possessive chichuaua

Posted by joan72761
Mar 27, 2008
My chi is 11 months old. She surges toward people/animals that get near me or her bone (within 6 feet). She might let you pet her and then as you pull your hand away, she will nip at you and show her teeth. When my 4 month old grandbaby was laying on the couch 1 foot away from me, she surged toward her and nipped her foot. This is with family and strangers. I'm concerned she will do some damage to someone and get hurt or get me sued. What can I do? She is otherwise a loving dog and I couldn't imagine life without her. Please help.
Posted by Todd
Apr 2, 2008
Hi there Joan and thanks for the question.

Sorry for the delay i have been away on a conference the last few days and haven't been near my laptop.

Sounds like you might have a little trouble maker on your hands. The signs that she is showing is classic dominance aggression.
Right now your girl thinks that she is the top dog in the household. So the aim of what we are going to do is to make her the bottom of the pack.

This may seem a little harsh but trust me for her and your piece of mind and safety it is well worthwhile.

The basis of the training is around alpha issues. This is the most common thing i mention in consults as it is so important.

You should read and understand the techniques in the bonus book "Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog". These are great techniques for maintaining or establishing your position at the head of the household. No matter what the problem is all dogs need to know where the stand in the house for both yours and their peace and comfort.

Here are some ways to reinforce your position-

1) If you come across your dogs while they are sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making him move so that you can pass by.

2) Make sure that you always go through doorways first. A good method to reinforce your position as alpha dog is to walk your dog around the house on the leash, making your dog wait while you walk through doorways first.

3) At mealtimes make sure that your dogs eat after all of the humans have.

4) Do not feed your dogs tidbits or let it pester you at the table. Save the morsels and tidbits for training sessions instead.

5) Do not greet your dogs straightaway when you arrive home. Make it wait until you are ready and then call it to you.

6) Whenever your dogs want attention or anything wait till they are sitting and being well behaved.

7) When you give a command make sure that you are in a position to enforce the action that you require from your dog, especially in the initial stages of Alpha Dog training. Also, use the Alarm-No-Command technique as described in the Alpha Dog bonus book to reprimand your dog if it does not obey your command.

Generally I do not recommend people give their dogs bones as this encourages the aggression, because in the wild the alpha dog would be the only one to have the privilege of chewing the bones. The reason your dog growls at you when you approach it with a bone is because it believes that it has the right to the bone and is trying to discipline you for challenging your dog for its dominant role.

The second major thing to mention is dog obedience. The more obedient your girl is the easier she will be able to control when she starts to get aggressive.
Take her to a quiet area of the house for 10 minutes twice a day and work on the basic commands of sit, stay and come. After a week you will notice the improvement.

The next thing that is important is to ban her from any couches, beds or anything else she gets possessive over, including her bone unfortunately.

Also i think it may be easier if she does get aggressive when you try to move her is to leave her lead on her when she is walking around the house. This means you can move her without having to get near to her mouth.

She needs to be reprimanded for any aggressive behaviour she displays. Whether it be baring her teeth, growling, lunging or biting. The best way to reprimand her is with a loud GRRRRRRRR or AHHHHHHHH as well as throwing a large blanket over her or squirting her with a water pistol.

She needs to learn that aggression isn't okay. After you reprimand i would also remove her from the room and put her in a quiet secluded room with no distractions for 10 minutes.

Once her time is up bring her back and give her another chance. You will need to repeat this over and over again to get results but be consisitent and don't despair.
Food bowl aggression -
I would go back to feeding her by hand.....if you can trust her that much. Keep feeding her by hand, when she is good praise her but when she gets aggressive reprimand her and stop feeding her.
This puts the idea of getting fed into your hands not hers.

After a week of this feed her by hand with your hand in the bowl. Slowly over the next week feed her from the bowl with your hand in it. Daily put less and less of your hand in the bowl. If she growls tell her off and take the food away. Then at the next feed go back to the step where she didn't get aggressive.
Again the process is slow but needed.

As for her aggression to strangers and other animals she will need to get more and more socialisation. But only ater she has learnt all the above steps.

Socialising dogs is very important and again is a gradual process. We don't want to flood her all at once.

Start with people -
1) Ask a friend around to visit
2) Get them sitting a few metres away with treats in their hands
3) Have your girl on the lead with or without muzzle.
4) Ask your girl to sit, if she does praise her and take a step forward.

5) She can proceed if she is good. If she growls, barks etc reprimand her as above and ask her to sit again. Be firm with your reprimand.

6) When she gets close to your friend get them to feed her some treats. Remember praise good behaviour and reprimand poor/aggressive behaviour.

You will need to try it with lots of different people on lots of different occassions but be persistent.

You can follow the same principle with getting her to meet dogs but don't let them meet until after a few sessions.

Aggression problems like these take a great deal of time and effort to solve but don't despair.
Good luck and if you need anymore help let me know