New dog snaps at strangers

Posted by eric-scott
Jun 4, 2012
I'm still reading the book but need help quickly as I have family visiting soon and want to keep everybody safe. I adopted a 5 year old chihuahua rescue who was returned to the rescue after a previous 2 yr adoption. Leroy is a sweetie with my husband and me but horrid to others. He bit a guest who reached down to pet him even though he had been wandering around our group of friends for 1/2 hr. He bit our dinner guest who was clearing the table even though she had been in the house for over an hour. He doesn't break the skin but it happens so quickly, more than a few seconds go by before I can even reach the dog. Then he acts like nothing happened. I've got family including 3 children and my Dad flying in to visit for a week and my Dad will blow a head gasket if I allow a biting dog around children.

I'm buying a crate tonight. This little dog snuggles with me, walks nicely on a leash, is housebroken, loves my 2 other dogs, will take treats from our friends very nicely and appears to look at me for direction. I'm panicked because I've got 2 weeks til family arrives. Hints, suggestions, anything much appreciated.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 14, 2012
Hi Susan D.,

Congrats on getting a rescue, always happy to hear those guys finding homes

As far as biting others - I'd start by telling all your guests to ignore your dog - dont pet him, baby talk him, etc, just ignore him.

Second, even if you're not there immediately, when he does act out - put him away for a time out immediately. Be sure to tell him "no" as soon as you know it's happened, but then remove him - he doesn't get to hang around after he's misbehaved. As long as you put him in time out before he does anything else behaviour wise (good or bad), he should understand that biting = no more fun time.

Third - get as many guests over before your family arrives as possible. You want to desensitise the little guy to new people, so that he's less likely to act out with different people in the house. It will probably help to enroll in a socialization or puppy class, or group walking or something similar, just to get him used to a bunch of people in different environments as well as your own home.

I hope this makes sense, and isn't too basic. Please let us know how things are going - best of luck!