Strange Behavior

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Strange Behavior

This is a discussion on Strange Behavior within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have had dogs all of my life but currently am baffled by one of my three chihuahuas. My wife got this dog as a ...

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Old 01-03-2018, 11:13 AM
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Strange Behavior

I have had dogs all of my life but currently am baffled by one of my three chihuahuas. My wife got this dog as a puppy-from the day it arrived it has been deathly afraid of me..kind of. This dog is 3 years old and I cannot pick it up, put a collar on it or even walk past it sleeping on a dog bed without her jumping up and running away-even if I am paying absolutely no attention to her.
We got her too young for her to be abused. The most puzzling thing is-if she is on the couch and I am on the couch I can pet her, she will lick me-she will even lick me to get me to pet her-yet when she is walking around I cannot get within 5 feet of her. We have never physically disciplined her in any way. So there is no discernible source of the fear. I will say that basically no one but my wife can pick her up or successfully approach her. Also she will bark at strangers at the house continuously-not tiring after hours. We have a pet sitter and oddly she and her husband can both pick her up.
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:49 PM
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Thumbs up I'd forget worrying about Y, & work on changing her feelings about me.


Why really doesn't matter - it would B nice to know, but it's immaterial. Re-training is the same, whatever the cause.

I'd just start working on DS/ CC, DeSensitize & Counter-Condition, to convince her that U're the best thing ever.
That may mean putting a drag on her so she can't flee effectively - an 8-to-10-ft-long light cord with no knots or handle, attached to a FRONT-clip on a well-fitting snug body harness, so that she won't be pulled by the neck, but brought to U hand over hand, if need be, or at least halted by the drag.
No matter how she gets to U, reward heavily - a jackpot to begin with is a good 1st impression.

Jackpots need to be contingent [connected discernibly to the desired behavior, in the learner's mind] & rare.
A series of her favorite tidbits in half-pea sized pieces, AS FAST AS SHE SWALLOWS ONE, the next is under her nose, accompanied by warm sincere quiet praise, is a jackpot.
Kneeling down as she's brought toward U, or sitting in a chair or squatting, plus being SIDE-on vs facing her, will reduce Ur size, perceived threat, & her anxiety - especially be aware of turning Ur gaze away as she's brought to U via the drag, or comes to U [later in the process].

She cannot be left unsupervised wearing a drag, just in case it should snag - but when U're home, it's on.
Chis are smart & trainable - the sooner U begin, the faster U'll progress.

Please keep us posted? - thanks.
- terry

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Old 01-05-2018, 08:43 PM
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I personally wouldn't force her to have to be in your space, and instead make her as comfortable as possible and try coaxing her to you using lots of high value treats like hot dog or something similar and fragrant. When i work with frightened dogs I always try to make sure they're entering the space of the scary thing on their own terms, instead of being stuck with the scary thing (you in this case) and having no option to flee as this can cause dogs to shut down and increase their fear. Kikopup has a great video on this using objects but the same principal can be applied to people and I will post the link when I have better phone service !

I'd also make yourself small and non threatening by sitting on the ground. I would try not to make eye contact and instead toss treats while giving no other indication you're paying attention at first.

That's just how I'd handle it! Leashedforlife is 100 percent right about desensitization and counter conditioning though, I would just personally go about it differently. Good luck!
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