Chihuahua People Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

My girlfriend recently bought a 5 year old long haired Chihuahua name Cookie. He is a retired show dog, who came from a breeder. He lived with at least 6 dogs, and his handler was a man. We are having difficulty getting Cookie socialized with his new family.

Cookie has been with my girlfriend for 3 months now. They have bonded very well together, but he is not taking kindly to me or other people. He will not let me near him and I can pet him only when she is holding him, but even then he acts very scared and nervous. I can give him treats when she is near, but he will run away from me as soon as he grabs one. With other friends/ family, he will not get close, only when being held by his 'mom', and he has no choice. The only exception would be my girlfriend's mom, who she lives with. She also dog sat Cookie for a week during the first few days my girlfriend had the dog.

The only thing I can think of that is different in his new environment (besides new owner/surroundings) is that he is being picked up a lot more and given a lot more attention. He is also sleeping on the bed at night with us, which I've heard isn't necessarily good. Is that true?

Can I give you anymore information about our situation?

Thanks so much for reading. I really hope we can help Cookie feel more adjusted. He is a great dog who needs to come out of his shell.

Kristian,

PS - I read a very similar thread here. http://www.chihuahua-people.com/chihuahua-questions/38451-socializing-three-year-old.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Suggestions...?

I'd get your girlfriend to stop doing much with him for the time being and have someone else (you, perhaps) be the primary caregiver. You feed, you take him to potty, you brush, you, you, you, you.

I'd stop letting him sleep on the bed. Kennels are a good, safe place for him to sleep, plus he'll probably feel more secure in a kennel if he's a show dog. I can guarantee you he's been in one before.

I don't know how people react when he's being scared but if he shivers and shakes and pulls away and hides his face and people say, "Aww, Cookies, it's okay, you're a good boy, no one's going to hurt you," in a soft/baby voice and pet him the whole while, you're actually reinforcing his behaviour. Ignore the scared behaviour (not by being crazy loud or in his face) and reward him when he's not being cuddled or 'comforted'.

Give him time. Five years to not be in a pet environment is a long time. He's used to things being a LOT different than they are now and I can pretty much guarantee you he wasn't coddled and carried around and so on and so forth while he was in his show home.

If it was something you were already thinking about and if it would fit well into your lifestyle then consider adding a second dog to your household. If you're going to get a rescue make sure that the rescue is very outgoing, well-socialized, happy, etc. If you're getting a puppy, same rules. Two scared dogs will feed off of one another's fear but a scared dog may just perk up when it's got a confident, happy dog to imitate. To test this theory, find a friend with an outgoing, social (but not overbearing) small dog and see how Cookie behaves around it.

Remember, he's a dog and not a person so sometimes coddling and picking up and cooing to him about how safe he is is only going to compound the issue. Offer reassurance but teach him how to stand on his own four feet as well. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,206 Posts
^^^ I heartily agree with everything Christina above said! The only thing I would add is that whatever you do, whatever suggestions of hers you take, whatever changes you make, be consistent. I would venture to suggest that as a show dog Cookie's life was pretty regimented between his show times. Change isn't coming easily to him obviously. So changing his routine or your behavior towards him every couple of days or every week or whatever, because you don't believe it's working, I think will be worse for him. Obviously, if some change you make immediately meets with unmistakeable negative behavior, then you don't want to be continuing that. But otherwise, make the changes and then stick to them. Give him a sense of continuity and routine if you're not already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,711 Posts
My suggestion is give him time and dont force him to interact with people. Ignore him for now. Let him make the first move. I know how frustrating it is to have a dog scared of you, but trying to force the issue will just reinforce the fear. Being held and forced to endure petting from scary people is not helping. It took one dog I have a whole year to even come out from under my bed. Give him time to come around on his own. I agree, you be the one to feed him. Most of my dogs sleep in the bed with me, so I dont think crating him is really necessary. And some chis just seem to be a one person dog. I have a few from bad backgrounds that will only let me touch them no matter how long they have been around my kids. Maybe get one for yourself? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for all your replies!

We've started keeping him off the furniture and the bed at night. He is resisting, wanting to jump up, but he seems to be more comfortable when he calms down, and lays down after 10 mins or so. Before when he was on the couch with my girlfriend he acted really nervous nervous around me. He also appears to dislike me slightly more, I can't tell exactly. He will bark at me quite a bit when I move around the house. It is frustrating, but my girlfriend and I realize it's not a fight, it's just something we need to do to help him feel better.

I wonder, should I continue to give him treats when he's laying down quietly? If I get up he will jump up and run away from me. He will go back to his bed after I move away from him and grab the treat. I don't want to reward his scared behavior. I have been throwing a treat on his bed every once and a while.

Also, there is no way I can get close enough to him to leach him up, let alone him being comfortable enough for me to walk him. He really doesn't like it when I walk behind him when the three of us are on a walk either.

I have been thinking about getting a rescue dog for the past while, but I'm still not 100% sure as I have a hectic work schedule and I 'm not sure I have the time for a dog.

My parents neighbors' dog is a small happy dog, I'll try to get Cookie over to see him soon.

Thanks again for your help, I'll check in soon with a progress report, and pictures of the lil guy

Kristian
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top