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Thread: Very anxious and noisy chihuaha

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    6

    Very anxious and noisy chihuaha

    Hi everyone, I'm sure you guys must see this type of post all the time, but I really need some advice! I just adopted a 2.5 yr old chihuaha/terrier from the spca about a week ago. She's very shy and scared, and cowers on the floor when approached by strangers, but seems to have grown attached me. She always has to have me in sight when I'm at home, and barely tolerates my time in the bathroom with the door shut. But when I leave her alone in the apt, she chews up the carpet and the blinds which are against the front door. She did not destroy anything else, just the area around the front door. I put her in the kitchen, and she again only dug up the carpet near the entrance. And she also whines very very loudly! almost seconds after she thinks I've left. I will try to accustome her to my abscences by spending time pretending to leave and come home, but I'm worried how effective it will be since chihuahas are supposed to be a hard breed to train? I love her and she's adorable, but I live in an apt and her high pitched whining will eventually draw complaints!! I don't have the heart to punish her, and am fairly sure it won't work anyway. Please, any suggestion would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    36,746
    This is classic separation anxiety. We've had several discussions on it, I'll find them and post links in a minute.

    Meanwhile, don't believe that she'll be hard to train because she's part Chihuahua. We've got some Chi owners on the board, and they'll tell you what delightful little dogs they can be! Congratulations on rescuing this baby, you may have some challenges overcoming whatever mysteries are in her past, shyness and fear of people being one, but you and she, together, will succeed, I know!

    What's her name?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    6
    Ive named her cookie after the last Lhasa I owned Thanks for any help you might provide Karen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    10,130
    Yup, this is seperation anxiety. The good news is that it is very common with shelter dogs and most can be trained fairly easy. The bad news is it takes a bit of time and patience.

    Here are some hints that worked with my shelter babies:

    - Make your arrivals and departures low key. Ignore her 15 minutes before you leave and 15 minutes after you get home. This takes the anxiety and stress away.

    - Be aloof with her for a couple weeks. Don't carry her around constantly and baby her. Try to get her to be a little more independent. Make alone time fun. Give her a good "busy" treat like a stuffed kong that she can only have while she's alone (either baby gated in the kitchen or in a crate). Be sure to only give her the great treats when she's alone and not when she's with you.

    - Spend a day going in and out doors. Start out by going out for just a second at a time, then come back in. Gradually increase your time to a minute, then a few minutes, etc. If she whines, do not go back in the door until she is quiet. If you go in while she's whining, you will be rewarding her for whining and she think she can just whine whenever she wants you to come running.
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
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    36,746
    Here's a thread with lots of discussion about it. You are not alone, nor the first!

    Hi Cookie! And Welcome to Pet Talk, Cookie's owner!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    There's some other things you can do but I don't know how severe her seperation anxiety is. The other suggestions I have are for more severe cases.

    Give her some time. I'm sure she'll adjust just fine!!

    Oh yeah, another thing is to get her used to a schedule and stick with it. Sometimes people will adopt a dog and then stay home 24/7 for a few days then all of a sudden go back to normal work schedules. I'm not saying you did that though. Just saying its good to start them out with a normal schedule.

    Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any questions. Welcome to Pet Talk by the way
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    10,130
    Ohh I just noticed you're in Dallas. I'm in Austin. Hi neighbor
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    6
    ok thanks everyone I'll try those suggestions, can you suggest any repellants that I can spray around the front door so she doesnt dig and scratch up the carpet? I tried putting her in the kitchen behind 2 pet gates (she jumped over just one) and she chewed a small hole in the bottom gate, and squeezed herself out!! I think she's fairly smart because after only a few times of telling her to stay in the bedroom while Im home, she listens, and is only coming out if she thinks Im leaving the apt. Thanks again for your help, and I'll be sure to post progess

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    35
    hello there, i have adoted a chihuahua from the shelter about a year ago and when i first brought her home she was the meanest thing ever, soon as i put her down she fled for under the bed and she stayed there for a few days i thought how was this gonna work out, i thought she would never come out, but a few days later after seeing me leave her treats and food and water, she one day had a complete turn around and totally became my friend and now she hates when i have to leave too but she doesn't have the separation anxiety that your having so i really can't help you there, it will just take some time to get over it but i am sure with a little work she won't have that anymore Chihuahua's are wonderful dogs and they will always be by your side no matter what

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    10,130
    You can get some bitter apple spray at the pet store. It works with most dogs but not all.

    You could also try crate training. I had to crate train my Poodle for a month while working on his seperation anxiety. Then I started leaving him in a bedroom until I felt I could trust him loose in the house.
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    5,911
    I would suggest crate training also. It won't stop her whining or barking, but it will keep your apartment from being destroyed, and will keep her out of danger.
    Aly's suggestions are great, that's everything I have read about separation anxiety--I think the most important one is making your entrances and exits low-key--as hard as it is, you have to ignore her for a while. Putting her in a crate or pen is not punishment, it's for her safety, hopefully she will soon see it as her "den", and enjoy it.
    Emily, Kito, Abbey, Riley, and Jada

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    6
    Just one more problem I have with cookie she is scared to death even when I raise my voice slightly. I have a really hard time, telling her "no" or "bad dog" because she just puts her tail between her legs, stoops her head and scurries to the other end of the room and cringes in the corner. I usually only have to reprimand her for begging for food, climbing on my bed at night, and once for growling at my friend. I don't want her to develop bad habits right from the beginning, but I guess I have to let her get used to me first before I begin disciplining?

    ps - Aly, I love austin went to ut for a few years

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Wylie, Texas USA
    Posts
    5,170
    Hi Unreal23 and welcome to PT!! As you cn see, I'm in Wylie(just north of Garland). Nice to have a close neighbor aboard!! We just recently adopted Millie and had some separation issues with her as well. As Aly said, probably the best thing to do is the in and out thing. That worked the best for Millie, though it did take some time. As someone who grew up with a chi, don't worry, with time and the right goodies Cookie can learn anything you want to teach her.
    As far as discipline, in the beginning with Millie, I didn't raise my voice at her when I reprimanded her. If I did even slightly, she peed. Now (2 months later) I could even yell at her and she'd just stare at me like I'm crazy.
    If you don't want her in the bed with you, I'd suggest a crate, too. That way she won't hurt herself or your apt.
    We also dropped treats for Millie while my husband and I were getting ready for work in the morning (or anytime we left) to help associate our leaving with something good. We didn't hand them to her, our trainer suggested that they just "fall" from the sky. Worked like a charm.
    Good luck with little Cookie.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    6

    Breakthrough!!

    Wow a major breakthrough in cookie's (and mine) quest to free of her seperation anxiety. Well a few days ago I came up with the bright idea of buying one those office mats (yu know those clear plastic mats that have the spikes on the bottom that hold the mat on the carpet), and covering the area in front of my door with it, so that she cant dig or chew there. So with this invention, I finally eased my guilty conscience and started leaving her in the apt., instead of locking her in the bathroom. So past few days, Ive been spending quite a bit of time coming and leaving from the apt., ignoring her wild behavior each time. And increasing the time Im gone by a minute each abscence, anyways I had gotten up to 7 mins without her scratching at all, and not whining too much. So this morning I came home, and instead of being by the door she was in her lil bed in my bedroom!! And when I left for work 15 mins later, she didnt come out suspiciously as she usually does!! I'm sure I need to spend quite a bit more time still working with her, but I was happy for her all the same! And she's even improved in the playing dept., I brought her to my friend's place, he has a cat that plays fetch. Anyways, after a few mins both her and the cat were running after the thrown mice! I'm so glad that I decided not to bring her back during the first few days of mayhem she caused =) Thanx for all the advice again

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    12,713
    Wow! You have made some progress!!!! Playing with a cat already too - Wahoo! I think your little Cookie is going to be fine! I commend you for a great idea with the plastic mat! Wish I could have suggested that!

    There are some great folks here at Pet Talk, as you have already found out from the great suggestions. If you need help we/ they are only a click away. Welcome to Pet Talk and we look forward to getting to know Cookie. Any chance you could post some pictures? We love pictures!

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