How to Train Your Chihuahua Dog to Not Be Aggressive

Medium
1-2 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Chihuahuas are cute little dogs, but they are dogs nonetheless. It is easy to not take them seriously when they behave aggressively. A snarling, snapping Chihuahua may be thought of as “being cute” and the behavior dismissed as not important. This is a huge mistake. Your Chihuahua is a dog, and if he is behaving aggressively, he is not respecting your leadership or other people. Although a Chihuahua may not be as dangerous as a larger dog, a Chihuahua is still capable of biting and causing damage, especially to a child or older person. Chihuahuas are prone to acting aggressively for the same reasons any dog may behave aggressively, due to anxiety, territorial behavior, or to show dominance. It can not be stressed enough that Chihuahuas are dogs like any other dog, and should be treated similarly with regards to expectations for training and behavior; they should not be allowed to behave dominantly. Obedience expectations and positive socialization should not be allowed to slide as a requirement when caring for a Chihuahua.

Defining Tasks

If your Chihuahua is behaving aggressively, try to determine what is behind his aggression. Is your dog experiencing anxiety that needs addressing and requires confidence and experience to be developed? Is your Chihuahua acting dominant, trying to establish himself as a leader? If so, you need to make sure your dog views you as the leader and behaves respectfully toward you, family members, and friends by respecting other people's space and submitting to having toys or food removed. Some Chihuahuas become possessive of their owners, biting and snapping when someone else approaches them and their owners. If this is the case, replacing territorial behavior with appropriate, well-socialized behavior is required. Your Chihuahua should not behave aggressively but allow others to approach him and yourself and to take toys or food without a fuss. A Chihuahua should know basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'down' and 'come' the same as any other dog. This helps establish who is the leader and what is expected, which also helps reduce anxiety and territorial behaviors.

Getting Started

If your dog suddenly starts acting aggressive and they were not aggressive before, you should consider taking your Chihuahua to a veterinarian in case he is experiencing medical problems. Pain or discomfort can cause aggression that can be addressed by relief of the condition. Once a medical condition has been ruled out, make sure all members of the household are on board to counteract aggressive behavior, as consistency is important. Avoid punishing or yelling at a Chihuahua that is behaving aggressively, as this will only contribute to anxiety and aggression. Instead, be prepared to reward alternate behaviors and provide opportunities for positive socialization and to establish yourself and members of your household as leaders that need to be respected. This will require time, patience and consistency.

The Alternate Behavior Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Teach 'sit-stay'
Teach your Chihuahua basic obedience commands like 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' in a quiet place, free from distractions. Ask you dog to 'sit-stay' and provide a treat for compliance.
Step
2
Add distractions
Practice 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' in a variety of environments until well established.
Step
3
Change reward
Replace treats with praise and affection for performing 'sit-stay'.
Step
4
Use when aggressive
When your Chihuahua starts to behave in an aggressive manner, growling or snapping, or takes an aggressive stance, distract him and provide the 'sit-stay' or 'down-stay' command.
Step
5
Reward alternate behavior
When your dog complies, praise him, this will provide a distraction from aggressive behaviors and provide your dog with a different response.
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The Extinguish Aggression Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Change situation
If your dog behaves aggressively when sitting on your lap and approached by other people, do not allow your Chihuahua to sit on your lap while others are present.
Step
2
Distract aggression
When your Chihuahua behaves aggressively, distract him with a noise maker, or firmly say "no".
Step
3
Reward calm
When your Chihuahua behaves in a calm, friendly manner, provide praise and a treat to reinforce that behavior.
Step
4
Remove when required
If your Chihuahua behaves aggressively, ignore him. Remove him from the situation if behavior is out of control. You can put your Chihuahua in a crate or another room.
Step
5
Increase expectations
Increase the amount of time you expect your Chihuahua to be calm before providing reward or praise, attention, affection, or treats.
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The Establish Leadership Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Teach obedience
Teach your dog basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'down', and 'heel'.
Step
2
Be food provider
Establish that you are the food provider. Make your Chihuahua sit and wait while you prepare food. Put his food down on the floor and wait with your dog while he eats to establish you are the provider. Practice removing and returning food so your dog knows what to expect and accept it.
Step
3
Socialize
Socialize your Chihuahua. Introduce your Chihuahua to other people, other dogs and other animals in a positive non-threatening environment. Reward positive interaction, remove your dog if aggressive behavior occurs while you continue to interact with others. While socializing, keep your dog at floor level. Avoid picking your dog up or keeping him on eye level with yourself or others.
Step
4
Do not reward agressiveness
Do not soothe your agitated dog when he is behaving aggressively, as this is just reinforcing anxiety and aggression. Do not pick your dog up or hold him close when he is acting anxious or aggressive.
Step
5
Reward appropriate behavior
Reward your dog with praise and treats for behaving positively in a situation that previously made him anxious or aggressive. Increase his experiences, expose him to new sights , sounds and places slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for your Chihuahua.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Macho
Chihuahua
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Macho
Chihuahua
2 Years

My daughters dog Macho lives in an apartment. she brings him to my home often to stay with my 15 year old border collie. he loves to be in our home as hes free to roam and has the yard. When she returns to take him home he gets very aggressive towards her and even attempts to bite her. what do we do ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Doreen, This sounds like an issue of lack of respect. If Macho has learned from past experiences that he will be left alone if he reacts aggressively, then he is probably trying to control situations to get what he wants, which in this case is to stay somewhere more fun. Check out the article that I have linked below and both she and you should follow those methods with Macho when he is at your and her home. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, spend time getting Macho used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle using lots of treats, and clip a drag leash on him when someone is home to supervise. Get him used to wearing the leash and the muzzle around, until they become normal to him. When he stays with you, occasionally put those things on him, and on the day when you know he will have to go home, clip the leash to him and put the muzzle on him, and then calmly let her lead him home. The goal is to show him that his aggression and avoidance do not work anymore. When he stops resisting and is compliant and calm, then she can reward him through the muzzle with small treats, or peanut butter, liver paste, or cheese on a straw he can lick. Practicing regular obedience with him at her house, giving him more structure at both places, getting him used to wearing a muzzle so that he cannot bite, and rewarding him when he cooperates. All of those things should work together. Practicing obedience with him at her home and leaving him with interesting puzzle toys, food stuffed chew toys, or automatic treat dispensing devices, such as Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer should also help him like her apartment better. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marshmallow
Chihuahua
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Marshmallow
Chihuahua
1 Year

My dog Marshmallow is unpredictable. Sometimes he will even bite us! He always barks at people coming over or at people walking past our house. When we have people over he will act innocent and then when someone tries to touch him he will attack.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Leah, I suggest hiring a professional trainer in your area who can help you at your home person. It sounds like there are several things going on with Marshmallow's issues. First, you need to work on his respect toward you in general. He needs to learn that biting will not gain him what he wants by getting him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle and desensitizing him to the situations that be normally bites in. He needs to be desensitized to touch with treats with other people once he will relax during your interactions with him. He needs to be desensitized to the appearance of other people through the window treats for his calm behavior around people, treats for seeing someone before he reacts at all, and through interrupting his bad behavior, combined with the rewards for the correct behavior. The corrections need to be done carefully and associated with his own poor behavior though and in combination with pleasant rewards that are associated with the people. Finally, he needs to be desensitized to people coming over to your home through practice, rewards, calm interactions where the people ignore him apart from tossing him treats, and finally touch desensitization while wearing a muzzle that has holes bite enough to receive treats through, while he is calm and relaxed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Marley
Chihuahua
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Marley
Chihuahua
2 Years

My dog Marley definitely has little man syndrome, or only child syndrome. It’s cute when he’s an only child, but we are getting a new puppy that will be 8 weeks old and I’m worried about Marley being mean to the puppy. Any tips on what to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Casey, I suggest starting Marley on doggie boot camp before the new puppy arrives. Establishing respect through training with less confrontation will set a better tone for the puppy's arrival. You do not want Marley thinking that he runs the house. Have Marley work for everything he gets in life by doing a command before you feed him, pet him, take him on a walk, play with him, or give him anything else he wants. Work on teaching him "Place" and having him stay in place with distractions around for up to an hour. No being pushy. No climbing into your lap uninvited. No guarding furniture, people, objects, or food. Keep a drag leash on him when you are home, and when he gets possessive, pushy, or rude, pick up the end of the lead and make him leave the area calmly but firmly. Reward calmness and obedience with calm attention, but don't over do it. When there are issues between dogs in the same household, increasing respect for the humans in charge, creating rules for all the dogs, and being the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs do not have to is advised most of the time. If you are in charge, and you make and enforce rules and are the mediator between the dogs, there is less to compete for and expectations are clearer. When Marley is being tolerant of the puppy, you can reward him calmly with his own dog food or attention (keep space between them when you rewarding to avoid any food fights though). As soon as the puppy leaves, rewards and attention stops - you want to associate good things with the puppy's appearance. Also, I suggest crate training the puppy and setting up an exercise pen. Feed the puppy his kibble food in hollow chew toys as often as you can in the crate or exercise pen instead of only a bowl (where Marley can't steal it or bully him). This gives the puppy something to do, teaches him to entertain and sooth himself, and helps prevent boredom barking by keeping him busy. It also prevents him from wandering into Marley's space when you are not directly supervising him. The puppy and Marley should only be interacting while the puppy is young and still learning under your direct supervision. You want Marley to feel like you are supervising and in charge and the puppy is not something he ought to handle - it's your job. Create rules for all of the dogs and enforce those household rules for each. Some good rules might include: No dog is allowed to be pushy. No dog is allowed to beg. No dog is allowed to be possessive or people, objects, food or furniture. No dog is allowed to steal another dog's toy. No dog is allowed to bother another dog when they want to be left alone. No dog is allowed to block another dog from getting somewhere. No dog is allowed to stare at or intimidate another dog. No dog is allowed to steal or bother another dog while they are eating (I suggest feeding all the dog's in separate areas where no other dog can get to them - such as in crates). No dog is allowed to tell another dog what to do. Have consequences that are related to what the dog did, such as having to leave the room, when a dog breaks a rule. If another dog takes a toy, you be the one to take the toy back from the thief and return it to the dog who had it originally. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Maci
Chihuahua
7 Years
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Question
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Maci
Chihuahua
7 Years

We’ve had maci for 7 years and she has always been aggressive towards other people outside the family no matter what we did, we have recently gotten a new puppy and she is extremely aggressive towards her she attacks her every chance she gets. What could we do to stop her from doing this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexandria, You need to hire a professional trainer to come to your home and assist you right away. This sounds like a dangerous situation for your new puppy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Colt
Chihuahua
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Colt
Chihuahua
6 Years

My dog is very hostile towards anyone other than family members. He growls and snarls and sometimes will run and lunge in an attempt to bite. This happens to anyone outside of family members, I've tried to socialize him more and show him that it's okay and they mean him no harm. I thought it was a territorial issue but I even have problems taking him out anywhere. I'm supposed to be moving in the next few months and I want to try to get him to not be so hostile. I would like to be able to not have to crate him when anyone enters the house anymore, it truly breaks my heart. He's such a sweet dog when it comes to us. He's just so unpredictable when it comes to his aggressiveness.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Austin, I suggest finding a trainer who works with several other trainers and can practice desensitizing him to a lot of different people using their staff as "strangers". Look for someone who specializes in aggression and reactivity. Also, work on structure and building leadership. Check out the videos linked below for some structure exercises and an exercise to get him more comfortable around strangers. Notice the safety measures taken in the final video for people aggression. At least part of structure exercises training needs to take place with you present and involved in the training to build his respect for you also. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tucker
Chihuahua
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Tucker
Chihuahua
2 Years

We rescued Tucker a year ago and then rescued a Rhodesian (Nala) about 7 months later. They get along fine, unless Nala is getting attention from my 10 year old daughter. Tucker loves to snuggle and begs for attention from anyone who will give it to him. But it is clear that when the two dogs and my daughter are around, Tucker goes straight to her to "claim" her. He has even urinated on her things. He will stand on her and growl at Nala and try to bite me if I try to remove him from her. Also, we crate them when we aren't home and if my husband or I try to put Tucker in the crate he pees. My daughter has no problem getting him into the crate, but recently he has become very aggressive toward her when she is locking the crate. My husband and I are trying to decide if we should regime Tucker to someone without kids and other pets.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amy, The decision to re-home a dog is very personal one that only you can make, knowing what you feel would be best for your family. If you decide to keep him, I suggest starting a boot calm with him. It sounds like there are dominance and insecurity issues. You need to build respect and trust, especially for your daughter. Have him work for everything he gets, especially pets and cuddles, by telling him to do something like lay down first. Teach him the Out, Off, and Place commands and keep a drag leash on him without a handle so it won't get caught, when you are home. If he disobeys a command, you can enforce it by simply picking up the end of the leash and leading him to where he ought to go. If he attempts to bite, he should be wearing a muzzle while you are home and he is relearning the rules of the house, especially around your daughter. A muzzle does not have to be harsh if you introduce it gradually using his dog food as treats and reward him for sniffing it, touching it, putting his face in to it, and letting you buckle it. You can use a soft silicone basket muzzle so that he can open his mouth while wearing it and you can pass treats through the holes. To get him to put his face into it hold the food through the holes so that he has to willingly poke his face into the muzzle to get the treat. How to teach Place: https://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo Crate Manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ How to teach Out (use a muzzle with this command if needed): 1. First call him over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Repeat this until he will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. 2. When he will do that, then whenever you tell him "Out" and he does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business like when you do this. 3. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until he stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. 4. When he is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If he follows you, then tell him "Out" again and quickly walk toward him until he is back to where he was a moment ago. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away from where you were when you told him "Out" originally. 5. When you are ready for him to come back, then tell him "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. 6. Practice this training until he will consistently leave the area when you tell him "Out". 7. When he will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for him to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when he is being pushy, an area with a plant that he is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that he should not be bothering. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Pepper
Chihuahua
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Pepper
Chihuahua
2 Years

Our dog gets unpredictable, like recently, me and my cousin gave pepper a bathe then later he just growls. And also, whenever he goes inside our house and I am attempting to carry him to put him back in our yard, he then growls again. What do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kyle, I suggest working on the Obedience method and Working method from the article linked below. When you train him, treat him like you would a 60lb dog, so that he is responding based on obedience training, relationship with you and respect for you, so that you do not have to physically move him as often to get him to do what you need him to - you can simply tell him and he will respond. Check out the respect/listening article linked below. Follow the "Working" and "Obedience" methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, work on teaching him to like being handled. At his meal times, from a baggie (not his food bowl) feed him his dinner one piece at a time as rewards for tolerating touch. Gently touch him somewhere like his ear and give a piece of food. Touch one ear - give a treat. Touch the other ear - give a treat. Touch his paw - give a treat. Touch his tail - give a treat. Put a hand on his belly - give a treat. Gently lift up on his belly give a treat and put him back down... Practice this gradually with every area of his body, being gentle and going slowly while you do it. Start with the areas he is most tolerant of being touched on first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jack
Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua
Seven Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Jack
Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua
Seven Years

My dog is friendly towards other people but not at all to other dogs outside. If we take him to a dog park he's standoffish and happy but not aggressive. Just recently he's starting to talk back when getting punished and refuses to listen to commands that he's known since he was a puppy. When he barks at dogs outside he goes into a trance and does not listen to us(my mom and I) telling him "no" but when we enter the house again, he knows that he's done something wrong. I don't know what to do because sometimes it's like he has no guilt whatsoever.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Asia, I suggest going back to the basics with him again. Spend time regularly having training sessions with him where you practice the commands that he already knows. Doing this will help build his motivation again, encourage his respect while avoiding physical confrontation, and help him focus back on you. I also suggest having your vet check for arthritis or something else that could be effecting mood or causing him discomfort. At his age he could have something like arthritis beginning and may be feeling grouchy because of that (I am not a vet). When dogs bark there are actually certain chemicals released in their brain that reward them and increase arousal. The longer you let them bark, the harder it can be to get them to calm back down again. I suggest teaching him a Quiet command and rewarding him for quieting down and for staying quiet when he is around something he would normally bark at. Check out the article linked below and the "Quiet" method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark It will be important to tell him Quiet before he starts barking are as soon as he begins, rather than waiting until he is really worked up. The more you practice, the better he should get at refocusing toward you. You may also need an interrupter to help him refocus on you when he disobeys. Something like a remote controlled vibration or unscented air collar can create just enough of a surprise to help him stop and refocus but then it needs to be followed up with teaching him something else to do that's good instead, and rewarding him for obeying the command you want instead. The point of the correction or interrupts would simply be to give you the opportunity to teach him how to do something else instead, like be quiet or look at you. He then needs to be rewarded for doing the correct thing so that he learns to automatically do that instead. Without pairing the correction with positive reinforcement for good behavior, he will likely just learn to ignore the interrupter eventually. Do NOT use citronella spray collars. Only use unscented air. The citronella scent tends to linger too long for dogs and because of how sensitive a dog's nose is, it can be very punishing and the punishment does not stop when the dog stops barking, instead the dog continues to smell the scent for a long time, which can be very confusing and bad for training efforts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gizmo
Chiwana
One Week
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Question
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Gizmo
Chiwana
One Week

He tends to bark and snap at people. Sometimes he bites them and occasionally us if we got him in our arms. What do i do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Wendy, I am assuming your dog is not one week old like you indicated. Assuming you are talking about an adult dog, check out the video linked below for addressing aggression with strangers: Human adult and dog aggression: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A In addition to pairing strangers with food when he is calm, I also suggest building his respect for you by practicing the following commands from the links below. Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ 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 General tips for building respect: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Finally, I suggest working on getting him used to being handled. If the aggression is happening when you go to touch him to move him, it is probably partially due to a lack of respect and partially a dislike of being touched in a certain way. To help with touch use his meal kibble as often as you can to reward him for tolerating being touched. Touch him somewhere he tolerates well and give a treat. Touch another area, like an ear, and give a treat. Touch his side and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Touch his tail and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Food him his entire meal, measured out into a baggie (not from his bowl) this way. Gradually work through being able to touch him all over, one area at a time, until he is comfortable with being touched in general. Take care not to get bitten while doing this. Start with areas he likes first, be gentle, and progress gradually as he improves at being tolerant. Do this for several weeks, every day if you can. As he improves you can also add briefly putting you hand under him and lifting him up, then giving a treat. Be careful when practicing handling to avoid being bitten. You can even wear leather gloves at first as an added safety measures and do this while he is on a loose leash attached to something secure nearby. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Piper
Chihuahua
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Piper
Chihuahua
8 Years

Piper was a rescue dog .We have had her for about 4 years now. She is often aggressive with other dogs and almost 100 percent of the time to strangers She is deaf. She is not highly motivated by treats or food she has recently become very aggressive to the person,who is my dog Walker when I am,at work. I witnessed this agressI've behavior today. I thought my dog was going to bite her for real. I do have to tell the dog Walker person lives down the hallway from my apartment Also she's really weird and maybe a little crazy. She can control herself but often gets mad and rants and raves in her apartment or the hall way.
So I think piper picks up on the craziness and I assume I act a little more uncomfortable when Sheena is around But I have never seen her behave so aggressively towards strangers much less someone she sees almost daily.
How can I motivate a deaf and non motivated by food dogs behavior
I also recently adopted a mini golden doodle (who had to learn better behavior and not jump on piper trying to play. Piper of course is flipping out over the puppy but I have begun to have riley behave by having him come to me and sitting. He's the opposite of piper he IS TOTALLY MOTIVATED BY TREATS AND HE CAN HEAR TOO. I think before I got my 9 week old puppy he was better socialized then piper ever was. I don't know if piper was ever properly socialized when she was young. Maybe that's why she flips out with stranger and goes into her angry ongoing to kill you mode just when a stranger is looking at get (people think she's zoo cute and little that they act stupid and try to bend down to pet her.) I always discourage that because of how she reacts. She has never bitten anyone yet... but she may. Sometimes people wait until I'm not looking and try to let her and temporary hell breaks loose behind me with piper snarling and going to the end of the leash.
So can you help me?
Thank toy
Betsy Gee

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, Was she fine with the dog walker in the past and the aggression toward your wvalker specifically is new? Based on your description of your dog walker, if she used to be fine with her, I would be concerned that something happened between them to escalate the aggression. With her current lack of socialization it may not have taken something severe, just something a bit too rough, scary, or weird to cause her to distrust her. Her aggression now could be related to fear. It could also be related to a lack of respect. If the aggression toward your walker is new, based on your description of your Walker, I suggest looking for a new walker. There can only be improvement in their relationship if her relationship with your Walker also improves. If your Walker I still doing whatever it is that originally triggered aggression there will not be progress. If your dog has always been suspicious of your Walker and has simply gotten worse as she has gotten older in general in that area, then a different walker could be beneficial, but it is likely not specifically related to the walker. I suggest training with hand signals and a vibration collar to help build her confidence. Work on pairing the vibration collar with something she likes (such as food, toys, a random object she loves, petting...anything she loves that is safe). Experiment with different things to see what she enjoys. Whenever she looks at you, make it rewarding and teach her to look at you so you can then give her a hand signal command. Right now if she is not trained in hand signals there is probably very little communication between you, and thus not a lot of trust, respect or dependence on you to trust you to handle situations around strangers. Start the process of teaching hand signal commands, then I recommend hiring a professional trainer who is very experienced with aggression and is creative enough to modify the training for a deaf dog, to specifically work on the aggression with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pogo
Chihuahua
Three Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Pogo
Chihuahua
Three Years

He bites when I touch him when he is sleeping. He has bitten me when I put his harness on. He seems to be very anxious. I am his 6th home. I love this fur baby and want to do everything I can to help him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Barb, The biting during sleep can be difficult if it is happening right when he wakes up - before he realizes it is you, since it is often an instinctual defense drive due to fear and being unaware of his surroundings. If that is the case, I suggest practicing saying his name first to wake him up, then when he wakes up, if he doesn't respond aggressively, immediately toss a treat over to him - so that he will begin to associate being woken up with a pleasant reward instead of something scary. If he is waking up, becomes fully aware of whats going on first, then chooses to bite out of rage, that is a different issue. That demonstrates a lack of impulse control and a more dominant-aggression. I suggest working with a trainer for that type of aggression to practice commands and activities that increase impulse control, build respect through training, create more boundaries around the home, and require him to work for more of what he gets by having to do a command, like Sit, first. If the harness and the sleeping aggression are just two examples of aggression and not the only times he behaves aggressively, then there likely is a respect issue going that needs to be addressed, in addition to some desensitization that needs to happen with handling. If it is just those two things they may both be fear related. For the harness, work on teaching him to like being handled better. As often as you can feed him his entire meal one piece of kibble at a time. Measure the food into a bag (don't grab it out of his bowl). Gently touch him somewhere that he is more tolerant of and while you do so, feed him a treat if he does not act aggressively. Practice gently touching different areas of his body while feeding him treats. Start with the areas he is most tolerant of first, then gradually move onto areas he is more unsure of as he improves and relaxes. Expect to practice this for a few weeks, and once he does well, continue to do this occasionally to maintain his new level of tolerance. Once he is tolerant of being touched, then introduce the harness. Sprinkle his meal kibble around the harness on the floor so that he touches it to eat - watch out for him chewing on it though. Once he is comfortable with that, hold the harness up and feed him a treat whenever he touches the harness for any reason. Once he will touch it and is comfortable, hold the head opening of the harness open (widen it for training to make this easier at first). Hold a treat inside the head loop and give it to him when he reaches toward the harness. When he is comfortable with that, then hold the treat a bit further away so that he has to reach his head into the harness opening slightly more to get the treat. Practice this, gradually moving the treat slightly further away as he improves, until he is putting his head all the way through the harness opening on his own. Don't throw the harness over him or try to rush putting it on him or you may set him back. Once he will put his head into the opening willingly, then reach under him while the harness is over his head and move the buckles under his belly together, then let them go. Feed treats while you do this. Gradually move the buckles more and more as he becomes comfortable with that, while feeding treats. Finally, snap the buckles together and feed treats while you practice adjusting the harness to get the right fit. Have him put on his harness this way for a while, until he looks forward to wearing it. Expect this to take time since he is already afraid of it. I suggest purchasing a martingale collar to walk him on while you are practicing the harness training in the meantime. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rambo
Chihuahua
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Rambo
Chihuahua
2 Years

Hello
Although Rambo has always been really good socialising with other dogs all shapes and sizes. This weekend I have noticed a behavioural change. We went to visit my cousins 17 week old puppy who is a staffi. Lovely temperament but was playing quite rough which seemed to make Rambo feel scared and intimidated. We took them for a walk first together on leads which was fine but once we came back the playing seemed to be too intense. Rambo started growling, snapping and acting very aggressive at the puppy every time it came close. Rambo was visibly exhausted and upset the next day and seemed depressed. We also went to see more family the next day where he socialised with my in-laws little dog daisy who is bison friis and very old but they get on well and also my sister in laws puppy who is a Kerry blue terrier. Again very young and wanting to play with Rambo. Rambo was not as upset and aggressive as the day before but he was still snapping and snarling at her a little and occasionally it looked playful also. This is quite long winded but obviously I’m concerned about this behaviour and how to deal with it. About a year ago Rambo had an experience where a pit bull turned on him and he was bitten. He’s always been a very social with other dogs and people and especially children but since this event he’s been more nervous of dogs and will protect himself with a little growl. I think there is a mixture of issues perhaps with respect for us as owners but also a little of small dog syndrome. What do you think?! 😊

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ellice, From what you described he was likely overwhelmed by the other dog and the growling and snapping were his way of defending himself. This is common with older dog's and puppies or smaller dogs and bigger dogs. The issue is likely him needing you to advocate and defend him better from dogs who overpower him or have too much energy for him and wear him down. You want him to feel like you will step in and handle situations so that he does not get overwhelmed. If he feels he can trust you to take charge and step in as needed as the leader, then he doesn't have to act aggressively to scare the other dogs off. He should be corrected for aggressive displays, but if he is behaving that way then you likely waited to long to step in also. When he is playing with another dog, praise him and encourage him when he is happy and doing well. When you start to see him getting tired or another dog being too rough with him, then before he has to do anything about it himself, you step in, and calmly get between him and the other dog and distract the other dog away (only do it this way with safe, friendly dogs and not aggressive dogs - aggressive dogs should be handled much differently). Once the other dog has been shooed away, he can take a break and rest. If, after resting, he wants to play again you can let him as long as he is initiating it (not the other dog coming over) and the other dog also wants to play (don't let him be to pushy with the other dog either). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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R2
Chihuahua
5 Years
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R2
Chihuahua
5 Years

He is my boyfriends rescue dog. We often fight with him to get him motivated to eat and
Sometimes its understandable, as we give him chichken 3 days in a row and gets bored However he is always given either meat of sone sort and or veggies. But, we often have to fight with him to eat. He growls.

The other oroblem is peeing on new things coming into the hs.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vicki, If fight with him to eat you mean that you are trying to force him to eat, then I suggest investigating why he is a picky eater and trying to make meal times more peaceful. The anxiety of being force fed can actually cause so much stress that his digestive system causes him not to be hungry and have a hard time digesting. He is likely a picky eater already, which is how this started, but check with your vet to see if there are any nutritional deficiencies, parasites, digestive disorders, or good bacteria imbalances, or a food allergy. Even though he is being fed people food is his diet varied enough to avoid a nutritional deficiency? - Organ meat is very nutrition but most dogs are fed muscle meat like chicken breasts, which are less nutritious in terms of vitamins, minerals, and different fats. If he is overweight that could also lead to not wanting to eat often. I suggest looking into his digestive health, then feeding him in a closed crate in a quiet room where there is less pressure to eat or people and other dogs around making him feel anxious, but he is still close enough to his food to choose to eat it. Liver paste, Ziwi Peak freeze dried food, nature's variety raw boost, and goat milk will sometimes help picky eaters become interested in food again if the issue is simply pickiness and not something medical. Also, some dogs can be allergic to common ingredients like chicken and rice, although eggs, wheat, corn, soy, and chicken fat/by products are more common allergies. If you do try a different food, make the change gradually over a two week period to avoid diarrhea and stomach upset, and give the new food a month to see improvement as long as you do not see any set backs - if the food causes an issue stop using it. The peeing is a dominant, territorial behavior. I suggest working on building respect and trust in general to help with this. When he tries to lift his leg to pee on something, clap loudly three times to surprise him, then move him away from the object calmly. Do not punish after the fact - the timing needs to be right when he tries to do it. To build respect and trust check out the videos and articles linked below: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 General guidelines for calm respectfulness: https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Taquita
Chihuahua
8 Years
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Taquita
Chihuahua
8 Years

Just rescued her from the street a couple weeks ago. She's been a stray for a while but shows signs of human socialization. Vet says blood tests all good...

She is very meek and shy but never aggressive to people. Will greet other dogs but becomes insanely aggressive when the other dog turns away. She attacked a Yellow Lab the other day after spending 45 seconds smelling each other. She saw another dog go past us while we were on a leash and when the other dog turned the corner 20 yards away, Taquita went into attack mode. Best methods?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ben, What you are describing sounds like a dog that lacks confidence. A bold dog will attack a dog head on and fight in a way that seems typical. A dog that lacks confidence feels tense about other dogs and is likely displaying subtle aggressive and stress signals around other dogs that people may miss, but they wait until the dog's back is turned and the dog is essentially defenseless to attack - sort of like the phrase 'stabbing a man in the back'. If she waits until the other dog is turned away then the other dog can't fight back as easily. This type of aggression can be sneakier but is typically still treated like other forms of aggression. You will need to get better at noticing more subtle body language though so that you can give her direction , rewards, or correction when she is 'thinking bad thoughts' vs. truly being calm and not just when she is fully exploded - which is much harder to address because of all the adrenaline she is experiencing during that moment. I suggest: 1. working on general confidence building exercises, such as agility obstacles. Working him through new things can help him learn to trust you more and gain confidence without directly stressing him with other dogs. 2. Work on more structure and boundaries in general to help him trust and respect you more, and thus feel like he can look to you to handle interactions with others and things he feels uneasy about. Check out the articles linked below for ways to build these things. This type of obedience should be done very calmly to help bring his own arousal and anxious emotions back down to a calmer place. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 3. Look to see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. This is a class for dog aggressive and dog reactive dogs to learn to be social and calm around each other in a safe environment more quickly. All the dog's wear muzzles in this class to keep everyone safe. If there is not a G.R.O.W.L. class, or even if there is you can also work on counter conditioning him around other dogs - which means helping him associate other dogs with good things. There are several ways to do this. A structured heel and confidence building and boundaries are a good place to start to help him enter into new situations with dogs in a calmer state to begin with. Rewarding him for looking at another dog but staying relaxed (learn about body language here, you don't want to reward him feeling aggressive instead, since he is less obvious). Reward him for looking at another dog and then back toward you. Correct early signs of aggression, encouraging him to look back at you and stop staring a dog, getting aroused, or tensing up. As soon as he relaxes again or looks to you for direction, reward him and praise him very calmly. You are giving him information here. Right now he feels uncertain about other dogs and is making poor choices about how to feel and act. Tell him when he is doing something wrong and when he is doing something correct - behavior and emotion wise (look at body language to see emotional and mental state). It can also be very helpful to work directly with a trainer when it comes to fear and aggression. If you do, look for someone who specializes in aggression and behavior modification, has good client referrals, and the resources (lots of other calm dogs to train with) to be able to practice the training that's needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Olive
Chihuahua
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Olive
Chihuahua
1 Year

Olive is a really sweet dog towards people, but when it comes to strange dogs she gets really aggressive. Also, one of our others dogs just had a puppy and since then her and olive cannot be in the same place because they start fighting. She’s a great dog with people but I plan on moving to an apartment with her and I don’t want her aggression to be a problem with the other dogs in the apartment complex.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Samara, First, I suggest seeing if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dog aggressive or dog reactive dogs, who are all socialized together in a structured way while all the dogs wear muzzles and owners are instructed by the class trainer. These classes can help decrease dog's reactions toward other strange dogs more quickly. As far as getting along with a household dog and dogs in close quarters, I suggest hiring a private trainer to help you. There are likely other issues in addition to socialization needs, that should be addressed, possibly including: dominance, possessiveness, resource guarding, prey drive, bullying/rudeness, fear-aggression, and genetic aggression. It can also be a combination of things. You need someone who can determine exactly what is going on, see your dog's personality, and has access to a lot of well socialized dogs to practice the training around your dog. Check out the videos linked below. The details of how to train will depend on exactly what type of aggression and temperament your dog has. Structured obedience and building focus and respect toward you is generally a good place to start though - if your dog has ever shown aggression toward you have a trainer help you with that aspect of training too, and be aware that some dogs will redirect their aggression toward what or whoever is close by when frustrated - it's important to be able to read body language and know the dog and how to handle aggression really well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8juiJ-Hq8dI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxEfqnuN0ic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HedxL5Dns54&t=761s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gabe
Chihuahua
12 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Gabe
Chihuahua
12 Years

Hello, I've had our dog Gabe for about 1year. He belonged to my sister in law and we have him while she is overseas. He is very aggressive towards my husband but is fine with me. He can be aggressive towards other dogs but its not consistent so I'm often not sure why he likes some dogs and not others. If my husband tries to sit next to me or come in the same room as me he barks and tries to bite him. Eventually he calms down but overall I know he prefers when my husband is not around. When we first got him he wasn't like this. My husband is not as affectionate with him as I am and I wonder if that's the reason. Also I dont think my sister-in-law spent a lot of time with him so I think he craves the attention. How can I fix his behavior before my husband wants to get rid of him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stephanie, It sounds like a potential respect issue combined with a lack of socialization. His behavior is actually possessive of you - he is claiming you around your husband, which is not alright. Affection at the wrong time can actually make the behavior worse. He needs to build respect for both you and your husband. For a while he should get nothing in life without having to work for it first. Have him Sit before petting him, Down before feeding, Wait before tossing a toy, ect... Also, have him work for his meal food with your husband. Have your husband toss him treats while he is calm to earn his meals first. When he can handle being close to your husband, have him perform commands for your husband to earn his dinner a few pieces at a time, such as Sit, Down, Watch Me, Stay, Wait, Paw, ect... When he is taken for a walk he should walk in the heel position, with his head behind your leg. He needs to be following you and looking to you for direction and not forging ahead - even though he is so small. If he is forging ahead of you, he isn't paying attention and isn't following - a good heel can make a huge impact on attitude. When he can handle walking with you, he should heel for your husband too. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Only pet him when he is being calm and tolerant, and not pushy, aggressive, climbing on you uninvited, guarding you, standing above you, and generally doing anything he shouldn't be. In general you increase the behaviors you reward. If he jumps into your lap uninvited, acts aggressive toward your husband, or is pushy in anyway, make him leave the room using the Out command (which means leave the room). Be firm and insistent but emotionally calm when you do this. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Calmly rewarding a dog for tolerant and calm behavior, teaching them new things, challenging their minds, and making them work for things can help build a relationship. Dogs tend to like who they respect and trust the most so being firm about household rules but very calm when you do it can actually help the dynamics in your home. You can still reward him and love on him, but do it when he is displaying behaviors you like and do it calmly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Boe
Chiweenie
6 Years
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Boe
Chiweenie
6 Years

We have a large dog in our home and also 2 dachshunds who get along, we recently rescued a 6 year old chiweeni. we have tried to gently introduce him to the large female but continues to growl, not sure what to do about this behavior. Thanks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karen, Is the Boe the one growling or your larger dog? Assuming that Boe is the one growling when introduced to your larger dog, I suggest working on calm obedience exercises with the dogs together to help socialize them with less confrontation and in more neutral areas. This doing this, keep them separate in the home until they get comfortable with each other, then practice the obedience exercises with both of them inside in the same room also. Have one family member walk one of the dogs and you walk the other using the Passing Approach method from the article linked below. When both dogs are ignoring each other and calm, then use the Walking Together method. Both dogs should be heeling during these walks: Passing Approach method and the Walking Together method for walking: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Also, practice Down Stay and Place commands with both dogs several feet apart outside. Use long 20'-30' leashes for this to keep the dogs from being able to get to one another if they did try to fight, and to allow you to back away from the dogs while they stay. Practice with them far enough away that both dogs can still focus on you and take treats with the other in sight. As they relax around one another you can decrease the distance. Place command (great for the dogs to know in general for calmness inside later): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Lie Down: https://wagwalking.com/training/lie-down-1 Lie down and stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Eddy
Chihuaha
3 Years
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Question
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Eddy
Chihuaha
3 Years

I am adopting a 3yr old male chihuaha' i live on my own but do have young grandchildren age 3yrs that visit once a month' do i place my new pet in another room

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Susan, That depends on how the dog does with young children and how gentle your 3 year old grandson is. If the dog does well with young kids, and your grandson can be taught to be very gentle with the dog, you can have your grandson tell your dog to do commands he knows like Sit and then be able to toss him treats, and they can be in the same room together while you are supervising. The gentleness and treats should help them get along. If the dog may not be good with young kids or your grandson doesn't know how to be gentle yet, then the dog should be put in another room with a food stuffed chew toy, so that he has someone fun to do and so that he associates the kids coming over with something pleasant, instead of feeling suspicious of them in another room, even if he doesn't interact with them. Either way young kids and dogs should never be left unattended together. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Puff
Chihuahua
5 Years
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Puff
Chihuahua
5 Years

i have 4 chihuahuas and an american bully the first months they were all getting along but a few weeks after one of my chihuahuas drowned in our pool all of the sudden puff and my american bully started chasing each other and a few times my american bully had puff in his mouth (dind’t bite him) but since hes a big dog we got scared and now puff is so scared of him he only stays in the room. I tried to have them get along but puff is too hrumpy and he starts growling and even bit my american bully (nothing bad) i hate having them separated because they used to get along. Can you help me ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mayela, It sounds like the dog who died may have been a dog that the other dogs looked to for consistency, leadership and direction. Decide what your house rules are for all the dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if one dog comes over to your other dog when he is trying to sleep, tell the one bothering the sleeping dog Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your sleeping dog, blocking the other dog from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your sleeping dog. If your dog growls at your other dog, make the one who growled leave the room while also disciplining the one who was growled at if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for your more excited dog to learn respect for your smaller dog because you have taught it to him and not because your smaller dog had to resort to aggression. Have the two dogs who are having a hard time work for everything they get for a while by performing a command first. For example, have pup sit before being petted, Down before being petted, wait before exiting doors, Sit before being throw a toy, ect... Teach both dogs a Place command and work on them both learning to stay on their place beds for 1-2 hours and simply hang out in the same room as each other while you watch TV, move around, or do something else calm - you can give both dogs a durable chew toy if it there is no resource guarding issues while they are on their Place beds. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Finally, reward both dogs by calmly feeding a treat below their chin or placing it between their paws when they are being calm (your bully especially), tolerant (your chihuahua especially), or generally doing well together and not getting over aroused, fearful, or aggressive. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mr.Man
Chihuahua
4 Years
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Mr.Man
Chihuahua
4 Years

So when I had brought mr.man home as a puppy (June 2015) I knew that I wanted to socialize him early in his life (after he received his shots) and I would bring him everywhere and anywhere with me. From beaches, dog parks and outdoor events ect. But as he gets older he becomes more vocal around new people and children. If he feels uncomfortable by them he will snap (not bite). He was also raised with a cat, and a German shorthair pointer Mix, but he gets very aggressive around other dogs regardless of size. This worries me as he is a small dog (Chihuahua) and when he snaps at a bigger dog I worry he could get hurt. When he is around new people for extended periods of time (let’s say I have a date over) he will bark like crazy and act mildly skittish. Eventually he calms down (98% of the time) and will let people pet him, and sometimes be comfortable enough to be picked up or even lay or sit on a lap of his own free will. Are these just small dog antics? Are his growls at other dogs just him expressing he wants to be left alone? What is really going through my dogs head?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sonya, Honestly I would have to see his body language during those times in person to get a good idea of what's really going on. The behavior you described could have a lot of causes. Was he socialized around dogs other than your own pets? Unfortunately having your dog around your own dogs doesn't help prevent a fear or dislike of other strange dogs. Its a bit like a person who is only ever around their own family and fine with their family but never around strangers as kids vs. a person who is constantly meeting new people as a child and having lots of good experiences with people. If he was around a lot of other dogs in a pleasant way and hasn't had a traumatic experience with dogs since then, the issue could be genetic or over-excitement. some dogs are naturally timid. Because of his timidity around new people despite being socialized well around a lot of people while young I would guess genetic - but again I would need to evaluate in person. It could be another issue instead. Genetic doesn't mean he can't improve though. It does mean that the timidity will be his natural go to forever without your ongoing help with training and behavior modification. It should get easier with practice though A timid dog often benefits for long-term ongoing socialization that is rewarding (only reward for calmness, tolerance, and friendliness not while barking or acting poorly). Confidence building exercises like agility obstacles, certain types of trick training, and experiencing new things that he overcomes can also help. A lot more structure at home - things such as practicing a long Place command, a structured, focused heel during walks, staying in a crate with the door open, a distance-down-stay, door way manners, working for what he gets in life more by having to do a command for it first - such as Sit before being petted, can help him feel more secure. Things that build a dog's trust and respect in you, and their confidence in general through succeeding at things that made them nervous before can help timid dogs. A timid dog doesn't need to feel in charge and needs to know that you are handling things and can be trusted to do so - dogs trust those they respect and have seen be consistent. Many of these practices are also good for dogs that are over-excited too. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pico
Chihuahua
2 Years
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Question
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Pico
Chihuahua
2 Years

Hello,
We have had Pico since he was a puppy. He is not fixed. When we got him we a had a mellow senior male beagle. A year later our beagle passed away and we got a female beagle puppy named Rosie. She is now a year old. Before we got Rosie, Pico was pretty happy and liked all of his family members. He had no problem with letting you pick him up, pet him, put on his leash, etc. After Rosie got older she became more hyper and Pico became more paranoid and aggressive. Things have slowly gotten out of hand. There is a weird dynamic between them. He seems to really care about her but at the same time will snap and growl at her. When this happens she thinks he is playing and will run over him. There is also a problem of him always wanting to mate her and her reacting the same way. That is not even the biggest problem. Pico no longer likes me or my sister and will snap and bite most of the time if we try to touch him, put is leash on or do anything with him really. I really do not know what to do when he behaves this way. Yelling “no” only makes him hate us more. I have tried making him do tricks for his food put he is a picky eater and very stubborn. I want the old Pico back but I do not know what to do. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, It sounds like there are maybe some dominance issues between the dogs - at least in his mind, a lot of anxiety because he won't respect his space and is more energetic and bigger, and generally he has lot respect for you. The training that needs to happen will have to involve Rosie and Pico because really this is probably a household issue not just him - his behavior is the symptom so to speak. First, work on teaching both dogs the following commands - more on why in a minute: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Out command - which means leave the area - read the entire article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method for teaching Leave It command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 Crate training - Surprise method combined with crate manners video linked above too: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Both dogs really need structure. You need to advocate for Pico so he doesn't feel like he has to use aggressive to get Rosie to listen - you be the one to handle any issues; doing so will also go a long way to earning his trust back. Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if Rosie comes over to your Pico when he is trying to sleep, tell Rosie Out. If she obeys, praise and reward her. If she disobeys, stand in front of Pico, blocking Rosie from getting to him, and walk toward her calmly but firmly until she leaves the area and stops trying to go back to Pico. The Out article linked above has a section on pushiness that details how to do this. If Pico growls at Rosie, make Pico leave the room while also disciplining rosie for antagonizing him if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of Pico to handle things himself - you want him to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for Rosie to learn respect for Pico because you have taught it to her and not because he has had to resort to aggression. Have both dogs practice being on separate place beds in the same room and staying on them for 1-2 hours calmly. You can give both a food-stuffed chew toy on the place bed and they can move around to get comfortable but they can't get off until given a release command. They need to have time where they are simply just calmly coexisting, and Place is also a good way to teach her impulse control and him calm respect for you and how to face his anxiety and cope better. When Rosie or Pico are too excited or agitated, give them a break by either tethering one of them to yourself with a 6-8 foot leash or crating one or both dogs separately. Feed both in separate locked crates so there is not competition for food or anxiety from the other dog hovering nearby waiting. If Pico is hard to physically handle right now, keep a 4-6 foot drag leash on him while you are home to supervise, so that you can simply pick of the end of the leash and enforce his obedience if he ignores you without drama. Your attitude in the household needs to be very calm and confident. You should mean what you say and enforce the rules but be very calm and not angry, anxious, or loud - I know that's a lot easier said than done! Your attitude helps set the tone for the dogs being calmer and feeling like you are taking care of things and leading though. When Pico is being calm around Rosie and relaxed you can give him a treat if he wants one - if he doesn't want the food that's fine though, just calmly and genuinely praise him without getting him all worked up. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Simba
Malchi
15 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Simba
Malchi
15 Months

It’s just my fiancé, daughter, Simba and myself. He’s a 12lb Malchi that is more Chihuahua than Maltese. In his mind he’s the size of a full grown German Shepherd! We’ve had Simba since he was 6 weeks old. He’s an inside dog. He’s not consistently aggressive but about 4-6 months ago he started to growl if any of us touches him if/when he doesn’t want to be touched. He’s attacked my fiancé when he was told not to eat the paint from the window behind our bed. He’s potty trained for the most part aside from peeing on things...territorial claiming I’m sure. We cage him as punishment, and he knows exactly what it means when we send him to his cage. He “talks back” on his way to his cage...barking and growling. The issue is that once he’s in the cage, he tries to lunge back out while growling, showing all teeth. It’s to the point where I don’t use hands to close and lock the cage. I’ll close it with a shoe while firmly saying no. Once the door Is locked he’ll growl a bit more but he’ll drop his ears and he knows he’s wrong. I stand up and firmly say no, bad dog and talk to him to let him know this is unacceptable! The lunging is getting more and more aggressive. He used to do all the back talking from in the cage, whereas now he’s physically trying to get out of the cage and to whoever is punishing him. Is there something we’re doing wrong? There aren’t many (if any) dog parks around where we live and I don’t know anyone else with dogs to socialize him. I only have one dog owner friend and she owns 3 80+ lb pit bulls. They aren’t aggressive with each other or other dogs buuuuuuuut I’m honestly afraid of what might happen if Simba gets out of hand with them. Help please!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Crystal, Being around other dogs can be important for certain behaviors, but his behavior toward you likely has nothing to do with his exposure toward other dogs - so finding other dogs isn't really what's needed. His issue sounds like a respect and trust issue, and it sounds like the atmosphere in your house around him is maybe angry, frustrated, and nervous and tense -understandably so. To deal with aggression calmness and confidence is actually most effective though. The best aggression trainers are extremely calm around the dogs who want to attack them. Instead of getting into physical battles with him often, I suggest gaining his respect through his mind as much as you can. Get him used to wearing a basket muzzle first - he will need to wear it regularly until there is some improvement while you are putting him through a training boot-camp for his behavior. The muzzle keeps you safe and prevents him from using his mouth to control things. It may also take the stress out of the situation a bit to allow you to train more calmly. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle his meal kibble around it. Do this until he is comfortable eating around it. Next, when he is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward him with a piece of kibble every time he touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed him his whole meal this way. Practice this until he is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that he has to poke his face into it to get the treat. As he gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that he has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until he is comfortable having his face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until he can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when he can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while his face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed him a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until he is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while he is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As he gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give him a treat, until he can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. Second, work on the following commands with him, and make him work for everything in life via the Working method from one of the articles linked below - use a basket muzzle so his food can be passed through the muzzle's holes: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ 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 Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you For handling work on desensitizing him to being touched - part of this is also building trust by touching him gently and not roughly too. To desensitize him, with the basket muzzle on him, start getting him used to touch using his meal kibble. Hold one hand out to him with kibble and let him eat the kibble - as he tries to move toward the kibble to eat it, poke it through the muzzle's hole for him - you can also use a little soft food on the end of a straw if poking the kibble through doesn't work. While you are feeding him the piece of food, also gently touch him somewhere like his shoulder with your other hand. As soon as the food is eaten, remove your touching hand, then use another piece of food to repeat the same thing, continue doing this with the entire meal one piece at a time. Start with non-threatening places to touch him like his shoulder, and gradually move to other spots like his face, back, belly, paws, collar area, and tail as he improves. Have him earn his meals this way for a while. Pay attention to how you are interacting with him - are you doing things to create fear, which is leading to him expressing that as aggression. Having tools and methods for training can help keep the peace by letting you earn his respect with confidence and calmness instead. Corrections will be needed, but corrections should teach and be calm, then good behavior taught and rewarded instead so he is able to succeed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Oliver
Chihuahua
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Oliver
Chihuahua
5 Years

Hi, we have had Oliver a year and a half. We started as fosters then adopted him shortly after. We have another chi that is 8 and she’s food and toy aggressive also but she’s as sweet as they come and loves all people. But Oliver wants to bite anyone that comes to our house or approaches our home, mail lady, ups, workers, etc. we have to kennel him if anyone comes over but he acts like he want to tear out of the kennel and bite them, and he would if we let him out. He goes to doggy day care and does great, we have to board him, which he also does great with them, if we go our of town because he can’t stay with the dog sitter in our home. He lets you touch him and his food if he’s eating, but if he’s sleeping and you try to move him he turns on you. If he’s trying to bury his treat in his sisters kennel and you try to get him out he turns on you. He came from a back yard breeder that turned him over to animal control so not sure of his background. He is a very sweet dog when he wants to be, but watch out if he gets angry with you. We had a trainer come to the house and she tried to work with him, she said he’s out to bite and hurt not bite to warn you. We had another trainer come over with no luck. We love him to pieces but not his aggressive behavior or biting. What can we do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
396 Dog owners recommended

Hello Terri, The issue could be partially genetic, but it also sounds like he may be possessive of your home or you (which means he is resource guarding you - opposed to food around other people), and his behavior may be linked to a lack of respect for you as well. Since he does well when you are not around and out of his own environment, that suggests the issue may not be fear related - without seeing his body language I cannot say for certain though. Seeing a dog's body language is a huge part of working with aggression. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training, Sean O Shea from the Good Dog, and Thomas from the Canine Educator - they all have video channels on YouTube and specialize in aggression. Watch Jeff's videos on aggression rehabilitation. He uses a ton of structure through obedience exercises, he works on building respect and trust through things like a structured heel and agility obstacles for confidence. He uses tools to carefully correct aggression while it is happening, but then rewards the dogs using positive reinforcement for calm, tolerant behavior as well - desensitizing them to what they are reactive to, teaching boundaries and consequences carefully, and teaching appropriate replacement behaviors instead. He also does paid Skype sessions. Unfortunately most trainers don't specialize in aggression. Many are experienced with fear aggression but not other forms of aggression - what you have going on sounds like more than fear based aggression, so it needs to involve more structure, boundaries, and probably calm, fair corrections - paired calmly with positive reinforcement also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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