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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3 year old Chihuahua (Remi) I raised from 8 weeks old. Honestly, I think she may have been 6 weeks old or at least pulled from her mother too early before her momma could teach her boundaries and whatever else mother dogs teach their pups. I also have a Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix and a Shihtzu, both 8 years old and very laid back, so they came first before Remi.

After I got Remi, I made sure to give all three dogs the equal attention to prevent jealousy. But it seems Remi has developed a serious dominating issue! When all three dogs come out of their kennel, Remi immediately growls and goes after the other 2 dogs' legs and stands on their backs with her front paws and nips at their ears. Remi is never rough enough to actually hurt the other 2 dogs (but doesn't mean it can't get worse!), in fact, the other 2 dogs tend to ignore her. Sometimes they will snap at her, and she does stop when they do. But like I said, they are laid back, so they tollerate a lot out of her.

Her other problem is when I pet her. Whenever I allow her to come into my lap, she starts growling and biting my hands, sometimes lightly, sometimes too hard, especially while making eye contact with the other 2 dogs. Remi also likes to growl and snap at other dogs when any other dogs approach me for pettings.

I have tried ignoring her (but I fear jealousy will develop), I have tried a quick jab in the neck to snap her out of it, I have tried putting her on her back, I have even tried biting her nose or cheek to show MY dominance. I just don't know how to rehabilitate her. Help?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One thing I am also concerned about is Remi growing up to be a grouchy old dog. I don't want her to be that mean old dog that bites or attacks anything that touches her. And if she grows to have medical issues, I want vets to be able to handle her carefully and safely without her causing problems. She is not a naturally aggressive dog. She can be very loving. But she is a fear biter. I want to be able to correct all this behaviour now while she is still a healthy and active young dog.
 

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Please stop doing all that you are doing to this dog. You are not a dog and she knows that, so please stop biting, nipping, jabbing and pining her.

Get yourself in touch with a proper behaviourist, with actual qualifications, through a vet clinic, who uses positive reinforcement only, to try and help resolve these issues.

This is not dominance, this is fear. She clearly doesn't like these dogs in her space so she's trying to tell them that, aswell as trying to tell you when you pet her that she's uncomfortable, which I don't blame her for if you've bit her.

I'd personally suggest limited contact with the other dogs, use baby gates to give them their own space and don't allow anymore negative interactions to happen. I'd also suggest not allowing her in your lap for the time being, especially around the other dogs, there may be a rescource guarding issue also, you being the resource.

Any trainer who comes to you suggesting methods like you've already been using, do NOT engage. These methods clearly aren't working, so you need to change your game plan and soon, this little dog is very scared and needs help.
 

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I'd try this as a management tool while you learn how to change her behavior. If the dogs are kenneled separately, let the other two dogs out first. Let the excitement level settle down for a few minutes and then let the Chi out. If the dogs are kenneled together, prevent the Chi from leaving the kennel and let the other two dogs out first. Don't use force or intimidation. You can go in the kennel and leash the Chi to prevent her from exiting with the other dogs. Then take the leash off, leave the kennel and wait a few minutes for excitement to calm down and release the Chi. Stay calm. Reward the Chi for any behavior you like. Use food and use good stuff. Chicken, cheese or whatever she loves most.

I'd stop holding the Chi on your lap. It sounds like she may be resource guarding you. It's a very common behavior and one that is not difficult to change using counter conditioning. Get the book Fight by Jean Donaldson.

Stop correcting her for the behavior. You are making an association in her mind that is increasing the problem. When you punish a dog when another dog approaches, you've reinforced the dog to believe that the other dog is bad. You want just the opposite approach. When another dog approaches, the Chi gets a yummy food treat. When you learn how to counter condition correctly, you'll be training for this response from the Chi: dog approaching=yummy good food=I like other dogs approaching. This is all explained in the book I recommended.

You can also find some good articles on resource guarding written by Pat Miller. Google resource guarding and her name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Grabby, thank you very much for that advice. It sounds just perfect for Remi. I will try it. I will also look into the books you recommended. Thank you very much!
 

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I wouldn't want to bite a dog! they're hairy. D:
I think it is possible she does this because she's bored with two elderly other dogs and a boring human.
If she's annoying the other dogs, then separate her in situations she does.
however, best is if she doesn't need ti show unwanted behaviour at all.
what do you do to exercise her physically and mentally? perh aps she needs more metal exercise. try a few games and teaching her tricks...you coulkd also try rewarding her for good behaviour with a part her normal food (i.e. food is handed to her, when she worked for it) as a further motivation (make sure you train enough so you feed her enough)...if you do fun and interesting things with her, she'll probably also more willing listening and working together with you and the other dogs get more boring in comparison to you.
Also: for the time being i would not hold her in your arms or have her in your lap.
let her stay on the floor and pet her there.
 

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Her owner is jabbing and biting her no wonder why she's grouchy

I agree with everything stated above. Fear aggression is common in small breeds. I would contact a positive reinforcement trainer.
 
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