Ask Lucy: Why Does My Chihuahua Growl At Me?

I received the following email from Ana:

“I have a beautiful chihuahua Minnie a girl who is 5 months old she’s great affectionate playful always give you lots of kisses when you get home.  There is one thing about her that no one likes. She growls at you at me my husband and the kid.  What can I do for that to stop? or is this part of her personality?

Please advise, very concerned.”
Thanks
Ana

Dear Ana,

Thanks for bringing up this important question.

I am a relatively friendly Chihuahua. I love meeting people. But some things do make me growl. Such as when my daddy puts on my harness to go for a walk. I just don’t want to be disturbed. Or when I see a cat or squirrel.

It is in the nature of some dogs to growl.

It’s our way of showing disapproval for whatever it is you’re doing to annoy us. We haven’t learned how to roll our eyes as yet.

It’s possible your Chihuahua might have decided that he or she is the pack leader and should be obeyed. This is probably not a good thing and should be dealt with a little patient re-training in between treats.

Sometimes the growling is an end in itself. But in some dogs it could be followed by biting. All forms of aggression should be promptly dealt with, gently yet firmly and not with aggression. My daddy does not hit nor should anyone hit their dogs, especially a little Chihuahua.

But a firm “NO” should make the Chi know they’ve done something wrong. Then ignore them for a while. If you give too much attention to negative behavior you are actually rewarding the dog. We all love attention, no matter we have to do to get it.

If you’re having a problem with your dog’s aggressive behavior, you may consider seeing an animal behaviorist. It might be worth the expense.

For more information:

What to Do If Your Dog Growls or Snaps

Reasons Why Dogs Growl

4 thoughts on “Ask Lucy: Why Does My Chihuahua Growl At Me?”

  1. Hi,
    My chihuahua is 6 months and has not been socialised yet. We only got him 4 days ago and he seems to adore me (female) but has growled twice at my boyfriend. We know his first home was all female. Yesterday my boyfriends family came round to see him as we want to get him as socialised with people as we can before he gets his last jabs in 2 weeks and we can take him out. He growled at first when they came into the garden but then he stopped when we firmly said no. We left biscuits at their feet and he timidly approached them and was eventually playing and running around the garden. I’m worried that as he has missed the key stage of socialisation that once we take him out on walks, he won’t get along with other dogs. I’m also worried about how he is with my boyfriend and we live together and there will be times when it might just be them together for a weekend if I’m away with work. Will this be easy to stop or is it too far gone now that he hasn’t been socialised early enough?

  2. I had my previous Chihuahua for about 6 years before I became involved in a relationship and she did not like most people or dogs. But she eventually became used to my future spouse and they got along fine. It takes time, patience, and training. Lucy was socialized early with lots of friends and neighbors and for the most part, she likes all people, but on the whole, she does not like most dogs. She is now 11 and will probably never change. Oh well, at this point I accept her for the lovable but sometimes grumpy girl that she is.

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