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  #1  
Old 10-26-2009, 02:39 AM
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Default My Chi is afraid of everything

We got our little guy when he was 6 weeks old and he's now 4. He loves me and is affectionate with me and is always by me. He tolerates my husband, he can pet him and pick him up, but he won't let anyone else near him. he won't go to my husband on his own. If you pick him up he won't hurt you , he shakes like he's scared to death, but as soon as he gets a chance he'll jump out of their hands, I'm afraid he's going to get hurt doing that, any idea what we can do? We do get after him every time he does this, but he'll still jump. He's been by other people all his life, but won't even go outside for anyone but us. We need some suggestions of what to do. We feel like he misses so much because he depends on me for everything, including affection and he could get so much more if he'd only allow it. We did talk to a different breeder than the one we got him from and they said that they know the breeder we got him from and he was cage bred. She said that until we got him, he probably didn't have much human contact so attached to the first person who showed him love (me) Any ideas of what we should be doing?
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2009, 03:49 AM
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Socializing puppies and the rule of 7's ...

I would urge you to really study the information contained in the above link. Your chihuahua sounds like he hasn't been properly socialized.

I believe you can still make a difference if you very slowly introduce the different situations outlined in The Rule of Sevens, covered in the link. He's much older than he should be for this, but I think it will help a lot, if you're patient.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:29 AM
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I agree with Tink and your little one highlights the importance of only buying from reputable breeders

To be honest, at his age it's unlikely he'll ever be a confident dog and you will simply have to accept his limitations and try to keep him happy and secure in his own little ways.

Introduce new experiences very gently and never push him into situations he is unhappy with. I had a Chihuahua like this and I just let her do as much as she felt happy with. She was a beautiful gentle little girl and if she'd been with me from being a puppy I believe she would have been so much more confident.

Puppies have a every definite window of socialisation and that is generally considered to be around 3 to 14 weeks. Sadly many breeders don't realise this or can't be bothered to spend time exposing their puppies to different people, places, experiences etc

Introducing another confident Chihuahua might help, but no guarantees, and this might not be what you would want anyway (another dog.)

Good luck and let us know how things go

x
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:10 AM
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I dont really have anything else to add as Tink and RosiesMum pretty much gave you the best advice. Just wanted to say that I really hope he eventually gets to a place where he is more comfortable and confident. Thank you for sticking by home, a lesser person wouldve just given up and 'got rid' of him.
I wish you lots of luck x
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:14 AM
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Good advice above.
Slowly socialize him and his confidence
may grow.Hopefully he will learn to
enjoy new experiences.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:37 AM
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Welcome to Chi Ppl! This is a great place to get all the information available about our little dogs

You said you got Eli at 6 weeks. That was far too early to leave his litter. Don't feel bad, you are doing the best you can for him. Be patient and willing to try new ways of helping him. As someone else said, a Chi to play with may bring him out of his shell. We have many members in your area, perhaps someone will offer a play date

Again, welcome!
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:18 PM
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It concerns me that you say you "get after him" when he jumps out of other people's hands. If he is punished when around other people it's possible that he is connecting the punishments with strangers and just seeing new people makes him nervous.

Does he have a special treat that he loves? I'm not talking about doggie treats... I'm talking about cooked liver sprinkled with fresh shredded cheese or something else equally awesome! Give some to a friend who your boy knows and have them calmly sit and visit and toss it, piece by piece, to your chi. Don't try to pick him up or pet him. Just let him associate yummy treats with another person. Gradually have them toss the treats closer to themselves. When he is approaching them on his own let them feed him from their hand. Slowly he will make friends. This approach is not designed to happen in one day, it could take weeks depending on how he progresses. You want him to go at his own pace.

He needs to learn to like people on his own, which is not going to happen by being handed to a stranger and being scared.

Part of the thing to remember is to not make a big deal of his fear and don't allow other people to either. The whole "oh baby! it's okay, go to the nice man" and a stranger kneeling on the ground begging the dog to come to him. At that point everyone is acting so strange that even well socialized dogs won't approach. Why is everyone trying so hard? Why is that stranger kneeling down and acting so weird? Why is mom acting so weird? It works much better to just stand and have a conversation and have the stranger drop yummy treats and ignore the dog. Let the dog approach and sniff the stranger at his own pace.

Rehabbing a scared dog isn't easy and he may never be the 'normal' dog that he would have been if he had been socialized as a puppy but he can get better. Take your time, go slow, let him tell you when he is ready to take the next step.

Olivia
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2009, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omguthrie View Post
It concerns me that you say you "get after him" when he jumps out of other people's hands. If he is punished when around other people it's possible that he is connecting the punishments with strangers and just seeing new people makes him nervous.

Does he have a special treat that he loves? I'm not talking about doggie treats... I'm talking about cooked liver sprinkled with fresh shredded cheese or something else equally awesome! Give some to a friend who your boy knows and have them calmly sit and visit and toss it, piece by piece, to your chi. Don't try to pick him up or pet him. Just let him associate yummy treats with another person. Gradually have them toss the treats closer to themselves. When he is approaching them on his own let them feed him from their hand. Slowly he will make friends. This approach is not designed to happen in one day, it could take weeks depending on how he progresses. You want him to go at his own pace.

He needs to learn to like people on his own, which is not going to happen by being handed to a stranger and being scared.

Part of the thing to remember is to not make a big deal of his fear and don't allow other people to either. The whole "oh baby! it's okay, go to the nice man" and a stranger kneeling on the ground begging the dog to come to him. At that point everyone is acting so strange that even well socialized dogs won't approach. Why is everyone trying so hard? Why is that stranger kneeling down and acting so weird? Why is mom acting so weird? It works much better to just stand and have a conversation and have the stranger drop yummy treats and ignore the dog. Let the dog approach and sniff the stranger at his own pace.

Rehabbing a scared dog isn't easy and he may never be the 'normal' dog that he would have been if he had been socialized as a puppy but he can get better. Take your time, go slow, let him tell you when he is ready to take the next step.

Olivia
Bravo!

Olivia is exactly right. Any positive attention you give him when he's scared will just reinforce/validate that behavior. So clucking over him (which is a VERY natural instinct~~you want to reassure him and I totally get that) when he's acting freaked is just validating and rewarding that behavior. Anything you can do to encourage him to approach strangers or scary situations ON HIS OWN is what you're aiming for. So the treat thing is an excellent idea.

Putting him in other people's arms is WAY too steep for this timid little chi right now. At this point, simply having a stranger in the same room with him is about as steep as you want to go, initially.

This is going to require a LOT of patience, positive reinforcement of the behaviors you want, and ignoring the behaviors you don't want.

Keep us posted, will you?
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