Bringing home a new Chihuahua puppy is an exceptionally exciting time. All the snuggles and the playing. However, along with the joys of puppyhood, there are certainly some challenges, with biting being one of the main ones. Thankfully, stopping your Chihuahua puppy from biting is possible. Today I’m here to explain exactly what you need to do.
So, how do you train a Chihuahua puppy not to bite? The best methods to train a Chihuahua puppy not to bite include using positive reinforcement (such as toys, treats, and praise), rewarding good behavior, and setting firm boundaries during play. Letting your puppy know that their biting hurts through verbal reactions, short time-outs, and the offering of alternate chewing items are great places to start.
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How To Train A Chihuahua Puppy Not To Bite
Below you’ll find three methods that are effective for teaching most Chihuahua puppies not to bite.
Patience blended with these methods to create a well-rounded training plan will help you achieve success.
Use Your Voice To Let Your Puppy Know Biting Hurts
Puppies often learn a skill known as ‘bite inhibition’ from their parents and litter mates but may need to be reminded of it by you.
Bite inhibition helps a puppy understand that their biting – even if done playfully – can hurt and should be controlled.
If you are playing with your puppy and they bite your hand, let out a noticeable yelp or “Ouch!” and remove your hand. If your puppy bites again, repeat your yelp and hand removal.
For many puppies, a yelp from their owner will cause them to pause and help them understand that their bite is causing pain.
You may notice that your puppy jumps back and looks startled when you yelp. Give them a second to process quietly, and then try resuming your play.
You may need to repeat this behavior over the span of several days to help your puppy begin to associate their biting with pain.
If you find your puppy is repeatedly biting during a short time period (more than 3-4 times in a 15-minute period) even after hearing your pain yelp, try combining this reaction with one of the other methods in this article.
Disengage When Your Puppy Bites – The ‘Time-Out’ Method
For some puppies, the yelping method will get the point of biting across right away.
For others, they may need a classic ‘time-out’ of sorts to understand that biting isn’t acceptable.
If your puppy bites when playing or being petted, use the ‘Yelp’ method above, but this time stop any and all play, possibly even walking slowly away from where your puppy is interacting with you.
You may also consider using a command said firmly but calmly, such as, “No biting.”
To make this method effective, you must remove both physical contact and eye contact with your puppy.
Do not pay your puppy any attention for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute. When you return to your puppy, make your approach calm and quiet.
Consider offering a toy such as a rope tug or ball for your puppy to use their teeth on instead of your hand.
Giving your puppy alternate chewing options allows them to get out their natural need for biting and chewing without putting your hands at risk.
Keep Chew Toys Nearby and Encourage Healthy, Active Play
Even small Chihuahua pups have lots of physical and mental energy.
Helping them to use up this energy in positive ways can decrease the amount of biting a puppy does.
Keeping an acceptable chew toy nearby while your puppy is young can help redirect biting away from your fingers and your ankles.
If you have a puppy who likes to chase after you, nipping at your shoes, ankles, or bare feet, it can help to keep a small toy or ball in your pocket.
If your puppy nips, simply yelp, wait for them to back off, and offer the toy.
Taking your puppy for walks, tossing a ball in the yard, playing tug of war with a toy, or providing other physical activities can also lessen boredom and burn energy – leaving your puppy with less interest in chewing.
Using the methods above creates a simple but effective way to train most Chihuahua puppies not to bite.
The biggest key to success with any method is consistency and patience.
Just like human babies don’t learn new things right away, your puppy may need some time to learn to control their teeth.
Is It Normal For Chihuahua Puppies To Bite?
For puppies of all breeds, some biting is to be expected as they grow and develop during the first year of life. Chihuahua puppies who bite during play or times of excitement demonstrate normal puppy behavior.
Using the methods outlined above can help teach your puppy about appropriate behaviors and put a stop to much of your puppy’s biting.
It is not normal for puppies to bite aggressively at specific people or when otherwise calm.
Aggressive behavior at any stage of development that targets someone viciously should be worked with immediately.
Consider hiring a dog trainer or behaviorist to help put an end to this unwanted behavior.
Why Do Chihuahua Puppies Bite?
Chihuahua puppies bite for a combination of reasons which includes the fact that biting is a normal stage of puppy development, your puppy may be teething, Chihuahuas are traditionally bred as one-person dogs with strong territorial instincts, and some Chihuahua puppies may bite if they are scared.
Chihuahua Puppy Biting As A Part Of Normal Development
Puppies use their mouths to explore their world.
Regardless of breed, puppies are likely to close their mouths around a wide variety of objects during the first few months of life – and this list may include your feet or fingers!
What most puppies need to learn is that their bite can hurt other dogs, people, and animals.
Many puppies who bite do not have the intention to be aggressive or cause harm.
Instead, they bite to explore the world around them and test what happens as they feel things with their mouth.
Using the proper responses suggested above that let your puppy know biting can hurt and giving other options for biting and chewing is often successful at curbing this type of biting.
An Increase Of Biting During Teething
A puppy that has been taught not to bite humans and to play gently with toys may see a recurrence of biting behaviors around the age of 4-5 months.
This is the period when many puppies begin to lose their puppy teeth and see the arrival of their adult teeth.
During teething, chewing and biting can be soothing to a puppy’s sensitive mouth. Your puppy may forget their biting manners or chew more aggressively over the three to the four-month window of teething.
Continue to set firm boundaries around biting during this time while understanding that you will likely get your friendly puppy back after their teeth have transitioned.
Offering new and tempting chew toys and surfaces during this time can also lower the biting of unwanted things, such as ankles and hands.
Some Chihuahua Puppies May Be Naturally Territorial
Early on, Chihuahuas were bred for their ability to be easy companions to one person.
While a Chihuahua isn’t going to be serving as anyone’s next guard dog, they can be prone to some territorial habits.
This may include a tendency to bite at unknown people if a puppy is not properly socialized at a young age.
A territorial puppy will be different than a teething or playing puppy in that, its biting will often be targeted at a specific person or object.
It may growl or give another indication it is about to bite before the bite occurs.
Territorial biting is a concerning behavioral issue but is one that, if caught early, can be addressed.
Helping your puppy have many positive interactions with a variety of people from a young age is one way to lower territorial biting.
Pairing positive social interactions with the methods above can help prevent this form of biting.
If the problem persists long term, seek the help of a professional dog behaviorist.
Fear Biting In Chihuahua Puppies
Most puppies are small for at least a few days of their life, but Chihuahua puppies take the cake in the pint-size category.
This also means that some things can be scarier for a Chihuahua puppy than they might be to other dogs.
A Chihuahua puppy who is afraid of another dog that has been hurt by a human on purpose or on accident or who experiences another scary situation may bite out of fear.
At its core, biting is a show of self-defense, and a fearful puppy could use their teeth in an attempt to protect themselves.
Fear-biting is usually an isolated incident. If you believe your puppy bit out of fear, assess the events leading up to the bite to seek out fear triggers.
Work to create a calm and predictable daily routine and environment for your puppy. Seek help from a trainer if your puppy shows continued fear after a biting incident.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Chihuahua Puppy To Stop Biting?
There is no specific timeline for when a Chihuahua puppy will stop biting but taking action can lessen the amount of biting most puppies do. By using a blend of verbal responses to biting, time-outs, and offering appropriate toys, you should see a decrease in unwanted biting within two weeks.
If your puppy is still purposely biting you and others after two weeks of consistent work, it is a good idea to seek the help of your veterinarian or a professional trainer.
Remember that biting may reappear during teething when your puppy is 4-5 months old.
Be prepared to give reminders to your dog about acceptable biting and chewing of toys during this time.
All dogs will chew for relaxation and play throughout their life but can learn that biting humans and animals is not acceptable.
A dog that is inured, scared, or territorial may bite even if they have been trained against it.
Take each biting incident into individual consideration when determining the best course of action.
Like most puppies, Chihuahuas bite.
It’s not ideal, but it is a normal part of puppy ownership.
But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.
There are things you need to do.
And it will have a positive impact.
By setting boundaries that are firm but gentle and applying them consistently when interacting with your puppy, unwanted biting should soon be an issue of the past.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.