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Canine Behavior/My female Chihuahua suddenly hates to be butt-sniffed. Why?


I've adopted an approximately two year old neutered female rescue in May '13. There's nothing known about her past life as she was found as a stray. As far as I can tell she was socialized pretty well. In the beginning she was totally fine with other dogs, being rather curious and friendly. Suddenly she started hating to be butt-sniffed. She will stand stiff, tail held high, let the dog approach and suddenly air snap. But other than that, she is still fine with other dogs. She doesn't get agitated by the sight of other dogs, doesn't bark at them and will walk up to them to greet if I let her. She is an overall relaxed and stable dog. This started suddenly after I had her for about six months. Until recently I thought this might be a behavioral 'issue' and was looking for a trainer/class. A friend pointed out to me that she might have a medical issue and after checking a few things I was thinking, she could have an issues with her anal glands. She scoots on carpets once in a while, has sometimes loose stools(vet checked this - no parasites, allergies; we figured she scooped something bad for her off the ground) and recently I noticed a bad breath. She also bites the base of her tail a few times a day.

I'm going to make an appointment with our vet on Monday. But so far, what do you think?

Thank you very much in advance!

I think: your friend might be correct!

First: vet check.  While there, scrutinize diet with the Vet.  If the dog is "scooting" she is uncomfortable.  Loose stool produces bacteria around the anus and it HURTS/itches/burns.  The food is affecting her stool production in a manner that does not seem healthy.  Also: bad breath can be not only dentally related (tartar buildup) but also stomach related (acidity, discomfort, indigestion, etc.)  Talk to the vet about a healthier KIBBLE.  You don't necessarily have to spend a fortune at a pet supply store for a healthier kibble: you just have to avoid the junk, and there's lots of it.

Let's start with the Vet.  Report back using followup feature so I can see original Q & A.  Also:  When you FIRST REALIZE she is obtaining the stance (stand stiff, tail high), circle her immediately with a very happy, low keyed sing-song "Oh yay, come on, yay" until she is visibly calm (will take only a few seconds), then go on as planned.

Good owner! Very good owner!  lol

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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