I would like to ask for some advice on how to restore, or more honestly create, some self confidence and happyness with my new six months old Chihuahua.
He has spent his first six months of his life in a cage and seems to have absolutly no self confidence and is terrified of every new thing and sound. The reason we took him is that i know the bastard that had the dog the first six months of his life and after seeing how he was treated i want to give the poor dog a better life.
We changed a little part of the living room to be his place. That is, his bed is there, food and water and all the things we bought for him.
After a week in my house he has showed a very little progress, his favorite place seems to be under a blanked in his corner and shows no will to interact. The first day he was even too afraid to pee and held it for hours.
Belive me there is a lot of love for him here and even if nothing changes he will get to spend his life as he sees fit. But i would like for him to be happy.
Your dog wasn't properly socialized, and as this is very important for breeds known to be timid, he is way behind in that regard. Try to take him to as manyplaces as possible, but resist the urge to reassure him when he acts panicked because you inadvertantly will be reinforcing his fears. Because the dog will be scared, you are trying to reassure him, he will think, OMG there IS something to be scared of because she's trying to reassure me!!
Expose him to as many pleasant things as possible. Put him down on the ground and just stand there with him on the leash, so he can overcome his fears and be given the opportunity to naturally explore his surroundings at his own pace.
He'll come around. Some dogs just take longer then others. If he wasn't treated good, it'll take awhile for him to trust. I'd love to see a picture. I have 3 chi's of my own and I love them! Give him time and he'll be your best friend ever.
I got my chihuahua when she was 4 months old from a pet store (I know...a big NONO) regardless, she had the same issues your pup seems to have. It really took her about a month to feel comfortable with us. We just let her be and let her come to us. We invited people over so that she would get used to people being in the house and we told them to ignore her. She would eventually come out of her bed and smell the person. Then we told the person they could pet her. We wouldn't pet her when she was in her bed, b/c we wanted her to come out and then we would pet her and praise her when she came out on her own. We would also coax her out with a treat, so that she began to associate people with something good. Never pet your pup when he is scared or timid, this only reinforces this behavior.
Kona is now 6 months old and walks around like she owns the place! She also approaches strangers in a friendly manner and no longer walks around with her tail between her legs!
I have to admit that, after this week, i know nothing about dog care, I thought i did but this fellow is breaking all the behavior "rules" i had in my head assosiated with dogs.
Until now he has acted like I had hot iron in my hands when approaching him. Not that i blame him, after the treatment he got i would be pritty scared too.
We are now gona stop petting him in his bed (as hard as that is gona be) and try to not pet him when he is scared(that is gona be near impossible :) ).
He is beginning to gain a little confidence while exploring the house, but outdoors is still a whole new ballgame. This morning we where out, so he could do his bussiness, and a car honked the horn while driving past the house and the reaction was simular to me waking up in a bed full of spiders. He finally stoped shaking after 10 minutes in my lap. His heart beat reminded me of a sewing machine. But i see now that it was wrong to pet him cause it will only reasure him that this "is" infact something to be scared of.
I really dont want him to be scared of everything and would much rather that he was a wild one that did not listen to me at all. After only one week he has won my heart so compleatly i wonder if i could ever be harsh to the poor thing.
He seriously loves cheese and sometimes forgets the scary world around him when a bit of this "food of gods" is around. So with this in mind we named him Brie, after the french delicacy.
Thanks for all the advice again. Regards, Brie and friends.
***Edited By: che on 10/1/2006 12:55:28 PM*** Reason: spelling
Kona was afraid to go outside for a whille. We'd bring her in the backyard and she would run back to the door and cry to go inside. Now if I ask her if she wants to go out, she wags her tail, jumps around in circles and runs to the door! I think that now since she trusts my husband and me, she feels comfortable going any where with us. So I guess this will come in time also.
P.S. I know how hard it is not to pet your pup when he is scared! All you want to do is comfort them and hold them and promise them they'll never get hurt again. But it's really the best thing for them! At least that's what the dog whisperer says! LOL!
He just found a mirror that was on the wall and spent the last hour trying to figure out how to get into it to the "other dog", making his first sounds since he got here. Very short sounds, somewhere between a very low bark and howling, almost like the sound children make after a long cry when they are trying to catch they're breath again.
I am even wondering about getting another dog at similar age to keep him company and teach him that we, the humans, are not as scary as we look. But I'm thinking that might backfire as the new dog could quite easy become his "ruler" instead of his friend.
I've made a little "cave" for him out of a crate made from fabric, but a blanked in the bottom of it with one end open.
Saying that hes not making any progress is perhabs not entierly true. He not jumping so quickly at every sound and i catched him not opening his eyes, while asleep, when i got in and closed the door. He is still very nervous though when someone walks close to him or in his direction.
This dog has showed me a whole new side I never expected to have. I am a heterosexual male, not a redneck but maybe at the step before that. :) But I am feeling so much love for this dog and so much pain every time he trembles that I am a little lost. I'm thinking that maybe I am not suitable to take care of him since teaching him dicepline is gona be seriously harder for me than him. Then again I can never give him away.
The little "cave" you made for him sounds PERFECT!
Don't put yourself down because you are male, you are first and foremost a human being and one of God's children. Your yearning toward this little, wounded beastie does not diminish you in any way.
Perhaps if you keep telling yourself, "He is much better off with me," over and over it will help. Then you can tell him, "You are safe here, you are safe here," every time you walk into the room, both he, and you will come to believe it.
Your dog may always be shy with strangers, but he will come to trust you, it is just the way God made him. What you are doing WILL work, and probably more quickly than you could believe.
rocky was like that when we first got him. He was scared of anything and everything. he was scared of the cat, a toy horse, everything, you name it and it scared him. He was always behind the couch or in his crate. After a wile he opened up.
Just give it some time, make sure the pup gets lots of love and it should be ok.
rocky was 4 year old when we got him, it should be eayser to get a pup to open up then a 4 year old dog.
Well, im not sure what to say but thank you for all your advices. After 30 hours marathon sleep in the "cave" he came out three hours ago when i was having a late night snack. :)
It took him about 20 trys but he finally found the currage to confront me and eat a bit of cheese from my hand. 30 minutes later i got dressed and opend the door. Tricked him out with some more cheese and he just exploded. Ran like crazy back and forth, even triped in the grass and i had a serious problem keeping the laughter down. After a whole hour outside, and a few "wheres Valdo" scenarios i managed to trick him back inside, with some more cheese. He dessperatly wanted to go outside again and even howld like a grown wolf and woke up the house. But I am a little scared to let him out again with no leach cause he does'nt respond to me calling him back or any other gestures i make. Of course now i cant find the leach.
So Im taking the day off tomorrow, buying a new one, and a 30 yard string so he can run around while i put up a fench, think my girlfriend is gona be more happy about that than the dog though. Downloaded about 10 years worth of reading matterial on how to teach dogs to listen to commands.
This "cave" idea is just absolutly brilliant and i think that has speeded up the whole process. We dont pet him there and just generally leave him be. And by the looks of it he is starting to trust us, well my girlfriend was too grumpy for even me to trust her after she woke up thinking I was drunk and singing. :)
But things are looking up and I would like to thank you all, but most likly will be pesstering you with questions about rasing dogs in the near future.