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Hi All - I'm a new group member that recently rescued a Chi from the "Small Breed Rescue" in Northern California. We originally rescued our little Dolly for our in-laws who had recently lost their Chi after 14 years. So Sad. I felt great as I boarded the plane to pick Dollly (a Red 5 year old Chi that's around 4lbs ). She was the cutest thing I'd ever laid eyes on so I didn't pay much attention to some red flags - I thought they were just merely because she was fearful of traveling etc. Once we got her home and delivered her to our in-laws home and kept an eye on her for a few days, we began to notice that she was VERY VERY fearful and somewhat unapproachable by anyone. She looks scared all the time and will turn and bite if you try to pick her up. We knew she wasn't the right dog for our in-laws so we decided to bring her home with us after around 4 months. They could no longer cope with her biting every time you tried to pick her up. She has such a high level of fear and anxiety - she's not too much fun to have around. I love her nonetheless and have tried everything (from a training perspective) that I've read, seen on YouTube etc., but it just doesn't seem to make too much of a difference. Since she's been with us (my two Yorkies and 1 Italian Greyhound), Dolly seems to enjoy being with the other dogs and seems to have fit into the pack nicely - although there is the occasional squabble. She seems to love my husband and waits at the door for him to come home each night. She sits on his lap and he's allowed to touch her far more then anyone else, and that's not much at all. We've even paid hundreds for professional training advice that I've followed to the letter, but that didn't even make much of a difference. The point is, I really love her and want to help her be a happier and more self confident dog, but after five years is it too late to work with her? Should we assume she's always going to behave this way and feel so fearful all the time? I can accept it and will love her anyway, but I can't help thinking it would be so much nicer for Dolly and us if we could pick her up and snuggle her without getting bitten. I've never owned a Chi before and would be most grateful for your insights, recommendations and advice - please. Thank you kindly - Diane
 

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Hi,

So happy to hear you rescued a chi! I rescued a boy when he was 4 and he's now almost 6. He was fearful but luckily not a biter. I worked with him and with the help of a trainer. He had really bad separation anxiety. He really had to learn independence and trust. He had 2 previous owners and the trainer/vet said there were signs of abuse judging by his demeanor.

Maybe try emailing animal expert, Brandon McMillan for advice. I've heard he can help fearful animals to trust again. Worth a try!!

Good luck and it's so sweet that you're not giving up on Dolly! I'm sure she's had a tough life til she met your family!:)
 

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Sorry, I think that after 4 months of real training etc that this little dog is just like my Bonnie. I gave up on her, as far as formal training went, and she is a really happy little dog, as long as I don't try to interact with her. She is not a biter however, thankfully. Good luck with her, as far as the biting is concerned. Maybe medication would help her not to be so anxiety ridden.?
 

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She sounds beautiful and you are a trooper for not only rescuing her but sticking by her side. I think at 5 years old the overall personality is set and she will be a challenge to train; but she can change significantly with a good trainer who can get break her out of her comfort zone. My problem with training rescues is that I feel sorry for them so I end up excusing behavior and overly spoiling but when I separate my emotion (which is rare) and strictly work on the behavior I can move forward. I have a 2-3 year old chi mix rescue (whose pregnant) she was very fearful and would yelp when ever I or anyone carried her. My husband has been breaking her bubble by standing close to her while she growls, following the trainers advice. Although she has not completely changed, she is not the same dog that I first met at all.
 

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Welcome to you and your little sweetie! So sorry that she is fearful! Have you had her checked by your vet? She could possibly be in pain or discomfort.
 

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i would suggest somthing all natural for the anxiety and most of all time, time, time, time, no telling what she has been through in her life and may just need the constant reinforcement of love and patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow that looks like a great site - I'll take some time to review it and hopefully it will help us learn more about how to work with Dolly. The issue is that there are so many conflicting methodologies with regard to how to stop reactivity, but at this point I'm game for anything!! Thanks for responding - Diane & Dolly!!
 

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Thanks for your reply - It's funny that she spins in circles and wags her tail a lot, but I've assumed that this is anxiety rather than happiness. Perhaps I'm wrong. Dolly was found wandering the street in Northern California so who knows what she's been through. She's a tiny little dog - At least I know she's found her forever home and she's being taken care of the way she should be now......Diane & Dolly!
 

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We've spent $$$ on a private professional trainer. Although she's great, I get the impression that Chi's are different. All of the time coaxing her to come near me and convince her that I"m not a threat by yawning, blinking and turning my head to the side hasn't made a difference. Sounds like your trainer takes more of a confrontational position. Perhaps holding her for long periods of time regardless of her reaction, and challenging her growling would be a better approach. Hummmm - with a try!! - Thank You - Diane & Dolly!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice to meet you - When we first got Dolly, I had the impression that she might be in pain when we picked her up. We took her to the vet for a full exam and the vet said she was perfectly fine. Therefore, it must be more of a behavioral issue. Thanks for responding - Diane & Dolly!!
 
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