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My parents' Chihuahua's strange behavior lately...

2202 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  DustyCrockett
My parents have a Chuhuahua, Chi-Chi, a 6 year old male.
My brother bought him when he was a puppy in Seoul, Korea and raised him for about 5 years. Then my parents adopted him, so he moved to NJ last summer.
He's generally a good dog, well-behaved and sweet. Crate-trained, weewee pad trained, and mostly an indoor dog.
I don't live at home - but obviously when I visit my parents (pretty often, every or every other week and I always stay overnight or two), I play with Chi Chi a lot and often spoil him with sometimes too much treats and affection... But he adjusted pretty well in the new environment and seemed to be happy...certainly made my parents happy.
We started to notice a difference in his behavior since a little before Christmas. Whenever I visit, he gets REALLY REALLY overly excited (almost frenzy), and ignores my parents completely. He breaks all the rules in the house, like going to places where he's not allowed (2nd floor, basement, jumping on the sofa when he's not told, etc...). The worst of it is that he completely, I mean COMPLETELY ignores my parents. The only time he would pay any attention to them is when they have a treat in their hands.
And he follows me around everywhere. Even when I'm in my room or bathroom with the door closed, Chichi would wait right outside the door until I come out...even when he can go to my parents to play/hang out with them. He does not even respond to my parents when they call him.
I feel very terrible about this...as if I have done something to cause this to happen. My parents are very upset, and their feelings are very hurt. Normally, every morning when my mom or dad opens the crate to let him out, he used to greet them with "good mornings", "I'm happy to see yous", etc... now, he does not even crawl out of the crate. but when I appear, he shoots out of it.
What am I/are we doing wrong? and why is Chi Chi behaving like this? It's really not nice of him...and my parents are the sweetest people! Does anyone have any idea/suggestion? Thank you.
Btw, when I am not at my parents' house, Chichi is back to his normal self.
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It's not much of a mystery to me, just going by the information you provided. I noticed you said "It's really not nice of him." "Not nice" is a human trait, but ChiChi is canine.

Dogs aren't "nice" or "not nice" -- they're just dogs. You see, a dog's decision of what to do next is always dependent on the most interesting thing in his environment "right now." Spending time with you is obviously more rewarding than anything else he could choose to do. You give him affection without discipline. By "discipline" I don't mean "punishment" -- I just mean enforcement of the existing rules and limitations set down by your parents.

This is one thing humans and canines have in common -- affection without discipline results in a spoiled brat.
I agree with DC.

First of all, please help your parents see that dogs are not people. Chi Chi isn't snubbing or insulting your parents, he's just being a dog. Dogs do what is rewarding for them. Because you allow him to do anything he wants, and spoil him with treats, of course he prefers time with you to time with your parents. It doesn't mean he doesn't love your parents, he's just being a dog.

You didn't do anything mean, btw. It's very easy to make the mistake of spoiling a cute little dog you don't see all that often. Really, your parents should not have allowed it.

All you have to do is help to enforce the rules of your parents' house. If Chi Chi goes someplace he's not allowed, remove him from there. Stop giving him treats. Stop spoiling him. Treat him the way your parents do. Chances are, he'll always be a little more excited to see you, but that's because you're new and different. He can see your parents every day, but you only occasionally, so you're exciting. Human children do the same thing. When I visit my nieces, they're all over me, squealing with excitement. They want nothing to do with mommy. It's not that they love me more, it's that I'm only there occasionally, so I'm exciting.
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Thanks for your comments DustyCrockette!
I will try to be more in line with my parents discplinary style/standards.
But what about his getting into over-excited state? Is he just becoming more expressive? and is this okay? i don't know how to calm him down.
Hi Amaryllis.
Thank you for your advise. I think you are totally right too. It will be very hard for me, but I'll have to spoil him less! :)
Thanks for your comments DustyCrockette!
I will try to be more in line with my parents discplinary style/standards.
But what about his getting into over-excited state? Is he just becoming more expressive? and is this okay? i don't know how to calm him down.
Secretly, life with your parents is boring him to tears..... ;) just kidding.

I personally don't see anything inherently wrong with an excited dog (happy excited -- not angry excited of course), unless it interferes with something like walking in the front door, walking out the door, attaching a leash, or sitting down to dinner, etc. or maybe if the owners (your folks in this case) dislike that state of mind.

Helping him down from an over-excited state shouldn't be too difficult; ignoring 'em usually works. Don't look at him, don't touch him, don't talk to him, until he settles to a more acceptable level. It might take several minutes the first time or two, but he'll figure out pretty quick that calmness gets rewarded with attention.
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