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Vida (my chi) has started to growl at me when I get near her when she has certain treats. She has never growled before until she turned 4. I am hoping it doesn't get worse as she gets older. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, I don't want her to growl or try to bite them.

I have been trying to steal the treat from her and get in her face and try to play with her to try and make her less sensitive to this situation. I am wondering if that is the wrong thing to do and if that will make it worse?


Should I leave her alone and just hopes she gets over it, or should I keep trying to desensitise her by getting in her face?
 

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I personally do NOT allow (in a big ol' mean way) my dogs to ever growl at me. Even if I step on them (sometimes I trip over my Aussie and he'll get miffed and growl)...if there is a growl, I give a huge NO. And a big talking to. And I take the treat or toy away. I'm the boss, and I make sure they all know it. I might even shake a can of coins (horrible noise) to make sure they know.

Then, of course, when they are all submissive after that and looking apologetic, I praise them and make up.

So, my advice is not to leave her alone! :)
 

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I agree with Dolly'sgrandma.
Don't "try and steal it" from her, you are just encoraging her to growel.
Tell her "to leave it" and take it away. Then tell her to "sit" and give it back to her. Keep repeating this. She's got to know you are the boss.
 

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Are you making her earn her treat in the first place? If not, I would start by making sure to never give her something without first making her do a sit or something to earn it.

Then, I wouldn't "steal" it from her, because this is probably aggravating the situation and making her more likely to growl since she thinks you're going to take her treat away (and she's right). Granted, you have the right to do so, but you need to be fair also.;)

So instead, every now and then when she has a treat, tell her to drop it and then reward her by giving her something even better in exchange. Trade for it. You do need to let her know your her pack leader, but you need to be a fair one and not just take things from her arbitrarily. I think sometimes too much handling and taking away can cause the problem in the first place, or at least worsen it. Hope this helps.:)
 

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My little male Chi has started doing this also. Not often, but occasionally, and sometimes he gets too rough playing or bites too hard, and I do the same thing. Say a loud no, and take whatever it is he's playing with away. He usually always comes around a little later, shame-faced, and "apologizes" by licking my hand or something. :)
BTW, there is something else he does that worries me...I'll take him out around people, and he likes everyone except my neices and nephews who are small, 4 &5, ya know the age when they are really roudy and sometimes get a little too rough with puppies, anyway if they try to pick him up he'll growl, and sometimes try to nip...he doesn't bite, and he's never hurt them, it's like he's warning them...Any help?? Anything I can do to stop this? Why does he do this?
 

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for the treat possesivness, id agree with what the others have said.
before giving a treat make her work for it...any trick will do.
Then you can follow one of 2 paths, take it from her with a key word, (i use "thank you" or "mine" but leave, drop ect all work) then as soon as she lets go lots of praise and give it her back.
the other option is exchange it for something even better, again use a key word.

Dodger growled at me once or twice with a treat, i used the "mine" took it from him gave him lots of praise once he stopped growling then gave it right back.
he has no problems with me taking things from him now, i can even take it from his mouth with my mouth and he lets me take it because he knows im the boss and he'll get it back if hes good!
 

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I would recommend the booklet How to be the Leader of the Pack...and Have Your Dogs Love You for it, by Patricia B. McConnell, for anyone having aggression/dominance issues. It's really short so you can easily read it in one sitting, but it's a great summary of some of the basic steps you can take to communicate to your dog that you're in charge.
 

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DBnWhiskey...I have that problem SOMETIMES with Dolly--with boys of a certain age. (Probably because she is a rescue, some boy in her past was not nice to her). Anyway, since these boys are in my life (neighbor and nephew!), what I have done is "NO", then given the boys (when Dolly isn't watching) her favorite treat to offer her. She has started liking them (she likes anyone with cheese). I agree, it's a problem. Thank goodness it's rare with her, AND, she's a chi, so I'm not really worried about her hurting them (more the other way around). With a big dog, it would be a HUGE correction. With Dolly, I'm trying to make her "like" them, (since they don't have to be her boss or anything).

BY the way, welcome! :)
 

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DB-N-Whiskey,

I'd be concerned with letting a 4 or 5 year old pick up my chi. In fact, I wouldn't allow it. If they want to sit on the floor and play, then OK, but such little children can be clumsy or careless while carrying a dog. I'd worry that they might injure the dog. I think your dog is worried, too. I'd put a stop to it by teaching the children to sit on the floor to play with your dog, waiting until the dog comes to them, possibly lured by a treat, and then never leaving the dog unsupervised with them.

In time, if the children are consistently gentle (and well-supplied with doggy treats), I think your dog will learn to like them.

If you have a crate, I'd tell the kids to never take the dog from the crate. That's the dog's safe haven.

Pauline
 

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Everyone thanks for the advice. I never thought of it that way, but now that I do that's exactly the problem, who is dominant. He thinks he is. It's really my fault, I spoiled him horribly, and still do to an extent. I'm really, really trying to get better, and make him work for his treats, ect. But, I've still got a long way to go. Thanks again.
BTW, I understand how he could be worried with small children now that I think of it that way. And, it probably doesn't help that they are all roudy children, and kind of loud...thanks a bunch for the advice there, I'm for sure going to put that into action. If I were him, I wouldn't want rough and roudy little kids handling me either. :)
Also Dolly'sgrandma thanks for welcoming me, I'm glad I found this site... :)

D.B
 
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