We have a duty to our Chihuahuas to teach them how to be comfortable and confident with strangers. Chihuahuas thrive on the attention of strangers once they feel confident with them, and it is our job as their family to teach them how.
It is best to teach your Chihuahua from puppyhood how to respond positively to strangers, but even if your little pup is grey in the muzzle or has come from an abusive or neglectful background, she can learn to take joy in meeting strangers or at least not respond by barking at them.
Teaching your Chihuahua not to bark at strangers will require plenty of her favorite treats and toys. It is helpful to have some dog loving, bark-tolerant strangers available as well. Practice in a variety of settings and with lots of different people. Make sure your chihuahua is wearing a sturdy harness that she cannot slip out of and that won’t hurt her if she pulls against it.
Barking, especially continuous, uncontrollable barking, is often paired with terrible anxiety and fear, as well as possible aggression. Be patient with your Chihuahua and appreciate how frightening meeting new people can be for her. Don’t push her to interact if she doesn’t want to. Doing so can result in aggression or even biting.
she barks at people and other dogs, and when off lead with run at them barking, and will not come back when called. I have tried clicker training, 'Look' when someone walks past and trying to distract her but she doesn't take the food and would rather bark instead.
Hello Alannah, I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have her mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with her having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if she isn't calm. She should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk she should be in the heel position - with her head behind your leg. That position decreases her arousal, reduces stress because she isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents her from scanning for others, staring others down, and ignoring you behind her. It also requires her to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive she is - it makes her feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not hers. Additionally, when you do pass others, as soon as she starts staring them down, interrupt her. Don't tolerate challenging stares - even if she is stressed. Remind her with a gentle correction that you are leading the walk and she is not allowed to break her heel or stare someone down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for her in the long-run. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Severely aggressive dog – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiDe0GNnLQ&t=259s Do not allow pup off leash. Pup's aggression needs to be fully resolved before they are off leash, which includes complete voice control even in the presence of other people - with an off-leash heel and reliable come. I suggest working with a trainer in person to gain those things. This will involve the use of a long leash and desensitizing pup to a variety of people - via the training staff mostly, and a lot of repetition with obedience in those types of situations - where the situation is set up to keep everyone safe and always be able to enforce the command you give. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How can I make my dog not be so obsessive. I've talked to my local pet smart employees and they have said that she is obsessive. How can I stop that?
Hello Angela, Is it barking that Cookie is obsessive about or something else? Two things might be going on here: 1. Barking is actually a self-rewarding behavior, meaning that when a dog's bark certain chemicals are released in the dog's brain, which rewards him and excites him and encourages him even more to bark. 2. When a dog gets wound up barking due to the chemicals that are being released in his brain he can develop a habit of reactivity because it is a pattern for him and he associates certain feelings with the people. To change the response you ultimately need to change his feelings also. I suspect both of those things are going on if the barking is toward people that he does not like, or new people. If he is barking at everything, like squirrels, when he is bored, or anything interesting that he notices, then it is probably just the first scenario. First, you need to interrupt the barking to stop the rewarding-chemical-releasing cycle in his brain. This requires correction. Once you correct the barking, to stop it briefly, then you need to give him feedback to tell or show him what to do instead. That means rewarding him whenever he does the RIGHT thing, which can be being quiet, saying hi to someone, being calm, looking at you for direction, and any other response that you want him to do instead of barking. If he is obsessive in another way, then please include more details about the obsessive behavior. Other types of obsessions can be due to genetics, chemical imbalances, learned behaviors, or by using certain tools like laser pointers. To deal with obsessiveness, you need to know what the obsession is and what might be causing it, so I would need more information. Thank you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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