The young lady has had 3-year-old Chihuahua Noodles for about six months. The tiny dog won’t let her out of sight.
Previously Noodles had lived with someone whose work increased and then had no time to take her out. She was left alone for many hours at a time so had to rehome her.
Noodles follows the young lady everywhere. When she has to shut a door on her, the little dog cries.
The young owner has to go out sometimes so Noodles is left with the family. Although she is with people she knows well and lives with, she’s not happy because this one person is out of sight.
This kind of separation problem which is largely due to over-attachment has to be worked on very slowly, starting at the beginning.
Where is the beginning?
The beginning is the point where the lady can walk away from her little dog with the dog stressing.
Working on an actual parting when the young lady goes very briefly out of sight is the beginning.
So I suggest she begins with a ‘Sit-Stay’ game. To begin with she can step back a few steps then return and treat.
The girl will build this up until she can go out of sight for a moment. Gradually she can increase the time out of sight, always coming back before Noodles stresses.
Noodles will know that the ‘Sit-Stay’ game always results in her coming back.
Out of sight but always coming back
Then I suggested a game which involves a briefly shut door and a hunting game.
Another helpful game to release Noodles’ limpet attachment to the young lady is where the girl does so much a walking around the house doing pretend jobs that Noodles simply gives up. (There is more to it than that which I can show you also if you have a limpet dog).
While Noodles can’t be left with anyone else she is very vulnerable.
With slow, consistent work they will build up her confidence and she should begin to feel safe left, if not all alone yet, with other people she knows.
Two weeks later:
👉 “…we’ve already seen a huge improvement in her calmness around the house – she’s much less likely to be barking/whining/hyper, and has even been relaxing on her own in a separate room to me, which previously would never have happened!
This weekend for the first time she’s even happily gone out for a walk with another family member without me (which was an absolute no-go previously!) and the general calmness seems to have made her much more confident out on walks interacting with other dogs too – she’s even been playing with other dogs!
In short – we had no idea that many of our behaviours were winding her up and stressing her out on a daily basis – and you’ve given us so many tools to “fill her bucket”, so to speak. We still have a couple of the training game recommendations you suggested that we want to try out with her, but in short we’ve got a very happy and much more relaxed pup.
As we go through our journey with Noodles over the next few years I won’t be hesitating to get back in touch should we need support with anything – THANK YOU from us and from Noodles!”
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help