Page 1 of 1

Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:59 am
by TeddyChow
Hello Guys,

My little girl Teddy, has been doing great so far around the house, with her chew habits and guests that arrive. She absolutely loves to play and get belly rubs. Shes very affectionate towards the people in the household ( my roommate And my girlfriend). She licks us all like no tomorrow and always wants to play with either one of us.

This story changes when we leave the house. Ive made it a point to take her out everywhere with me, pet stores, pet friendly malls, dog cafes and dog parks. She plays with dogs, and tries as much as she can to join the pack in running around. Every one in a while an aggressive playing husky would come along, she would tuck her tail between her legs and run squealing. Im sure she will gain the confidence to play with the bigger dogs later on.

My current issue and where i need your advice is, shes had a lot of positive experiences with people. At times she would be super scared from them so i would remove her from that environment. Many strangers have given her treats, but she wouldnt let them pet her. if i put her in their arms she would squirm to get out and sometimes attempt to give a warning bite or huff. Shes 3 months old now, and has no problem in walking past people. Its when people approach her to play or pet that she becomes very frightened.

I start puppy classes with her on the 3rd of March, in 2 days when she would be 14 weeks old. The classes are weekly and she would be in a class with 8 other pups and people. Im sure that would do her good and give her some more confidence.

But my big question to you is, how do i bring that loving affectionate and playful personality in her, outside the house? With strangers and people, and possibly other dogs ? is it too late to get her more comfortable with people? I read a lot on this some say 3 months is the closing window for socialization and some say 18 weeks. For my little girls sake, i hope its the latter as i have tried my best to make her know people are cool.

Please guys, any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. You can see a pic of my baby girl. She gets so much attention from people because shes just beautiful, but shes scared to be confident around them, which kills me cause a dog with her beauty should walk with the head up and happy as ever!

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:24 pm
by Laura
Is she frightened or does she just prefer (as many chows do) not to be touched and fawned over by strangers? I'm sure she probably was frightened when you put her in someone's arms and I definitely do not recommend a repeat of that.
Many chows prefer their families and have zero desire to be touched, petted, handled by strangers. They are not a attention seeking/desiring breed. The are aloof and independent by nature. (There are of course exceptions but in general) Of course we socialize them to vets, groomers, and every possible situation so that they are good citizens but there is no need for attention from strangers or for her to behave with strangers as she does with her family.
Chow puppies and chows in general usually garner attention...either the omg so cute/beautiful kind or the chows are mean, my cousins mothers uncle got bit by one..blah blah kind. You just have to learn to handle it and allow her needs and comfort to come first.
I have two chows presently that are 10 years old and I raised them from puppies. I've also raised 3 others before these two. Like you I socialized them as much as possible, especially the first year, including puppy class. To this day neither one have a real desire for strangers to touch them. They are curious of people and like to sniff them and will even tolerate some petting but they truly are not interested in being touched and honestly would prefer people to be hands off. They humor the random person/child wanting to touch them. At home they are different. My male will welcome and even encourage attention from people he knows and from new people he has known 30 minutes. My female has zero interest after the first 'who are you' sniffs in attention from visitors. She will just come lay by me and ignore everyone. They are not mean, they are perfect citizens, but they are chows, not golden retrievers so I don't expect them to be super outgoing and social with everyone.
My suggestion is that you go slow with her. Let her sniff people, get comfortable with them while they remain hands off. The treat thing is good but again, hands off, until she is comfortable. Tell people she is shy and you are working with her. It is no ones right to put their hands on your dog just because she is cute and they want to. I understand that you don't want her to be scared but forcing people on her could make it worse. Another tip with chows for now and in the future is that none of them seem to like people petting their heads. The hand coming at their head/face usually results in a duck and avoid move and unfortunately that is how most everyone comes at a dog. Chest and back are best if she is open to it. She is also a baby still so her confidence will improve as she gets older. She may never be a social butterfly or maybe she will be.
Just love her, build and never lose trust with her, and use only positive reinforcement training techniques and she will be fabulous.
Oh and just FYI, my female went into heat at 5 months so if she isn't fixed keep that in mind. ;)

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:35 am
by chow4life
Laura- Excellent advice Laura. I enjoyed reading it. I have been a chow owner for many many years and your advice is so true!

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:25 am
by TeddyChow
Thanks for your reply Laura!

It was my breeders recommendations to put her in the arms of as many people as i can in order to make the process easier. Since some dogs cope better that way instead of being approached from the ground.

There are moments where she is frightened from the individual, mainly people with thick jackets and hats, old people and kids. Others shes just uncertain and she would sometimes approach a random lady (usually girls more often than guys) and smell their feet, if they put their hand towards her she might lick it or sniff it. She approaches people with treats, takes them and retreats back, no interest in being petted.
Some rare occasions she would even take the treat from their hands, and in a span of 30 seconds, turn her face and starts barking, as if they are intruders.

I completely understand the nature of the chow and their aloofness, after all its one of the characteristics in their personalities that made me get one. That being said, many chows ive encountered at parks, or those of my friends are very social, tolerate people petting them on their heads and are okay being around people. But they're usually 2 years and older, with the exception of a 4 months old male i encountered that was very social as well. That being said, i dont think its fair to chalk it up to their personality. They can definitely adopt social skills and learn to be okay with people around. Mine so far isnt that comfortable. Im just worried that now shes almost at the limit of her impressionable social period, and will cross 16 weeks very soon, that she would not be very okay with people for good. I hope im wrong and i hope you guys can shed some light on some of your experiences in this regard and how i can make it easier for my little one.

Thanks !

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:26 am
by TeddyChow
A little update: yesterday i took her to the petstore to get her an easy walk harness as she was pulling insanely. She took her time to approach the woman, but i gave her the lead and she took charge of my little one to get her closer. Teddy comes closer to the salesperson, and she snifs. All is well and the saleslady assume its safe to go forward in trying the harness on her.. Teddy didnt take it so well, so the saleswoman confidently grabbed her and stabilized her while petting her to reassure her. She then puts on the harness and out of nowhere teddy bites the woman in fear giving a very startled and disturbed sound. Later backs off and continues to sniff around the store. The day before we were at the vet in order to get her the rabies shots and treatment for ticks and such. The vet also got somewhat of a fearful bite warning from her as well. But he handled her better and by the end of it she was sniffing around his office happily. The vet later told me to not return if she grows and remains the same way.

It hasn't been easy honestly with this little one. Im confused because at the house she is just sublime. Listens to me well, never a mistake, never a malicious act, never a bad behavior. Just her beautiful chow nature. Outside, she is totally different.

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:36 pm
by Laura
So at this point it is on you to keep her safe. If this forced socialization handling results in her biting someone not so forgiving then what happens? You get sued? She gets put down? She is a puppy now but not for long. What happens in a few months when she weighs 50lbs and bites someone you have holding her or putting things on her or trying to pet her. She is doing everything she can to communicate with you and them that she is not comfortable. Listen to her. Sorry I'm harsh but honestly at this point I'm concerned for her. She is a three month old baby already biting people because she is scared and has exhausted all of her other ways of telling you and them.
As for your vet. Find a new As for her behavior there I would suggest stop ins at your NEW vet for social visits only. Sniff, get a treat, get familiar with it as just a place, not a place where only bad things happen. Find a vet who is patient, with patient and kind vet techs who will be gentle and patient with her. Do not take her to vets with 'chows are mean' attitudes or someone not willing to work with her and gain her trust. You should be able to hold her and assist the vet. If this pattern with her does not improve then that's what muzzles at the vet are for. They are to keep her safe and the employees. If that is something you eventually need to do then it is what it is. But long before you get there find the right kind of vet willing to work and be patient with her. Be honest with them about her fear biting up front.
I know I am not telling you the things that you want to hear. I also know that she isn't acting the way you want or expect her to but here's the thing. All chows are different. Each has their own unique personality and behaviors. I live with two who are not only night and day different in color but also in personality and behavior. It is what it is. Genetics, breeding, etc. I know you have seen other chows that act the way you want her to but that is irrelevant.
She is not them. It's sounds like you are trying to force things on her to force her to be what you expect. As I said before as long as she is a good citizen and not attacking everyone in sight, she does not have to submit to strangers handling her (other than a vet), putting stuff on her, holding her, petting her, etc. I know you are concerned about some mile marker with her age and while it's true that we are told to get in as many experiences as possible by a certain age it isn't the end all be all. Socialization is ongoing. Please relax and let her be. Let her know you are relaxed around people and places. Let her gain trust and confidence and blossom in her own way. She is fine around people now she just doesn't want them handling her.

Re: Uncertain and Somewhat Shy 3 months old Chow Lady

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:20 am
by TeddyChow
Laura, thanks again for your reply.

This isnt forced socialization at all. I dont force her into situations she isnt comfortable with, on walks if someone wants to come pet her, and she doesnt want to i tell them off right away, but letting them know im still working with her.

There are and will be many situations in the future, such as me being away on travel, or the like, in which she will and should be handled and cared for by someone else. And it cant always be me or my roommate. THATS MY BIGGEST CONCERN. If she doesnt cope with someone else feeding her, walking her, i wouldnt be able to move from home for more than a day! I couldnt care less for strangers on the street trying to pet her or whatever.

Its just that when necessary, she should accept other people.