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Old 12-11-2012, 10:24 PM
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Default Confidence issue and snapping

I'm so discouraged! Tiki is having some issues that I don't know how to handle. I don't work right now so Tiki goes with me everywhere. At first she was just scared of people but she would relax. But my brother teased her and now she is really scared. She has even mouthed my brother, so I won't allow him around her anymore because obviously he is the issue. But she has snapped at a couple of strangers. The other part of this is dogs. She literally flips out when she sees a dog. She will snap at them and bite but when I say bite it is more of a warning to back off. She never hurts the dog or my brother. She mouths then and they don't even seem to notice.

So, my question is how can I get tiki more comfortable with people? And dogs too but I'm more concerned about how she interacts with people. How can I help her get more confidence and not be so darn scared of everything? She shakes whenever we go anywhere. If she stays in her bag she is calm but anytime I take her out she doesn't like it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:54 PM
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Bla.... You know I had a similar problem with my first...Matilda. My brother teased her & she hasn't been right since. She actually has a fear of strangers touching her & will bite if picked up. Fear aggression basically. She's gotten more comfortable with age & loves when my girls have friends over. She'll even sit in their lap and let them pat her--but I'm always sure to tell them to not try to pick her up. If they pat her...and she doesn't fully trust them yet, she'll just run away not bite or anything like that. She just bites when she feels "trapped".

I've had more issues just like that with my pets from the same breeder honestly. I seriously think it has a lot to do with their first 8 weeks & the interaction they get. That besides the point.... Evie went through a weird stage between 5-10mo. She is from an entirely different breeder btw. Since she's had her first heat she's completely mellowed. I even took her to my work (Alzheimers unit) this past weekend where she stood willingly while people patted her & some of the residents even held her w/o issue.

Since I want to show her...and she really NEEDS to be ok w/handling I've been working quite hard since she entered this weird phase to get her out of it. Things I have done to help is going & sitting in the middle of our town during 5pm traffic. Just sat there...for an hour at a time. Just ignored her while she was on her leash (usually hiding under the bench I was sitting on) & let her work her issues out herself while the noisey traffic/people passed her by...sometimes stopping & looking/talking to her. I never let anyone pat her in that situation because she was obviously shaken up & I didn't want to put her over the edge completely. I wanted her to know it was OK to be overloaded with all senses and still be SAFE. I've taken her to stores & just walked around. Had people give her treats. I took her to shows & handling classes where she was forced to be handled a bit by others. Of course I had to have tight grip on her stacking her as she wasn't thrilled with it. There was one person that went over her at class once where she freaked out & tried to bite. Just that one certain person. I held her & the person continued until Evie at least tolerated it. So she knew that biting wasn't going to get her what she wanted. I also sent her to our breeder friends house for a couple weeks. She has company ALL THE TIME. So she worked with Evie there, she & her neighbor took her out & about, etc. Basically...she had to learn how to trust strangers while there. All this sounds kind of mean/out there but in the long run...it will make her a happier, more well adjusted adult Chi. And she's already proven to be more comfortable in different situations. I am sure having a heat helped her mellow a bit but I still feel all we've done to work w/her in the process has made her come so far in such a short time. She is 11mo today btw.

I don't know if any of this helps. Having a couple Chis with people issues I know how stressful it can be. Basically you have to expose them SAFELY to people/contact. Safely to them..and safely to others. Its funny but when I bring Evie into a store & say kids want to come see her...I stack her on the floor so I have a hold of her front/head & rear...and just ask them to pat her back. If she even thought about biting (which she never has-except that one time at class) she wouldn't be able to move enough to.

You say you have Tiki in a bag...I having her walk on a leash will be helpful when you go out/about. At least in stores that allow it. And definitely always outside/on the sidewalk of town, etc. Also, if she's ever "protecting" you when you're approached...put her down! Chis very easily get possessive over their humans if not given strict boundaries. Good luck...I hope you are able to work with her a bit & get her out of her little funk.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:50 PM
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I feel like Tiki can still be helped. I just try to take her as often as possible. When I have her on the leash she prances around like she is so proud of herself. But slinks back if she sees something she doesn't like.

I feel like she is trying to protect me in certain situations. Especially last night, when we went to my grandparents house and my cousin was there with his dog. The dog startled me because he isn't usually there and he had never met Tiki. He jumped up on me and she went crazy trying to bite him. But I felt like it was my fault because I reacted nervously. He is a really great dog, I just wasn't prepared and he is sooooo big. And he wanted to get to tiki so badly. My brother was also there which really added to it because even if he is in the room she will growl at him.

I think getting her out on her leash is a good idea. Usually she is in areas where there are no people when she is on her leash. I want her to feel comfortable and confident.

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try a couple different things and see if it helps.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:15 AM
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Right...and I know she can still be helped. No doubt about that. None of mine are "lost causes" and all have improved with working with them & age. I just think the issue stems from certain things is all.

As for issues with other dogs...I've got to say I don't half blame Chis for being nippy in a warning way because they are small & bigger dogs are happy go lucky & really do not have any manners when it comes to giving space. I do not get after mine for nipping at big dogs that are all up in their grill. I typically hold them so the other dog can't get to them...if the other dog doesn't back off w/a warning nip.

As for nipping at people--that is what I have an issue with the most. Though sometimes I even think some people need a warning nip. (just kidding...sorta haha) Mine will bark at strangers that come into the home...none will approach to bite though. In public they are quieter & will shy away from people if approached. Again...never biting. Matilda included. Evie is getting better with that...Sassy...she loves everyone & would willingly go home with anyone she meets. haha If only they all had that personality.

To help her w/other dogs you can try to find a small dog meet up group. What it takes basically is to just let them down with a group of smaller (well behaved) dogs & let them work it out. Chances are...she would be completely fine. But that would help her confidence emensely! You could also take her to a LEASHED (no free play time) basic obedience class...or a puppy kindergarten class. We did puppy kindergarten with our first 3 Chis but stopped because of the free play time did more harm than good. Had I realized it...I'd have not participated. The instructor swore it was for the best but all the bigger breed dogs were SO curious about the tiny puppy & were forever up their butts & scaring the bajesus out of them. Anyway...just something else that may help as well.
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