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Hi!
About 6 months ago I had to take in someone’s dog because they had to move. She is a tiny chihuahua mix. I’m an experienced dog owner but I have never owned a small dog and training honestly feels like a whole new game with her. I swear it was easier to train a 50lb dog than a 3lb dog. I have an older Jack Russel that we rescued a few years ago, but he was naturally calm and did not have a single behavioural issue when we got him.
I’m pretty certain the chihuahua was neglected by her old owner. She has separation anxiety and will not leave my side while I’m home. I understand insecurity comes with being so small but my Jack Russel will jump on my bed and try to snuggle up to me and she freaks out. Growls and barks and snarls. She’s too small to actually bite, she could never harm anything. (And the Jack Russel will just ignore her when she does this) When I first got her it was food aggression, I fixed that, then I had to teach her off leash walking, fixed that. And now I’m stumped. I don’t know what to do because I feel like I’ve kind enabled her to be possessive over me by carrying her around and letting her follow me everywhere but I also feel like she relies on me for everything. She literally is too small to jump on the couch! I don’t like what I see on google when I search how to correct this.



For anybody that has experience with this type of situation your advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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It sounds like two issues simultaneously. For wandering around after you all the time, she sounds insecure. To help with that, you could try the 'flitting game' developed by and accredited to Emma Judson.

we pick two adjacent rooms, ideally kitchen and living room.
Set your timer on your phone (silently) for five minutes. Then make multiple trips from one room to the next, fiddle with something in one room, then move on.
As you do this, ignore your dog – as in don’t talk to him or touch him, but keep an eye on him – as he begins to settle … flit again.
Over the course of a few sessions you should find your dog becomes slower to get up, slower to settle, lurks in the hallway or in doorways, starts to look annoyed at you because this is now TEDIOUS… ugh and unrewarding.
It’s important to remember this is not some strict military regime, if you WANT your dog to come with, to talk to him, to fuss, him, fine, outside these sessions invite him along.
The point is that when you do not invite him, it might not be worth his effort to follow you… and when he realises that, you can then occasionally add in a good reason NOT to choose following you..
So step two is, add that reason in – a big juicy bone, a big filled kong, something that’s highly rewarding and a pain in the backside to lift and carry around.
Now repeat the flitting, if he chooses not to follow you, try to stay a little less time in the ‘away’ room, a little more in the ‘home’ room, and build up gradually, second by second.
Do not always give the kong or bone, carry on doing sessions without, and very gradually build up to other rooms and longer durations away.
At any point your dog is free to come and check, if he does that’s fine, don’t say hi or anything but make a mental note that perhaps this was a step too far and to scale back.
The idea is that your dog learns that it is his own choice not to follow and sometimes, that choice is highly reinforcing, sometimes it is just saving him some tedium and effort. He is free to check up if he’s worried, there’s no force or pressure at all.I

For the growling when your other dog is on the bed, it might be resource guarding, with you being the resource. That may also have been the issue around food so before I answer that question, I'd like to know more about how you fixed the food aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It sounds like two issues simultaneously. For wandering around after you all the time, she sounds insecure. To help with that, you could try the 'flitting game' developed by and accredited to Emma Judson.

we pick two adjacent rooms, ideally kitchen and living room.
Set your timer on your phone (silently) for five minutes. Then make multiple trips from one room to the next, fiddle with something in one room, then move on.
As you do this, ignore your dog – as in don’t talk to him or touch him, but keep an eye on him – as he begins to settle … flit again.
Over the course of a few sessions you should find your dog becomes slower to get up, slower to settle, lurks in the hallway or in doorways, starts to look annoyed at you because this is now TEDIOUS… ugh and unrewarding.
It’s important to remember this is not some strict military regime, if you WANT your dog to come with, to talk to him, to fuss, him, fine, outside these sessions invite him along.
The point is that when you do not invite him, it might not be worth his effort to follow you… and when he realises that, you can then occasionally add in a good reason NOT to choose following you..
So step two is, add that reason in – a big juicy bone, a big filled kong, something that’s highly rewarding and a pain in the backside to lift and carry around.
Now repeat the flitting, if he chooses not to follow you, try to stay a little less time in the ‘away’ room, a little more in the ‘home’ room, and build up gradually, second by second.
Do not always give the kong or bone, carry on doing sessions without, and very gradually build up to other rooms and longer durations away.
At any point your dog is free to come and check, if he does that’s fine, don’t say hi or anything but make a mental note that perhaps this was a step too far and to scale back.
The idea is that your dog learns that it is his own choice not to follow and sometimes, that choice is highly reinforcing, sometimes it is just saving him some tedium and effort. He is free to check up if he’s worried, there’s no force or pressure at all.I

For the growling when your other dog is on the bed, it might be resource guarding, with you being the resource. That may also have been the issue around food so before I answer that question, I'd like to know more about how you fixed the food aggression.
Thank you for the advice! I will definitely give that a go!
When I got her she was food aggressive, she would get angry if my other dog came too close or if the cats walked by while she ate. Her previous owners had no feeding time ritual. She ate when she pleased. So I started off by hand feeding her a few kibble at a time. Making her sit and wait. Then I went to making her sit and stay for the whole bowl. I made her stay and every time she would get up we would restart. So now I decide when she eats. Halfway through her meal I would do it again. Or when she would start being aggressive while eating I would do it again. Now the cat could literally being eating out of the same bowl at the same time and she is completely calm.
At night both of my dogs sleep on the bed with me. What I try to do is let the other dog on and if she freaks out, I will make her sit at the end of the bed while the other one gets settled, then I invite her to come snuggle up. It doesn't always work though, sometimes she just goes on and the aggression gets worse. I can't even let her sleep under the cover because if I move my leg or the other dog moves around she will freak out. I don't know what to do here because if I put her off the bed she just cries and cries. But I can't excuse this just because she is too small to do any harm.
Another note, she gets pretty obsessive and protective over her toys so I had to hide them. She only gets them sometimes but after a day we tend to have to hide them again.
Although she can be pretty problematic and quite the princess, she is super friendly and loooves kids and cats. She doesn't do well with big dogs, I think she feels like she has to protect herself constantly. I think a lot of her issues come out of insecurity.
 

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Ah. I think you may have contributed towards the protectiveness. I'd like you to imagine you were in a lovely restaurant eating a favourite meal. You start eating and someone suddenly takes it away. Honestly, what would you do? FWIW I would have some choice words and might be tempted to stick my fork in their hand. All that removing it does is increase anxiety around food, and she may also transfer that to other things she finds of value. Please do some reading on resource guarding. The more people (or other animals) appear to threaten what she values, the harder she may try to keep them. You are seeing this manifest in the bed and the toys now. I suspect you are right over the insecurity. She may let the cat eat from the same bowl but I'd suspect she isn't as happy as you believe. She is tolerating it but one day she may snap. Again, how would you feel if someone kept picking food from your plate, especially if you were insecure around food?

I would feed her in a separate room, put the food down and leave her alone to eat in peace. Why would you want to take her food halfway through eating anyway? It's an old fashioned idea that it promotes leadership, if you think of true leaders, they don't earn respect through things like taking stuff because they can (to be quite blunt, that's more like the description of a playground bully that steals your lunch money). If you are thinking of so called pack leadership, alpha dominance, that theory has been through disproved and even the person who developed it acknowledged he was wrong. The wolf pack was not a true pack, they were in captivity. In a proper pack, the leadership role is fluid, depending on the circumstances. And dogs are not wolves, any more than we are chimpanzees. If you want to read more, this is a good link


So, for the bed, I'd honestly have neither of them in bed. Not because I have any issue with dogs in beds, but because it is a potential flashpoint for tension which is leading to aggression. In daytime, teach her a good "settle* (look for Kikopup on YouTube for how to do it). And have a super comfy dog bed at the side of yours - have one at each side, one for each dog out of sight. And train both to settle in their own beds. Also with toys, play should be separate. If she gets guardy with her toys, or with anything else with you, don't force her into giving it up because the harder you try to take it, the harder she will try to keep it and it will just become more and more contentious. Always have something better, higher value, to swap. Hopefully someone with more experience will add more but if you read about resource guarding online you should find more suggestions.
 

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Hi!
About 6 months ago I had to take in someone’s dog because they had to move. She is a tiny chihuahua mix. I’m an experienced dog owner but I have never owned a small dog and training honestly feels like a whole new game with her. I swear it was easier to train a 50lb dog than a 3lb dog. I have an older Jack Russel that we rescued a few years ago, but he was naturally calm and did not have a single behavioural issue when we got him.
I’m pretty certain the chihuahua was neglected by her old owner. She has separation anxiety and will not leave my side while I’m home. I understand insecurity comes with being so small but my Jack Russel will jump on my bed and try to snuggle up to me and she freaks out. Growls and barks and snarls. She’s too small to actually bite, she could never harm anything. (And the Jack Russel will just ignore her when she does this) When I first got her it was food aggression, I fixed that, then I had to teach her off leash walking, fixed that. And now I’m stumped. I don’t know what to do because I feel like I’ve kind enabled her to be possessive over me by carrying her around and letting her follow me everywhere but I also feel like she relies on me for everything. She literally is too small to jump on the couch! I don’t like what I see on google when I search how to correct this.



For anybody that has experience with this type of situation your advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Hi, I had a similar problem to yours, but it was with my german shepherd. He had severe anxiety and would bark at anything. Anyhow after hours of research and a recommendation from a friend, I found this: http://greens.social/Petanxiety Its a all natural product suitable for humans and animal to relieve anxiety, stress, pain and promotes better sleep fast. Just add a couple of drops in your dog's mouth or his food and he/she should be more relaxed and experience no anxiety. You just have to do this everyday and your dog should be fine, good luck!!!
 
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