My dog behavior is becoming aggressive

    • Bronze

    My dog behavior is becoming aggressive

    I would like to nip this in the bud if possible. I have a 1 1/2 year old chihuahua and italian mini grey hound . Female spayed. She came to us from a rescue place that fed her only 1 time a day and was very skinny and shy. She was afraid of everything. Through the last year she has become less afraid and knows her commands. Now, I will get right to the point. The 1st incident was we were walking ( with her on a leash) and a random man was just walking by us and she started to bark and went behind the man and tried to nip at his ankles. I pulled her away and did nothing because I was in shock. Now when we walk if a person walks close I pull in the leash . The 2nd incident takes place in my house. Whenever a person walks in she barks and barks and there is no stopping her. Then she positions herself while barking behind the person and tries to go for the ankles. She eventually stops barking when they sit down, but any little move and she starts barking again. If a person stands or waves their hands while gesturing ....anything. The barking is driving me crazy and I dont trust her. We have a word "nice" and that means back off. It works for our dog and the cat we have and sometimes for people. But the word nice does not calm her energy level is very high. 3rd incident was I was eating dinner and I always give her a piece of meat from my plate. This 1 night I was eating macaroni, so I did not share with the dog. She laid in her bed about 4 feet from me and looked at me and growled . It was a very disturbing growl and it was vicious. I stood up immediately and went directly to her and said "no no bad girl" Her ears went back, her head went down and she looked ashamed of herself.

    I would like to nip this in the bud right away before it gets out of control more then it already is. Is there a place I can go on the internet to read how to train an aggressive dog? This is SOOO confusing to me because when I approach her she acts scared or acts like I will do something bad to her. I have NEVER hit her and never will, I dont believe hitting solves anything.

    Another bit of info is we have a cat. and they get along well BUT twice she has growled viciously at my cat and when I turn to face the dog she backs off and acts scared of me. I dont like seeing her scared of me it makes me feel sooo bad.

    Thank you for reading

    • Gold Top Dog

    Your little one seems to need some rules of the road.

    If you are using a flexi when walking her, please stop.  Use a regular 6 or 8' lead and keep her close to you.

    The rule in my house is that dogs NEVER get feed from my plate.  They are not allowed in the kitchen when I'm cooking, or in the dining room when we are eating.  That doesn't mean that I don't share "people" food, but never until after we have finished our meal.

    When people come to your home, your dog needs to be in her crate and in another room.  She should  not be allowed to great guests until they are seated and SHE is calm.  Then, I'd bring her out on a lead and ask your guest to completely ignore her.  Dogs do what works, and I'm betting the barking and carrying on and the attempts to nip have been greeted with comments to her (attention).  They'll take whatever attention they can get....good or bad.

    I don't think your dog is aggressive.  I think, like many tiny dogs, that she is fearful and behaving in this way to reassure herself and to make her feel BIGGER.  Humans must look like giants to her.  I doubt, given her history, that she was ever socialized to animals or people and doing so now will be a very long and tedious process.  It certainly can be done, but you will need the patience of a saint.  I suggest finding a LOCAL trainer and discussing the problems with him/her.  S/he may offer suggestions, or may want to do some training.  S/he will teach YOU how to train your dog so don't expect him/her to actually train your dog.  That isn't what trainers do and if people don't understand that going in, they are often disappointed.

    There is an old saying among dog people....NILF (nothing in life is free) and that's the motto your dog needs to learn.  She gets praise, attention or treats when she does something good and only then.  For example, she doesn't bark at the person approaching on the street.  Praise her for her "good quiet", then stuff her full of treats.  When she nicely greets a guest same thing.  When she is "rude" she gets ignored.

    When there is a sudden change in behavior it is always smart to get a dog vet checked.  Frequently they are being cranky because they just don't feel well.  Unfortunately,  since they can't talk and tell us that they don't feel well in words,  often the first clue to illness is a sudden change in behavior.

    I wish you good luck and TONS of patience in working through this with her!