Ask the Dogcharmer: What to do about Presley?

Can a feisty dog be trained to be sweet and loving?

Presley. Courtesy Tom Shelby.

Dear Dogcharmer,

My elderly mother adopted a rescue puppy off the Internet a year ago, and has had trouble housebreaking the dog. The 2-year-old chihuahua mix, while being scolded, jumped up and bit my mom on the finger. The bite drew blood, which I find alarming. What are the chances my mom will be bitten again? Can a feisty little dog be trained to be sweet and loving?

Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with a nervous family member.


Peace to you, Melanie


Dear Melanie,

Being relatively young with a new dog, and having to clean poop and pee still ranks right up there near the top of what you don’t want to have to deal with. And being elderly doesn’t make it any better! Add to that an unrestricted bite that draws blood, and I agree, it is alarming. I think Elderly Mom should get a visit from a reputable trainer to make sure there’s not a mismatch here that should be corrected by training or rehoming. I see a difference between feisty and aggressive, and drawing blood is more than feisty. With proper management, feisty dogs do become sweet and loving, but I have no idea if Elderly Mom has the desire or the ability to deal with the difficult undertaking of learning how to deal with a dog’s aggressive tendencies. Based on the info that I have, it sounds to me like Presley may need to be rehomed with a real dog-savvy owner, and your Mom should try to find a real “cuddle bug.”


Good luck,

The Dogcharmer

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