Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

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kendra1178
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Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby kendra1178 » Mon May 23, 2011 4:24 pm

Hello,
This is my first time having a chow. My girl Roxy is almost 12 weeks old and we just adore her.

We have been taking her almost everywhere with us in order to socialize her, and we also have people over to our house quite often. Roxy loves everyone in our family (my husband, me, and kids ages 13, 11, 7,3), and she is usually a good sport about strangers touching her IF we are holding her. If we walk up to a crowd of people she gets very scared and backs up, trying to get away from the situation. If someone walks up to her when she is on the ground she quickly backs up to hide between my legs. A friend of my crouched down and slowly offered her hand to Roxy to smell, and Roxy nipped at her. Today, the same thing happened with a different friend.

On one hand, I think that Roxy already showed them that she didn't want to be touched by backing up, so they should have respected that. But on the other hand, I don't want her to think nipping is OK, even when she is scared. There is always going to be someone offering their hand to her so they can pet her. She is so cute, that everyone wants a chance to pet her.

What should I be doing to teach her that it isn't OK to nip? Is it realistic to expect her to accept people slowly approaching her? What can I do to ease her fears of strangers?

Also, I have been reading conflicting advice about rolling chows onto their backs to submit....

When she bites like a teething/playful puppy (not aggressive or scared), we make a high pitched yelping sound to let her know it hurts. Sometimes that takes care of it, but sometimes I just lovingly roll her onto her back until she calms down (takes about 5 seconds for her to relax). It works really well. I think it distracts her from playfully biting me, and also puts her in a submissive position. This was advised by the breeder.

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Tippsy'smom
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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby Tippsy'smom » Tue May 24, 2011 5:58 pm

One: I wouldn't be letting people push the issue by getting closer to her when she's backing away. Tell THEM to leave her be an let her come to them.

Two: When my mix boy was a pup he was bad about nipping, and a simple leash correction nipped that in the butt.

Three: I don't advise rolling a chow or any dog. Too much of a chance for them to bite harder and when they're older, they COULD go for your face.
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oceans
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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby oceans » Wed May 25, 2011 4:20 pm

I have had two chows. My first one passed on of natural old age at the age of 15 roughly 3.5 years ago and I still miss her to this day. She was very comfortable and confident in her own skin. The second chow chow I owned was exactly as you described in your situation it sounds like your pup is very timid and shy, and I don't think you can change that. Socialization will obviously be a plus. Be very careful with her because I ended up with 20 stitches to the face because of this. I don't know to many chows that would welcome anyone coming up to them and letting the person touch them. They are not wired like that. As much as I love this breed one must watch their body lanquage because they do not always growl or bark as a warning. Trust me lesson learned.

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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby Merlin » Thu May 26, 2011 8:30 am

One of the best things you can do is take this dog to puppy class.
It will more than help you socialize your chow, and give you loads of good tools for your training toolbox.
She's at a perfect age, and it will absolutely help you situation.

Is it realistic to expect her to accept people slowly approaching her?


Yes and no. A chow is a chow is a chow and they are not labrador retrievers. This is also a very grey area because a lot of temperament is defined by breeding, so many chows unwantingly end up with a pre-disposition to be more aggressive or more assertive than others. While there are many chows who demonstrate more domestic traits, there and loads of chows that don't, and that is part and parcel of the breed. You can have people come up to her and offer a treat, but offering a treat and touching are two different acts entirely. At least by her accepting treats she will be somewhat more conditioned to be near strangers at a comfortable level, but again, it is a separate act from "touching".
It's important you understand the difference also, because at some point, we all hear of dogs, who , for apparently , "no reason", turn and bite someone. This is a classic symptom of why some dogs lose the tolerance and bite. It's because they never had the tolerance in the first place.

Just because she's cute doesn't give people carte blanche to touch or attempt to touch your dog, and unfortunately most people aim for the top of the head, which, is an oblique sign of dominance - and a chow is considered a "dominant breed". You need to instruct people to aim for the chest or under the chin. In dog language, it means you want to be a friend and not a dominant controller.

At some point you will have to respect that your dog is a chow and isn't interested in being everyone's friend, and there is nothing wrong with that. You, as a chow owner have to remain conscious of this and instruct people to not touch.

Ask yourself this question: Do you like being touched on the face by people you don't know? ( Yet we expect our dogs to tolerate this) Being socialized is only one aspect of canine education and doesn't even mean your dog will be willing to tolerate the advance of strangers. Always remember the characteristics and origins of this breed.

If after doing a session of puppy school and work with your dog, you still see her backing away from touched, at some point you'll have to respect this . It is part of the breed.
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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby Ursa's daddy » Sat May 28, 2011 8:03 pm

That was the situation with Ursa. She is a rescue and had a number of issues. She was very jumpy when going for a walk. more so with my wife than with me. We spent a lot of time just walking her around the block and to the groomers. The groomers were real good about letting us use them for training. We would walk her to the point where she would balk at going further, then we would go home. There was a lot of repetition. Eventually, she would walk up to the door and go inside. We kept this up and would add new experiences. Probably the best thing for Ursa was when I adopted Malachi. He was three months old when I got him, and the girls at the animal shelter thought he was the greatest thing ever and would hug and play with him, so he was very outgoing. When I got the two of them together, it was like magic. I could take the two out in public and things would be ok. Malachi had the confidence, and Ursa knew all the commands, so in public, they could act as a team.
I would not push your dog. Teach the puppy the basic commands. You want a large dog to respond to voice command. You can't physically control them. Love your puppy and do things that will instill confidence. If the dog finds something stressful, give up on that activity for a while and do something the puppy finds comfortable. Then you can go back to the new situation. They learn, but sometimes it can take a lot of time.

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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby oceans » Sun May 29, 2011 4:33 am

Is Malachi a chow? How was Ursa inside the house; was she fearful or was she most confident in the house? How old was Ursa when you rescued her?

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Re: Puppy scared of strangers, nipping

Postby Ursa's daddy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:31 pm

Ursa was about 6 weeks old when I got her. She had no hair on her tail and feet and the shelter would not accept her, and animal control was going to euthanize her. From a number of points of view, that probably was the correct decision, but how can you not love a little (3.6 lbs) ball of black fluff. I took her, and the vet said severe flea allergies, so we spent some time getting cleaned up. She was a very withdrawn dog, and spent a lot of time hiding behind the toilet, which made a secure hiding place. My Siamese cat thought the fluff ball was a curious creature, and would visit her, so that gave her a little companion. So for the first few months, there was me, the cats and the dog. At this time, I was working in Savannah, and my wife would split time staying with her mother for several months, then would come spend some time with me. When Ursa was a few months old, my wife came up with her Yorkie. Now the Yorkie has never met a stranger, and wants to see everyone. So my wife would walk the two dogs around the block, and this is where the groomer came into play. Ursa was a little calmer walking with me, since she had bonded with me, but with my wife, everyone that approached would cause her to withdraw. She was still a bit withdrawn in the house and liked to hide behind the couch. She was too big to fit behind the toilet any more. Fast forward one year...Part of my social life in Savannah was to drop by the Animal Shelter every weekend and visit the animals and see what bargains were at the thrift shop. Behind the desk the girls have a ball of fur. I asked to see it, and it was a 3 month old male chow. They had named him Malachi, and everyone loved him. They had done a great job of socializing him. I had the cats and Ursa check out Malachi, and the humane society checked out me, and I had a furry family. Having Malachi with Ursa gave her some confidence. He liked being the attraction at the shelter, and did not mind people, so I could take them out in public, and she would follow his queue.


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