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hello all. i'm new here. let me start off by saying that i own a chi, my first so i'm new to the breed. i own 5 dogs, a pit, a rott, 2 springers and of course bella our chihuahua. see, i kinda accidently rescued her from my mother who has this BYB thing going on. she bought bella to breed with her male but something happened. anyways when i was given bella she had spent her whole life in a crate.....she is almost a year old and we're her 3rd home. anyways she's loved now. i have noticed that she barks alot and is very unsure of herself, others and her surroundings. i'm trying to socialize her, i've taken her to work with me (i'm a groomer) to meet other dogs and she's fine. it's people. she tends to bark/growl and run to hide. i usually make her face the situation where i go get her from whereever she's hiding and sit next to me while i'm talking to a "stranger" it's not seeming to work. she's perfect at home plays with the big dogs, loves to play with my fiance, tackles the cat...it's when we take her places. she's fine if she's in my lap. doesn't shake or bark but growls when people come close so i tend not to have her in my lap when meeting people. i guess i need some hints. i've tried food and she won't take it even when the person isn't looking, talking, or touching her. she's not deaf and she can see perfectly fine (she's a chocolate meral, just thought i'd throw that in there) so i know she's not being fearful because her abilities aren't hindered. any advice would be greatly appreciated. also shes a barker. probably nothing i can do about that but tips are welcome too. i'm attaching pics for you guys :)
 

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Welcome to the board! :)

That is sad about your mom's byb and her keeping her in a cage :-( Now she has you though :) I think she is beautiful and I lover her eyes and ears. I dont get to see to many Chocolate Merle's :)

I was going to suggest finding her favorite treat or her favorite toy and letting the stranger give her the treat or play with her and her toy. But you said that the food didnt work. It sounds as though she was not only crated but also mistreated :-(

I really dont have much more to offer but I am sure others will chime in soon :)
 

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thank you for welcoming me. i tried to have someone offer her peanut butter. she seems to be ok when i hand her to someone to hold and they just continue to carry on a conversation with me while they put her....but too many people aren't open to doing this because they see a scared to death dog and don't want to make her worse....i understand it's a slow process. my mom actually gave us 2 chis, bellas sister from a different litter that we ended up giving to my boyfriends sister. her personality is completely bubbily but she lacks intelligence (or maybe i'm just biased) i just don't want her to get used to growling to get what she wants. if i can nip that habbit in the butt that would be great. i tell her no, i snap my fingers, i clap my hands i've used squirt bottles when i first got her someone told me to flick her nose which didn't work either. if i give her to the person she's growling at, she stops but is scared to death....i don't want to damage her....
 

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She is very cute!

I think she may just not be an outgoing chihuahua. Sometimes accepting that is the easiest way to deal with it. I have one like that, she is just very shy and scared and really has no reason to be. She was slightly older when I got her. Instead of trying to force her into situations she doesn't like unprotected, she has a special carrier she goes in to go into new situations. She can hide in it completely if she wants to, but she is not allowed to run off and hide, she has to stay with me.

There are so so so many things I have tried with her but its just the way she is, sometimes when breedings are not done carefully, temperament suffers first. It doesn't mean they are any less of a wonderful pet, but just not the same type as say, a lab or another more outgoing dog by nature.
 

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I agree it's very possible for a chi to just have a less outgoing personality. My female is very curious, and friendly toward new situations however my boy who has nothing to fear is afraid of downright everything. He's never sure of himself, he'll wee on himself if strangers come near.

We've done all the appropriate steps, slowly introducing, treat reinforcement, positive speak but he just is so timid.

I think yours is a BEAUTIFUL little one, and thank you for saving him. Best of luck to overcoming your issues :]
 

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thanks everyone. we think she's beautiful too. we've only had her for 2 months or so. when we first got her, i noticed she was more drawn to kids and would socialize with them....maybe it's something i'm doing because she'll stick to me like glue. how will i know if she's just not as outgoing? how much time should i spend trying to help her overcome this before i call it quits?
 

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There's a book called the cautious canine, i'd google it and maybe buy it? i think its on amazon, it talks about your issue exactly, i read it cause my duke is wexactly the same way. to the tee.

its just lack of socializing, and probably her lack of wanting. see if hot dogs get her going. duke would jump through hoops of fire if i bring out the baggy of chopped up hot dog. I chop them really small, i get quite a few sessions of watch me at about 20 treats out of one hot dog. ( you don't want a pudgy socialized dog ;) ) and if hot dogs work, cut back reg. food a bit.

Start with the watch me command, its just something thats good in case she gets stressed. have her sit ( or stand if she's like my one chi who only does it when he feels like it) and hold a peice of hot dog at your cheek level and say watch me. wait just a second or two as she looks at you, and say good or okay, then give her a treat. do this once or twice a day, about 10-20 times depending on how you feel, or how she feels. keep increasing the time you hold her gaze without her looking away, on HER time. if she's failing to keep attention, back up how long you try and hold it. always let her succeed not fail. end on good notes, not frustration. It's a looonnnggg process. As you get better at watch me, add more distractions, add a dog, or two, have someone else play with one of the other dogs so on. again don't push her faster then she is able to go.

Also start finding her threshhold of how comfy she is with people. I was told to take duke to a parking lot ( a busy one) and see how he does with people walking by while in the car. if he gets tense, or "gerumph" barks, we do watch me with hot dogs. that way people walking by is a calm and happy thing cause he gets hot dogs! eventually you'll mix it up between praise and treats. then you need a stranger to help you for the next part, which again is only when she's ready. have a stranger walk by at a safe enough distance that she's not upset, but watching him. have him toss a treat at the dog, and see if she eats it. if not then she's too worked up to eat, and you'll have to go back to car sitting lol. but if she takes it, have him walk by a few more times, and call it a day. if you have time, and can revisit that later in the day do so. just don't overwhelm. the goal is to get him closer and closer while still throwing treats. so strangers means fun. if you can get people at the groomers to throw a treat to her and leave it at that, that would be fantastic.

She may never be a super friendly dog. the goal really, is to get her comfortable enough around strangers to not go on the defensive. People don't HAVE to pet your dog, or cuddle with her. some humans are huggers, some aren't. same with dogs. but you want her comfortable enough that its not a problem.

also if you freeze the hotdogs they smell a little less -_-. but really even if its not hot dogs, find something thats a quick eating treat that she'll go nuts over. peanut butter isn't all that great since it requires being up close and long interactions that may escalate her anxiety. for kennel training its fantastic though!

Oh and the point of the watch me command, since i didn't clarify, is for the times when you aren't prepared. say someone comes around a corner suddenly and she starts getting worked up, you call a sit, and a watch me. and she's able to focus on something else, and relax a bit. also she gets a nice treat for that stranger appearing outta no where lol.

this could take a year, could take 6 months, could be a long going project. it's dependent on her, and how much she lets herself get worked up, and not rushing her.
 
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