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I have a five year old male chihuahua, Dash. I also have a two year old female, Sissy. Neither of them have been spayed/neutered. Dash is actually going for his surgery tomorrow. We've had Dash since he was about 9 months old, and Sissy came to live with us when she was about 8 months. Dash has been giving us some behavioral problems, and it is starting to worry me. He had been growling at all of us when anyone would pick him up. This led me to believe he was hurt, however, he is not showing any symptoms to anything. And Dash only snapped every once in a while. Then last Thursday, my daughter accidentally left our door open when both Sissy and Dash darted out the front door. Dash nipped at a neighbors pants when the neighbor started stomping at him and Sissy, then the neighbor tried to squish Dash under his feet (Dash is only 4 lbs.). Since then Dash has been extra mean, he has bitten me and my fiance. I have no idea what has gotten into him. He used to be very loving, but now I am starting to fear him. We are going to the vet tomorrow to get him neutered, and I am hoping his aggression levels come down. Has anyone else experienced this with their dogs? And did the aggression go away? I miss the way my boy used to behave. I do not want to have to put him down because of his aggression. He has too many years left to live!
 

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Well, lets look at this episode from Dash's point of view. He got out of the house, found your neighbor interesting and tried to get near him. All of a sudden, this giant tries to stomp/squish him! I would be extra careful in picking up Dash for awhile. Always let him know. I would go back to feeding him by hand. I'd warn the vet too, so he'll be prepared. Just go slowly and try to regain his trust in people. It may take awhile. Maybe a professional trainer would help? Just make sure they use positive methods.
 

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The awfulness of the neighbor's reaction makes it hard to even think of anything else. How much damage could a 4 lb. dog do? Did the guy think Dash was going to go for his jugular or what? Sorry to rage. Hope this neighbor lives at the far end of the street. I've been menaced and attacked by several 'bad' chis in my life and never thought of trying to kill the little things.
 

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This is a fear reaction by Dash. Don't let him near your face, nor stare directly at him. It's a threat in dogs. Do stuff slowly, slowly until his adrenalin calms down. This may take awhile, as the neuter and hospitalization will traumatize him also. There are some books on dog body behavior, such as Decoding Your Dog by The American Veterinary Behaviorists. Great book. Tells you what to do for your dog, and how to 'read' him.
 

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How does he handle being on a harness? One of the best ways to continue communication with your fearful/unsure dog is to use a leash and harness instead of your hands (picking up, moving, ect.) in all situations. When I get a new dog in my house they are leashed and harnessed 100% of the time (unless their destructive nature causes this to be a hazard) until I know the dog understands the world I'm asking him/her to be in. This is because the boundaries, safe places and necessary interactions can be as clear and consistent as possible with less room for confusion or accidental recurring negative reinforcement.

It's amazing what hinting with a leash and asking with a treat can do! I would definitely consider a behaviorist for Dash before you take any more steps in his rehabilitation. I'm so sorry he had such a frightening experience. Thinking about it makes my blood boil a bit, I won't lie. Trying to step on Dash? How repulsive.

We'll all be hoping Dash can be his happy affectionate self again, soon! Please keep us updated!
 
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