In this article, we will discuss whether Chihuahuas are crazy or just misunderstood. We will reflect on possible mental issues in dogs, and how to address strange behavior in Chihuahuas.
Are Chihuahuas crazy?
Chihuahuas are not crazy, but they do have defensive behavior and lack social skills. In most cases, we should not blame the breed, but the owner, who is responsible for training the dog.
This being said, mental illnesses in dogs can have three origins:
- Traumatic experiences that the dog may have acquired as a puppy or throughout its life, possible causes could be abandonment, beatings, or any other type of abuse.
- Breed deficiencies, that is, natural limitations, for example, if a dog is very small, it may fear high steps or high surfaces.
- Sudden situations that neither the vet nor you as the owner can identify. These types of causes are associated with the personality of your pet and it is almost impossible to identify the factor that triggers the disease.
Symptoms and mental illness in Chihuahuas
There are several symptoms that you can detect in your dog that are indicators of mental illness. Here we leave you the most recurring:
Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is a feeling and subsequent behavior of the dog, caused by separation from its owner and manifested through disorderly and difficult-to-handle behaviors of the dog. This is one of the most common pathologies, so to speak.
Symptoms range from excessive barking or moaning, tremors, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and urinating in the wrong places.
Fears: Fear in your dog is an instinctive characteristic of all animals. Your pet can be afraid of many things, situations, and even people. On occasions, this ‘normal’ behavior can begin to generate reactions out of the ordinary, which generally have their origin in traumatic experiences, physical abuse, or abandonment. Some frequent causes are fear of storms, fireworks, or thunder.
Depression: Depression is more common than you might imagine in canines. Among the main reasons are hormonal disorders, lack of attention from their owners, heat, loss, and other mood problems. It is very easy to identify this mood disorder in your dog since they are animals that are characterized by their sympathy.
Among the characteristics of depression are that dogs sleep a lot, do not show the courage to go out for a walk, lose interest in food or, on the contrary, eat too much. These symptoms can be related to many diseases, but if after examinations and ruling out any physical abnormalities, the problem continues, it could be an emotional situation.
Aggressiveness: Broadly speaking, we are going to find aggressiveness that manifests as the development of predatory or hunting behaviors and is generally motivated by the movement of an individual. However, it is much more common to find aggressiveness that is motivated by a sense of threat or challenge, which we call “affective aggressiveness.“
Why are Chihuahuas so aggressive?
Each dog is an individual; not all chihuahuas are aggressive, but some are. Aggression most often has one of these origins:
- Pain. Many dogs are aggressive with the pain to keep people from touching what is causing them pain. Have you tried picking up your chihuahua and getting bitten or pinched? Maybe his back hurt and you twisted him when you tried to pick him up.
- Learned behavior. Due to their small size, many people allow their Chihuahuas to get away with it. My best advice is to consider if your dog weighed 100 pounds, would you allow him to do what he does? No matter what the size of a dog, they all need a calm and confident pack leader; they need rules, routines, and training.
Similar to toddlers who are unhappy when things don’t go their way and who anger with frustration, many chihuahuas behave aggressively because it is the only way they know how to communicate effectively a firm “no”. If this behavior is left untreated, it will become the new normal, and it will negatively impact your relationships with your chihuahua, friends, and family.
- “Wiring”. Some canine brains are “wired” differently, which makes them naturally aggressive from childhood. It varies from dog to dog and is not a breed-specific problem. Sometimes this is due to poor reproduction and / or early trauma.
You know a dog’s brain works differently when that behavior can’t be changed with medication and training. Unfortunately, this can result in behavioral euthanasia for the safety of others, most commonly in large breed dogs.
Addressing and fixing crazy behavior in a Chihuahua
Below are some of the best strategies to put in place when you are dealing with an aggressive or “crazy” Chihuahua.
Face the circumstances. If you discover that someone is brutally attacking your Chihuahua, you should take immediate action. As the parent of a pet, you are your Chihuahua’s advocate and guardian.
If a chihuahua is constantly mistreated, he may feel like he has no choice but to react aggressively in defense. This habit can spread to other areas of his life, so it is very important to take the lead.
Resource management. If a Chihuahua is a resource keeper, he must learn that if he is aggressive, his resources will be taken away from him, unless he is kind to own them.
To help him learn to be kind when he has his resources, there are some training exercises you can do.
- Start with a toy that your chihuahua likes but doesn’t keep.
- Take the toy and give it to him and play with him for a few minutes.
- Then say firmly to him “drop it” and if he lets him go and reward him with a treat, leave with the toy, then return to give him the toy again.
- If he gets mad at the idea of giving up the toy, move him away from him, leave the room and ignore him for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If after about two weeks of trying this swap game you don’t see any progress, seek help from a professional trainer.
Rewrite history with positive reinforcement training. For example, if your chihuahua has been abused by children, you will need to help her have positive experiences so you can learn that children can be nice.
To do this, you will have to recruit the help of nice kids, who know dogs well, and lots of treats!
- Have the children walk past your Chihuahua and throw the treats on the floor without paying attention.
- Leave a trail of treats at your chihuahua’s favorite spot and keep the child waiting with blankets and your chihuahua’s favorite bed.
- The child should read a book or watch television and ignore the chihuahua.
- If he’s brave enough to approach and eat some treats, that’s a good sign!
- Make the child gradually give the treats to the hand, and place the treats on a blanket on the child’s lap to encourage the chihuahua to interact with him.
- Then pet the chihuahua and give it a treat.
Your chihuahua has now associated a child with things he loves: treats, cozy blankets, and attention!
Solutions for a reactive or aggressive dog
Classical conditioning and operant conditioning methods provide the most effective and safe solutions for the treatment of canine aggression. Gradual exposure to stimuli that scare the dog by controlling anxiety levels so that they remain “manageable” will also be appropriate.
Little by little, the reactive, aggressive, or stressed dog will have to be taught that anxiety-provoking situations are, after all, positive and synonymous with pleasure.
Subsequently, it will also be possible to teach him an alternative behavior to aggression in the event of exposure: walking alongside us and looking at us is a very practical alternative behavior in cases of dogs that are aggressive during walks.
We will also teach the dog that we understand him, and we will ensure that the anxiety-provoking situation ceases when he shows signs of stress. He will no longer need to be aggressive to let us know he is worried about a situation.
Physical exercise and mental stimulation will have an important place in the intervention plan. It is indeed proven that the sport considerably decreases the level of stress and anxiety since it activates the production of serotonin, a natural antidepressant.
It is important to be advised by a canine behaviorist to enable you to put in place an adequate intervention.
Certain breeds selected for their ability to protect and attack will be more likely to show signs of aggression, although genetics never explain 100% of our pooch’s behaviors. However, it should be noted that scientific studies do not allow us to say that one breed of dog attacks more than another.
However, regardless of size, a dog can seriously injure adults and children alike, and aggressive behavior should always be addressed seriously.
To prevent any further aggressive behavior the socialization of the puppy will be the key: a dog having learned at a young age to interact in a healthy way with its environment will be less stressed.
In addition, species to which it has been successfully socialized are less likely to be considered as potential prey for it (predation – a dog that hunts and chases cats and squirrels).
In addition, learning to understand and communicate with your dog in his language is proving to be one of the most effective prevention methods.
The bottom line
A dog becomes aggressive as soon as it threatens, pinches, bites, or even attacks an individual. A growling dog warns, but some attacks become systematic (ritualized), the dog bites, or attacks suddenly without warning.
If your chihuahua is behaving aggressively, he may think he is the dominant one. Establish rules so that your chihuahua understands your position as pack leader
In the event of a hierarchical positioning problem, it is up to you to restore order. Your animal must obey you and respect you. Our advice: when walking, keep your dog on a leash. Prefer the harness to limit strangulation, or even the muzzle if your dog shows too much aggression.
If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Are Chihuahuas crazy?
Why is my Chihuahua so aggressive?
The most common reason why your Chihuahua is so aggressive is fear. Chihuahuas become aggressive when they face an unknown situation or an unknown person. They are small but need to show that they can defend themselves.
Why did my Chihuahua bite me?
Your Chihuahua bit you in defense, or because it learned that it has to community its needs through aggression.
Are Chihuahuas more aggressive than pit bulls?
Small dogs, like Chihuahuas, tend to be more aggressive than large dogs, that’s a fact. Blame it on an inferiority complex linked to their small size? It remains a mystery.
Why do Chihuahuas bite their owners?
Chihuahuas bite their owners either as a defense mechanism or because they have not been properly educated and believe that to receive something, they have to attack.