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Adopted Shih Tzu Nips and Growls

DoubleDogDare
April 20th, 2005, 03:56 AM
Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum and was wondering if anyone had useful tips on my little problem.

My husband and I adopted a 4 years young Shih Tzu mix from a local shelter. She is the cutest, sweetest little furbaby you'll ever see :p ! She's so affectionate with us but not with strangers. When we take her for a walk she will often growl, bark, and attempt to jump on anyone who gets too close. The other day we had guests over for dinner, she appeared to be ok with it and even let our guests pet her briefly. Later, she growled and nipped at one of the guests who attempted to pet her again. Our guest was a bit startled and we were quite embarrassed.

We adopted her as a stray and don't know anything about her past. She's such a sweet dog - any suggestions? :confused:

Lucky Rescue
April 20th, 2005, 01:35 PM
How long have you had this dog? This behavior may be what got her dumped in the first place. People are often very lenient with small dogs and let them get away with murder until an incident occurs that make them then get rid of the dog.

For now, do not let anyone approach her. People always want to pet cute little dogs, so just tell them she is in training and you want them to ignore her.

When she growled and nipped, how much time was there between the two? What was her posture? Ears back, tail tucked? Did she try to back up when she growled? Did her teeth make contact or was it a warning snap?

Do you hold her on your lap? Does she sleep in your bed and get on the furniture?

gjohnson
April 20th, 2005, 01:54 PM
I'm in the exact same situation with my Shih Tzu, so hopefully I can learn as well what to do. I also adopted my Shih Tzu but we have had her for a year already and she nips and or growls at anyone that gets to close to me if she's sitting on my lap. During the Evening if my husband is petting her on the couch all of a sudden she doesn't want to be pet anymore she'll nip him. Actually she does this to our guests as well. It's embarrassing. But she hasn't nipped at me yet just everybody else. And she really doesn't warn you. She's 8 now.

DoubleDogDare
April 20th, 2005, 05:14 PM
How long have you had this dog?

Hi! Thanks for replying. We've had the dog for almost one month now. When we adopted her, the shelter staff thought that she had been a stray for a long time because her hair was so long and matted.

For now, do not let anyone approach her. People always want to pet cute little dogs, so just tell them she is in training and you want them to ignore her.

That is a good idea, to tell people to ignore her. People kneel down to pet her and she growls - not all the time but often. And there's no real pattern, she'll growl at men, women, and kids.

When she growled and nipped, how much time was there between the two? What was her posture? Ears back, tail tucked? Did she try to back up when she growled? Did her teeth make contact or was it a warning snap?

Well, we were all sitting at the dinner table but the food had been removed. Our dog, Chloe, was sitting right by our guest for some reason. He started talking to her and then when he leaned over to pet her she growled and gave him a warning snap - no contact. It all happened very quickly but we know he didn't provoke her or anything. Then we said "No growl!" - but she kept staring at our guest. Anyway, we ended up putting her in her crate for the rest of the time our guests were here.

Do you hold her on your lap? Does she sleep in your bed and get on the furniture?

I do hold her on my lap and let her get on the couch. She is not allowed on the bed ever and she won't even try it.

Anyway, I guess the worst thing about her behavior is that it seems so unpredictable. One day she seems fine with a person, the next day she'll growl at the same person. But we love :love: her and will work through it - she's our baby! (we don't have kids) Also, and this is a totally different topic, but when we take her to the dog park, she basically ignores the other dogs. They try to play with her but she's a little anti-social!

Lucky Rescue
April 20th, 2005, 08:04 PM
I also adopted my Shih Tzu but we have had her for a year already and she nips and or growls at anyone that gets to close to me if she's sitting on my lap.

Get her off your lap! You are elevating her so that her position is equal to yours and she is being territorial.

Try and think that your dog is 100 lbs. Don't do anything with your little dog that you wouldn't do with a huge dog. That includes carrying them around, or having them on your lap a lot. 5 lbs dogs have all the same instincts and behaviors as 105 lb dogs.

Once behavior issues have been resolved, then your dog can get on your lap ONLY WITH YOUR INVITATION TO DO SO. Dog jumps on your lap or sofa without being invited, you snap on the leash and say "OFF" as you guide the dog down. She must learn that your lap and the sofa, etc do NOT belong to her but to you!

If she paws to get on your lap, tell her NO, as this is making a demand and if you give in the demands will escalate.

Anyway, I guess the worst thing about her behavior is that it seems so unpredictable. One day she seems fine with a person, the next day she'll growl at the same person.

It may seem unpredictable to you, but not to your dog. She is warning people about overstepping boundaries that SHE has made, and this is unacceptable.

Don't allow her to sit next to guests at the table. Teach her to go to her own bed while you eat. If anyone wishes to interact with her, they may call her over but until they do, she stays where she is told to stay. If this means you need to leash her on her bed, then do it.

For both of you, and anyone else with bratty and demanding dogs, this article is immensely helpful if you follow it consistantly!! Don't feel sorry for the dog, as he/she will understand perfectly and probably be relieved at no longer having to play the dominant role (which most dogs are not suited for)!!:)

Expect a bit of a struggle if the dog is used to being spoiled and getting her own way, but don't give in! You are not being mean or cruel and dogs need boundaries, even if they are 2 lbs!

Alpha Boot Camp (http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/alpha.htm)

snooks
April 21st, 2005, 12:24 AM
Our little one used to do this, but not to your extent. She nipped people that came near me, even my husband a couple of times. We did exactly what Lucky Rescue suggests. On the floor she went. She wasn't allowed on a chair or lap at all for months. She also had to earn everything that she got. She was made to sit before going out the door, no one was allowed to pet her unless she sat politely and waited. She ate only after she had seen us eat.
Now she is great. She waits quietly at my feet, looking up at me to invite her on my lap. It only took a couple of months of training before she realized that in her world, everyone else came before her. Sounds mean, works great.

K9-Advantix
April 24th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Well, You dont know everything about what happend to the dog before you got her, so the guest might have not on purpose Done something the dog was afarid of, Like maybe the dog was chased yelled at or hit alot, just work with the dog on those behavioers, My cairen terrier Is not adopted but he nips and bites too, But, thats just the way he is, But sounds like maybe your dog was maybe abused or something happend when it was younger, hope this helps.

Cactus Flower
April 24th, 2005, 02:25 PM
For both of you, and anyone else with bratty and demanding dogs :eek:

Just in case you were offended by the wording here, DoubleDogDare, please take it with a grain of salt. Lucky's advice is invaluable, and if you stick around, you'll soon see the huge heart behind what some might call LuckyRescue Bluntness.

I hope things work out for you and your new baby!

K-9Advantix- nice to see you jumping right in the pool! Hope you enjoy it here.

laughingwaters
April 28th, 2005, 11:40 PM
Lucky, thanks very much for your post. I adopted a Papillon mix this Monday and he also has Alpha Male issues.

Both his handler at the shelter and his vet have advised us not to let friendly people bend over Toby when petting him. Chloe may have interpreted the guest's action in reaching down to pet her as threatening.

Toby is also given to the nipping and the vet showed me a firm, steady way of saying no. He followed the no with a "gentle" and continued his examination. Toby's triggers are uncomfortable prodding and men walking towards him quickly. Whenever possible we will intercept his many admirers - especially kids!