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This was a question that was asked on Yahoo Answers.  I wanted to make sure people who read my blog have access to my answer as well.

I’m concerned that when you go around her she shakes, whimpers and bites. To get her over her fear, I’d grab some soft treats, cut them up into very small pieces, get down on the floor while you are watching tv or something and then start throwing them to her. You can also do this with her dinner at night. As she starts eating the treats throw them just a bit closer to yourself at a time until she will willingly approach you and allow you to pet her. You don’t need to coach her or give her any commands. You don’t even need to really speak to her. Don’t try to rush it. Go at her pace. You are probably larger than your girlfriend. Imagine how intimidating you look from a tiny chihuahua baby’s perspective. I would assume that so far most of the petting, attention, and fawning over her has come from your girlfriend? If that is the case, then she probably hasn’t associated you with all those things she likes.

As for the ideal age to train your puppy, after she has finished all her shots, she is ready to begin training in your home. I would start training her in a puppy obedience class as soon as the school you want to go to will allow after that. I believe it was 4 months and proof of vaccines at the big chain stores that offer training. Socialization and training will be good for her.

If this barking and snapping at you is coming from both dogs and doesn’t happen to your girlfriend, it seems likely to me that you are the disciplinarian in the family? If you raise your voice at them or use spanking or newspapers (or anything else they could see as scary) they may be afraid of you. Practice throwing treats or dinner to both of them and see if them associating you with things they like and want and discontinuing whatever is scaring them won’t smooth things over. Let me know if I can be of more help.

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