Chihuahua Bit Man on the Mouth

Chihuahua Ant on the left is quite a confident little dog while Dec is restless, on constant alert

Ant and Dec

Here we have Ant and Dec – adorable eighteen-month-old Chihuahua brothers. They have had exactly the same upbringing but their personalities are very different. Ant on the left is quite a confident little dog while Dec is restless, on constant alert, wary of being approached, barks at people he doesn’t know well or dislikes – and has snapped and bitten.

Both little dogs are overweight despite the couple who own them sticking rigidly to the diet regime. This is because they need the help of another couple to look after them so they are not left alone too long, and unfortunately these people, who absolutely adore the dogs, can’t be persuaded not to over-indulge them. The alternative would be leaving the dogs all alone for hours.

Little Dec may bite if removed by the gentleman owner from his lap when asleep and he has bitten a child. He is actually fairly tolerant of them, but when he’s had enough his signals simply are ignored. We need to be looking out for ‘look-aways’, lip-licking and yawning which all show the dog is becoming increasingly uneasy.  Growling will follow. He may then be scolded for giving what is really quite a reasonable warning. By now he is between a rock and a hard place; he has no options left – he snaps.

The poor dog can’t talk ‘human’ and the humans aren’t understanding ‘dog’.

Dec is scared of vehicals and bicycles; air-brakes send his tail between his legs and he would run if he could. He hates the vacuum and the strimmer – and fireworks. Visitors may pick them up which makes Ant pee.

He bit a man on the mouth

The final straw came the other day when the friend bent over Dec as he slept on the sofa (in order to kiss him I believe), and he bit the man’s lip badly.

These little dogs are carried about too much (as chihuahuas often are); they are subjected to big hands reaching out on top of them to touch them and large human faces getting uncomfortably close. They are also allowed to dictate when they get attention and when they are played with. Food for rewards has little value.

Over-feeding, pandering to fussy eating, giving too many un-earned treats and sharing one’s own food, carrying little dogs about, forcing kisses on them and getting them too excited when greeting to the extent that a dog pees may be done in the name of love, but isn’t kind really. The owners themselves are more restrained whilst having some tightening up to do, but they need to be much firmer with the other people who share the care of their dogs.

It is always best if I can have my first meeting with everyone willing to be involved in changing their own behaviour in order to change the dogs’ behaviour. The couple are very keen to understand Ant and Dec’s needs, but fear the other people may be unwilling to listen to my advice or change their over-indulgent ways. Consistency from everyone is so important.

Just see in the photo how eager and attentive they can be if motivated!

It is just after Christmas and I received this email: Hope you had a good Christmas! Just wanted to let you know of some fantastic success we have had with Dec. It’s funny that we only saw small changes until we visited Craig’s parents over the last couple of days…
Normally Dec has been petrified of Craig’s brother…..When we visited we had been using the pen lots when things got too busy and hectic to keep them calm and calmly brought Pluto into the room Craig’s brother was in- seriously was like a miracle moment- no barking, no signs of him being anxious he even went onto his lap and let him stroke him!!!! I think knowing the signs of when they are anxious has really helped us to keep him calm- we can’t always remove him from a situation but just knowing what to look out for really helps!
Normally visiting Craig’s family with the dogs is something I find really stressful but they have been 100% better behaved which just makes everything so much more enjoyable!

Goes Frantic When People Walk Out

Border Collie Bella is anxious and waryFour-year-old Bella should be a happy dog. She lives with a great family who love her, she is well fed, she has good exercise and a comfortable bed.

However, she is not a happy dog much of the time. Bella is anxious and wary. She has to know where each family member is all the time, running around the house and trying to round them up. She goes ‘mental’ when they try to leave the house and she may nip a visiting person who starts walking out through a door, though, interestingly, she is quite settled once she is all alone.

The little boy is only two years old, and Bella feels threatened and growls if she is cornered by him. So far he’s not been nipped.

Being in a family with three children there is a lot of bustle and excitement – particularly before school in the mornings. Bella gets very worked up indeed, running around the house and as the first ones leave for school, hurling herself at the window, barking.

Bella is very wary of new people and other dogs, especially men, and on walks she will bark, hackle and cower away.

I would say her start in life was far from perfect. Before twelve weeks old she probably never encountered other dogs apart from her own mother and litter mates, and will not have been exposed to friendly people and children, nor things like vacuum cleaners. When it’s left this late, it is hard to catch up. It is very likely that her mother was also an anxious and timid dog and that her genetics were not ideal – puppies are usually friendly and confident, but Bella was scared when they fetched her.

I have been to a great number of anxious, timid dogs – and dogs that round people up and nip – quite of a few of them Border Collies.

Today, the next day, I have received an email: ‘This morning was wonderful. We followed your instructions……..Bella was calm and we were also. What a great start’. I had been suggested by another client, and it’s always very rewarding to hear that I, to quote, ‘could not have been more highly recommended’.

With a mix of practical common sense, understanding things from the dog’s point of view and changing the owners’ behaviour accordingly, big changes can happen – given time.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.