TeddyHilton.com reader, Susan, wrote to Dr. Patrick Mahaney:
I have two dogs that seem to be leash aggressive. My golden is easier to “control” but my 7 lb Chihuahua, Tiger, is a psycho handful when we just go out to go potty at my apartment!!
HELP!! She scratches me to pieces!! It’s like I have a cat!! They do awesome in a dog park, just seems to be on leash at "home."
Susan Misegadis, Aly & Tiger
Dr. Patrick responded:
Thank you for your question submission to TeddyHilton.com.
Having a multipet household can be very challenging when it comes to correcting behavior in a dog, cat, or other companion animal.
As many dogs see their owner as part of their canine family, if not their pack leader, they often will show their protective side while walking on a leash.
Try to redirect your Tiger's attention onto a stimulus besides that which is causing him to become so worked up. A favorite squeaky toy or food treat can provide a nice distraction from the distractions of your neighborhood. Positive reinforcement for Tiger's focusing on a desired object (instead of scratching you to pieces) can help him to realize that his perceptions of the offending circumstance should merely be ignored.
Considering the magnitude of the circumstance as you describe, I suggest having an examination with your veterinarian to rule out any potentially contributing health problems. If Tiger gets a clean bill of health, then consult with a Diplomate of the College of Veterinary Behaviorists (see http://www.dacvb.org/) to help you learn the best management techniques for your pet's unique situation.
Good luck and feel free to connect to me further via my website, www.patrickmahaney.com.
Dr. Patrick Mahaney
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Tags: agressive, chihuahua, dr patrick mahaney, leash, q and a, scratching, tips