Small Dog - Big Problem

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Small Dog - Big Problem

Post by Ney » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:53 pm

Hello Everyone!!

I have three very small dogs each one is four pounds or under.

Pixie a three year old Poodle who is sweet loving and very gentle little dog. Gabby an eighteen month old Chihuahua who is the Queen Bee.
Sassy a six month old Chihuahua who is a little ball of energy. Each one of my dogs are litter box trained.

My Problem is with Gabby. Gabby can be the most loving little girl, but she turns into a she devil at times.


If you want to take her for a walk she will bite you for touching her collar. She will bite you for putting a harness on her. She will bite you if you take her out of her bag or stroller. She has been like this since she was a small puppy. I purchased her from a playpen at the flea market because her eyes tugged at my heart. Even though she is small her bites hurt very badly and have drawn blood from my hands, so I am scared when she growls at me. I want to fix this problem. I love going on walks with her but she makes it too difficult for me to take the task on alone. Other than the biting she is a wonderful little dog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Post by Mattie » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:23 am

She is biting for a reason and has learnt that biting is the only way she can get her message across, you say she has always done this so it is probably fear that is the cause, it often is.

Why is she put in a bag or stroller? The answers to these may help us help you.

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Post by Ney » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:05 am

Thank you so much for your response.

Like I said I bought Gabby from a flea market. The couple I got her from were an elderly couple that lived a couple of hours away and they had a couple of different breeds of pup. I don't know if they ran a mill, or if there story about friends back home asked them to bring thier pups and sell them was true. All I know is my heart was melting for this little Chihuahua that was curled up in the playpen. I could tell she was scared to death.

When I first brought Gabby home she rode home in my arms (kissing me all the way) because I had no idea I would come home with a puppy. When I got home I left the puppy with my husband in the car while I ran in the house and got a regular plastic dog kennel so I could seat belt her into the car. When I placed this little puppy in the kennel she intitally was quiet but after we started moving she screamed over and over with the sound of a duck being slaughtered. I had baby blankets to keep her from sliding and a stuffed animal for a cushion in the kennel but she didn't care she was terrified and you would've thought someone was killing her.

When Gabby got a little bigger we started her out with a small kitten collar to allow her to get used to it. As she grew we changed out her collar and each time we did she would get more and more upset and would snap and bite us for touching her collar. When I am petting her she doesn't care if I pet her collar or turn it around, but if I attempt to remove it she goes nuts. If I try to put a leash or harness on her or try to take them off she goes nuts. However, if someone else comes in my house and does the same thing she does nothing. She only does this to me and my husband.

The bag is actually a softer version of a standard kennel that I transport her and the other dogs in to and from the vet or groomer. The bag is a multi pet bag that holds two of my three dogs. The bag has straps that allow it to double as a carseat and I can take Gabby in the buildings without trying to put a leash on her. The reason I have a stroller is because Gabby has Patellar Luxation which is a knee issue so the stroller allows her to take a walk with us without stress on her knee. Also, me and my husband like to walk long distance and as the other dogs get tired we can put them in the stroller too.

Thanks again!

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Post by Lis & Addy » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:40 pm

Someone selling puppies of a couple of different breeds at a flea market is a miller, or at best the crappiest kind of backyard breeder, and there's no reason whatsoever to give them the benefit of the doubt. People who care diddly about their animals don't sell them that way.

Most small dogs are usually much better off being walked on a harness than on a collar of any kind. The collar should be just for hanging tags off of.

She's probably scared in the car and finds it okay if she's being cuddled but very scary in the crate where she can't see what's going on. Obviously you don't want her loose in the car, though. She might do better with a car harness--restrained but able to see what's going on, maybe even look out the window if you get a harness/booster seat combination. That might help her feel calmer.

A bag designed to hold two dogs sounds like a great convenience for the owner, but it might be a threatening, stressful situation for an insecure little dog. Get Gabby her own bag; use the two-dog bag for the other two dogs, if they're comfortable with it.

I totally understand why you're using the stroller, but that may also be a threatening situation for Gabby; she may feel she has to defend that space in order to be safe. There are papoose-style carriers that would get her off her feet but let her look around; I'd suggest looking for one of those and giving it a try.


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Post by Ney » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:55 am

Thanks Lis!

I also believe in a harness for my dogs, but my biggest problem is getting a harness on Gabby with out getting bit. She loves getting in the bag and the stroller it's getting her out that's the problem. She's been to Florida, MS, Ohio, and everywhere else we travel and is content with traveling in the bag we have, but doesn't like me to stick my hand in an pull her out of the bag. After I get her out she acts wonderful unless I try to harness her agian. I have a papose that I can carry her or one of the other dogs on my chest but Gabby won't let me put her in it.

Thanks Again!!!!

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Post by Fundog » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:46 am

Okay, instead of reaching your hand inside the bag to get her out, set the bag, with her still in it, on the floor, and let her come out on her own.

As for getting her into the bag: set the bag down and let her get into it on her own.

The harness: pick a time when you are not wanting to go somewhere at the moment. Get the harness out, and just set it on the floor. If she looks at the harness, toss her a treat. If she approaches the harness, toss her a treat. If she sniffs the harness, toss her a treat. If you only get to step one (look at the harness), that's okay too-- you'll have to go slow. After that brief "get acquainted with the nice harness" session, distract her, then go pick it up and put it away, or have a helper pick it up and put it away while you keep Gabby busy. Don't try to pick it up when she's investigating it, or near it still. We don't want to give her a reason to dredge up her unpleasant associations with it and get upset again.

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Post by Mattie » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:46 am

From what you have said it looks like she don't like being handled, getting her out of her bag and putting harness on her. For the bag can you entice her out, treats may work or a squeaky toy, when she is out lots of praise.

For the harness you can get some that you don't have to put their legs through, dogs that don't like a harness being put on will often be happy in this type of harness.

I have this harness for Merlin my Greyhound, they do make them quite small. It is very easy to put on, it goes over the dog's head then both sides are fastened. ... ece+Lined/

This is one type ... GgodvGLslQ

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Post by Ney » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:58 pm

Thank both of you very much for your responses! I've just returned from vacation so we are all just playing around and catching up with each other.

I called and talked to a trainer at the petshop and she seems to think Gabby believes she is the alpha dog in the house. What do you think of her response?

We are considering to start training classes with Gabby at the local pet shop. Have any of you gone through training at PetCo or PetSmart? What are your opions on thier style of training?

Thanks agian for your responses!!!

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Post by Leigha » Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:10 am

I took mine through PetSmart. I really liked my trainer and the clicker training, the only thing I didn't like was the confined little box that our training class was held in. I felt like the dogs were too close together. There were a total of 4 dogs in our class including mine. Two of the other owners would either let their dogs bark incessantly at mine which would set mine off to barking (he's got a horribly loud bark) or they'd let their dog come over to mine when we were actually working and she'd try to play with him.

He did REALLY REALLY well in class and was the smartest one :) We covered sit, down, stay (in sit or down), drop it, leave it, loose leash walking, watch me, shake, roll over. The class is only once a week for an hour, so you'll really have to do a lot of work at home on your own.

I've heard a lot of bad things about PetSmart training classes, but my trainer was really professional and incredibly helpful. The ONLY thing I didn't like was the close quarters and the other owners :) I'm thinking about taking him through the next class, but we're planning a wedding so that's one huge money suck! Plus I'm really trying to weigh the stress I went through in the tiny box versus a bigger facility--there are two places here that offer clicker training-- or if I just want to get books and try it out on my own.

I'd go in and talk to the different trainers at PetSmart and stay to watch one of their classes before you make a decision. There are two trainers at our store and the one we have is the one we like best.

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Post by Ney » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:54 am

Thanks for the feedback Leigha!

Great suggestion about going and watching a class first.

Have a wonderful day!!!

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Post by emmabeth » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:39 am

I think I would walk away from that trainer and avoid her completely.

Firstly - the problems you have are not related to her perceived status amongst any other dogs you may have.

Secondly - dogs dont seek to be 'dominant' over humans - sometimes their behaviour can end up dominating our lives but that is not their intent. This trainer will train as if it IS her intent to dominate your life....and this will make her worse!

Your dogs behaviour is due to fear - it might be fear of remembered pain or discomfort, it might be shes naturally a fearful dog, it might be fear of real current pain...

It has absolutely nothing to do with being or wanting to be any sort of 'alpha' though!

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