It is not surprising that Chihuahuas are fond of being petted by someone they like and feel comfortable with. They are however, more cautious towards strangers and don’t like being touched by unfamiliar people.
Is it just part of their natural temperament, or are there other factors at play?
Check out this post to learn more.
Fear is the primary reason why chihuahuas hate strangers. The fact that they are small makes them feel vulnerable. Lack of proper socialization or training can also contribute to this behavior. Territorial by nature, they hate strangers invading their territory. Traumatic experiences with strangers can cause fear of them. Because you are giving your love to strangers, he feels jealous and hates them.
Being Small Makes Him Feel Vulnerable
Dogs are prone to biting people who attempt to pick them up or touch them as their natural protective reaction.
This is especially true for dogs who are not properly socialized, or who have not been properly trained.
You won’t be able to pick up or pet a street dog without getting bitten. This is especially true for small and aggressive dog breeds like chihuahuas, as they try to keep themselves safe.
Chihuahuas can be more sensitive than other breeds because they are smaller and therefore more vulnerable. That causes them to have a stronger protective instinct to keep them from any potential threat.
Lack of confidence and security in Chihuahua will usually make them aggressive when picked up by people they’re not familiar with, especially if they’ve been mistreated by humans in the past.
Their small size makes them feel vulnerable, so they are easy to startle. In spite of this, they are still friendly and affectionate with someone (usually their owners) with whom they’ve formed a strong bond.
He’s Territorial by Nature
Dogs naturally guard their territory, and micro breeds like Chihuahuas are no exception to this.
Chihuahuas can be very protective of their territory, and they will bite if someone that they are not familiar with touches them or tries to approach them too closely.
Fear and anxiety are the main causes of this aggressive behavior in Chihuahuas, and it needs to be addressed through behavioral training.
Often, dogs who actively protect their territory are afraid of new things, people, and animals because they did not receive proper socialization while they were still puppies.
If your Chihuahua exhibits a high prey drive and is territorial, you should be cautious if you have a toddler at home. Avoid letting your kid get too close without your supervision.
Usually, a dog with a high prey drive loves going after squirrels, rabbits, or other animals through the bushes and, historically, Chihuahuas were proficient hunters of smaller prey, such as vermin, raccoons and squirrels.
So if you are going to take your chihuahua anywhere, make sure that you put him on a leash or harness to prevent him from chasing after his “prey” and hurting someone coming near him.
Getting him trained on socialization should be one of the first things that you do when you bring him home. It will make him a lot more friendly and outgoing.
A Traumatic Experience with Strangers Happened to Him
This could be the case that he had been beaten by someone on the street as he barked at them, or he got into a fight with another dog and got a beating from the owner.
That leads him to associate having unfamiliar people coming near him as a traumatic experience. He believes that something bad is going to happen to him.
This makes him fear and hate strangers who come near him.
And when he is in a situation where he has to interact with strangers, he will try to avoid it.
That explains why, when you have people visiting your home, your Chihuahua will hide in his crate.
To help him overcome that fear, you will need to slowly introduce him to strangers.
You can make use of the following training approaches:
1. Get your friend to wait for you on the couch with your dog’s favorite treat.
2. Hold your Chihuahua in your arms and stay about a meter away from your friend.
3. Cuddling your Chihuahua in your arm is important as it gives him a sense of security and reassurance.
4. Monitor your dog’s reaction and if he is calm, reward him with a small treat and make small steps towards your friend.
5. If he shows any signs of fear or aggression, take a step back and offer him a treat. Make sure that he has calmed down before proceeding with the training.
6. As your dog gets more confident with the training, let him sniff the treat on your friend’s hand and offer him the treat thereafter. This is to make him associate going near a stranger as a rewarding experience.
7. Gradually introduce your dog to new environments, such as a dog park, when he reacts well to new people.
He’s Losing Your Love to a Stranger (Jealousy Lead to Hate)
This is often a case of jealousy where your Chihuahua thinks he’s losing your attention and love to a stranger.
If you find your dog only starts to hate strangers (towards your wife) after you get married, it could be a sign that he is jealous.
He feels that he is losing your love to a stranger, so he hates her and is angry with you.
He sees that you are spending more time and attention with your partner, and is neglecting his presence. This grows his hate towards her.
What you should do is to make sure that there are things to keep your Chihuahua occupied when you are not able to spend time with him.
The goal is to make sure that he is comfortable being left alone. You can do this by getting him some chewing toys that he can get his mouth busy with and that will help to ease his boredom.
Leave these toys and some treats in his crate so that when you are not with him, he can still be entertained. By doing this, you are allowing him to have a bit of control over his environment.
And as for his anxiety about leaving him alone (if you are going for your honeymoon), then you may want to consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to take care of him.
When opportunities allow, get him engaged in all activities that you and your wife are involved in and that should change his view of your wife.
Don’t worry if he seems jealous. That’s just his way of showing you that he loves you. Your Chihuahua will be able to overcome jealousy and hatred towards your wife by doing these things.