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Old 01-24-2005, 02:48 PM
ssbon ssbon is offline
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Default Fear Aggresion?

Hello. Sorry for this long message: I just got a second dog about 2.5 months ago for a companion for my 4 yr. old neuterd male chihuahua. She was 5 months old when I got her. The new puppy is now a 7 month old female chihuahua about 1/3(4 pounds) the size of my male chihuahua (10 pounds). The new puppy seems to have had no socialization at all. She was extremely shy when I got her as well but I felt sorry for her so I bought her from a guy that did not want her any more. I couldnít stand her being with him since she looked really scared. She is really scared of humans still. She runs away when u are going to grab her. She has gotten better only with me, but sometimes is still a little shy with me. What can i do to make her more social and help her stop being shy and scared, because when my family comes over I try to bring her in so she can get used to them but she will bark and snap at them so I donít put her in when we have visitors anymore? Also the main concern is that the new puppy still snaps at Lucky when she stares at him or when Lucky is chewing on a bone. She was a lot worst with lucky before though. Now they have gotten to the point to which they can be left alone together in the same room and they even share the same food cuz if I leave food out for them separately they will eat from both bowls. I believe she is doing this because she hasnt had any socialization whatsoever. What can I do to discourage the aggresiveness she has towards lucky? She doesnt bite me or my sister (she is 14 yrs.) or even growls at me or my sister. I have been working with her like checking her mouth and teeth paws etc. and will not bite or growl at me. She is also coming to me more on her own. Overall she has gotten a better improvement since we got her, but only with me because she is still a little shy with my sister and has bonded with me. She does not follow my sister anywhere. However I am in college and im only home on the weekends and my sister takes care of her then since it is really her dog and lucky is mine.. ANy suggestions as to make her social with dogs and humans and not be shy, because she will bite people I believe it is out of fear aggresion? Will she ever trust lucky and not lunge at him to try to bite him any more? The thing that im worried about the most is that she has been attacking my parents for no reason at all. When my parents pass by her crate she will bark and lunge at them. She even bites their anckles and my parents are doing nothing at her whatsoever. They just tell her ďNOĒ but I guess that isnít working. Also recently that I take her to my parents so they can pet her and she can get used to them, she has been snapping to get them to stop touching her! My parents also live home and I donít want her to be aggressive to my parents since we are keeping her no matter what. Lucky does not do that to us. He is dominant over us but never bites or lung at any of us. I donít want her aggressiveness to get any worse than what it already is. Next Saturday she is starting puppy classes. (Should she get puppy classes? She is 7 months old) I hope that will help her a little to get used to other dogs and humans since I have also noticed that she growls and barks at other dogs she sees. She has learned to sit quite well and to lay down a little also. So I hope she learns to be more obedient with my sister as well as to me also. I have not been able to potty train her to use the litter or her pads completely. She is always peeing and pooping everywhere in the house even though we have the puppy pads their so she can go on them. Any advice u can give me will be really appreciated. Thank you very much!!!
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:55 PM
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CreatureTeacher CreatureTeacher is offline
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Sounds like you have your hands full! First of all, you have to get your parents and sister involved and make sure that everything you're doing to help your new girl, they do too. Consistency is going to be the key to desensitizing her.

To start, make sure she understands that when she communicates, you promise to listen. For instance, if she growls when you reach for her, don't keep reaching. The growl means, "Please don't do that." Try to respect her wishes as far as touching goes. If she doesn't want to be touched, allow her that.

Now that that's said, I'm going to recommend a social exercise. From the sound of things, this is something you should do with BOTH your dogs. Little dogs are often treated carefully by their families (and with good cause; they're easilly squished!) and that can translate into reverence on their end. You may be inadvertently sending your dogs signals that, in Dog-ese, mean, 'You're the boss!" What I'm going to ask you and your family to do is called 'resource control'. Your pooches are confused as to their standing in the social order of your family. A lot of people will tell you they're 'dominant', but I don't consider that to be a productive word or attitude. So we're going to stick with 'confused'. I don't want you to try to dominate them. You need to demonstrate to them that you (and your family) are their leader, not their 'alpha'. They need to understand that, even though they are loved and valued family members, they are not yet paying bills or buying groceries. Until they are, they're living in your house and they have to abide by your rules.

Your little girl may not have had a fantastic childhood, but I don't want you thinking about that. If you're distracted by pity, she won't learn anything. So here's the way it works: from now on, everything is on your terms. 'Resources' include anything you have that your dogs want; meals, affection, play, treats, etc. are all resources that you're going to control. The main thing you and your family need to do is demand the dogs give you the equivalent of a "please" before they get access to those resources. Before they get what they want, you get something you want. Watch your dogs carefully, and ask yourself, "Is she asking, or demanding?" Any demands should be completely ignored. If they're demanding dinner, then you can walk away for five minutes and try again. If they're demanding to be petted, get up and walk away from them. Don't talk to them or look at them. Just deny them what they want until they can ask politely.

Now I'm not telling you not to feed your dogs. Your dogs must always have access to what they need to be healthy and happy: food, fresh water, shelter, and companionship. But food and companionship are powerful motivators. So before they get dinner, ask them to do something polite, like "sit". If they refuse to accomodate you, then you can put their food out of reach and walk away. Try again in 10 minutes. You'll find they can be very, very well behaved when they think their dinner is on the line! And don't pet them every time they want you to. Affection is a very powerful resource, and if the dogs feel as though it's theirs for the taking, you just took a step down the social ladder in their eyes. When you do pet them, make sure they ask politely or ask them for a "sit". Don't give affection for longer than 5 or 10 minutes. Leave them wanting more! If they do something you like, give them a brief reward. If they do something you don't like, withdraw your resources (i.e. petting or attention).

When your dogs realize that you aren't their carpet, they'll straighten up quite a bit. Usually, you'll notice a minor difference in their behavior in a week or so, and they'll understand fully the new social order in 3-4 weeks. I believe this practice will do wonders for your dogs, especially the little one who needs to learn these things while she's young. When you can tell that they recognize you and your family as the 'pack leaders', you can slowly return their privileges until life is back to normal. If they start thinking they're in charge again, just do the resource control practice again.

I'll be the first person to tell you that this is difficult; I LOVE to pet and cuddle my dogs, and it broke my heart to spend almost a month mostly ignoring them. But they and I are better for it, and our relationship has a solid structure in which everyone understands their place. You can do it! Don't put your dogs in harm's way, just adjust their attitude.

Resource control will make a difference with her messing in the house, also. Keep in mind that her bladder is about the size of a quarter, and she can't hold a lot of urine in there. Small dogs need to go out much more often than large dogs. Try taking her out once an hour or so, and praise her when she potties outside. Don't scold her for messing inside, she won't understand why she's in trouble and it will only damage your relationship. If you catch her in the act, pick her up and run her outside, then praise when she finishes up in the yard. Make sure she gets lots of encouragement when she goes where you want her to go. You can even add a command for urinating, which is really handy in winter. My dogs know, "Pee on that" means it's time to hurry up so we can go back inside. Tell her, "Potty" while she's in the act of pottying, then give her a treat when she's finished.

Check out this link, it might help a little. There are two posts there, one of them explains desensitization. In a few weeks, we'll start working on that.

http://www.chazhound.com/forums/show...?t=2107&page=2

Keep me updated, and feel free to write with any questions. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Emma
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:04 AM
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Renee750il Renee750il is offline
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Thank you, Emma! What a practical and compassionate approach - so much more effective than the "military academy" approach some trainers take. I think you're going to be a big help to a lot of people here!
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