I just came across this board on a google search. I have always had dogs - I currently have a 16 year old flat coated retriever, but I got him as a puppy, and he's always had a cushy lovey life with lots of rules and a consistent schedule, so living with him as been pleasurable and easy as pie.
Back in August one of my friends had a chihuahua that she brought back from Mexico to breed. Luckily she didn't breed him, as he has luxated patella, and would have passed it onto his puppies (other than that he's gorgeous! He's a red-nose red and white short coat chi, he's 5.7lbs, very well put together, gorgeous conformation etc, so I can see why she brought him back)She gave him to me because she didn't have time for him. She already had a poodle stud she was standing out, and because Pedro was un-neutered the poodle was spraying the house and so was pedro. She didn't have time for them both, so pedro virtually lived in her kitchen for the few months she had him. She didn't know much about his history before that. I got him at 1 year old. He is poorly socialized, and show signs of fear-aggression. He is unsure of new situations, does not like strangers, especially children, and is very bonded to my boyfriend and I. He loves my mother and father, as well as sister, and he visits their house on a regular basis. He loves one of my friends, Tyler, and one of my friends Nicole. He loves my co-worker Sheila and Christina. However there is NO similarities between these people. He met them all at different times, in different situations, they are all different heights, builds and use different voices and body languages with him. He seems to pick-and-choose who he likes. He has not bitten anyone yet, but I was fearful that he might bite one day.
I have been getting strangers to talk to him but not look him in the eye or pet him, and hope to get him to the point where they can offer him treats that I give them and give them to him (only if he's behaving well, i don't want to reward poor behavior), but we're not at that stage yet. He is very vocal, and will bark at people who look him in the eye. When they go to pet him he has very submissive body language, but it quickly switches to a growl, he makes solid eye contact with them, and then sometimes as far as a snap with his mouth and then retracts back into submissive position. He has done this about three times. After those three times, when each person pulled their hand back from petting him, he WON by getting them to leave him alone. I don't want to keep letting him WIN, but it's hard to find people that are willing to help me with him. I am hoping to start training with him with a professional, but I was wondering - do you think that this could actually be possession aggression, or dominance aggression? Does anyone have any experiences or similar stories to share that might help me come up with some solutions? I'm not looking for a quick-fix, and I don't expect it to solve overnight. I just want to help him come out of his shell. I want a dog that will allow strangers to pet him and offer him a treat. I don't want a dog that doesn't want to visit anyone.
I thought at the end I should ad - he is treated like a REAL dog - he is not a 'pocket pet'. He walks on a leash, he is not carried around. He is expected to have good manners around the house, and is not allowed to get away with things because he's 'cute'. Thanks guys for any help you can give me!!!!