Chihuahuas: Why do they bite? (5 reasons)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Why do Chihuahuas bite? We will give you the top five reasons, and solutions for everyone. We will teach you how to train a Chihuahua puppy and adult to stop biting and to play nicer. 

Chihuahuas: Why do they bite

Biting is a bad habit for any dog, regardless of size, so the best time to avoid it is before it actually starts. Chihuahuas have a bad reputation for being quickly irritable, but they’re not born that way. There are no bad dogs, only improperly treated. You can train a puppy not to bite and get a balanced adult dog if you do things.

Before trying to eliminate the biting behavior in your Chihuahua, it is necessary to find the cause of the bites.

Teething. Puppies bite to relieve teething discomfort. Always provide your dog with plenty of suitable chew toys so your puppy can use them and not chew on your furniture or with your fingers. Keep some toys in the freezer, as they work best when cold. Anytime your pup chews on something other than her own toys, simply replace it with a toy and make it clear that everything else is off-limits.

Lack of training. If you allow a puppy to bite and chew on your fingers, they will grow up thinking this is perfectly acceptable behavior. You should discourage this behavior from the beginning, so you don’t have to fix the problem at a later stage when it will be much more difficult. Decide early on what you will and will not accept, and stick with them.

Confusion. Chihuahuas are easy to exclude from the canine family, because of their inherent cuteness and size. They are easy to spoil and pamper when in reality they should be treated like dogs. This means making them understand that they are at the bottom of the hierarchy. A biting chihuahua could be trying to assert his dominance over his pack (you and your family). 

This situation is really very stressful for a dog and must be reversed. One way to show your dog that you are in charge is to turn him on his back every time he bites you. Don’t let him get up until he relaxes and submits.

Nervousness and fear. If your dog has been abused, it could be biting out of fear. Only time, patience, and lots of love will overcome this type of problem. Gently discourage your Chihuahua from biting by expressing your discontent with a loud yell, and then say “no” in a deep voice. Stop playing or leave the room. Don’t forget to encourage good behavior with lots of praise.

Pain and illness. If your Chihuahua is normally well-behaved and suddenly starts nipping and biting, take him to a vet. It is possible that there is a problem with his health and it is what causes him to bite.

Chihuahuas can be cute little dogs and they don’t have to be sassy and obnoxious. Treat them like dogs, respecting their canine instincts and stopping the biting behavior early on.

How to manage chewing misbehavior in a Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are known for their great personality and fearless demeanor, so they may not always know what the limits are. Playing biting you is just one of the ways a Chihuahua can demonstrate that lack of understanding, so if your pet does bite your fingers, you need to teach her a lesson.

Step 1. Play non-aggressive games with your dog. Playing biting is a natural response to force games, so avoid the temptation to engage in them. This does not mean that you cannot play with your dog. You should only focus on games that keep your hands away from his mouth.

Step 2. Discipline your Chihuahua every time he bites you without exception. Dogs need consistency to learn, so if you just discipline him sometimes it won’t work. If he plays biting you, withdraw your hand and tell him quickly and sternly “no.” The combination of withdrawing your hand and scolding him will teach him that in-game biting leads to a negative reaction.

Step 3. Teach your dog the commands, even the ones that are not related to biting. For example, teach him commands like “sit down,” “turn around,” and “lie down.” This instills a sense of submission in your dog and shows him that following your commands is rewarded. All of this comes in handy when it comes to stopping the play biting habit.

Step 4. Speak firmly but calmly. Chihuahuas are small, especially compared to humans, so if you or someone else yells at you excessively or uses intimidation, it can take a long time to recover. It might even respond defensively, turning the game of biting into self-defense. Although your tone of discipline should always be serious and dominant, you should never openly yell at your pet.

Step 5. Play with your dog regularly. Unfortunately, a dog that feels like it can’t get your attention may bite you gently or play bite because negative attention may be better than none. Provide your pet with exercise by taking her for walks and playing games, and always praise her for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is as important to learning as a discipline.

How to train a Chihuahua puppy that bites

Brainstorming to control a puppy dog’s problems can be a great challenge for dog lovers. A puppy when he starts to bite can be fun, but he has to be controlled quickly to avoid ongoing problems.

For most puppies, biting is a natural instinct that develops especially when teeth are teething. Puppies love to sink their sharp fangs around anything at this stage of development, including their owners’ hands and feet. In some cases, it is as if you have brought an agile lizard home, instead of the cuddly cub you had hoped for.

The good news is that most puppies can be trained to regulate and minimize the bite quite easily. The sooner you start training your puppy on bite inhibition, the more enjoyable it will be for everyone.

There are plenty of proven training methods to help correct your puppy’s behavior problems. Before getting into the specific techniques you can use for this, always remember these general rules of dog behavior training:

Puppy socialization and bite inhibition training go hand in hand.

  1. Never slap or hit the puppy in the face, that does not work. The puppy will only think that you are playing or it may become scared. This can even lead to bigger problems.
  1. The general rule of thumb for stopping puppy biting problems is to encourage acceptable behavior and always discourage unacceptable behavior.
  1. As long as you’re trying to stop your puppy from biting, never play tug of war, wrestling, or chase games with them. This only encourages their urge to bite.
  1. Whichever method you choose to train your puppy, the golden rule is to be consistent. This means that you and anyone else who comes into contact with your puppy must enforce the chosen strategy.

If you don’t clearly communicate to your dog that biting is not acceptable, they won’t know they are doing something wrong. It is up to you to show him what is acceptable behavior, you cannot just wait for your puppy to know.

Another (extreme) reason puppies can bite is if they are trying to assert their dominance over you. If this is the case with your puppy, you should immediately stop this behavior as a dominant puppy with biting habits will only be the beginning of many behavior problems. Click here to read more information on this subject. 

Final tips

Your goal, to begin with, is to teach your puppy to control the force of its bite. The habit of biting will start while it is with other puppies, during play and then it is up to you to stop and regulate it when you take it home, you must teach it not to bite with all its might, this will ensure (not guaranteed) that if your dog bites someone in the future, the damage will be minimal. 

When you get your puppy to understand when the force of her bite is considered a game and when it is not, you can begin to reduce the prevalence of the biting behavior.

If you attack the biting problem early on, it can be easy to correct. Just try to redirect the bite to a toy or chew bone. For very young puppies this method is usually all you need. Place your hands on the toy and as soon as your starts tell you to bite your hands, just let out a firm “No!” and put your fingers back on the toy bone.

This is probably the most popular method. Make it look like the puppy hurts you every time it bites you. This method mimics the natural way to resolve quarrels between puppies when they bite each other, the biter only stops when the other pup lets out a yelp. 

In cases of bites, as soon as the puppy bites your hand say “No!” and quickly put your thumb inside his mouth under his tongue and his other finger under his chin, hold it there for about 10 seconds (not too tight), this will make him feel uncomfortable and he will not be able to bite.

Did you find our tips useful? Please let us know if we have any comments or questions!

FAQ on Why do Chihuahuas bite?

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. 


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