All puppies are sweet and cute; yours will be no different. Chihuahuas are sweet and cute as well, and your Chihuahua will be super friendly to you. Chihuahuas are unique in that they fall in love quickly with their masters but don’t often have any interest in meeting other people or other dogs.
Chihuahuas are very comfortable within their own spaces, so to teach your Chihuahua to be friendly you need to expand his personal space. Having a friendly Chihuahua means your dog won’t give off the scary bark every time your doorbell rings or a guest walks in the house. A friendly Chihuahua won’t growl at your guests as they reach over to pet him or pick him up. A friendly Chihuahua sits in your lap and allows others to be near you. A Chihuahua, if not taught to be friendly to other people will come across as aggressive and possibly even mean. This is not what their personality is; they are just built to be the only dog in your universe and need to be trained that your universe doesn’t always revolve around them.
The trick to training your Chihuahua to be friendly from the start is to get him social as early as possible. If you are adopting a Chihuahua puppy into your family, let as many people handle him as possible as soon as you bring him home. If you have other dogs in your household, let them interact with your new Chihuahua. If this is a puppy, as always, be cautious with any older dogs or larger dogs around your new Chihuahua because he is small and tender. Under your close supervision, let your Chihuahua and your other pets explore and get to know one another.
A social Chihuahua knows how to be friendly because he has been exposed to more than just his owner. A Chihuahua who lives and breathes for his owner only and does not know the breadth of the world around him can sometimes come off as aggressive or unfriendly. You can also teach an older Chihuahua to be friendly, it just may take more time for some of the older guys because they are set in their ways and need to learn new behaviors.
Start training your Chihuahua to be friendly as soon as you bring him home. To do this, be sure to socialize him as much as you can with people as well as with other pets. If you are introducing your Chihuahua to other pets, be sure to have treats for both animals on hand so they can meet on the common ground over food.
If you are introducing your Chihuahua to other animals that do not live in your home, be sure you know the owners and are comfortable with the animals to keep both animals safe during your initial meeting. Be persistent and consistent with his training. Your Chihuahua can be friendly to people and animals, but you have to insist he behaves as so. Keep your training sessions short with lots of rewards.
The Boundaries Method
As leader of the pack in your house, teach your Chihuahua all the commands he can learn. Start with the basics to get him to sit and lie down on command. Then move on to cute tricks like standing on hind legs, rolling over, or begging. Little dogs can learn a lot of fun tricks that will give him positive attention when performed. Be sure to end any training session with treats along with the treats he earns while learning.
Do not let your Chihuahua free feed. Provide his meals to him on a set schedule. Make a big deal out of preparing is meals and setting them down at meal times.
3. ‘Wait’ command
If at all possible, train your Chihuahua to stand back away from you while you are preparing the meal and putting it in place. Your Chihuahua should be able to see you prepare his meals but not be allowed to jump or beg while you are making his food. You can train the ‘wait’ command to help with this.
Show your dog what part of your home is his territory. When house training, take the Chihuahua on a leash to one part of your yard, training him to only use that area. By keeping him on a leash and showing him where to go, you are showing him you are alpha-dog and will make the rules.
5. Shared spaces
While your dog is in training to be a good social dog, keep him off your couch or bed. Give him a comfortable bed near you but down on the floor as he is learning to be under your command. Be sure to acknowledge him with treats and a calm tone when talking, but do not let him on your level until you can trust him to be a friendly, well-rounded pet.
Socialize your Chihuahua as often as you can to get him used to people and other dogs. The earlier and more often you can do this, the better adapted he will be once he’s around people and pets without you coaching him along the way.
7. All together
Once your dog has gone through obedience training, has been socialized, understands who feeds him and his role while waiting for his meals, and knows he has to earn his place on the couch or in your spaces, even your arms, put all these things together and have him around people and pets more. If he’s well trained and well adapted, he will do fine.
The Respect Training Method
Establishing the leader of the pack role with your Chihuahua and demand respect for yourself. Over time, he will get that you expect him to be respectful of others as well.
2. Set boundaries
Set your boundaries early on. If your Chihuahua is acting aggressively or growling, put him down or do not pick him up to begin with. Babying or coddling this behavior will only enforce the behavior as good for your Chihuahua.
3. Remain calm
Do not discipline your Chihuahua with angry voices or tones. Yelling at your Chihuahua only sends mixed messages of aggression and anger. Remain calm and redirect your Chihuahua when you see him misbehaving or acting in an aggressive manner.
Train your dog to wait. In all occasions as you see fit, from walking out the door to feeding times, have your Chihuahua wait for what he wants. Walk through the doorway first, holding it open for your pup to follow. Have your Chihuahua watch you prepare a meal and make him sit and wait patiently as you set the bowl down before he is allowed to eat.
5. Work dog
Make your dog earn privileges. You can ask him to do commands before eating, such as sit. Before you pick him up or let him into your bed or on the couch, have him ‘beg’ or stand on his hind legs to be picked up.
6. Social dog
As early as you can, have your dog be social with people as well as other pets. Use your commands with your Chihuahua as he is getting to know his world. This will teach him how to behave around others
7. Friendly dog
If your dog has learned commands from you, is social, knows to work for what he wants, and respects you, he will carry that respect around to others as well. Make sure he knows you expect him to be friendly and continue to use commands for respect when he is with people and pets to ensure his behavior is up to par.
The Set Rules Method
1. From the start
Before you bring a Chihuahua into your home, decide your boundaries. Set boundaries with sleeping arrangements, whether or not your Chihuahua will sleep in your bed, be allowed on your couch, or be held much of the time. Set physical boundaries within your home, such as not allowing the Chihuahua in the bathroom with you or in the kitchen while you are cooking.
2. Obedience training
As soon as you bring your Chihuahua home, begin obedience training. Chihuahuas can be stubborn, so do not give up even if your dog stops showing interest. Offer high-value treats during training and keep your sessions short. Start with the basics to set yourself up as the leader of the pack. If this isn’t done early, your Chihuahua may become the leader before you even know it.
Your Chihuahua will growl a lot, especially as he is meeting people and pets in your world. Do not allow him to get away with growling at your guests. Do not show him affection or hold him if he’s going to be aggressive. Be firm and ignore poor behavior but overly reward good behaviors.
4. Good behavior
When you catch your Chihuahua being friendly to someone within your household, a guest, or another pet, reward him with a tasty high-value treat. When setting your boundaries, decide if lap sitting or couch sitting will be allowed as long as your Chihuahua is well behaved. If so, when he is good, allow these things as rewards.
Get your Chihuahua out as often as possible to see the big wide world. He needs to be comfortable with people coming into your home and with other pets being near you. A Chihuahua who is not well socialized will stick to his owner and fear anyone else. From early on, take your Chihuahua anywhere you can take him. Let people hold him or pet him while he’s on the ground. Introduce him to other dogs.
Always end social time, training time, good behavior moments, and affection moments with a treat.