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  • Jennifer Damon

Little Devils

Have you ever seen a Chihuahua shake? Ever see a Maltese growl and lunge? It's pretty common. It's natural for us to see these behaviors as cute. Something so small growling and even biting our pant leg is quite funny. The real story behind this behavior is not so cute and we, as humans, are usually the cause. A hundred pound Rottweiler's aggression is just the same as six pound Shih Tzu's but it comes in a smaller package so it's seen as adorable. Both dogs are equally unbalanced and it's torturous for them to spend a great deal of time in a tense or angry state. Little dogs are more quickly controlled so it's easier to ignore and stifle bad behaviors rather than dealing them. After all, you can just pick them up! And that's the beginning of the problem. Dogs don't want to be picked up. We may think they do but that's because we've actually trained them that way. When you continually pick up a dog, it feels powerless and develops anxiety and low self-esteem. How would you feel if you were going about your business and someone just came by and snatched you up about 20 times a day? This is why Chihuahua's shake. They are scared of everything they come into contact with because they lack confidence. I have seem some well-balanced ones but it is very rare. And I can't count how many aggressive little dogs I've come into contact with. The owners just laugh and call them "spunky" or "feisty" and then complain about them barking or biting visitors and peeing on the floor. The cure for these bad behaviors is to set boundaries with your dog and establish yourself as the pack leader. In the wild, dogs run in packs with a very clear leader who runs the show. If you aren't running the show in your home, then guess who is? The first thing you can do is not allow your little one to jump in your lap every time he feels like it. You can also train him to stay away from the door when visitors arrive. There are 1,000 ways to set limits for your pup but some people feel bad about doing this with a little dog. Just remember that you are doing it for him. He knows that a strong pack leader sets the rules but also protects him. Since aggression is predominantly the result of fear, your dog won't bother trying to "protect" his home or his family because he knows that this is your job. It will put him at ease. No more pressure! He will have a happier and healthier life because of it.

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