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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2007, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question chihuahua behavior problems

Hello,

I have a question for anyone who knows anything about chihuahuas. I have recently adopted a chi. from the SPCA. They said that he is three years old. He has adjusted relatively well to being adopted. (I got him Nov. 1) he is crate trained and house trained. He has learned to walk nice on a lose leash, he has learned sit, lay down, roll over, play dead, shake and high five. He doesn't 'stay' very well or 'come' very well, but in general he listens. I am planning to take him to obedience school now that he has gotten fixed. In general listening skills decrease as the number of people in the room grows. I brought him home to my parents house for Christmas, and he bit two kids (ages 11, and 15) absolutely unprovoked. He gets very aggressive for no apparent reason. I am concerned about this behavior and unsure of how to deal with it. Is this behavior something that can be trained out of him , or is he never going to change this personality trait because he is three years old? I am considering trying to find him a home with someone who is more familiar with dealing with adult chihuahua rescues, but I'd like to keep him as generally speaking he is fun and sweet and well behaved. Any advice??
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-28-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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i dont know much about training for behaviours like that in chis but at our grooming shop we have alot of them come in for just a toe nail trim and about 75%will bite like that. i think its just a tiny dog thing the world is so big to them so there pretty scared in a lot of situations. most of the owners do let them get away with behaving like that which is terrible. so be presistant in the disaplin and maybe try squiting him with a water bottle if you catch him trying anything. it tends to work for alot of behaviour like that and just keep him out of situations where ha may be unconfortable
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 08:15 AM
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Chihuahuas don't get along with kids as well as many other breeds. They can also be very possessive of their "special" human. Were you holding him or nearby when he went at the kids? It may be that he sees you as "his woman" and is protecting his property.

Our chihuahua does the same thing. He in nice and loving to me, but when I hug or kiss my wife he starts getting crazy-not mean, but he starts crying and jumping around and trying to get between us.

When he starts getting mean with someone, give him a tap on the side and make some kind of disapproving noise. See if that helps.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 12:40 PM
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Chihuahuas have what is considered a Napoleon Complex. Basically since they are small, they have to act big in order to get noticed, and respected. They often feel threatened around children. My chi will bit kids if they get too close to her. I have also met several chihuahuas who are overprotective of their masters. I have been over at friends houses, sitting on the couch, being perfectly still because if i made even the slightest movement, the dog thought i was going to hurt his master, and would try to attack me. Its just part of their breed. They are single-person dogs. Socialization would probably help, although you want to be careful about him biting people while you are out. group training classes should help his focus, you said that the more people around, the less he listens. Well, group training is all about having other people around, and should help. Try taking him to dog parks if he gets along with other dogs. My little girl hates other dogs, but I still take her to dog parks and hold her, so that she can see that the other dogs are okay. There are often children at our dog park, so that helps her become more used to kids. the more you work with your dog, the better he will get. the more he is exposed to kids, the less he will feel threatened by them. Just be careful that he doesn't bite anyone in the process. good luck, keep us posted on how everything goes!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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I agree with the previous comments. I don't really have much else to add other than that I own a chihuahua as well. She really doesn't like kids. We have no young kids in the house and so she isn't often around them but when the neighbor's kids are around, she's always on-edge and barks at them like crazy. She's never bitten anybody but I could see it happening if one of the kids wouldn't leave her alone. She's perfectly fine with every member of my family and can warm up to adult strangers if they aren't too intrusive trying to get her to like them. It sounds like your chi was probably stressed out and scared in the room with all the other people. Children tend to approach dogs in a different way than adults do and it can be threatening to the dog. They also sometimes don't pick up on signals that the dog is uncomfortable (i.e. one of the kids came over to pet Gidget and she was barking and trying to get away but she continued to pursue her and try to hold her). With gradual socialization and persistance, I think he could probably be helped.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2008, 04:05 PM
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If the biting/nipping behavior comes up again I would suggest taking the dog down in to a submissive position. He needs to know this isn't okay with you. Your reaction at the moment is very important.

When my puppy went to visit my parents 2 mini dachshunds, my pup would nip at them trying to get them to play. Ozzie (the dominant of my parent's 2 dogs) would got over and put my puppy on his back and look at him in the eye. Some people hold the dog on his back until he relaxes, but Ozzie only held him down for a few seconds.

You need some sort of command like a firm "NO" that will show him who is boss and tell him what you think about his behavior. Voice pitch means a lot to dogs. For him to listen you have to use lower tones.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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Smile Chihuahua improvement!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their helpful replies to my post. Chico is definitely improving since Christmas. In fact I had a new years party and just decided to keep him in the kitchen instead of letting him have the run of the apartment. He seemed to respond really well to this because he got to be part of the action without feeling like he had to show his 'manliness' protecting his whole house. People came in and out of the kitchen and played with him and gave him treats and he was very sweet to every single person even though many of them were strangers. I think part of it was because they were smaller groups and one on one playing instead of being in a room with 20 strangers at the same time. He only barked when the first guest arrived and after that, happily accepted treats and playing from everyone who entered the kitchen.

He does do well at the dog park, but similarly likes to play 'rough' by sometimes jumping up on the other dogs and nipping or giving them a little push with his snout to show that he wants to play. Some dogs are o.k. with this and some dogs just run away. Now that he has learned to listen a little better, he seems to respond to commands from any adult who uses a serious voice, so that is good.

That episode on Christmas is the only time I've had him around kids since I adopted him and I"m a little afraid to let kids around him again because of that. But I am going to take him to group training classes to try to raise his ability to listen with distractions. The other thing we are working on is practicing playing with me with out biting. He likes to 'play bite' but I'm trying to get him out of the habit of using his teeth for anything except his food and chewing on his bone by him self. All your comments and ideas are welcome and I can't wait to hear them as chico is my first dog!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-04-2008, 03:48 PM
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My pup is a little nibbler. If he gets ahold of my fingers I gently push on his tongue with my finger and he releases. I tell him "no bites". We're still working on this, but he seems to be responding and doesn't grab on to me as much any more. When I was helping train my parents' pups, I used to blow on Ozzie's nose when he started chewing on me. My vet told me that when the dogs starts chewing on a person, he or she should give the dog an appropriate chew toy instead. I've used a combination of the above on Harvey and he's learning, although it's taking a while (teething puppies are fun! *gulp*). Hope that gives you a few ideas! Every dog has it's own way of learning it seems.

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