increasing bonding with my puppy

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increasing bonding with my puppy

This is a discussion on increasing bonding with my puppy within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I'm feeling kind of down about my relationship with Theo. I just don't feel like he's bonded to me. I was told this by our ...

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Old 02-03-2014, 10:18 AM
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increasing bonding with my puppy

I'm feeling kind of down about my relationship with Theo. I just don't feel like he's bonded to me. I was told this by our former dog trainer, and at the time, I knew she was right, but I figured by now, it'd be happening.

Theo has been really wearing on my patience the past few days. He is counter surfing like crazy, even when nothing is up there, as well as table surfing. My husband and I have taken to loudly saying OFF!!! I know this isn't the right way to go, but I have been so irritable lately and my patience for catching him before jumping up and reinforcing calm behaviors has been low.

He sits at my husband's feet, and lets my husband pet him. He sits on my husband's lap, and lets him pet him. Does he do this for me? Only when he's so exhausted he's about to fall asleep.

I spend the most time with Theo out of the two of us. I walk him daily, take him out 75% of the time, feed him all of his meals, train him, and play with him the most. My husband is a "NO!" kind of trainer, and I am (mostly) a PR trainer. When my husband says "no!", Theo pulls his ears back, cowers a little, and runs to my husbands side and licks his hand. I'm not saying this is right, but when I express displeasure, he just trots around like nothing is wrong, and does not offer any condolences. Where is the signal getting crossed??

How can we bond more? I'd love to have some cuddle time with Theo, without him mouthing my hands. He attempts to jump on the couch and sit in my lap, which is a big no-no in our house, but that's as close as we get.

I recognize I had some pretty unrealistic images of how I thought I'd get along with a puppy (we'd walk daily, he'd grow out of biting quickly, he would never want to eat gross stuff), but I thought by now, we'd be in a better place of bonding. Especially after using PR! I'm just feeling a little discouraged.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:48 PM
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When it comes to relationship with our dogs, I think it's best to not expect too much and just provide good experiences,have fun and avoid infractions (yelling, being scary/angry, not having fun etc) and things will work out over time. Relationship develop on their own time-scale as well. Only now, after all this time, I feel like my relationship with James has deepened (he is a very much "everyone's dog" kind of dog. There is also development stages. Charlie - very bonded with me - went through a period where he was completely ignoring me to the point I was wondering if I was doing something wrong. It was just puberty, things are now almost back to how they used to (almost that is).
It's also important to just lower expectation and back off if you feel frustrated. I went through a brief period when I got irritated at James (ironically because his training was going so well that I started to expect too much) and I could feel that he felt it as well and we felt disconnected. I set a target of not expecting ANYTHING at all and drop all training for two weeks (not one single "sit") and only focus on play, having fun and things improved a lot as a result ( and we were both happier).
When it comes to how Theo behaves around your husband, it might just be that Theo finds him scarey and a bit unpredictable, so he feels that he needs to please him (which includes letting him pet him). Not that he prefers him in any (meaningful) way.
As well, if you are the one spending most time with Theo, he might as well find your husband more interesting just because he is there less time. I'm my dogs main person (I do all walking,playing,training and feeding) and at times it might look like my dogs like my wife more, it's just that she only sees them for maybe one hour or two a day, while I'm with them all the time.

This became a long answer. Hang in there, keep providing good experiences for Theo,avoid bad ones and be patience and you'll get there.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:59 PM
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Awww... You need an encouraging pat on the back and a hug for being that great doggie mommi.

I say respect the chosen of your doggie as one cannot force nor undo who puppy picks.
For I too spend most time with mine, feed, train, play, clean etc. Basically "slave" for that dawg but be is still very much my husband's boy...

Eg. The minute Roman is let in, he will greet hubby first before me.
Same with toys... Want hubby to play with him first.
Not mention the man bond TV time with hubby where sometimes, Roman would let me know to leave them both alone by mouthing my hand and leading me away from the couch....

So yah, he blatantly let me know who is his preference... Lol.

Except when it comes to food and treats... Then he will come a trotting and sitting by my side that is.

But I really don't mind.
I love him loving his daddy... Preferred it that he has someone to look up to.
And him being hubbys buddy is also so important... As I had a soul dog and Roman is hubbys first.

I say let the dog come to you in its own terms... By accepting who they love.

Nowadays, Roman would even pull aside the bed covers to let me in to sleep with him and daddy... Real cute. Almost as if to say.. come join us too mommi!

Time and patience... My friend. You are doing so well with PR.
So don't let some small doggie naughtyness undo your hardwork.
Roman do test me from time to time... But remember the love.
And yours the mommi is a more generous and bigger hearted one than doggies' or hubby's...
The very non selfish kind....
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:50 AM
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So sorry you're feeling this way. I have no real advice, just sympathy. We have almost the same household dynamics - including Katie clearly preferring my husband.

I agree with what hkvik said about Theo's possible appeasement behavior around your husband and the novelty of having a "new" playmate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkvik View Post
When it comes to how Theo behaves around your husband, it might just be that Theo finds him scarey and a bit unpredictable, so he feels that he needs to please him (which includes letting him pet him). Not that he prefers him in any (meaningful) way.
As well, if you are the one spending most time with Theo, he might as well find your husband more interesting just because he is there less time. I'm my dogs main person (I do all walking,playing,training and feeding) and at times it might look like my dogs like my wife more, it's just that she only sees them for maybe one hour or two a day, while I'm with them all the time.
I'm curious - why can Theo sit on your husband's lap, but not yours? You may be giving mixed signals if you rebuff his approach.

I know you've been working with him on manners and safety behaviors, but have you tried training fun stuff? Katie is learning perch and spin and seems to love practicing those behaviors. We're also working on paw and other paw and she's so funny trying to anticipate which paw I'll ask for next. I do have real reasons for teaching these behaviors, but for right now, it's just fun. And, if she doesn't "get it" no big deal.

One thing I noticed is that when I started to relax more around Katie (when we first got her, I was constantly worried about her; now I only worry about 75% of the time ) she seemed more relaxed around me.

Hang in there!
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:16 AM
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I'm curious - why can Theo sit on your husband's lap, but not yours? You may be giving mixed signals if you rebuff his approach.
I should have been more clear: Theo can sit on my lap, or my husband's, if we are sitting on the floor. However, we don't want him to jump on the furniture, with the exception of the bed, so I don't want him to sit on my lap while I"m sitting on the couch. This seems to be when he prefers to sit next to me or on my lap!

I'd like to think we train fun stuff, but maybe it's not fun to him. We taught him to catch everything in his mouth, so fetch is pretty fun, and he can "shake" and "other paw". For a while he was good with "left paw/right paw" but my husband and I were teaching him different ways (my husband taught his own left and right, and I was teaching Theo his L/R) . He is pretty good at standing on his hind legs so maybe I can train him to do it on command rather than doing it when he wants to counter surf or pull on his leash at something across the road.

I hate that he may be showing some kind of deference to my husband who may seem big and scary. I hate this because 1. my husband should not be big and scary to him and 2. it gives my husband the idea that correction method is "right" because Theo defers to him and "knows when he did something bad". UGH. It's so irritating. No matter how many times I try to explain that Theo actually doesn't "know" that what he did was "wrong", it never seems to sink in.

I just wish I was the favorite parent for a change! I'm only the favorite when big loud husband scares Theo and he hides behind my legs.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:19 AM
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hkvik: it's so hard to be patient! I have never had a dog, and I'm a cat person, so I figured: how hard can it be? It's really hard. I swear, training my cat was easier than this! Theo is constantly "testing" my patience without realizing it...he's just being a dog/puppy and I was not prepared for how unruly things can get sometimes!
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:29 AM
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Well, I am not the favorite of my dog, but my mom is. He always likes to cuddle with my mom, but be rambunctious and fun with me. Used to be that is.

I played and gave belly rubs. I just did whatever I had to get bonding with my puppy. Now HE only goes for walkies with ME. He won't go with my mom or sister. My dad doesn't have time ever.

I played, gave belly rubs, I fed him instead of my mom, I train him, I do walks, I pet him and cuddle so he likes me more.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:31 AM
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Well it won't help with some of the behavioral stuff, but have you ever hand fed him?
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:33 PM
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Part of this is that he might see you more often. When pups get more facetime with one parent over the other, they tend to take a liking to the one they see less (when they are present). I'm in a LDR and when my SO is in town or I'm home from school with Sam, it's like I don't exist and it's just Sam and Blake (hence my alias).

They don't get to see each other but a fraction of the time that I do, so they both know this and savor it. So this may be the case if Theo seems to "prefer" your hubs. Try to equalize the walking/feeding? Maybe then he won't see that mom is mundane and dad is all fun time.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:26 PM
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For bonding, I really believe that it is absolutely the quality of the time versus the quantity of the time. I always advise people who complain of not enough bonding/irritation with the dog to spend LESS time with the puppy. It is more harmful to "deal" with frustration, even if you think you are not showing it than it is to just put the dog away- put them in a crate, behind a gate, in a soundproof room- whatever you have to do to get them away from you BEFORE you get annoyed. Work on desired behaviors when you are feeling calm and patient, and if you start to work on something and it isn't going well, put the dog away and try again later. Even when you think you are hiding it, resentment and frustration is cumulative- the best thing you can do for yourself and your dog is make sure that every single interaction is super positive for both of you. If seeing Theo gush over your SO makes you feel anything negative, don't be there when that happens. Put Theo on a leash and have him lick peanut butter off your fingers while you watch tv, just make sure that you are loving every moment of being with or around him as much as he is, or you are doing it wrong and you will be hyper-sensitive to his "rejection" if you already have a bunch of triggers stacked against you.
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