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Chihuahua Puppy Growling and Snapping

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
bacon

greetings from- the floor!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 6, '10 4:00pm PST 
My 14-week old Chihuahua puppy is somewhat of a fearful little guy and growls at new dogs and, sometimes, new people. Sometimes I can tell he's just playing, as he'll be growling and play-bowing, jumping back and forth. Other times, I'm not sure.

Today, I took him for a walk with 2 of my friends' dogs, one hyper Shih-Tzu x Japanese Chin (6 years old), and an English Bulldog (1.5 years old). He growled and snapped at the Shih-Tzu because she was hyper and kept trying to smell him in the car. She just backed off into the back seat for a bit, but then would start trying to sniff him out again in the front seat.

With the Bulldog (who didn't really pay him much attention except for some sniffing), he kept growling and jumping towards him, barking a little, and snapped a couple of times. I THINK he was playing because he'd jump back and forth at the Bulldog when his back was turned. At one point, the Bulldog was just looking up at me and my Chi snapped at his face.

I'd read that you're supposed to just let a puppy and an older dog "sort it out" on their own, as older dogs will correct inappropriate puppy behavior. However, neither the Shih-Tzu nor the Bulldog did anything but back away and ignore him afterward. I'm not exactly sure what my role should be in general.

One lady came up to us and bent down to let him smell her hand, and while he was smelling it, he snapped at her. She wasn't even trying to pet him. I just snapped the leash and said "NO", but now I'm freaking out that he's going to be this difficult dog.

I have a few questions:

1) How can I tell if it's just playing, or if it's fearful/aggressive?

2) How much growling and snapping should I let him get away with? Is some play growling OK, but all snapping bad?

3) Any other tips, suggestions, and advice?

I don't want to have a overly fearful, snappy, bitey dog and need to know how to prevent the situation from getting worse frown

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Edited by author Sat Mar 6, '10 4:07pm PST

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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 6, '10 4:29pm PST 
I'd suggest you find a puppy class and get him in it. A nice, positive reinforcement based class with an experienced trainer where you can work on socialization in a controlled environment.
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bacon

greetings from- the floor!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 9:22am PST 
i am planning on taking him to puppy class, but probably not for a couple months because i can't afford to right now. frown any information and suggestions for the time being?
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Laila

A lesson in- unconditionnal- love
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 9:29am PST 
he needs socialization now, it's urgent (he is only 14 weeks so you have a few important weeks to work with. But, it need to be ongoing, ad the whole 1st year is particularly important).

"I'd read that you're supposed to just let a puppy and an older dog "sort it out" on their own, as older dogs will correct inappropriate puppy behavior. However, neither the Shih-Tzu nor the Bulldog did anything but back away and ignore him afterward. I'm not exactly sure what my role should be in general. "


ETA also introductions to new dogs and then right away going into the car is too much. Crate him next time.


It sounds like the 2 dogs were easy going, if they turned their backs and ignored they were proabbaly trying to calm him down. But, I wold under no circumstance always leave it up to the dogs to work it out themselves.


"One lady came up to us and bent down to let him smell her hand, and while he was smelling it, he snapped at her. She wasn't even trying to pet him. I just snapped the leash and said "NO", but now I'm freaking out that he's going to be this difficult dog. "

that sounds like fear and I would ask people to toss treats at him, from the side and at a sufficient distance (one where he isn't growling and lunging). they should not come toward him head on , it's too threatening (for now anyway). Listen to your dog. Don't coddle him and pick him up, but do maintain a distance and ask people to volunteer to walk by and throw yummy treats (real stuff is best: chicke, cold cuts, cheese, just tiny pieces. think anything your dog loves).

Corrections will not teach him to trust and relax, only to become more anxious.

Do get out there and work at it.

Edited by author Sun Mar 7, '10 9:37am PST

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Kahuna

Only my cover is- scary. Read my- book.
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 2:37pm PST 
You've gotten some good advice here. You've really got to keep taking Bacon out and about as they've said. And yes no coddling or carrying him about (if you do). That's absolutely the worst thing you can do.

We've owned two Chi's so far. They're a fun and loving toy breed with an undeserved bad rap. Plenty of people think they're no more than snippy little biters. You have to go above and beyond to insure this doesn't happen with your little fella. Our old Chi was confident and very outgoing, even with children. Our Chi we have now is the same.

I used to take them both to Walmart, starting when they were 8wks. I put them in the cart and let everyone pet and hold them. They came to see this as normal and ended up being very friendly happy little Chis. At 14wks your window for socializing Bacon is narrowing, but there's still time.

I truly wish you could start puppy classes, but the other advice given is good as well. I agree about other people standing sideways to Bacon, not looking him in the eye and tossing a treat his way, then walking away from him. It has to be very non threatening to him. Over time eventually people will be able to come closer.

When I see a 14wk old pup of any breed acting this way I do wonder if the owner is projecting in some way. Your nervousness, insecurity and unsuredness can be picked up by your pup. Then the need for them to protect themselves by acting out can result. Not saying this is you, but please consider it and act accordingly. Project confidence so you'll build your pups confidence. Know what I mean? They don't come with it, it's up to us to make them feel safe and like we've got things handled.
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bacon

greetings from- the floor!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 5:44pm PST 
Thanks so much for the advice, all! I am making every effort to take him out right now just so he's used to being out and about and being around people and other different types of experiences. I have also been giving people treats to give to him when he meets them. I will also have to keep in mind to tell people the right way to approach Bacon (or rather, not approach, haha). I guess most people don't realize that coming straight at a dog and looking him in the eye may be considered a threat. I will also try to get him into puppy class ASAP, when funds become available. Thank you again!! big grin
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bacon

greetings from- the floor!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 7, '10 5:47pm PST 
P.S. I also don't tote him around in my arms or in a purse, haha. I want my dog to be a dog, so he can walk his little butt around smile
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