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Old May 2nd, 2013, 05:33 PM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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Frustrated by dog's behaviour.

Hi I am new here and looking for some advice on some weird behaviour from our new dog. Sorry if this is a bit long, but I don't understand her at all.

A bit of background: last October we got a new female puppy. Yay! At the time we had an older male dog, who tolerated the puppy fairly well, but they were not exactly friends. That dog passed away at New Year, and since then we have just had the puppy. She has been spayed, and is generally on good health, although the vet says he suspects her vision is poor, especially in low light.

When we first got her she seemed like a typical "have to love everyone" kind of critter, and there were no issues. Then I had to go away for a weekend trip, maybe a week after we got her, and since then she won't have much to do with me. My son was also away with me, and she always adored him, as well as my wife and daughter. She has even warmed up to my in-laws, who live with us. She took longer to get to like my father-in-law than my mother-in-law, but that was all sorted out months ago.

As for me, I get greeted with barks and raised hackles when I come home, or even if I just come from another floor of the house. She won't let me come near her, often running out of the room as I come in.

The weird thing is that tolerates me on our bed, so long as I am lying down and someone else is there too. If I head towards the bedroom and lie down she will follow me and stand in the doorway, or sometimes lie on the foot of the bed. She is obviously eager to be with me, but won't come near until someone else joins us. Then she races over to me, tail wagging, and licks my hands and face. She happily laps up all the attention I can give her, but if the other person leaves she backs away again. Nowhere else in the house does she show any desire to be near me at all.

The only other place she tolerates my presence is in the trampoline, of all places. She loves to go in there with the kids, and I went in with them a few times and threw some racquetball balls for her to fetch (the tramp has a net enclosure, so she just races around inside). Now she sometimes brings a ball from the trampoline and drops it at my feet, then stands by the trampoline, as clear an invitation to play as you can imagine! She won't let me touch her, though, just throw balls.

I have been able to walk her a bit, although she always resists a little at first. Usually I can reach down and pat her during the walk, but sometimes she just freaks out and tries to pull away. When walking she is not generally afraid of strangers, although sometimes (but not always) will bark at men.

I have been her feeder for a while, and handed out treats like candy, with no obvious change in her regard for me. If I get down on the floor she just grows and barks at me, unless the kids lie with me, then she wants to be part of the action, although she is still wary of me.

I am just about out of ideas. Aside from cuddles at bedtime I barely get to see the animal, and being barked at by my own pet is wearing me down. What can I do for her to help her over this?
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 07:09 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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What bred is your puppy and where did you get her from?
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 11:42 AM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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She is a black lab cross of unknown heritage. We don't directly know the people we got her from, but they are friends of friends.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 12:13 PM
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pbpatti pbpatti is offline
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Welcome to pets... it sounds very frustrating that your puppy is fearful of you. There is something that you can try and that is handfeeding. You and only you feed her by hand. Try and keep your frustration at bay by exhaling your breath, the exhale will relax you and if you do this vocally (like a sigh) may help to calm your girl too. This will also help her to bond with you and become more trusting. Good luck and keep us posted. oh anddddd we love photos!
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 12:27 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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That is strange, do you work in a place that had a lot of strange odors ? I am wondering if you do not smell like 'you' to your dog after work. It seem that your dog is confused about who are you,. You should try being the only person that feed her or walk her the most the time so she realize you're apart of her family. She could also had been abused by a man and distrustful about men now.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:41 AM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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Thanks for the ideas. I could try hand feeding, but she won't come close most of the time. Maybe food will entice her? As for odours, I mostly work in a normal office setting, so that should not be an issue. Over Xmas I was home for 2 weeks straight and it made no difference.

Picture coming right up! If I did this right, you should find a baby photo of our Pearl attached.

She just got back from the vet on Fri (just a checkup), and the vet is of the opinion that she is crossed with a whippet, based on her size and shape. I am not sure what that means in terms of temperament.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:43 AM
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pbpatti pbpatti is offline
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awwwww, what a cutie pie! Pearl is such a perfect name for her also! If she wants to eat she will come to you. Be patient and calm. If you have a small room where you can feed her it may help. Again just be patient with her and she will come around.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:51 AM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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The kids were big on "Pirates of the Caribbean", and she was black, so they started called her "the Black Pearl". I joked that she had better not be cursed. So far I am not convinced that she isn't!
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Old May 5th, 2013, 01:42 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Originally Posted by pdaddy View Post
Thanks for the ideas. I could try hand feeding, but she won't come close most of the time. Maybe food will entice her? As for odours, I mostly work in a normal office setting, so that should not be an issue. Over Xmas I was home for 2 weeks straight and it made no difference.

Picture coming right up! If I did this right, you should find a baby photo of our Pearl attached.

She just got back from the vet on Fri (just a checkup), and the vet is of the opinion that she is crossed with a whippet, based on her size and shape. I am not sure what that means in terms of temperament.
She is adorable! I guess like someone said give her time , some dogs do take a little longer to warm up to new people.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:27 PM
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Goldfields Goldfields is offline
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The kids were big on "Pirates of the Caribbean", and she was black, so they started called her "the Black Pearl". I joked that she had better not be cursed. So far I am not convinced that she isn't!
I like your sense of humour. Good that you still have one because I can feel the frustration. Do give ALL her food by hand even if it is messy.
If you are a smoker, try giving it up. I know, for any smokers out there, easier said than done. Consider that if anyone you work with smokes, the smell will be on your clothes.
Really try hard to keep the frustration out of your voice, some dogs hear the tone of your voice and react.
Your pup isn't much different in age to my boy, Roo, and Roo is going through a fear period where he enters the area where we go for obedience with all his hackles up even though there isn't a dog anywhere near him.(Just in case. ) He also reacts badly towards the new pup that arrives in the middle of training, it's like ye Gods, that wasn't here before, I must destroy it. So, give Pearl time and lots of patience. You were gone, then bingo, you turn up again, a bit like Roo with the invading strange new pups. With my breed it can be people they start freaking out over as youngsters too. I showed dogs and suddenly one might decide it won't let judges handle it( in case they are axe murderers in disguise) and sometimes all you can do is leave them at home until they get over it.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 08:37 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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I like your sense of humour. Good that you still have one because I can feel the frustration. Do give ALL her food by hand even if it is messy.
If you are a smoker, try giving it up. I know, for any smokers out there, easier said than done. Consider that if anyone you work with smokes, the smell will be on your clothes.
Really try hard to keep the frustration out of your voice, some dogs hear the tone of your voice and react.
Your pup isn't much different in age to my boy, Roo, and Roo is going through a fear period where he enters the area where we go for obedience with all his hackles up even though there isn't a dog anywhere near him.(Just in case. ) He also reacts badly towards the new pup that arrives in the middle of training, it's like ye Gods, that wasn't here before, I must destroy it. So, give Pearl time and lots of patience. You were gone, then bingo, you turn up again, a bit like Roo with the invading strange new pups. With my breed it can be people they start freaking out over as youngsters too. I showed dogs and suddenly one might decide it won't let judges handle it( in case they are axe murderers in disguise) and sometimes all you can do is leave them at home until they get over it.
I once brought Marty to playground and to be groomed and when he got home he gave me the cold shoulder for a couple of days. Boy I was in the doghouse big time. Dogs do have their ways of letting you know when you messed up with them.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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I have a Boston that is extremely shy with men, somewhat shy with women, and very excited to greet children...... I discovered that height had a lot to do with it. Are you very tall? Don't rush to the dog for attention when you enter a room. The more you try the more the dog reacts. Keep going for leash walks they are very bonding. My manchester used to go to his den whenever I left the house. I was his only buddy. I really don't know what gets in their minds.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 11:50 AM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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Thanks for the further responses. I am definitely tall (and have never smoked), but I always talk to her in a happy voice, I avoid eye contact, and generally try to make any exposure to me as positive as possible.

I just don't get her at all. I have been around dogs most of my life (at one point while I was growing up we had 6 dogs in the house!), and have never had an issue with any of them until now. Even a daft old Basset Hound we acquired - who had a great dislike for men in general - soon found a soft spot for me. We've had Pearl for over 6 months now, and there is no real sign of things changing.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the further responses. I am definitely tall (and have never smoked), but I always talk to her in a happy voice, I avoid eye contact, and generally try to make any exposure to me as positive as possible.

I just don't get her at all. I have been around dogs most of my life (at one point while I was growing up we had 6 dogs in the house!), and have never had an issue with any of them until now. Even a daft old Basset Hound we acquired - who had a great dislike for men in general - soon found a soft spot for me. We've had Pearl for over 6 months now, and there is no real sign of things changing.
Don't feel discouraged, our puppy who is currently 7 1/2 months, its also very shy with me too, he follows my boy friend everywhere, but not me, I feed him, clean him, walk him but when we are home he wont come to me much, even if I have toys in my hand, if I throw them he takes them back to N, not me. He kisses everyone he meets, but I don't get much kisses from him. I think it could be because he feels the bigger connection I have to my other dog, but I just let him be... and some days out of nowhere he just comes to lay down right next to me.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 04:48 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Thanks for the further responses. I am definitely tall (and have never smoked), but I always talk to her in a happy voice, I avoid eye contact, and generally try to make any exposure to me as positive as possible.

I just don't get her at all. I have been around dogs most of my life (at one point while I was growing up we had 6 dogs in the house!), and have never had an issue with any of them until now. Even a daft old Basset Hound we acquired - who had a great dislike for men in general - soon found a soft spot for me. We've had Pearl for over 6 months now, and there is no real sign of things changing.
That may be part of the problem, not making any eyes contact with your dog. Is there a reason for not doing this? Marty is a very small dog and he will look up at me make eyes contact all the time. It's a way to bound with your dog.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 05:57 PM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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That may be part of the problem, not making any eyes contact with your dog. Is there a reason for not doing this? Marty is a very small dog and he will look up at me make eyes contact all the time. It's a way to bound with your dog.
It was my understanding that eye contact is threatening, and experience seems to bear that out. When I look at her she visibly tenses and will flee before I get within 6 feet. If I don't look at her she allows me to get closer, and sometimes I can even get my hand close enough for her to sniff. She will also approach me sometimes when I am not looking, but backs away fast as soon as a look at her.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 07:48 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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It was my understanding that eye contact is threatening, and experience seems to bear that out. When I look at her she visibly tenses and will flee before I get within 6 feet. If I don't look at her she allows me to get closer, and sometimes I can even get my hand close enough for her to sniff. She will also approach me sometimes when I am not looking, but backs away fast as soon as a look at her.
Maybe it's because you're so tall. My sister's husband is very tall and they had a dog that was frighten of him the whole time they had her. I only know that my dogs never mind me making eyes contact with them and never felt threaten by it. Have you thought of going to a dog behaviorist to see if they can help you understand your dog better? Try not to let your dog know you're setting frustrated , she will pickup on that and will not want to get close to you.

I took Marty to playground and to be groomed and asked a vet if it was OK for a person to made eyes contact with their dog and the vet it was fine , but if you do not know the dog it could taken as a threat and you should never made eyes contact with a wild animal. Maybe it would help to have a dog behaviorist watch you and your dog together and give you some suggestions .

Last edited by Barkingdog; May 7th, 2013 at 09:39 AM.
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Old May 7th, 2013, 11:38 AM
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I'm sure this is frustrating for you, but don't give up hope. Pearl will come around eventually. I think the eye contact thing is up to you. If it feels right make contact, if it feels wrong avoid it. Trust your gut. When you have spare time (which who does anymore) try just sitting on the floor with really, really good treats for Pearl. Hot dogs or chicken bits or something she can smell. First put a couple very close, but where she can see and smell them. Ignore her and see if she will come to take them. Do this before she eats dinner though so she's hungry and more motivated. Then offer her some from the palm of your hand. Don't try to pat her though, just let her get brave enough to take them and go. She will come around eventually. I have desensitized my two puppies to the vacuum by feeding them treats when I vacuum, now I can't start the darn thing without having two puppies prowling around after me and standing on the vacuum cord!

If Pearl is close to the kids, sit on the floor with the kids, let her seem them with you. Encourage them to interact with her while you are there. It all adds up. Oh and one of our members used to read to his cat. The cat was under the bed for a loooooong time, and he would just sit there and read to the cat. Now Miss DU is great with him. Read Pearl a book! 101 Dalmations maybe.
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Old May 8th, 2013, 12:32 AM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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Tough situation. One exercise that might be very useful here is "treat-retreat". In this instance you would sit somewhere quiet with the dog (can also be done just chilling on the couch etc.). Toss a treat a good distance behind your dog (3-4 feet minimum). The dog will likely get the treat and then turn around and look at you, hopefully move forward back to where they were originally. Toss the treat again behind the dog. Repeat a lot ... by doing this we are reinforcing the dog for moving towards you but then removing any pressure by having the treat a further distance. Often this works very quickly and the dog closes the distance between you quickly. If you do any clicker training then that can be useful with this exercise.

There are other variations on this exercise. You can toss a treat and then move backwards. Try to remember to keep your body sideways to the dog as that is less threatening.

If your dog is very comfortable with another in the house then you can look at doing some "BAT" type exercises as well. Start with you sitting in a chair. Dog is on leash with someone it trusts. Have that person walk towards you. The moment the dog shows discomfort it has crossed threshhold. The person wants to stop before that happens. When you stop do a quick treat, good dog and turn around and walk away. Basically you are rewarding any non-reaction and then again removing pressure. With practice the person should be able to close the distance easily and then after that progress to you standing etc.

Remember baby steps! Allow the dog to make choices and things will go fast because the confidence is being built. Good luck.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 11:24 AM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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I gave the "treat-retreat" thing a try, and it did not seem to have the desired effect. She generally won't stay in the same room as me if no one else is there, so when we tried this my wife was nearby. Pearl was standing by herself and just looked at me when I threw a treat, it was not until I threw 3 that she decided to go and see what I was throwing. She ate those and just stood where they had landed to see what would happen next, then because I was looking at her she thought better of it all and went and hid behind my wife's legs.

Anyway, on to the BAT exercise and see if that goes anywhere.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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Wink Hi

First she is not crossed with a whippet your Vet idiot. That breed is similar to greyhound only smaller version, she appears to have lab in her. I agree she may have been mistreated, but that does not sit good in my mind. She obviously loves you a great deal, perhaps she is in mourning after losing playmate. Now find the tastiest treats and use her name sit down on floor and toss a tiny morsel. Remember Hansel&Gretel. Keep doing this at a slow pace until she is right up in your face drop on piece down. When she has finished that put one in your hand and say take she is going to regardless. The trick is do not give 10 go 5 per and the # 6 should be in your hand. Dinner time put her food in dish add something extraordinary with that meal. My boys understand the word eat time. Now take this dish and let her sniff it and then naturally she is going to go in silly puppy feed me mode or hopefully not the other kind. Take a small portion from dish and extend hand to feed her this must be done repitiously (don't spell great). Put food down and allow her to eat while she is eating gently caress her and say good girl/dog. she may growl at first as she could feel threatened that you are going to remove her meal. This must be a constant in your home and you must be the constant in her life NOW, nobody should be allowed to give her anything as in the treats/feeding. You are care giver and she has to rely on you, for her every need walking even if you stand outside with her while she has a pee/poo. Puppies drink allot of water bring up dish after meal and let her out a few time to empty out
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Old May 13th, 2013, 01:30 PM
pdaddy pdaddy is offline
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First she is not crossed with a whippet your Vet idiot.
Thanks for the input, but I am pretty sure my vet is not an idiot. Indeed, Pearl currently looks a lot like photos of lab/whippet crosses you can find by googling. She has a deep and narrow chest, a tucked up tummy, and is just generally smaller and less solid than a lab would be.
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