While Chihuahuas are the world’s smallest dog, Chihuahuas are most notably known for their large, one-owner personalities, often becoming aggressive towards other animals, possessive with their masters and timid and fearful around other humans. I have recently witnessed this ill-mannered behavior in my recently adopted Chi, “Gi Gi.” Gi Gi was an irresistibly beautiful, sweet and timid Chi, rescued from a local humane society about 5 months ago. Upon our union, Gi Gi immediately grew close to me, never straying more than a few feet away from me and keeping her eyes upon me at all times, even when exploring her new home. However, her demeanor turned borderline pathetic when I introduced her to friends and family, as she would cower at the site of a stranger – tail tucked, shaking violently and hiding behind me in any way she could. I just didn’t understand it. Why was she acting like this? I realized this was probably a result of a previously abusive relationship and realized that lots of love, training and time would make Gi Gi a confident and social dog, much like her owner. And with time, Gi Gi found confidence, boldness and inner strength around other humans. However, with that doggie-development, a very shocking personality came out of Gi Gi which I found later to be true of many Chis.
Gi Gi, like most Chis, is a one-owner pet, who can display signs of jealousy and aggressive behavior when “her human” interacts with other dogs. And it does not seem to matter whether the dog is 5 pounds or 105 pounds: Gi Gi makes it known that I belong to her. Gi Gi is not hostile or aggressive to all dogs. She has two lovely bijon-mixed friends that she sees nearly every day, named Riley and Mandi. The three of them play together splendidly; sharing bones, toys, and engaging in puppy-banter and doggie play games. However, when Gi Gi sees me about to give affection to my friend’s two little ones, the doggie-drama ensues as she seems to find a way to nuzzle her way into the action and quickly displace the other dogs in an attempt for total attention. As Gi Gi became more attached to me, it became apparent that Gi Gi was not going to stand for any dog seeking my attention, and has tangled with a Rottweiler and an American Bull Dog, both weighing over 110 pounds. Somehow, the confidence she lacks when meeting my friends and family is somehow quickly found when approached by other canine-competition. Unlike many small dogs whose bark is bigger than their bite, Gi Gi summons Herculean strength to challenge even the most formidable rival, leaving them running scared, tail tucked and hiding behind their owner. While I am unsure if this behavior is motivated from her need to protect me or keep others from attaining my attention, my tiny, sweet, little angel becomes a Tazmanian devil at the sign of another dogs’ attempt to win my affection.
Upon speaking to other friends with Chis, apparently this is an behavior rooted in most Chis, no matter how small, meek and timid they may be. However, this aggressive behavior need not be tolerated and it can and must be overcome. Playing “nice” in the doggie-sandbox is critical to a dog’s mental well-being and physical safety.
There are many ways to temper this temper, possessiveness and jealousy in a Chi and it merely takes time, training and socialization. Tips for getting your possessive pooch to relax around others:
1) Set Rules Immediately.
2) Avoid situations that promote inappropriate behavior during training.
3) Encourage positive behavior with praise and attention.
4) Don’t encourage play biting or rough-housing.
5) Expose pets to people and other pets right away.
6) Correct bad behavior immediately when it is done by scolding the dog or providing alternatives to decrease the behavior.
7) Reward your dog for calm and non-confrontational behavior. Food, praise and affection are great ways to positively reinforce good behavior.
To prevent this behavior early in your little one’s life, early socialization around people and animals is a must to raise a calm, confident dog, rather than a shy, timid dog which acts out in fear. Taming the inner beast in your baby is imperative to their inner being, along with other dogs and pets that come in contact with your animal. While it can be flattering and entertaining to see your pet defend your honor and want you all to yourself, the acting-up is destructive and should be addressed immediately so it does not perpetuate further improper behavior. And while the behavior will not change overnight, with patience and training, most dogs can learn to become tolerant of their masters’ interaction with other dogs, thus expanding their own circle of friends. And I am happy to report that after months of training and socialization, Gi Gi is a healthy and well-behaved Chi around all she comes into contact. Just take the time, patience and steps necessary to make your pet, pet-friendly! More tips on training such as videos and books can be found on http://www.floppyeargear.com.