I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

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JLee
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I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by JLee » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:31 am

Hi there everybody! I very suddenly got myself a Chow just the other day. His name is Stefan and he is about 5 months old.
I was originally just interested in getting a smaller and friendlier dog but my buddy told me that he found a breeder near our place and insisted we visit Stefan since he was a good deal. And somebody else would be sure to get him if we dilly-dally.
I ended up falling for his adorable ears (he looked like a red panda). He growled at us at first but calmed down and let us touch him after a few minutes.
He was ok with me carrying him on the ride home. But once he was let loose at home, he wouldn't come to me and I had to chase him a few times.
I fed him his puppy food this morning and he was ok with me petting him.
I had to leave for work so me and my sister had to secure him so he doesn't bolt out the gate.
I think he may have been scared of being cornered. So that's why he was growling and tried to bite me.
When I came back this evening, he wouldn't come to me and I had to chase him into a corner.
I presented his food and water but he still growled at me when I came too close.
He eventually laid down and when I tried to pet him, he BIT me!

At first I thought he drew blood because I saw something red and it hurt. I admit I lost my temper and hit him. Partly because I was already tired from work and partly due to frustration of him being difficult.
I already read a few articles about Chows beforehand how they're like cats. Very proud and stubborn, a bit aggressive, and how they don't like being cuddled despite looking like damn teddy bears. And how you need to be dominant and establish yourself as the Alpha to successfully train them.

So what I'm worried about now are:
1) is our situation hopeless? did I get myself a dysfunctional dog? will he now growl at me each time I get close? will he ever come to me and ask to be pet? maybe invite me for a belly rub?
2) I know I shouldn't hit my dog. But hopefully this will serve as a correction that he should never cross or get aggressive with me.
3) should I be worried for rabies? He did just get an anti rabies shot a few days prior and it turns out he didn't break skin. I did get a blood blister which I popped and washed from this whole ordeal though.

Any input would be very much appreciated.
I don't want to give up on him and just put him in a cage.

PS: We live in the Philippines, so its warmer here. Maybe he's grumpier because its hot?

Cindy J
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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by Cindy J » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:11 pm

Your puppy is not biting because he is aggressive. He is SCARED and doing the only thing he knows to protect himself. He does not know you yet and has not had time to develop any trust.

I worry that your reaction to him has only confirmed his fears that he needs to protect himself against you. Chows do love to be petted, have their bellies rubbed, etc.

However they need to be able to trust the person who is touching them. You need to take it slow with your new puppy. Build some trust. Offer his food from your open palm. Let him know that good things come from you. Find a treat that he really likes and offer im a few small pieces at at time from your open palm. Talk calmly to him slowly touching him on areas that he is comfortable with like under his chin or on his side.

Do this as often as possible throughout the day.

When you come home from work approach with a handful of food. Stop before you reach him and let him come to you. This might take time. I have even sat in a chair and read a book outloud so that a new dog becaume accoustomed to my voice. I did this for almost a week with a stray dog in the neighborhood before it cameto my side and took food from my hand while I continued reading. Before long the dog would approach me with little coaxing. A couple weekes later the dog was living in my home.

You can use a similar approach; go about your daily routines, but talk out loud in a calm happy voice as you go. You dont need to give the puppy eye contact at first. Put down the puppies food and walk a few steps away and keep talking about ANYTHING. As you pupy is eating, walk by and drop something reallly yummy in his bowl, like a couple bite size pieces of baked chicken and walk away.

Do this everytime he eats. Before long he will see you as the one who brings wonderful things to him. Be patient, be kind, and be fair. He will learn trust and bond with you.
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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by maikinda » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:59 pm

Cindy gave you some great suggestions on how to work with your new puppy. Food works great when it comes to training a chow. Use it to help socialize your puppy too. Keep a handful of treats in your pocket and let new people give them to your puppy when they meet him. Never force your puppy to let people pet him, give him time to make up. People always want to grab them because they are so cute, it is your job to protect your puppy and make sure no one grabs him and startles him. You mentioned that people have to be alpha with their chow, this is totally untrue. If you use positive training you will not have any problems. I have had chows over 30 years and have found that positive reinforcement works great. Here is a link to a website that has some information on the right way to train a dog. http://www.peaceablepaws.com/pat-miller.php Please take the time to read some of the information.

Give your puppy time, never chase him (especially into a corner) and follow Cindy's suggestions and you will have a fantastic dog.

Good luck!

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by jmoreton » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:56 am

Cindy & Laura are both right. Take it slow and he will warm up to you. If you force it Stefan will get scared and his natural defense will kick in. Just talk to him kindly. Go about your normal activities around the house and talk to him. The next thing you know you will be tripping over him because he is following you everywhere.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by JasonandNat » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:02 am

Yup. All good advice. Take the time, the result is worth it.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by ski » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:29 pm

Eleven years ago my son found a homeless chow. He was in bad shape. Inspite of my son's calls to rescue groups, no help I came and he took the dog to an emergency vet before taking him to his apartment. No owner was found and my son became very attached to this chow he called Loki. Loki, in turn, immediately attached himself to our son. Once Loki's condition stabilized, he needed extensive orthopedic surgery and, since our son lived in the city in a third floor walk up, there was no way Loki could recuperate with him. We took Loki so we could care for him after surgery. Even though Loki had visited us prior to this, he was solely attached to Our son. He saw no reason for our existence. We never forced ourselves on him. We walked him, fed him, gave him space. He had the surgery and was in a cast for as few weeks which required wrapping and supervision. He seemed to understand that we were trying to help him. You can probably guess what happened...we became totally attached to him and him to us. There was no way we could return him to our son and our soon agreed that he would be happier with us. He is always at my feet. You will never find more loyal companion. A year after Loki we adopted another chow rescue. We have never looked back!!!!!!
One year after Loki came to us we adopted another chow rescue.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by Rory's Dad » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:56 pm

Good advice from the previous responses, so take it in and use it.

To add to it, keep in mind that you have a 5 month old pup. So he has a few habits and behaviors developed that a 2 month old pup wouldn't have when transferred from the breeder (the usual age). His age is why you probably got a good deal on him.

Since he spent so long at the kennel, he probably had to battle a bit for the food. Make him comfortable in his feeding regimen. Let him know that you are providing his food, and he doesn't need to worry about being hungry. I suggest giving him 1/2 his food ration at each feeding, and when he finishes that let him sit for a minute and grab his bowl and fill it with the remaining portion. Don't overfeed, just separate it into portions.

Not sure how accurate your 'just the other day' description is, but be patient. He may not have adjuster to his new home/surrounding yet. I do think you need to assert yourself as the 'alpha', but that does not involve dominant/physical behavior. This is achieved by providing for his needs and controlling resources. You give him his food and water. Make sure he knows that. Refill the water bowl with him in the room so he doesn't feel it happens mysteriously. Start working with him on basic behaviors. Reward even the smallest success with a treat reward. I agree, keep a small supply in your pocket. Tell him to sit. Using your hand, approach his nose and bring it back over his head toward his rear. His natural reaction will be to sit. Say the word as you do this. When he sits, reach to the pocket with the reward. Hold for just a bit to make sure you have his attention, and then give him the reward. Move on to 'down'. Make eye contact, and again place your hand in front of his nose. Have the treat in hand this time if it helps. Get him to follow your hand down and out (draw an L in front of him).

While neither is acceptable, differentiate between an aggressive or defensive bite and a puppy play nip. They need to be dealt with in different manners.

Finally, spend a lot of time getting him used to being handled. Touch him all over whenever you can. Get him out and about to meet new people. Get them to approach him as well. This shouldn't be hard, its the same reason you decided to take him home, he's irresistible. Once again, keep a treat in hand to keep him distracted if necessary. Place it in front of him while he is being petted. At 1st you may want to hold his collar to restrict his head movement. Firm grip underneath the throat, but talking to him and reassuring. If you are new to Chows, understand that many are headshy. They can have limited peripheral vision. They are not always comfortable being approached from the rear or sides, since it comes as a surprise. This is part of the socialization, but instruct new people (and follow this yourself until he is more certain of himself) to approach him from the front and below the head.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by sit_by_the_beach » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:32 am

All the above is excellent advice. Many years ago I adopted a almost 2 year old chow that had been neglected by it's previous owners. I wasn't getting anywhere with Luna. I live in Canada and a nearby neighbour who is from the Philipines told me to take up meditation to become calmer around my chow. While talking he sort of stroke my chow's back, head and then said now that you've both calmed down, walk home and continue to be calmer and your chow will be o.k. It did work.
When coming home from work, sit down and relax and then deal with your baby chow. He's just a baby and it may take a few months or even a year for your chow to warm up to you.
Another friend suggested to feed my chow canned food after coming home from work. Fill up the chow's belly and the chow might be a little calmer.
With my chow I also used the umbilical chord training. For the chow to become closer to me I attached the leash to my pant belt. We did dishes together, watched TV together and that way the chow slowly warmed up to me. Give it a try and good luck.
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JLee
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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by JLee » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:29 am

Oh Wow. Thank you all so much for your feedback and suggestions. I honestly didn't expect this much input and I'm overwhelmed with the support of this community.
So its been a couple of weeks since Stef started living with me.
And you all were right. The situation has improved leaps and bounds.

I read a couple of training books and its has been quite helpful as well.
Some key points I learned: puppies generally need 2 things. And that is food and attention.
I made sure he knows I'm the one providing his food and water. I show him how I prepare it and I even do "gesture eating"
so he knows that I eat first and I'm only sharing MY food with him. (In reality I'm only blowing on his food to cool it down cause its hot most of the time. I feed him dog food mixed with white rice because I read somewhere that its good for their digestion and for their coat. Plus its also a staple in our diet here in Asia)
As for attention and treats, I made sure to let everyone on the household know to pet and baby him only when he comes to us. And to give him treats only when he comes when called. I actually make him sit before I give him his treat. So at least we got that one trick going for us.

Everything looks like its going to be alright with Stef. Again thank you all so much.
Just a few observations I made:
>Sometimes he doesn't come when called. He complies 90% of the time if he knows I have treats, but when I don't its less than 50%.
>He's adorably playful but the nipping and playbiting at my legs and ankles are starting to hurt.
>He leaves my stuff alone but he chews on everybody else's shoes, slippers, and clothes. I keep repreminding him with a firm NO but that doesn't seem to work.
>And our biggest struggle to date are the walks. I've been trying in vain to make him walk nicely behind/beside me. There has been a little progress though. If he moves in front, I tug a little, then he circles around but then speeds up in front of me again. I can't seem to make him understand that I want him to walk slowly with a loose leash.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by Alpha1 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:50 am

Glad to hear things are turning out well for you. It can be a challenge and honestly confusing with such pups as you don't know what to do or when/how to do it. Good Luck.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by sit_by_the_beach » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:28 am

First time in my life did I adopted a rescue puppy. A pug mix. He's now 18 mths and still reverts to his play fighting puppy days. I had a few teeth marks on my arm, lower legs. I throw toys for him a lot to tire him out. I copied a neighbour's idea. I stuff a man's worksock with other old socks and a squeeky toy inside. He loves to chew on those but cannot get at the squeeky toy. He spends hours sometimes biting and biting to get at the toy.
I don't know if your chow likes to play with toys. A stuffed sock or several might keep him occupied and prevent nipping at you. As your chow gets older you may want to take him for long walks or tire him out running in a doggie park if there are any where you live. It's not a good idea to take a pup for long walks, wait till he gets older, till he finishes bone growth. Hope this helps.
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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by Rory's Dad » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:08 pm

JLee, glad to hear about the positive progress...keep at it. It's not going to be an overnight 100% success, but it sounds like its going in the right direction.

Recall with a chow is going to be hit or miss in most cases. Since he is doing well with the treat bribes, stay with it. Have the treat, but withhold it from time to time to keep him guessing.

He is recognizing what items are yours and that is a great sign. You have earned his respect. Continue to work with him on items that are 'off limits'. He should learn what items are his, and he can play with those without reservation. When he gets something that isn't 'his', replace it with something that is. Talk to him and tell him "NO" with the bad stuff, and reward him when he refocuses on the good items. A nice atta boy and some petting should suffice here. Same thing with the nipping/biting. He needs to understand that you don't consider it acceptable play. A sharp response, "OUCH" usually works. Consider how other puppies yelp when play has gone too far. You can also do the replacement thing, or for a short while keep him on lead and step on the leash when he moves toward a nip.

Nice walking can be a challenge. He wants to explore and get to wherever he thinks is important, at his pace, and usually straight ahead. I think the best method for this is to keep a treat in your hand, and down around your knee. As you walk, reward him with the treat every 20 steps or so. Extend the # of steps as he learns that your knee is the best spot for him to get that reward. You may have to start by choking up on the leash to make it very short ( 1-2 feet). Teach him that if his head is at your knee, he can get a treat without breaking stride. Try that out and see how it goes. I have one dog that completely failed to figure it out, so other options include harness collars to prevent the pulling.

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Re: I suddenly got a 5 month old Chow and he wont warm up to me

Post by sit_by_the_beach » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:15 am

Never had a chow pup but thanks Rory's dad for the suggestions should work on my pug too. Pugs are more like ordinary dogs but mine appears to be stubborn very much like a chow or maybe it's because this breed is originally from China? He might even be part shar pei. Once I get him trained sufficiently, I'll rescue an older chow, probably by spring. Chows are still my favourites.
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