My daughter's dog prefers me

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My daughter's dog prefers me

This is a discussion on My daughter's dog prefers me within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; We have a year and half old Boston Terrier/Poodle mix that we've had since he was 8 weeks old. He's my daughter's dog and I'm ...

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:42 PM
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My daughter's dog prefers me

We have a year and half old Boston Terrier/Poodle mix that we've had since he was 8 weeks old.

He's my daughter's dog and I'm very careful to make sure that she provides all his care (feeding, walking, sleeps in her room, etc.) however he seems to have decided that he belongs to me.

When I'm home he prefers to lie on my feet and will only go to her if she has a treat or I make him. When we try to do any training he will mind me and ignore her, he tries to sleep in my room every night in spite of the fact that he's NEVER (not even once) been allowed and will make her chase him before he will go with her.

He's a VERY smart dog. It literally only took me about three repetitions to teach him "sit" for the first time. It only took me once to teach him to sit for his leash. It took once or twice to teach him to fetch, etc.

But again, when she tries to get him to perform she has to repeat and repeat and sometimes even has to physically make him do what she tells him (e.g., push his behind down to make him sit, pull his front legs out from under him to make him lie down, etc.).

When we come home together he will greet me (overly enthusiastically) first and may or may not greet her at all. When she neglects to take him out in a timely manner he will pee/poo in my closet or on the floor in front of my closet if the door's closed.

I'm just trying to figure out how to make him more responsive to her. It's great that he loves me (and I've actually come to love him as well) but I didn't want a dog to begin with - this is HER dog.

Any thoughts?
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:14 PM
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It could be the way she is training and interacting with him. You sound very patient and positive. Dogs really pick up on body language and voice inflection. My dog is much more responsive to me than my SO. While I do most of her training and care, even when my SO was doing obedience with her and feeding her, she still preferred me. My SO tends to sound more firm when training which my dog doesn't respond well to, and also has a harder time reading her body language, so training in general is slower for her and can be more frustrating for her and the dog.

What can you do to change it? Maybe have your daughter research training methods and calming signals. Kikopup on YouTube has really good how-to videos for about any behavior you can think of and the training method she uses (+ reinforcement) builds a stronger bond between handler and dog.

I think our calming signals thread is under the behavior section. If someone else doesn't get to it sooner, I'll post some links when I'm at a computer.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:36 PM
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Here's our thread: http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...signals-10084/

And kikopup's video on calming signals:


The other thing this makes me think of is that my SO tends to repeat herself A LOT when training the dog. This has gotten the dog into a habit of just ignoring her voice in general. I've tried to tell my SO not to repeat herself: say it once when the dog is already paying attention and is likely to obey, and wait. If the dog doesn't obey, get the dog's attention and say it again, or go somewhere less distracting so that the dog can be successful in obeying. If you are standing there saying, "Sit. Fluffy, sit. Sit."... Well, obviously your dog has learned you are going to repeat yourself a bunch of times, and they don't really need to be that attentive to you. LOL. I've also noticed that my SO doesn't reward as frequently as I do, which again can make the dog's attention be elsewhere because it's not rewarding enough to pay attention in the first place.

Anywho, sorry to go off on a tangent. So, there could be a number of reasons why the dog is more responsive to you over your daughter, but with me and my SO it tends to be dog-human communication in general (being able to read the dog, being able to time rewards correctly, voice intonation, body language, etc.). For whatever reason, her dog likes how you communicate with him over how she does.
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Last edited by seebrown; 09-28-2012 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:37 PM
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how old is your daughter?
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Old 09-28-2012, 07:22 PM
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I used to be in her place when I was a kid. I was 8 when we got our dog, which I had pushed for very hard. I was very excited to take her for walks, hold the leash, take her training and feed her and all... and the dog always preferred my mum Sucked as a kid, but in hindsight, I think I expected too much from the dog. I wanted this dog to be my "best friend" so bad, and got a bit pushy over it.

It was only much later, with my first dog that I had as an adult, that I learned to step back and let the dog come to me instead of me running after my dog for affection, and that guy turned out to be a very bonded one-person dog.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:18 AM
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My daughter is 16

This is her second dog and I took her to classes with the first one. She was quite young then but learned the needed techniques.

I don't mind that he prefers me, but it disappoints her. Not to mention that if I'm not around he still feels free to ignore her and she gets frustrated and quits trying to set boundaries for him or correct him.

You're probably right that part of the issue is lack of patience. Being a parent I've learned that the same thing doesn't necessarily work with different children and you need to adjust your teaching style to the learner - she hasn't got that yet I don't think.

Chewie is really smart and I think he realizes that she's kind of at a loss when he frustrates her.

BTW - she rewards him more than I do. My "rewards" are almost entirely of the praise/affection bent. Not to say that she doesn't praise him or be affectionate with him, but I allow her to be nearly exclusive in giving him food type treats/rewards.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:09 AM
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16 is definitely old enough to educate herself on good doggie communication. get her some books by karen pryor or sophia yin to help her learn.

it's not a guarantee, but it certainly can't hurt.

wishher luck!
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:07 PM
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ditto seebrown, great answers... you said that it only took you few reps to train him to do certain things, maybe you should stop doing any sort of training with him all together, and instead of you doing it, you could sort of instruct your daughter on what to do....

all the chasing and forcing him to do things that your daughter is doing, isn't likely to be helping much either, she should stop doing that at once, it will likely make a big difference, and she should maybe focus on some bonding time with him... any favorite games/toys he has?
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