I adopted a male chihuahua about 2 years ago The vet said he might be between 7-9 years old. Whenever I have guests come to the house, he will bark, growl, and hide under the blankets on the couch. My other chihuahua and mutt go to the guests and sniff them, but my male chi, will not. I am thinking he might have been abused, but am not sure. It took him awhile to trust me and my husband when we first got him, but now he is fine with us. He just will not stop barking and growling at any guests we have in the house.He also will pee in his food bowl when there is no food in it. WHY does he do these things? I have been struggling to break him of these habits. Does anyone have any suggestions?
It sure sounds like your chi has zero confidence. It will take time, but you can help him gain confidence in himself and in you as his pack leader. Set him up for the exercise by asking someone to come to your home. Be ready and have him on leash. It will also help to walk him 20 to 30 minutes before the visitor arrives so he's good and tired. As soon as he starts to cower, correct him with the leash and ask him to sit as you greet your visitor. Tell the person to completely ignore your dog during the exercise. No touch, no eye contact and no talking.
The idea is to keep your dog with you as you visit. Do NOT pet him, talk to him or "baby" him during this exercise. Use a quick pop-release with the lease to correct the behavior you don't want, like barking.
Use the "settle" command and have him lay at your feet on the fllor. Put one foot on the leash close to his collar. You want only enough slack that he can comfortably raise his head a bit. Settle is a completely different exercise than the down-stay. Settle means the dog can completely relax in any position he wants on the floor, as long as his body STAYS on the floor. Practice it first for 5 minutes and gradually work up to 30 minutes. When he tries to get up (and he will) simply say "settle" again and place him back down on the floor. Use whatever release command you like, such as "OK" - just make certain you're consistent with the word.
As to peeing in his food bowl, that's a new one on me so I'd suggest asking the vet here at Med Help on the "Pet Behavior Problems" forum.
Thank you so much for the suggestions. I will definitley try it. I don't ever have him on a leash in the house b/c my others didn't need to be trained that way. That is a really good idea. I have also tried excersising all the dogs more and it seems to help. Again, thank you so much and I will let you know what the vet says about the peeing in the dog bowl too...Thank you!!!
Sometimes acting out like this is not an indication of abuse some dogs are naturally aprehensive about new things in their space. The only indication that I see of abuse/neglect is possibly in the peeing in the dish... Thi scould be a sign that he was kept in very tight quarters.
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