"I keel you! I keel you very much!" says the ferocious cutie T-Bone, a trouble-dog full of mistrust and a short fuse, passing through a rescue shelter on his way to a second home.
Evaluated by a specialist in problem dogs, the trainer said outright T-Bone's behavioral issues might never be correctible. Even if they could be corrected, it would take months of skillful patient attention. "You should just have him put to sleep," was the dog behaviorist's recommendation, concluding:
"There are so many nice dogs that deserve a good home. Why put up with this one?" But Lydia Netzer; aka, lostcheerio, was willing to take the chance even in the light of such warnings. She said of T-Bone, "There's just something about that evil little character. He's terrible, but he's also funny and entertaining. Super smart. Goofy."
It remained that if T-Bone was in his usual grouchy mood, he had no reluctance to bite. Often he could only be picked upsafely with a bath towel.
"Yet in his own way, entirely on his terms, he loves me," said Lydia. "He sleeps tucked under my chin, breathing into my ear. While I'll admit that he's the worst dog I ever met, he's not going anywhere. T-Bone will spend his life right here whether he behaves or not."
In the 2007 video above, T-Bone has gotten up on the dinner table and is protecting a plate of chicken for himself. He'll really bite, too, and to get him off the table they're going to have to go get the bath towel.
I am being presumptuous to say so, but I believe I could break him of this in one day if he was at my house. Just put on a big engineer's glove and pet him nicely, even as he growls and snappps. Don't let him have anything he wants while he bites.
Chihuahua's are smart little bastards and if they really want something, they really will stop biting if that's the only way to geet it. But you can never act reluctant to pick him up just because he's crabby and violent, because what he wants is to control your behavior, and if you back off, he's succeeded and you've reinforced this nasty behavior.
The behaviorist who said it would take months was wrong. It takes specific know-how. The fact that the video shows the family backing off is evidence they've reinforced his bad behavior. He feels successful, so there is no reason to change how he behaves to get what he wants.
This behavior furthermmmore heightens the stress level in the dog. The fact that he feels the need to protect "his" plate of chiccken, or his space in the house, and constantly attempting to exert authority over humans, is the opposite of a stress-free happy life for T-Bone. By refusing to let him have his way by being aggressive, he will eventually find all good things come to him by being nice, and that eventually becomes his basic behavior, and his own happiness will increase with calmness and trust.
But there's no denying that such a tiny bundle of ferocity has a degree of cuteness to it, despite that in a bigger dog it would mean he'd have to be destroyed as a threat to family and neighbors.