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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so my chihuahua its very friendly towards other dogs and people alike, but when it comes to children she is very afraid and tends to try and bite them and growl at them. I am a college student so I go home for 4 months during the summer, we live at the beach, and my 3 young cousins always stay with us for at least a month (mini vacaction for them).

Just yesterday a neighbor of mine had his younger sister over, I would say she was about 10, and Cami was growling and trying to bite her feet!

I am just very concerned because we all know how children are with dogs and small animals they want to cuddle and hold them, and I just dont want her to bite them. Is there anything I can do to help her be more comfortable around kids?
 

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Okay, one thing to know is that some very friendly dogs can have problems with kids. Kids don't move the same or speak the same as adults. Their movements are very jerky and fast and their speech is pretty high and excited.

The first thing to do is not let any kids try to touch her, pick her up, etc. Not even in your arms. You need to find as many well behaved kids as you can and, before they try to interact with Cami, explain to them that she is very afraid. Tell them that "you know how you get afraid of things in movies sometimes? Well Cami is very afraid like that of you". Then you need to start associating kids with great things with very low pressure. Have the kids stand still, don't look at, talk to or try to touch Cami. Give them some truly excellent treats (not dog treats, use cooked liver!) and have them drop the treats for Cami. Then thank them and ask them to leave. Don't let them try to touch her!! The treats used are reserved only for this exercise, she only gets liver from kids, not even from you!

Once she starts seeing kids as excellent treat machines and is running up to them, then have kids start offering the treats from their hands. Still not talking to or trying to touch. When Cami is comfortable with eating from hands then they can start giving treats then gently scratching under her chin for just a second. Etc.

You want Cami to realize that kids produce good things and that she won't be forced to interact with them.

I used this method on my younger border collie after she witnessed a 2 year old having a knock-down temper tantrum. She became terrified of kids. She would hide behind me growling and showing teeth. I think she would have bit if I had allowed kids to come that close. I kept her on leash and allowed the kids to toss the treats from a safe distance at first. It took about 3-4 months of intense work and asking every child I could find to help me but it worked. I also never allowed a set back of a kid rushing up to try to pet my dog.

This will take time but will be worth it in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much, I had thought something of this sort would work! I am going to start working with her soon so maybe by summer time she wont be as afraid.

Thanks Again
Lauren
 
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