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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My usually fairly back 7 years old Chihuahua has suddenly

Customer Question

My usually fairly laid back 7 years old Chihuahua has suddenly attached herself to me. Not to my husband or anyone else just me. She sits below my feet as I type this letter and even when I am in the restroom. It is like a clingy child. Sometimes I have to stand up and pull her off of me just to sit comfortably on the sofa. If I lay down on the sofa she climbs behind me as close as possible and puts her nose in my hair. This morning she has been trying to climb on my shoulders and lay behind my neck. I love this little dog but I am being smothered. Any Advice?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. Is she 7 years old or 7 months old?Is she spayed?Is she eating and drinking and eliminating normallly?What obedience training has she had?Is she getting attention from you when she does this behavior?Who else is in the household, just your husband?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Jane for your fast response. She is 7 years old and spayed, eating and drinking normally. She has never has any formal obedience training because she has never needed it she is house broken and obeys commands well. I have tried ignoring her when she does this (which is pretty much from the time I walk out of the bedroom until I go to bed at night) and I have also tried giving her attention and affirmation at this time thinking she is craving attention. Neither seem to change the behavior. I have even tried a sort of time out process and she just sits and stares at me and whimpers. It is only me and my husband in the household.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
There could be a couple of things going on. Dogs over time tend to think that they can do what they want. They start to think that they are equal to the people in the house. If they find a certain behavior gets them attention from their human, they will continue to do that same behavior since it gets them what they crave which is attention. They don't even care if it is bad attention, just so it is attention. Some dogs that are experiencing a health issue will sometimes become clingy and not want to let their owner out of their sight. Since this is often true, you might want to go ahead and get her a senior check up to be sure it is strictly behavioral. If it is determined to be behavioral, I would recommend some structured obedience training. It isn't for her to learn commands but for her to start seeing you as the boss and leader and learn to listen to you immediately. You don't even have to go to classes to start with. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions. Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. The other thing I would recommend is getting her off the furniture and bed at least initially. Keep a leash attached to her and use that to stop her from getting on the furniture and eo help get her down without having to touch her. When she tries to get up, give a short tug and firm NO. When you notice her pause and lay on the floor, go ahead and give her calm praise and a tiny hot dog sliver as a reward. It won't take her long to realize that sitting on the floor gets her tasty treats. you can use that for obedience training as well. The obedience training serves the purpose of reminding her that you are the boss, ensuring she obeys commands better and faster and allows you more control over her. In addition, if her behavior is for attention, the obedience training will give her a lot of attention as well and helps in that area too. So to sum it up, an exam to make sure there is no health issue, obedience training with the nilf program and get her on the floor again. These should take care of the problem. Now once she is under control, you can start making her perform a command to earn the right to come up and sit with you for LIMITED amounts of time. She can not get up when she wants and only by invitation. She also needs to get off if told to do so. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have ..
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
If you are satisfied, I hope you will take this opportunity to rate.