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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a 5 month old chihuahua who is a rescue. I have had him for 6 weeks. I was told he was not socialized with people at all and would need some work. So I have been diligently working with him. He has bonded to me no problem. He loves other dogs and animals. Plays extremely well with dogs and cats. No issues at all around food or toys with other animals. (we have 2 cats and he plays with my friends dogs). He has started to sneer and snap at my daughter (19 yrs old) when she holds him. I know she has not done anything to hurt or scare him. She has her vets assistant training, she has worked in vets offices around animals and is very comfortable with dogs and cats. But every time she picks him up when I am around he wont let her get too close. I am at my whits end and I dont know what to do about this. The last thing I wanted was a snappy dog. I have been taking him to puppy classes and I am doing everything that I am told as far as socializing a rescue dog. I am wondering if any one out there has any advice to what to do at th emoment he sneers. He always sneers before he snaps. I do NOT want to have to have a muzzle on him. I am sure there is something I can do to help him realize that he hasnothing to fear.
 

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If that was me I'd as soon as the snarl came I'd firmly say no and put him in the crate and ignore him. Hopefully the isolation will teach that snarling / sneering gets nowhere.

Then after a reasonable time I would go and let him out and if he snarled again then back to the crate..

I would make it so that it is your daughter not you that lets him out the crate so that he sees her as a nice person.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. This is actually a very upsetting issue in our home right now. I will try this.
 

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Congrats on your new dog! I know from past experience how frustrating and discouraging it can be to work with a fearful dog. They take much more time and patience to improve than one who is aggressive, etc. It sounds like he has bonded to you but not to your daughter. He needs to learn to both trust and respect her. You can find a lot of info/tips on fear biting just by searching the net, but some things I would try are having her be in charge of giving him his meals. If you have already taught him a few tricks it would be a good idea for her to have him sit nicely and stay before she gives him his dinner, that will help him to see that she is in charge and will also help to establish a bond between them. Does he do well on a leash yet? It would also be great is she could take him for some walks or do another activity he enjoys that will let them spend time together doing something fun for him.
The biggest thing is to be patient with him, he certainly cant help being a bit fearful and defensive around people he doesnt trust if hes been mistreated in the past.
Im sure others will chime in with some more advice, there are several members on here who are involved in rescue.

edit: if he is really fearful of her, it might be best for her to ignore him when you all are in the room together, and give him an opportunity to come investigate her on his own terms. If he is already frightened and mistrusting of her, having her constantly trying to pet him and pick him up will only make him more defensive. Take it slow :)
 

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I agree, if he is fearful of her, she should let him come to her once he feels more comfortable around her. Forcing him to deal with her when he is just getting used to your house is not a good thing. I have an older, mostly blind, grumpy old man I found as a stray. When he first moved in, he would growl and snap at my daughters. So I decided to work with him on his getting to trust them after he had been living with us for a while and was more comfortable with being in a family. We think he had been in a cage his whole life, he bonded to me and wanted to protect me from everyone. I sat next to them with him on my lap and let them feed him a high quality treat like cooked chicken as he didn't know what a treat was back then. Eventually he would sit with his rump on them and his front feet on me. Slowly he would sit on their lap as I moved a bit away. Now he doesn't mind them and will crawl into their lap on his own. But it took a few weeks. For right now, don't have your daughter pick him up as he is too stressed with her. Take it slow..
 

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The more positive thingss your daughter does the better, walking, feeding, playing etc.. Chi's are very territorial and your dog could be telling your daughter to back off especially if you are holding him or he is just near you.

He will soon learn what's best
 

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I agree with the ignoring part as well. No eye contact from your daughter and being ignored may make him more curious. Eventually, when she enters a room with him maybe throw a treat his way and keep ignoring. Maybe he will relate the treat as something "positive" and warm up to her.
 

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Was he always like this toward her or did it just start? Is she coming home from work & picking him up? He might smell all the other animals on her causing him to act like this. Even if this is the case I really like the idea of her feeding him & taking him for walks. Don't give up. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh thank you for all your replys! I was giving this a lot of thought last night while I was laying in bed. I frankly just dont get his response to her. Yes, it has been a recent, only a few days, reaction to her. He is fine with my other daughter, obviously preferring me but he is fine with her. She is 15 yrs old, good with animals but does tend to have a more 'flippant' attitude towards him. What doesnt make sense to me is that he LOVES sleeping with my older daughter and will snuggle right up to her. I do like the idea of her taking him for walks etc. Unfortunately as a rescue we really do not know a lot about the first few months of his life, all we do know is he lived in a crate and was treated for malnourishment and 2 of the other chis that were rescued with him died from malnourishment. He is very healthy now though and surprisingly has a good attitude towards food. I appreciate all the great advice and encouragment. It sure can be discouraging! Yes, I am clicker training him and he walks very well on the leash. He knows "go sniff" "dont pull" and "lets go" while hes walking so I think thats a great idea for her to walk him. I wonder if i should go too? cause he only snaps at her when I am in the house. Have her hold the leash and give the commands? Or should I just have her go on her own with him? I really am worried sick that the little guy will start snapping and bitting people. He really is a sweet little guy who just had a rough start to his life.
 

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It's going to take a lot of work from your daughter to help him over come this. Please don't let it upset you--it could make matters worse. Look at it as an obstacle which many adopted Chi's may have but it is something that can & will be worked out! A positive attitude is going to be important...as hard as it is. But confidence sounds like what your pup needs from you all. When we brought Maya home (she was 1 1/2 when we got her - though she is our Maribelles littermate she wasn't socialized around kids) she tried to attack our 2 daughters (ages 9 & 12 at the time). We expected some hard work ahead as we were aware she got "fiesty" around children but we were ready as were my girls. After 2 weeks of persistence, patience & love she warmed up to them & is now as comfortable with my girls as she is with us. It's been almost 6 months since we brought her home.

Your daughter is going to have to be calm & try as hard as she can not to be afraid. This was one thing we learned with Maya...if anyone shows fear to her it makes her very insecure & more apt to jump at/bark at them. If you have a very sure & confident hand she is much more comfortable. This took my oldest daughter a bit to "get" & it took her the longest to be "accepted" with Maya. The second Gabby stood up to her barking, the second Maya backed down. :)

If he growls at her when she comes near she must NOT back off until your pup calms...on HER terms not his. I also agree with her walking & feeding him. But make sure she makes him work for his meals. A sit & stay works just perfectly and have her pretend to eat some of the food first so he knows it is her food that she is sharing. It makes her higher up in the "pack" as does walking as long as he isn't in front of her walking. If he growls when he is in your lap & she comes close put him down immediately & have her sit with you & do not let him back up in your lap unless he is invited.

Good luck. Be positive because this behavior CAN be worked out! Another thing...I've found watching the Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan) to be very helpful. You & your daughter may find it helpful. His techniques (tweeked to fit my Chi's of course because every dog is different) are what we use for our pack. :)
 

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Also just to add if your daughter walks into the room and he is in the way get your daughter to keep walking so that he has to move otherwise if she goes around him he is establishing leadership. Even if she has to move him with her legs / feet she must not back off at any time.

If any of you get frustrated (it will happen) think of this. I only get mad/frustrated coz I don't know the anwser, if you ask something of your dog and it goes pear shaped think "Did I ask the wrong question or ask the question wrong" gives thought doesn't it..

With walking out I would suggest do both, sometimes with you sometimes not so that he learns your daughter is always the leader no matter who is there.

It will all come together but consistancy is the key start as you mean to go on.. and make sure everyone even your 15yr old daughter follows the same strategies.

Deme x
 

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You have gotI some really good ideas on here but I would never use the crate as a punishment. That should be "their" safe place where the feel comfortable going into.
 
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