. Take it from someone that knows, if you think it’s cute when they are sweet little puppies to growl, snarl and be possessive and you allow it to continue, you will be dealing with it for the rest of their lives. It’s not cute at all when they get older and you can’t take them anywhere because they snarl and snap at other people. Or, when you find that they have completely taken over your favorite chair and you don’t dare even think about sitting in it ever again!
Never Let Them See You Sweat!
Number one rule: never, ever be afraid of your Chi, not even for an instant! Never ignore or excuse the threatening behavior of any kind, for any reason. Not because it scared you, not because it ended quickly, and certainly not because you thought it was cute. Don’t let other family members ignore it either. If you do, it will escalate into snapping and even biting. Let them get away with it once, believe me, it will happen again!
If he or she is already calling the shots, then you’ve lost round one. It’s only a matter of time before he will test you at another level. Say you’re about to sit on the couch and he growls at you. So, you shrug it off, because, after all, he’s never done it before, and you sit in another chair. You just lost round two. Round three, and now you know there is a problem. What do you do?
It’s attitude adjustment time!
These techniques both prevent and cure possessive behavior, but of course, prevention is the best policy. One of the best ways is to make your Chi work for privileges. If you haven’t taught him the basic commands, start now. If you have, then hooray for you, you are one step ahead already!
Use these commands in every day life. Make him “Sit” when your dog wants food. “Down” when your dog wants to be petted. “Come” when he wants a treat. Sit and “stay” before you let him on the sofa, bed, or your favorite chair. “Enough” when you’re tired of petting him and they paw you for more. Okay, you get the idea. At the very first hint of possessiveness, make him earn these privileges, they are not rights. For easy to follow steps on how to teach them the basic commands, don’t miss my series on training; How To Train A Chihuahua, Part I through IIIV.
Changing your attitude
Never take the path of least resistance and just back off when he growls. That only teaches him that growling gets him exactly what he wants. All of this takes a little time and effort on your part, but it will be well worth it in the end. Never, ever yell at your dog either. That just teaches him to be very wary of you. He may do what he’s told, but you want him to do it out of love and respect, not out of fear.
Never pity him because he has to go through this. You are actually doing him a favor and being a good Chi parent. If you train your Chi and let him know that you are in charge, not him, he is actually a happier and more confident dog. He knows he can relax, the household is in your very capable hands.