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Old 02-24-2010, 04:08 AM
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Default Food aggression/territorial?

Hey there! Mom to Lucy and Ricky... Lucy is just over a year old now, and Ricky we got at the beginning of December. He is about 4 months now, maybe.

I am scratching my head at my issue with Ricky. I got him at barely 6 weeks old. I feed the dogs out of two separate bowls and they get the same food. I expected some bowl switching to happen, as it is usual with all of the other pets I have had. However, recently Ricky has been getting very territorial with the food. And not just the one bowl he is eating out of, but often he will switch back and forth and run Lucy off. Poor Lucy just doesn't know what to do.

I often try and split them up, and place the bowls on completely opposite sides of the room. But the other day, Ricky got a hold of a raw hide and was guarding it. I was afraid he was going to snap at Lucy if she got too close and he actually snapped at me when I reached down to take it.

He hasn't bitten any one, however, I don't like the aggression he is showing. I have smaller kids, and even though he hasn't shown any agression towards them, I am not happy that we have it in the house at all.

I usually keep the chihuahuas pinned in the kitchen/dining room through out the day when I am not home. I am not working, but I do have to run errands, take kids to school, go to appointments, etc. I am really feeling bad for Lucy because she is such a doll, and she is only about 4 pounds and she doesn't deserve to have him bully her.

Any recommendations as to how to get his attitude adjusted? They do sleep together in our bed, and unless there is something like a bone or toy, I don't recall him showing any other aggression.
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2010, 02:23 PM
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Yes you need to nip this in the bud now as this behavior will worsen. My advice to you would be to google "NILIF" Nothing in life is free, and make sure all family members practice this with him. It is a reward based training system. He will have to work for rewards as such as eating, being on the couch/bed, getting a toy, getting a bone/treat. You make him do something before allowing him to have what he wants. This will establish pack order back in your home
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:30 PM
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I agree with the above. I think NILIF is definitely needed here. A couple more options...

You can practice the 'trading up' game. If he has a bone he likes then offer something better if you can have the bone. If he has a bowl then offer something really cool. Pick up the bowl, put something even better in it and give it back so he can learn that you taking stuff leads to other good stuff!

You can teach him to bring you stuff rather than you taking it. I have a dog that doesn't love for you to reach in and take his bone, he will let you but he is uncomfortable with it. Instead I ask him to bring it and he is thrilled to bring it and get praise for that little trick.

I would feed the dogs separately, completely. Feed him in a crate where he can't terrorize Lucy. I would take away bed privileges. He is very young and uppity to be sleeping on the bed. I would crate him at night. I would also crate and/or separate him from Lucy when you are gone. No freedom until he earns it!!

Olivia
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:42 PM
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I have thought about enrolling both of the dogs in a class (separately of course). Lucy still has trouble wanting to walk on a leash and I end up carrying her, and Ricky LOVES running on the leash. But he is more territorial of things. Both of them are still having potty training issues, which is why I leave them in the gated in the kitchen. They have access to plenty of pee pads and this seems to work. However, Ricky just peed on my bed, AGAIN, while he was up here and I was watching t.v. So I am stripping the bed and washing linens. Both get through the night with out peeing now so over night is good, I just don't know how well crating them will go over because I don't have a place in the house where they can cry with out waking up my kids. I have an autistic son who has trouble sleeping any way.

Also, how can I deal with the guilt of leaving them pinned in the kitchen while I am away and then crating them at night, too? Usually I am gone a few hours in the morning, and then in the afternoon as well. I feel like they would spend most of their time either crated or pinned in the kitchen. I guess letting them sleep with me or up on the bed with me while I watch tv in the afternoons is a way I can bond with them.

I think I understand what you mean by crating him NOW, is that right? And later moving to letting him sleep with me?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:20 PM
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I wouldn't worry about crating for a bit in the morning and then again over night. Two of my dogs are crated while I'm at work (8 hours) and then are crated at night. That's just the way life is.

He peed on your bed? While you were sitting there or had you gotten up? I would seriously remove bed privileges.

Yes, crate now until he is potty trained and learns his place in life and then, if his attitude improves and such, he can start sleeping on the bed again.

A good obedience/puppy class would be a good thing for both dogs.

The thing you want to get across to him is that you run the house. It's your house, your food, your bed, etc. If you let him run the show by guarding possessions then it's going to get worse and worse. Look up NILIF and start it as quick as you can.

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Old 02-25-2010, 10:25 PM
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When this happens in my house the agressor gets a firm NO, time out in her pac n play, and their goodie taken away. Haven't had the issue in awhile, they love their goodies.

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Old 02-26-2010, 03:08 AM
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Thank you for the responses. I went tonight up to Petsmart and signed both dogs up for classes. Ricky will be in the puppy class, and Lucy will be in the beginner. They both start in 2 weeks.

There is a trainer there that has worked with a friend of mine and several of her dogs and she swears by him and says she won't go to any one else. She also ended up signing up her Shitzu puppy for the same beginner class as my Lucy.

I was able to pull this trainer aside tonight and introduced him to Ricky. I didn't want to take both tonight, so I just grabbed him. I was able to explain the problems and he made some good suggestions.

Lucy has always had a problem with the small travel crate that I got her, and he recommended getting one that is all open, and a little larger, and maybe that would settle her down a little bit. And then since Ricky is more active, he may do better in the smaller crate.

But he agreed that if Ricky is having accidents on the bed, then it is one of two reasons. He either A) can't jump down because he is still too tiny or B) he just doesn't try hard enough and relieves himself at the foot of the bed. He said to remove him from the bed too, and then to leash him to the side of the bed or somewhere that I can reach him, so he is still with me, but down on the floor. Problem is that we have carpet in the bedroom and we just had the carpets cleaned.

It is hard trying to balance it all.

But he took about 30 minutes with me and I put Ricky down on the ground and he played with him and he said he was very social and I am doing a good job there. At one point while I was holding Ricky, another dog that looked like a boxer type walked by, and Ricky growled at him. I immediately made a noise and said NO! and then turned him around so he couldn't see the dog. The trainer said that was good and the puppy class will allow him to be more social with other dogs, not just the two we have.

So I am excited to move into these classes and hopefully we can make some progress! I want to have my house back and be able to take down all of the baby gates. We are hoping over them all the time.

Oh, and on the food aggression, he recommended feeding them with a baby gate between them. And place the bowls not too close, but together so that they can get used to eating side by side. And tonight I did this, and it worked out really well! Lucy was able to eat comfortably and Ricky would eat and then sit back and watch her for a moment and then start eating his food again. Completely resolved the issue, at least for tonight. And he said to do the same with raw hides or bones.

Will still research some of the other suggestions that you all have made. I love my chis and I want happy, healthy chis. And honestly, I want them to be good examples for the breed, not the stereo types.
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"...No longer worshipped by throngs from afar, it the Chihuahua has adjusted quite well to being worshipped by one family at a time." - D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:10 AM
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You've been given awesome advice here I had similiar issues here and alot of the advice was helpful and my dogs are fine now.
With chewy issues I think what was important for me with Luna was to teach her the "drop it" because it seemed to teach her that it was mine and when I said drop it, that meant she could no longer have it, so if a scuffle broke up involving a chewy I just say drop it and it becomes a non issue lol
Mind you, in the beginning of this lesson, in order for her to drop what she had in her mouth I had to LIGHTLY take hold of the back of her neck and say drop it, though she caught on fast and I only had to do it a handful of times before she understood what I wanted.
It seems so hard and frustrating in the beginning I know, but it does get better., Luna is 5 months now and she is learning ALOT. Sit, stay, lay down, drop it and her new trick is "go to pee spot", which is a run I have down beside the side of my house that connects to the backyard, we put an arch and a gate to separate it from the rest of the backyard and that is the new pee spot because it is too hard to walk 3 dogs (separately cuz they play if together) every 2 hours a day. So now we have the run for them and I can take them all out there together and now they know where to go I just say "go to pee spot" and they go.....all except Willy....lol my problem child lol I suck him up too much because of his leg issues lol my bad hehehe
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