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Lately my chi growls and snaps at me when we are sleeping...

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Question by Bethzaida
Submitted on 4/2/2004
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Chihuahuas Breed-FAQ
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Lately my chi growls and snaps at me when we are sleeping and I've touched her. I feel maybe she is dreaming and I've interrupted her and she doesn't know it's me. It's disturbing and I would never give my baby up but I would like to help her with this before she really bites down on me one day. I've never hurt her nor has anyone else and I do command her to stop and she does until she is under the covers again and I touch her while she is sleeping accidentally. This does not happen frequently but enough to concern me. Any suggestions?

Answer by chimama
Submitted on 4/5/2004
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How old is she, and how long has she been sleeping in bed with you?  This can make a difference, as there are periods during the first year or two where they will test you to see how far they can push it, just as human children do.

If she continues to do this, then she must not be allowed to sleep in bed with you until she behaves.  I know that sounds harsh, but it is one of the few things that will work.  If she snaps, out of the bed she goes.  If she can get onto the bed by herself, then out of the bedroom she goes.  Give her her own blankie and etc. so she can tunnel in and keep warm, be prepared for possible crying as if her little heart is breaking.  Be strong.  The next night, try again and repeat until she behaves.

I would also have her checked at the vet, she may have a sore spot or her leg is bothering her, something like that where she is in pain if jostled.  Or, she could be losing sight or hearing.  Either of those could cause a 'startle' which would explain the snapping.  Please rule that out before going too far into the re-training.  If she is in pain or frightened, re-training her won't help and will punish her for something she can't control.

Please write back and let us know what happens.


Answer by Rocio
Submitted on 4/15/2004
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I have a 6 month old chihuahua who's crate trained, he loves his crate but in the evenings if he's sleeping somewhere else and we need too move him so he can get into his crate. He growls at us. This started about a month ago and only in the evenings.

What should we do?


Answer by chimama
Submitted on 4/19/2004
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Welcome to the teenage months.  Your chihuahua is old enough now to test the boundaries of what he can and can't get away with.  Just like a human teenager, you've got to remind them that you are the parent, you outrank him and always will.

1) Call him so he comes to you.  If he doesn't, he needs to be trained to.  When he does, praise him for being a good dog.  Don't touch him or pick him up when he's asleep, he may be 'startled' in which case growling is a normal reaction.  You don't want growling, so don't put him in the position where he's going to misbehave without consciously meaning to.

2) Give him a chance to go potty.

3) Place him in his crate or tell him to get into his crate.

4) Growling and etc. should not be tolerated.  Assert your position as pack leader just as you have always done, he should fall back into line.  You're already behind in this, since he's been doing this for a month already.  Still, he wants to please you, make it easy for him to understand what that takes.

5) Remember, it's temporary.  Properly handled in a few weeks, a month at the most, he'll be back to his own obedient self.


Answer by proud new owner
Submitted on 6/21/2004
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Rocio, The same thing is happening at our home, but it only happens when my mom attempts to move him. He never reacts when I move him... It only happens at night if he's sleeping some where and it's bedtime for us. My mom will call out his name so she doesn't startle him, and he goes ballistic on her. She'll use the training methods we've learnt, and he'll continue growling and biting her. If I hold him he stops immediately. I couldn't believe my precious baby could act so wild and vicious. I'm thinking of just bringing him to obedience. Did you dog eventually stop this? Chimama, do you have any other input?


Answer by chimama
Submitted on 7/2/2004
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Yes, I do.  I think what's happened is that he knows you out rank him.  He's ok with that, but he wants to be second, not third in the pack.  WRONG!!!  The dog is always below any/all humans in the household.  Does he behave like this at any other time, or only when he's awakened at bedtime?  If not, there's something about bedtime or being awakened that makes him feel insecure.

When he behaves like that, he gets time out, right away.  Try going with your mother when she moves the dog.  She calls his name, make sure he's awake.  The instant he reacts inappropriately, you tell him "NO!" and take him to a neutral corner.  He gets ignored for 5 minutes, then try again until he permits her to touch him.  

Now, your mother holds him while you have your hand on him, but she is doing the major holding, and if he is quiet she praises for being quiet.  You both take him to his crate and put him in.  Mother gives him a treat for being good and praises him again.  

During the day, work obedience with him but your mother is the one giving  commands and dispensing praise and treats.  Enrolling him in obedience classes may also be appropriate, he should Never Never be allowed to growl or bite at other members of his pack.  Of course, both you and your mother need to attend with him.

I hope this is helpful, let me know please.


Answer by KAG97
Submitted on 8/23/2005
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My brother found a border collie that was a stray, who the vet believes to be about 5 years old.  I have been fostering him to health for the past month.  I've crate trained him during this time and he's done quite well with it.  However, last night and tonight -- he's been extremely aggressive.  Last night he became aggressive in his kennel.  When I came near it, he would growl and show teeth as if he were going to bite.  Tonight, I told him to get into his kennel and he didn't want to and he began growling and showing teeth again.  This has just started and I'm not sure what is going on -- it's a bit frightening to see him so aggressive like when during the day he's fine and goes in his kennel no problem.  He only becomes aggressive at night.  Tonight however, he did walk into his crate on his own after I put it in front of him and  he had no where else to go -- he got in it and I closed the door behind him and he didn't growl at me this time.  What is going on with this dog?  Any advice?


Answer by KT
Submitted on 10/17/2005
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My three year old australian shepherd bassett mix, Mick, growls at me when he is under my moms bed. He also will growl and bark in my face if he is in the house and he has to come to my room then he'll scurry under the kitchen table, he "apologizes" if I stop and show him I'm upset with him, but he still has a little growl like hes confused and maybe still mad at me, I try to talk to him nicley and firmly it doesn't work, he is stubborn. Is it because he is a mix?


Answer by Katie
Submitted on 12/12/2005
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My dog growls and shakes when awakened as if frightened. It takes a few minutes before she relizes shes okay. How do I help her?


Answer by rashelle
Submitted on 1/5/2006
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i have a question similar to those above.  we recently bought another chi and she is about 8 wks old. She goes CRAZY when we try to move her while she is sleeping or if she's comfortable in your lap and you move at all.  We've tried sternly talking to her telling her no and even bopping her lightly on the forehead with a washcloth but NOTHING seems to snap her out of this growling biting and thrashing of her head tantrum.  She's bitten me so hard tonight i have about 3 deep cuts from those razor sharp baby teeth. Im just in tears at this point thinking there is no hope! Has anything worked for anyone out there to snap them out of this crazed mode? she goes so nuts i can't even get my hand around her mouth to hold it shut.  PLEASE HELP!


Answer by sarah
Submitted on 12/23/2006
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I have a two year old Jack Russell Terrier and he is a very well behaved dog until he is sleeping. When we try to pet him when he is sleeping he starts to growl and his teeth show.  Then when we stop petting him he acts like he wants to be touched. I am not sure what to do. Is this normal?


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