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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really need some advice please!! Okay, here goes....sorry if it gets long. Diego is 6 1/2 months now and when he was about 3 months old I socialized him like crazy. He couldn't have been a friendlier pup and I was so proud. :) But in the last couple of months he has started to bark, growl, and sometimes even snap at strangers that try to pet him. I just can't believe he can act this viciously! :evil: He really is the sweetest little guy to all my family and friends, and everyone that knows him just adores him. I have always taken him absolutely everywhere with me and he used to be the quietest little thing. Now when I take him out in his carrier he just barks and growls at everyone and it's so upsetting I just want to leave. I realized that telling him "no bark" all the time was just egging him on, but ignoring him in public places just isn't possible when you don't want to annoy people. I take him to work with me and he usually gets to meet people all day long...and I recently realized that he only growls and snaps at people if I'm holding him or he's in his open-style carriers, but if he's on his own he'll lick people's faces and practically want to go home with them. He was just attrocious at the vet's a couple weeks ago, and ended up biting both of us, but I think that was fear aggression and I'm pretty sure that's not what's going on here. The first couple times I took him to the vet's, he was perfectly fine. He seems to suddenly have a lot of issues, but seemingly not at home, unless I'm missing something. He's supposed to be getting neutered in a couple weeks and I don't even want to bring him near the vet's if he's going to be like that again. They couldn't even muzzle him! I don't want him (or them) getting hurt when someone has to put him in a headlock. Last time, while the assistant was restraining him, she scratched his leg with her watch and it left a scar. :cry: I just want my sweet baby back to the way he used to be. If anyone has any suggestions, or even a step-by-step list of what I'm doing wrong, please help!! Thanks for listening to me ramble on...I just love this board and trust everyone's opinions here! :)
 

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It sounds like he thinks he is protecting you.
I'm sorry I can't be of much help, as my girls have never done this.
But I'm sure someone will come along soon and have some answers for you.
Good Luck!
 

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It is very common for a chihuahua to become agressive or possesive when it is being carried, all you can do to disouragethis behaviour is to be firm with your chi and tell it no, also if you want to let someone pet him, put him down on the floor before they do.
At the vets are you also holding diego? cos this could be teh same problem. It may just be a general fear of the vet, as many dogs end up associating teh vet with pain, and unpleasant experiences. Vets sometimes suggest, you take you pet in, just for visits. My friend was recently told to do this with her chihuahua, simply pop by a few times, and the vet would just pet him, or let him be in the room without nething happening
mia
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I agree with Mia... put his booty on the ground! :lol:

I've never had that problem with Cooper but I never carried him; he has always walked on a leash. I think that's one of the reasons he doesn't do it.

You might also want to try some simple dominance training at home. You may have seen my other post where I suggested the dog never gets anything first. For instance, if you walk through a doorway, you go first. (This is a big one in my house - Cooper NEVER goes through ANY kind of entrance/threshold before me.) If it's dinner time, the humans eat first. If you're greeting family when you come home, the humans get the greeting first. By doing that, it shows the dog that he's not as important as he thought he was AND it's easy to do - okay, it's not easy to do the first few times. :lol:

Also, if he knows how to sit, having him sit before you place his food on the ground will gain you a lot of dominance. Just keep him in a sit until the food's on the ground and you've stood back upright - if he gets up to eat, take the food away and start all over. It takes a while, but he'll get the hang of it and by learning he doesn't eat until you say he does, his ranking in the house falls to follower, not leader.

If you show him you're the alpha dog, it will help you both inside and outside your house. But I'd definitely start putting him on the ground instead of carrying him. You can expect a little fear "aggression" from him once you do that but if you pair it with dominance training, he should stop once he gets the idea.

One last thing... don't react to his behavior when he's growling at people. If you say "Diego stop" and cuddle him in any way, you're reinforcing the behavior. If he does it, try saying a simple and firm "NO" and ignore him, turning your attention to the person he was "mean" to.

I hope this helps! If all else fails, sit him down and tell him growling is just plain rude! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice! I always put him down in situations where I can and he's always really friendly, not scared at all. But in public, I can't always do that so I just want him to stop barking at everyone that walks by him. I don't know why he barks, does he think he's protecting me? And if so, does that mean he thinks he's the alpha? I have been doing more of the things you suggest at home, like eating first, etc and it does seem to be having an effect. I don't hold him at the vet's, but I think I might try taking him in for treats and see if that helps. I really don't want to leave him at home so I hope something will work!
 

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If he's barking, it could be a little of the alpha left in him. Once you have claimed the alpha role in the house, training him to stop barking will be much easier.

He may think he's protecting you (which is his job if he's alpha - or if you're still in the learning phases and he's not sure what he is in the pack order) or he may be barking out of fear. A simple snap of the fingers and a firm "shh" when he does bark will most likely get him to stop, although actual obedience training might help you learn what's best for you to do in those situations since everyone's different. And if you're practicing dominance, you're already one step ahead of everyone in training classes! :D

Just a question though - is he barking at people that pass by when he's in the carrier or being held or is he doing it on the ground as well? The carrier might represent a spot where he is "allowed" to bark since he's used to doing that there and has received what he thinks is positive reinforcement for barking while in there. You may need to get another one - different shape and color - to see if he will do it in the new environment.

Good luck... I'm glad he's starting to come around! :)
 

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We learned no barking and no growling at home. Everytime Chihuahua barked or growled she got a squirt of water from a water bottle. After a few squirts, I just had to show her the bottle and she would tuck her tail. Now I just place the bottle in a conspicious place when I'm expecting company so she can see it and that does the trick. You could try taking a water bottle everywhere and see how that works?
 

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My female chi Bella doesn't like anyone except our family not even my hubbys kids, she just growls and barks at them. I don't really mind that much she's never bit anyone she did try to once my stepsons girlfriend got all up in her face and she didn't like that at all :evil: frankly I don't like people all up in my face either. Poco doesn't like other dogs he wants to attack them all no matter the size :shock: Yes they have issues but so do I :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Chihuahua Head, I will definitely try the squirt bottle and see if that doesn't help! :) Cooper's mom...he doesn't bark if he's on the ground and he is always really friendly to strangers on his own. I take him out in about 4 different carriers and he always acts the same way. I just remembered something you said about getting positive reinforcement when he's barking...sometimes when I take him somewhere where he isn't allowed I have to shut him up with treats...OOPS! Why didn't I think of that before?! So I'm going to assume he is protecting me, because he doesn't quite know his place and I'm making it worse by rewarding him. Does that seem about right? Wow, this puppy stuff is complicated!! :lol: Thanks for all the suggestions...I appreciate it!! :D
 

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problem

I have kinda a reverse thing going on. Yoshi is a little timid around people but he seems to like everyone. If he is on the ground then he want go to anybody and he usually walks behind me if someone tries to pet him. What I usually do is pick him up and hand him to the person if they want to pet him and then he is fine?
 

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Cooper is timid around people as well, although he handles it differently. He will run up to someone like "hi, who are you?" and when they lean down to pet him, he will step back far enough where they can't touch him. Sometimes, he'll run away from them as if they just kicked him.

Personally, that doesn't bother me because I know a stranger won't be able to pick him up and walk away with him if I have my back turned for a second.
 
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