All dogs are known to be possessive of what they see to be theirs. But Some of them become sometimes very aggressive when it comes to food. Your dog is no exception, so When Your Chihuahua is Overly Protective of His Food don’t be surprised.
If you notice that your chihuahua acts this way, don’t be so angry and try instead to understand why this behavior is taking place. Then you will start a process to train your dog to find a solution to this issue.
In this article we will discuss :
- The reason why your chihuahua may act very possessive of his food, water bowl, or even an empty bowl.
- The difference between normal behavior and excessive behavior.
- what is the solution?
- Do keep in mind that the number of calories that your chihuahua eats can affect its behavior.
- Ways to eliminate this behavioral issue
Normal signs include a chihuahua :
- Hiding food
- Going with food to a new place and eating it there.
- barking if a person touches his bowl even empty
- Barking when anyone comes even close to his food.
If you are a parent of a newly rescued chihuahua you will notice this behavior because before coming to your house the dog had to fight to hold onto his food. With training your rescued chihuahua will learn to trust you, and that there is no reason to be overprotective.
Protection of food bowl
The chihuahua’s food bowl is seen by the dog as the magic place where the food will appear, so your chihuahua, if he is not well trained, will try to protect his food bowl, In some cases, he may behave this way even if the bowl is empty, he will also protect the area around the bowl.
We should keep in mind that the area around the bowl is important as the dog food itself.
A lot of you may ask how can empty space be so important. chihuahuas come from the wild they used to live in dens. There wasn’t enough space inside dens, this was the dog’s safe haven, where they used to hide their food from any other animals who may try and take it.
Even well-trained chihuahuas may have the instinct to consider the area around food their “den”.
Other causes for protecting food
If your chihuahua shows over-protection signs this may be a sign that your dog is not receiving enough food.
Some owners focus on avoiding being overweight and its dangers to chihuahuas, this way they tend to feed their dog less than normal in an effort to keep the dog healthy and fit. However, there are other causes to take into consideration:
- It can be a bad habit learned in puppyhood, either by unintentionally training practices or because the food resources were limited in a shelter, therefore the puppy must compete.
- Negative experiences like being attacked by a larger dog, losing her owner, or physical abuse, can result in having symptoms of food aggression. Therefore, the chihuahua will protect aggressively her resources, especially her food.
- There are some breeds that tend naturally to protect their food and property, such as Spaniels, German Shepherds, or Rottweilers, it simply belongs to their genes.
Are you sure that your chihuahua is receiving enough calories?
The amount of burned calories has been related to some factors, It’s common that active dogs will burn more calories. Other dogs who sleep and rest a lot will burn less. But, there are also other factors that change this like :
- The age
- The heat cycle or pregnancy
- The daily exercise
The number of calories that your chihuahua needs can vary greatly depending on the above factors. The best tip to know if your dog is receiving enough calories is to look at his or her ribs.
If you notice that bones sticking out, Your chihuahua is underweight and should be fed more. If you don’t feel any ribs at all and there is a thick layer of fat on the dog’s rib cage, your dog is getting enough calories.
You may ask how many calories a chihuahua needs. we will give all weight even if the number can vary by 20%, to give you an idea of what an enormous dog needs.
3 pounds (1.36 kg) = 125 calories
5 pounds (2.26 kg) = 175 calories
10 pounds (4.53 kg) = 370 calories
20 pounds (9.07 kg)= 700 calories
30 pounds (13.60 kg)= 938 calories
50 pounds (22.68 kg)= 1329 calories
80 pounds (36.28 kg)= 1780 calories
100 pounds (45.35 kg) = 2100 calories.
YOU CAN ALSO CHECK: Chihuahua Calorie Requirements
Normal VS abnormal possessive behavior with dog food
If your chihuahua barks, growls, bares teeth, or nips when a person is touching his food, or he is near the area around the bowl of food, this is abnormal possessive behavior and it is unacceptable behavior and some actions should be taken to stop this behavior.
When your chihuahua makes a gesture to gently push away someone who comes too close or lets out a little bark if someone is touching the food, don’t worry this is normal possessive behavior, and it’s common with all dogs.
Giving Your chihuahua enough Personal Space.
Some tips to follow if your dog is showing too much aggression in protecting his food, water, or area around the food bowl
1. Be sure that you provided a setup for the dog food that will make him feel safe before starting any dog training.
2. when your chihuahua is not looking, clean his food dish and water bowl
3. Fill the bowl when your chihuahua is out of the room.
4. Give an entire corner of a Quiet room to your chihuahua for his food and water. Try also to show your family and visitors that this place is the dog’s special area.
5. everyone must respect the dog’s area.
6. If you have multiple dogs or perhaps a cat…you should give all animals their own area to eat to avoid competition for food
How to Stop Your Chihuahua’s Food Aggression
The training will work best if your chihuahua is still a puppy. For example, you should train your puppy that food doesn’t need to be overly protected.
Start by training your chihuahua to give you objects. Once your dog learns that you try to ask him to give you food, then you return that food right back, this way your dog will learn a great lesson and will avoid aggressive behavior. To help your chihuahua overcome this behavioral issue, you should follow these steps :
1. Your chihuahua must be used to your presence when eating
The purpose of this step is to make your dog familiar with your presence when he is eating his meals or treats. Start by keeping a good distance from your dog(10 feet is ok). As we said the aim of this step is to have your chihuahua eating in a relaxed manner, so do this exercise for 10 meals or more.
2. Insert a delicious treat, then get back
Add a tasty treat to your chihuahua’s bowl, and quickly step back to your original place. Then after the second try, move forward one step, and so on.
Repeat this exercise until your chihuahua accepts that you stand two feet away, when your reach this stage, your dog is ready for what is coming.
3. Stop close and start talking to your dog
The goal of this stage is to get your chihuahua familiar with your presence next to him and the conversation. While your chihuahua is devouring his food, stand next to him and give him a treat. Start speaking to him using your ordinary tone.
Then leave him alone. Repeat this exercise every few seconds. When your chihuahua can stay comfortable while eating for a lot of time, then you should take him to the next step.
4. Test hand feeding
This step is crucial because hand feeding will tell your chihuahua that you don’t represent a threat to his food.
Try to approach gently your puppy when he is eating, and speak to him. Then stand next to his bowel holding a treat to your chihuahua’s mouth instead of putting it in his bowl. Motivate your chihuahua to take the treat out of your hand.
Furthermore, go away to tell your dog that you are not interested in his food. Consistency is the key, repeat this step to get your dog ready for the next step.
5. Touch your chihuahua’s bowl
In this stage, you will hand feed your chihuahua without going away.
Speak to your chihuahua in a conversational tone, and give him a treat with your hand and then with the other hand. After that, touch their bowl( But never take the food from it). This way your chihuahua will be habitual to your close existence near to him during mealtimes.
6. Raise the bowl on the floor, and give him the treat
During this step, you will build trust with your chihuahua, because you will raise the bowl from the floor to give him a treat.
Firstly approach your chihuahua using a calm tone, Then speak to him as you take his bowl. Lift it for a very short distance, add the treat, and put the bowl back down. Repeat this exercise on a daily basis, and each time lift the bowl higher until you can put it on the table without any problem. To confirm the success of this step put the bowl on the table and walk a short distance away without any negative reaction from your dog.
7. All The members of the household must get involved
Repeat this procedure with the other family members. This is the final step and it is about repeating the 6 spets with every member of your family until the dog gets used to all of you.
However, because of the chihuahua’s temperament, this is not guaranteed as the chihuahuas tend to be loyal to only one person in the household.
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