Is your dog acting nervous to the point of becoming aggressive or is he just being playful? It’s never easy to interpret what Chihuahuas are trying to communicate. Here are seven signs that could indicate that your Chihuahua is reaching the point of aggression.
Types of Chihuahua Aggression
Before we reveal these signs, it’s important to understand the different types of Chihuahua aggression and the root cause for each. Here are the most common types of aggression that Chihuahua owners may encounter.
- Fear Aggression – the most common type of Chihuahua aggression. This could occur when the Chihuahua is confronted by a scary object (could be humans, other Chihuahuas, or even inanimate objects). The Chihuahua may take an offensive posture when they are confronting fear.
- Territorial Aggression – this could occur when a stranger or intruder enters the Chihuahua’s territory (e.g. owner’s home or the area surrounding the property). The Chihuahua may attack the stranger.
- Possessive Aggression – this could occur when someone, including the Chihuahua owner, tries to take away the Chihuahua’s prized possession (e.g. Chihuahua toy, snacks).
- Pain-induced Aggression – this could occur when the Chihuahua is in physical pain. For example, one study suggests that hip dysplasia is a factor in the risk of large-sized Chihuahuas becoming aggressive.
Signs of Chihuahuas Becoming Aggressive
Here are some signs to watch out for when it comes to Chihuahua aggression. Knowing these signs will help you better handle a situation when a Chihuahua becomes aggressive against other humans or Chihuahuas.
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- Chihuahua suddenly becomes still or rigid.
- Chihuahua curls his lips to reveal his teeth at the “threat”. Chihuahua may also wrinkle his nose.
- Chihuahua’s ears are pointed backward – this may, however, also be a sign of a Chihuahua showing his friendliness or showing submissiveness to other Chihuahuas and humans.
- Chihuahua lowers his body with all of his feet firmly planted on the ground. This could be a sign that a Chihuahua is ready to lunge forward at his threat.
- Chihuahua’s tail moves from a neutral position to a stiff, vertical position. The higher the tail, the greater the potential threat.
- Chihuahua raises his back or has raised hackles (hair along the Chihuahua’s back).
- Chihuahua’s eyes are large, dilated and stares directly at the threat.
Stop a Nervous Chihuahua from Becoming Aggressive
So how should you act when your affectionate Chihuahua suddenly becomes aggressive to other Chihuahuas and humans (including yourself)? Here are some quick tips.
- Stay Firm but Relaxed – take a deep breath. Your Chihuahua feeds off your energy so you may make your Chihuahua feel more nervous if you start to stress out over the situation.
- Show You Aren’t a Threat – if the Chihuahua is starting to show aggression to you or to another human then show him that you aren’t a threat. Reduce the tension by lowering your gaze, turning your head slightly, backing off etc. Do not make direct eye contact.
- Create a Distraction – if you feel an aggressive behavior is imminent then try and distract your Chihuahua with his favorite treat or toy. This could work well for Chihuahuas that are fearful aggressive.
- Don’t Raise Your Voice – stick to a low, calm voice. A sudden change in tone or movement may stress out your Chihuahua even more.
If your Chihuahua continues to remain aggressive then we highly recommend that you see a professional Chihuahua trainer or Chihuahua behaviorist to help figure out your Chihuahua’s aggression.