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  • Chihuahua owners

    Any groomers that are chihuahua onwers out there with advice on how to get a jumpy, nervous alpha female chihuahua to trust you enough to put a leash on her and take her out for a walk without trying to bite you?

    The owner is working with a trainer who says the female is jealous of the male dog and bullies him and tries to attack him over food and toys on occassion.

    The male dog warmed up to me by the end of the visit but you could't even look at the female without her feeling challenged and right before I left and bent over to say goodbye to the male chihuahua she came running over and lightly nipped the tip of my finger she came back to try again and I gave her a EH EH and she backed off and went in the other room.

    I don't want to scare her more and you definitely cant just try to "control" her against her will without scaring her. I tried just ignoring her to see if she would come over but no dice.

    I go back Wednesday to work with them a little more. The owner needs a dog walker as she has disabilities and sometimes the nippy female needs to be picked up.

    That tactic worked for the male who quickly warmed up to me and got on my lap and proceeded to lick my face, nose ears and such.

  • #2
    I have five Chihuahuas and one of my ladies arrived in the same state of mind. With her, it just took time (6m) and a lot of patience. She's a new dog now. Lots of one on one, affection, pack time (supervised) and distractions when she would begin to escalate. I find the Chihuahuas much easier to work with because they really can't hurt you and although they make big noise, they rarely succeed in hurting each other. It's all about the drama!

    These are my little terrors having dinner in the ex pen. The chchc/white tri is the one who had issues. (Bad picture!)
    Attached Files
    Last edited by fiveoclockdog; 11-28-09, 04:42 PM.
    "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

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    • #3
      PM me and I'll give you my phone number.
      "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
      People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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      • #4
        She doesn't sound alpha, she sounds insecure and fearful. That is how I would direct my handling. It doesn't matter the breed, fear biters are the same. Do a few google searches on fear biting or visit Leerberg kennels for more information on correcting this behavior. I can tell you that just ignoring her isn't going to work.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by A1Mobile View Post
          She doesn't sound alpha, she sounds insecure and fearful. That is how I would direct my handling. It doesn't matter the breed, fear biters are the same. Do a few google searches on fear biting or visit Leerberg kennels for more information on correcting this behavior. I can tell you that just ignoring her isn't going to work.
          That's what I'm thinking too as far as people go because she would stay at a distance and bark and then run up nip and run away and when corrected would stop. I was trying to just let her come to me and not do a Ceasar Milan where he holds them against their will sending them into a fearful nipping frenzy sometimes.

          When I went to even grab her leash she would spin and try to get me. The lady is telling me she attacks the male without warning over toys, food and which crate she wants to sleep in.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by fiveoclockdog View Post
            I have five Chihuahuas and one of my ladies arrived in the same state of mind. With her, it just took time (6m) and a lot od patience. She's a new dog now. Lots of one on one, affection, pack time (supervised) and distractions when she would begin to escalate. I find the Chihuahuas much easier to work with because they really can't hurt you and although they make big noise, they rarely succeed in hurting each other. It's all about the drama!

            These are my little terrors having dinner in the ex pen. The chchc/white tri is the one who had issues. (Bad picture!)
            That's a lot of little babies you got there. She seems isolated from the rest of the pack.

            The lady says she finds scabs and scratches on the male sometimes she thinks are from the female.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dog Daze View Post
              That's a lot of little babies you got there. She seems isolated from the rest of the pack.

              The lady says she finds scabs and scratches on the male sometimes she thinks are from the female.
              She's not isolated. I called her away to try and get a clear photo. She'e comfortable enough to eat from the same large bowl without fighting, sleeps in a pile with the rest, climbs up in our laps for affection and now allows strangers (clients) to hold and pet her. As opposed to 6 months ago when I picked her up and she bit me on the face and hand, hid under furniture and attacked the others over food and toys. Now she plays with the puppy.
              As far as injuries to the male go...the key word is "supervised". If she's finding latent injuries then they must be spending time unattended, which is something I wouldn't reccomend until the dog is stable.
              "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

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              • #8
                Fearful, not aggressive

                This does not sound like aggression at all, but a nervous, fearful dog instead. She will require different handling then an aggressive dog would.
                Lisa VanVleet, RVT

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                • #9
                  Hehe, if she is nervous and jumpy, she isn't Alpha.

                  Make sure that the owner is not nurturing that nervous jumpy side. Do things that build the dogs confidence without being overly scary. And for gods sake, tell her not to carry the dog everywhere. I think that is one of the biggest mistakes people with tiny dogs make, turning them into fearful insecure dogs. They get carried everywhere, build up no confidence, get no exercise and never get a sense of the big world around them.

                  Do some training with him. teach him tricks. Each time he learns something new, his confidence will grow a bit. Take him for walks... socialize. If they have time time and means getting out and doing group classes would be great for the dog. I've seen some shy fearful dogs have amazing transformations doing agility, but I know that is not for every owner.

                  Most important, be the leader.. I am not saying be mean but dogs are most comfortable and most secure when they have a leader, and don't feel forced to step in to that spot themselves.

                  Hope some of these suggestions will help.

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                  • #10
                    Do you think I should have the owner hand her to me to try and get her coat and leash on or wait until I earn her trust to try and do it?

                    The woman is disabled with fibromyalgia so will be home when I am there but is finding it increasingly difficult to walk them.

                    She does have a trainer coming on Monday, I'm going to ask her what tips the trainer gave her and see if she might share the trainer's number with me so I can call for some tips if possible.

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                    • #11
                      You don't think she's the alpha over the male dog either even though she'll growl and bite over food, toys and beds?

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                      • #12
                        I was just reading article on the leerburg site (I've visited the site before for article and advise on breaking up dog fights) after my dog was attacked.

                        According to his training you should never pet other people's pets are allow strangers to pet your dogs because they are not part of your pack.

                        Don't know that I could ever go that far with my pack leader training.

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                        • #13
                          if it was me, Id have the owner put her in a area where she cant run far away (under furniture and stuff) maybe the bathroom? and then you go in without the owner in the vacinity and sit for a bit with some really great treats. (maybe some cooked chicken or hotdogs) Id tempt her with the meat and build a relationship that way. Bring a slip lead that you can put over her head since grabbing her and putting the collar on will be threatning at first. OH Or you could have the owner put the leash and collar on her before she puts the dog in the bathroom so you already have that part done

                          I find once the owner is out of the picture and you are holding the leash the dog will tend to follow you. They are followers.

                          If the dog is stubborn you might want to bring a book. LOL


                          You dont ever want to take the dog out of the owners hands, but if you are in a hurry, she could hand you the leash while she is on the floor

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                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=Jadenlea;366539]Hehe, if she is nervous and jumpy, she isn't Alpha.

                            Make sure that the owner is not nurturing that nervous jumpy side. Do things that build the dogs confidence without being overly scary. And for gods sake, tell her not to carry the dog everywhere. I think that is one of the biggest mistakes people with tiny dogs make, turning them into fearful insecure dogs. They get carried everywhere, build up no confidence, get no exercise and never get a sense of the big world around them.

                            She definitely is nurturing the neurotic behavior, hopefully the trainer will have that talk with her on Monday and then were going to have to discuss it when I go on Wednesday. I definitely like the slip lead idea and I like the dog collars on the leerburg site but don't know if owners would like the way it sits under the jaw with a metal piece. I have a show slip lead that may work.

                            The dog tried to nail me once when I tried to retrieve the leash from the floor but I definitely like the putting her in a space where I can get the lead on her idea.

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                            • #15
                              people will disagree ,but as Chihuahuas are my fave breed,and having owned them for 20 yrs,i handle quite a few.
                              Of course many are happy well adjusted dogs with delightful temps,but i certainly meet some meanies. I do think most of the meanies are over indulged scaredy dogs,not truly malicious.
                              I take the same approach with them all.The instant i meet the dog i assess if its a biter/growler/scaredy etc. I always have a towel with me when meeting a new Chi. I either ask the owner to put the dog (on lead) on the floor where i pull the lead up tight and pick the dog up as quick as a flash.yes ,i often have my fingers munched but i grit my teeth and hold on tight,The dog usually realises with a few seconds that its been got,and relaxes,and you gain immediate respect.You are telling the dog immediately that youre not playing their game but they can still trust you. No yelling or smacking,actually very little talking.I just hold them tight in the towel and let them pull every stunt in their armory until they figure out nothing washes with me.
                              Alternatively if the owner insists on holding the dog or it does not have a leash,ask them to hold the dog under their arm and face away from you,and then take the dog out from under their arm from behind them and do the same firm hold until the tantrums are over.
                              Every Chi i have used this technique on have turned into my best little friends.I dont know why it is ,but with Chi's i have found that it needs to be immediate intervention or you lose the game and have much less chance for a recovery ......tip toeing around and making friends slowly seems not to work so well with Chis.
                              If it were me i would get that dogs lead ,take a deep breath and pick the dog up ,ride out the chomps on your fingers and secure the lead and march off confidently.Chances are the dog will be so surprised and elated to finally have decisive leadership that it will follow you with glee!

                              I am currently boarding a male & female that sound a bit like these 2. Male totally outgoing and smoochie,female scared and insecure, barking ,growling,cowering.....well only for the first few minutes anyway! we're best friends now.

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