how do i help my dog to not be afraid of me?

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how do i help my dog to not be afraid of me?

This is a discussion on how do i help my dog to not be afraid of me? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; i've realized that a dear doggie i've had for years might be afraid of me? if it helps, she's a 4 year old chihuahua. ever ...

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Old 06-03-2019, 02:11 AM
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how do i help my dog to not be afraid of me?

i've realized that a dear doggie i've had for years might be afraid of me? if it helps, she's a 4 year old chihuahua. ever since we've gotten her, which was 4 years ago, she's had downturned (or to the side) ears, and sometimes her eyes get very squinty if you call her name, and her lips get pulled back (like shes smiling)

she also seems very cuddly, like she likes sitting in laps and nuzzling her head and whole body on you sometimes, she even sleeps under my sheets with me! yet she also looks away from me when i pull her close to kiss her forehead, and sometimes she'll just completely rest her head on my face, putting her neck right above my mouth. she doesn't usually give me whale eyes, if ever. she just completely turns her head, and usually presses her cheek on my face.

i'll admit i'm a fairly bad dog owner, if that's the case. but i genuinely don't want my precious baby afraid of me. when something gets her attention as a predator is the only time her ears perk up, and it's the cutest! and also in pictures of when she was with her foster mom, her ears were always up, and i just don't want my baby to feel afraid anymore. yet there seems to be mixed signals, or maybe i'm just not getting it!
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by silentkinght View Post
i've realized that a dear doggie i've had for years might be afraid of me? if it helps, she's a 4 year old chihuahua. ever since we've gotten her, which was 4 years ago, she's had downturned (or to the side) ears, and sometimes her eyes get very squinty if you call her name, and her lips get pulled back (like shes smiling)

she also seems very cuddly, like she likes sitting in laps and nuzzling her head and whole body on you sometimes, she even sleeps under my sheets with me! yet she also looks away from me when i pull her close to kiss her forehead, and sometimes she'll just completely rest her head on my face, putting her neck right above my mouth. she doesn't usually give me whale eyes, if ever. she just completely turns her head, and usually presses her cheek on my face.

i'll admit i'm a fairly bad dog owner, if that's the case. but i genuinely don't want my precious baby afraid of me. when something gets her attention as a predator is the only time her ears perk up, and it's the cutest! and also in pictures of when she was with her foster mom, her ears were always up, and i just don't want my baby to feel afraid anymore. yet there seems to be mixed signals, or maybe i'm just not getting it!
Hey, Silentknight.
I'm sure members would like to help and yet all we have to consider is
that you admit you are a "fairly bad dog owner" and also, you seem to interact
with your dog like she's a baby.

I suppose you could work towards being a better "dog" owner.
Can you see what I'm getting at?

What do you think or feel makes you a bad dog owner?
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:32 AM
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Hi SilentKnight,

Welcome to the Dog Forum! It's great that you are seeking advice about how to better interact with your dog.

Something that I noticed about your post is that your dog seems uncomfortable with your pulling her close to your head for a kiss. A lot of dogs feel very uncomfortable with hugs and kisses. Those are human ways of expressing fondness. I would just stop doing that.

Look for the ways in which she comes to you for affection and closeness, and encourage that behavior instead.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:41 PM
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I think what would help you is to learn about calming signals. Once I learned about them so much made sense to me about my previous dog, and I use this knowledge with my current dogs.
Your dog is communicating with you, and it looks like she is sending you calming signals. Knowing those signals will help you understand what your dog is uncomfortable with, and you too can communicate with her using these signals.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:37 PM
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Hi SilentKnight,
Something that I noticed about your post is that your dog seems uncomfortable with your pulling her close to your head for a kiss. A lot of dogs feel very uncomfortable with hugs and kisses. Those are human ways of expressing fondness. I would just stop doing that.
So true. My husband used to kiss Nova on the head and she always turned her head away and then he stopped doing that because she obviously did not enjoy it. Now he gives her belly rubs which she looooooooooves. Find ways of showing affection that your doggie enjoys. Normally they let you know what they want more of and what makes them uncomfortable. Nova loves putting her head on us, getting hugs, pats on the back and belly rubs, whereas kisses and patting her on the head aren't something she enjoys. We let her come and snuggle up to us, so we know the position she is in, is comfortable for her and she wants to be close. If she moves away ,we let her. It's nothing personal at all
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by silentkinght View Post
i've realized that a dear doggie i've had for years might be afraid of me?

i'll admit i'm a fairly bad dog owner, if that's the case.
I don't think you are a bad dog owner. Other have talked about finding ways to show her you love her that she enjoys, and I think that is the key.

I recently stumbled upon a video on YouTube called "Does you dog really want to be petted?" that will guide you in figuring out if your dog wants affection from you, and how they want it. It is really about giving some brief affection and seeing if they invite you to do more. If they tap you with their paw, they want more. They also show signs that they dog wants to be left alone.

I encourage you to find it and use it with your dog. Hopefully it will change everything.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:04 PM
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Here's the video:


Eileen is an awesome trainer.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:42 PM
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Dogs like hugs and kisses? Sometimes yes, sometimes no!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kakite View Post
So true. My husband used to kiss Nova on the head and she always turned her head away and then he stopped doing that because she obviously did not enjoy it. Now he gives her belly rubs which she looooooooooves. Find ways of showing affection that your doggie enjoys. Normally they let you know what they want more of and what makes them uncomfortable. Nova loves putting her head on us, getting hugs, pats on the back and belly rubs, whereas kisses and patting her on the head aren't something she enjoys. We let her come and snuggle up to us, so we know the position she is in, is comfortable for her and she wants to be close. If she moves away ,we let her. It's nothing personal at all
Yuppers, good advice from @kakite!

I personally think @silentkinght, you seem like a great doggie momma! The fact that you are actually watching your dogs body language-- and are concerned how she actually feels about interacting with you, well that speaks volumes to me about how you care about your dog. Call her your baby, your doggie, your pup, your dear dog, your beloved dog, your child...it matters not to me! Just shows how much you love your dog. We all probably have a zillion pet names for our dogs, right? Or at least I do... At my house my Gracie is also called Grace Dog Millionaire, Mills, Millsywillsy, Grace, Sweet doggie, My Brave Doggie,etc etc....And yes, you can frequently hear my significant other telling my "babies" (dogs) "To go see Mommy!"

Anyway........ Here is something I wrote earlier about this subject that you may find helpful....

How do you know if your dog is actually enjoying your petting or kissing or hugging him/her??

Well....

Some dogs enjoy being pet on the head, kissed, hugged, etc---and some are just not comfortable with it. And some dogs are fine with it over time--- if you condition them to love it by pairing the petting/kissing/hugging with some yummy treats, calm happy talk and lots of genuine praise. Not all dogs are born loving over the head petting, or kisses or hugging contrary to popular belief.

I personally think there should be a "Me Too' Movement for dogs. Where the dog has to give consent to being touched, especially by strangers!!

How do you know if your dog is giving you consent to pet/kiss/hug him or her?

Pet(or kiss/hug) your dog...then stop! Say nothing at all. Then watch what your dog does next!

If your dog wants more petting, she will let you know by means of pawing you, looking at you in a relaxed mode, leaning against your leg or body, making a sound etc.

My shy Gracie will actually sit in my lap and back herself deeper against my chest to say "More please, Mom!" if I stop petting her. Pretty sweet, especially since she is a touch sensitive doggie of 40 lbs.

Or she will very gently use her paw to take my hand to guide it to her body to say "More rubbies, please".

But, on the other hand, if I am combing her and she is becoming increasingly uncomfortable, she will let me know that too!! A "look back" from Gracie means "Ummmm Mom ya know, I'm starting to feel a bit creepy about this combing and touch business, I've been patient with you up til now, please stop soon!"

I usually try one more time gently, and if she does a second look back, I stop touching her---even if I really want to proceed. I respect her and appreciate her and I acknowledge all the progress that she has done to be so much braver in this touch arena. Touch sensitive dogs are hard cases. Lots of patience required.

So, try different places and methods of touching your dog--- and really watch his or her body language to know how your doggie is really feeling about it.

And of course, I find that sometimes my dogs want hugs and kisses from me and they will will generously give me kisses...and sometimes NOT! Depends on their mood I suppose...Just like us humans, right? Sometimes we want to be affectionate and be touched...and sometimes NOT!!

PS. And sometimes, when Puma pup is drowning me with her abundance of precious kisses (no slobber, thankfully) in the morning next to me in bed, I know she really is saying "Mom, I really love you, BUT--can we pleeeeeze wake up and go see my squirrel buddies out in our yard??????"

I would like to think of those kisses from Puma as pure love, but I'm sure there is that, plus a whole lotta squirrel love there as well.

Last edited by AthenaLove; 06-06-2019 at 08:49 PM.
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