Welcome to Chihuahua Socialization & Training

Q. Chihuahuas have a reputation of being "yappy, snappy, nasty little dogs". Is this true?

A. If tiny Chihuahuas aren't properly trained, they can develop big attitudes. However, if Chihuahuas are well bred, their potential for having stable temperaments & being a friendly, well-mannered companion is very likely. Be careful though, because they have minds of their own and will take advantage of their owner by wiggling their way into their own hearts.

Q. How do you train your Chihuahua to be animal and human friendly?

A. Socialization is a type of training by which a puppy is introduced to all shapes, sizes, & types of people & animals in diverse environments. During these encounters, use lots of praise, as well as toys & treats. Dogs are very sensitive to our emotions, so be relaxed and make it a fun event!

Imortant: if you want a well-mannered Chihuahua, socialization sould be started as soon after you bring your puppy home.

Q. How do you introduce a Chi to a person?

A. At first, your Chi should be in a comfortable or relaxing environment, gradually increasing the noise or activity level with each encounter. For the first encounter, have the person sit or kneel on the floor either right next to your dog or a few feet away. Coax your dog toward the person, until the dog is comfortably near the person. Another way is to hold your Chi in your arms & have the person or group of people pet under the chin (not on the head) & give treats to your dog. Most of all, make the experiences positive, enjoyable & exciting!

Q. How do you introduce a Chi to another dog?

A. To start off, introduce your Chi to another small dog or puppy. Make the encounters very brief at first, gradually increasing the length each time. Make sure both dogs are on leashes, and supervised at all times. You might want to have the other dog sit or lay down and have your dog approach it. Let the dogs briefly sniff each other, so that they can get each other's scent.

Q. How do you get a dog that is scared to death of everyone & sometimes even growls and fear bites to be friendly to people?

A. There are many techniques to helping a dog with fear aggression, which this behaivor probably is. Here are some ways:

1. Socialize the dog with people in this manner: Hold dog close to you. Have other person slowly reach out hand and let dog smell it. Then they can briefly pet the dog under the chin, rather than on top of the head. (It sometimes can be treatening to a dog if they're petted on the head.) Most important- a positive experience.

2. It is best to introduce a shy or frightened dog to another person in a private room and one person at a time. Start with a person that the dog knows, and once the dog is comfortable, then introduce strangers, who like dogs and are friendly. Use treats or toys to reward the dog for its good behaivor.

3. Another way is to do dog obedience in the presence of a few people. If the dog already know the commands and concentrates on the handler, it will relax and it may allow somone to pet it while sitting or laying down.

4. Have the dog sit or lay down before giving him food or water. Perhaps, have another person do this, after you've done it. Then, let him work for it. Another option is do a trick or two for food. The reason you would do this, is because "aggression breeds aggression". If a dog is aggressive with you, he needs to learn to accept the food you're offering him.

Q. What is Fear Aggression and how is it triggered?

A. If a dog is very shy, it can become very aggressive and even bite someone. This behavior is called “fear aggression”. Fear aggression is triggered by an impending fear that the dog is about to receive physical harm or from a previous bad experience with someone. You can recognize this type of aggression by thinking about how a person might act who is getting ready to be hit. When a human is threatened, he might yell, run away, or put his arms in front of his face as an act of protection. Another common sign of fear is shown on a person's facial expressions, such as raised eyebrows, open mouth, and widely open eyes. Dogs have similar reactions, and we can learn how to read those signs of fear. The most common sign might be the ears back and "tail under" indication.

Q. How do you approach a dog demonstrating fear aggression?

A. Get down to the dog's level. Do not move directly to the dog or look directly into his eyes. Talk to him softly and use his name. Tell him he's a "good boy." Move slowly or bring dog closer to you. If you're working with a Chihuahua, you might have to lay down on the floor and coax the Chi toward you. You are at a similar level, and therefore not as threatening.

Q. Does the previous practice actually work?

A. Yes, they do work. There are several stories of dogs that demonstrated fear or fear agression. By working with that dog, the owner can now take the dog in and out of his kennel. The dog responds to his owner by wagging his tail and smiling, instead of cowering and running away.

Common Signs of Fear

1. When a dog's ears are pulled back flat against the head, his teeth are bared, and his forehead wrinkled, it's an indication that this non-dominant dog is anxious, fearful, or feels threatened. It could be though of as, "Even though I'm very frightened by you, I'll defend myself if you become more threatening."

2. Another gesture that indicates that a dog is feeling uneasy or nervous is the ears slightly back to give the impression of a V-shape. If the ears flatten out more to the sides, the dog might fight or run away. The dog might turn from being uneasy to aggressive or to fear, causing him to run away.

3. The tail of a dog, when tucked between the legs, is a sign of a frightened dog. However, in this situation, instead of the dog becoming aggressive, this sign is used to ward off aggression or a sign of dominance from another dog or person.

4. There is an element of anxiety or fear when a dog bristles its tail only at the tip. In addition, if the dog’s tail is tucked between its legs and doesn’t wag at all, it’s a sign of a frightened dog.

5. A dog that feels threatened might also have brisling hair on its shoulders. This sign of fearful aggression, can also be described as the dog being nervous because it doesn’t like what’s happening and doesn’t want to be forced into fighting, just to protect itself.

6. The sound of a fearful aggressive dog is an undulating growl, in which the pitch rises and falls. Because the dog is very unsure about the situation, it may fight if you come closer or may run away.

7. A growl-bark of higher midrange pitch signifies that the dog is not confident about the circumstances at hand, but will turn aggressive if threatened even more.

Summary of the Signs of Fear Aggression

This group of defensive signals conveys that the dog is frightened by individual who is threatening it. However, the dog might attack that individual if it keeps intimidating the dog, because the dog isn’t submissive. The dog’s body will be lowered, its tail will be tucked under it legs, its ears will be pressed back against head, and its hackles will be raised. The wrinkled nose, the slightly-curled lips, the somewhat visible teeth, and the mouth, which is pulled back, all communicate that the dog is fearful and may turn aggressive.

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