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My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and I have been basically living with him for about 4 months now. He has a female dog named Tori. She is 5 yo and she is a Shih Tzu.
Tori hates me. I don't understand why she hates me so much. I honestly have never done anything to her for her to not like me. I would never ever hurt her on purpose or be mean to her.
At the beginning of our relationship, it didn't bother me as much that Tori didn't like me, but now it has gotten so old. I don't understand why she hates me so much.
When tori goes outside we put a harness on her because she runs so hard it pulls on her throat when she hits the end of her leash. Anyway, she growls at me when I put it on. She growls at me when I pet her. I have seen on some websites that she could be growling at me because she doesn't want to be touched, but she even growls at me when she comes to me wanting attention. She growls at my boyfriend too, but not as she growls at me. She will stop growling when my boyfriend tells her to stop, but when I tell her to stop growling, she will not stop. When Tori and I make eye contact for too long, she growls at me. When run to my boyfriend too fast she absolutely loses her crap and barks and growls at me. She has bitten me several times. She doesn't listen to me at all. It has gotten better now that we have done some training, but she will not listen to me when I want her to "come" or "go lay down." She will listen to my boyfriend when he tells her to do those things.
My boyfriend claims that she has been growling at people who aren't in her immediate family since she was about 7 months old. I have witnessed this myself before him and I started dating we were friends and I would see that she would be aggressive towards other people, but she is not aggressive towards strangers. If she sees a stranger in the pet store she gets so excited and wants them to pet her and she rolls over and acts all cute and excited and people say "aw she is so sweet" and I wish they knew the kind of crap my boyfriend and I put up with.
My boyfriend and I have been trying positive reinforcement for about months now. I will give her treats and have her perform tricks for me. I have even started giving her her food every other day so that she will also see me as a source of resources. NOTHING IS WORKING. The thing I want to stress a lot is that Tori is a good dog. She is very well trained in the sense that she will do many tricks and play fetch and doesn't potty inside, but she just hates me.
I have done some research on maybe a medical diagnosis for Tori. I know it sounds like a reach, but she has been doing this for 4 years. She just growls for no apparent reason. When she growls she almost seems like she isn't "in there" if that makes sense. When she is growling I'll say something like "Treats!" in a very excited voice and she immediately stops growling. It's almost as if she "snaps out of it" and as soon as she stops growling it's like she forgot what she was even growling about in the first place.
So, as for a medical diagnosis. I have done some research on "Stimulus responsive psychomotor epilepsy." This is a type of epilepsy that is brought on by stimulus like simple environmental triggers include sensations like touch, light, or movement." In Tori's case, it's when someone touches her, even when she wants it. And I think it's interesting that she can just snap out of it when she is stimulated by something else like when someone says "treat."
I just need some advice. I can't stress enough how exhausting it is the live with a dog that literally acts like she hates your guts, but I just don't think it's me. She growls at a lot of people, including my boyfriend.

Thanks!
 

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Hi. Welcome to the forum.

There's a lot to unpick here, so bear with me.

Anyway, she growls at me when I put it [her harness] on.
How do you approach putting the harness on? If it's from above, and involves leaning over her, and/or simply putting it on her and expecting her to deal with it, it could be that's she's learned to be afraid of you/the harness.

She growls at me when I pet her.
So don't pet her. Back off from her completely.

I have seen on some websites that she could be growling at me because she doesn't want to be touched, but she even growls at me when she comes to me wanting attention
If she's coming to you, growling, it doesn't sound like she's asking for attention. It sounds like it's a warning. Throw a treat away from you so she doesn't have to approach.

She will stop growling when my boyfriend tells her to stop, but when I tell her to stop growling, she will not stop.
Never, ever tell a dog to stop growling! It's a vital warning, and reading on, I see you've experienced the consequences of ignoring her growling.

When Tori and I make eye contact for too long, she growls at me.
Think about the last time you had a staring competition (with a human - not Tori). Regardless of who won, how did you feel before one of you looked away? Unless it was your boyfriend, I'm guessing you felt pretty uncomfortable. You laugh it off, you break the silence, but even for us, direct, sustained eye contact is uncomfortable and unnatural. Otherwise, staring wouldn't be a competition. ;)

To dogs, it's a direct threat. "I'm going to hurt you! A lot!". It takes a lot of trust to overcome that and get to where they can look at you for a bit longer -, and this dog doesn't trust you.

So even if she's staring at you, don't look her in the eyes for more than a second. Blink, move your head away, look down or away. Keep your body language neutral. You want your body language to convey the message, "I'm not threat to you."

When run to my boyfriend too fast she absolutely loses her crap and barks and growls at me.
Where is she when you're running towards him? I'm wondering if she's guarding him.

She has bitten me several times.
. . .. Annnnnnd this is why you don't tell a dog off for growling!

She doesn't listen to me at all.
<Snip>
but she will not listen to me when I want her to "come" or "go lay down." She will listen to my boyfriend when he tells her to do those things.
You say you're "pretty much living with your boyfriend.". Have you officially moved in?

I ask because I'm not sure how much my dogs would listen to someone else who wasn't me. You need to build your own relationship with her.

If she sees a stranger in the pet store she gets so excited and wants them to pet her and she rolls over
Rolling over is an appeasement/calming signal - especially if she's showing her belly. She isn't being friendly or "cute" she's saying "I'm small and insignificant - please don't hurt me."

When she growls she almost seems like she isn't "in there" if that makes sense.
But in the next sentence you say she immediately stops growling, so clearly she is.

When she is growling I'll say something like "Treats!" in a very excited voice and she immediately stops growling.

So, as for a medical diagnosis. I have done some research on "Stimulus responsive psychomotor epilepsy."
I think it's a stretch to diagnose a dog with a neurological condition based purely on the fact she doesn't trust you - and that's the problem. It's not that she hates you, she just doesn't trust you.

Plus, it would be irresponsible of us to diagnose anything over the internet.

This dog needs a vet check up. It could be that she's in pain or has sight or hearing problems. If everything checks out, ask the vet to refer you to a qualified, reputable behaviourist - one who's au fait with science and the latest behaviour modification methods.

If the behaviourist mentions anything about dominance theory, pack leadership or board and train options, look for someone else.
 

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and I have been basically living with him for about 4 months now. He has a female dog named Tori. She is 5 yo and she is a Shih Tzu.
Tori hates me. I don't understand why she hates me so much. I honestly have never done anything to her for her to not like me. I would never ever hurt her on purpose or be mean to her.
At the beginning of our relationship, it didn't bother me as much that Tori didn't like me, but now it has gotten so old. I don't understand why she hates me so much.
When tori goes outside we put a harness on her because she runs so hard it pulls on her throat when she hits the end of her leash. Anyway, she growls at me when I put it on. She growls at me when I pet her. I have seen on some websites that she could be growling at me because she doesn't want to be touched, but she even growls at me when she comes to me wanting attention. She growls at my boyfriend too, but not as she growls at me. She will stop growling when my boyfriend tells her to stop, but when I tell her to stop growling, she will not stop. When Tori and I make eye contact for too long, she growls at me. When run to my boyfriend too fast she absolutely loses her crap and barks and growls at me. She has bitten me several times. She doesn't listen to me at all. It has gotten better now that we have done some training, but she will not listen to me when I want her to "come" or "go lay down." She will listen to my boyfriend when he tells her to do those things.
My boyfriend claims that she has been growling at people who aren't in her immediate family since she was about 7 months old. I have witnessed this myself before him and I started dating we were friends and I would see that she would be aggressive towards other people, but she is not aggressive towards strangers. If she sees a stranger in the pet store she gets so excited and wants them to pet her and she rolls over and acts all cute and excited and people say "aw she is so sweet" and I wish they knew the kind of crap my boyfriend and I put up with.
My boyfriend and I have been trying positive reinforcement for about months now. I will give her treats and have her perform tricks for me. I have even started giving her her food every other day so that she will also see me as a source of resources. NOTHING IS WORKING. The thing I want to stress a lot is that Tori is a good dog. She is very well trained in the sense that she will do many tricks and play fetch and doesn't potty inside, but she just hates me.
I have done some research on maybe a medical diagnosis for Tori. I know it sounds like a reach, but she has been doing this for 4 years. She just growls for no apparent reason. When she growls she almost seems like she isn't "in there" if that makes sense. When she is growling I'll say something like "Treats!" in a very excited voice and she immediately stops growling. It's almost as if she "snaps out of it" and as soon as she stops growling it's like she forgot what she was even growling about in the first place.
So, as for a medical diagnosis. I have done some research on "Stimulus responsive psychomotor epilepsy." This is a type of epilepsy that is brought on by stimulus like simple environmental triggers include sensations like touch, light, or movement." In Tori's case, it's when someone touches her, even when she wants it. And I think it's interesting that she can just snap out of it when she is stimulated by something else like when someone says "treat."
I just need some advice. I can't stress enough how exhausting it is the live with a dog that literally acts like she hates your guts, but I just don't think it's me. She growls at a lot of people, including my boyfriend.

Thanks!
I'll try to keep this short.

First, the dog does not hate you. Dogs just don't work like that. The dog is responding in the moment to a stimulus. What you are seeing is very likely a conditioned response. That's good news because it means you can condition a different response.

The bad news is that you have 4+ years of conditioning to overcome so there is no "magic wand" fix to this. It is going to take considerable consistent and intelligent training.

I don't want to sound rude but I'm doubtful if you are in a position to recondition this dog on your own. I think the best thing you can do, for yourself and for the dog, is to consult a professional trainer. This CAN be fixed but you're going to need help with it. For now, just start with googling "dog body language" and read up on that a bit. Try this video too. It's short but it contains a lot of good information that might take the edge off for the moment.


Good luck.
 

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Hi. Welcome to the forum.

There's a lot to unpick here, so bear with me.



How do you approach putting the harness on? If it's from above, and involves leaning over her, and/or simply putting it on her and expecting her to deal with it, it could be that's she's learned to be afraid of you/the harness.



So don't pet her. Back off from her completely.



If she's coming to you, growling, it doesn't sound like she's asking for attention. It sounds like it's a warning. Throw a treat away from you so she doesn't have to approach.



Never, ever tell a dog to stop growling! It's a vital warning, and reading on, I see you've experienced the consequences of ignoring her growling.



Think about the last time you had a staring competition (with a human - not Tori). Regardless of who won, how did you feel before one of you looked away? Unless it was your boyfriend, I'm guessing you felt pretty uncomfortable. You laugh it off, you break the silence, but even for us, direct, sustained eye contact is uncomfortable and unnatural. Otherwise, staring wouldn't be a competition. ;)

To dogs, it's a direct threat. "I'm going to hurt you! A lot!". It takes a lot of trust to overcome that and get to where they can look at you for a bit longer -, and this dog doesn't trust you.

So even if she's staring at you, don't look her in the eyes for more than a second. Blink, move your head away, look down or away. Keep your body language neutral. You want your body language to convey the message, "I'm not threat to you."



Where is she when you're running towards him? I'm wondering if she's guarding him.



. . .. Annnnnnd this is why you don't tell a dog off for growling!



You say you're "pretty much living with your boyfriend.". Have you officially moved in?

I ask because I'm not sure how much my dogs would listen to someone else who wasn't me. You need to build your own relationship with her.



Rolling over is an appeasement/calming signal - especially if she's showing her belly. She isn't being friendly or "cute" she's saying "I'm small and insignificant - please don't hurt me."



But in the next sentence you say she immediately stops growling, so clearly she is.






I think it's a stretch to diagnose a dog with a neurological condition based purely on the fact she doesn't trust you - and that's the problem. It's not that she hates you, she just doesn't trust you.

Plus, it would be irresponsible of us to diagnose anything over the internet.

This dog needs a vet check up. It could be that she's in pain or has sight or hearing problems. If everything checks out, ask the vet to refer you to a qualified, reputable behaviourist - one who's au fait with science and the latest behaviour modification methods.

If the behaviourist mentions anything about dominance theory, pack leadership or board and train options, look for someone else.
I don't think you saw the parts where I said she does this to my boyfriend as well. She isn't just growling at me. My boyfriend says she has been growling at him for 4 years. This isn't a new thing where she just growls at me. She is growling at my boyfriend who has been her primary caregiver for her whole life; a person who she obviously trusts.

And when Tori bites me, it's not when I have told her to "stop growling." It happens when I walk towards my boyfriend. This usually happens when she is on the other side of the room.

When I put Tori's harness on, I am not standing over her. I usually squat down to put it on her.

When I say Tori "isn't in there" when she growls, I mean that when she is growling she has a glazed look in her eyes like she isn't herself, and then when we overpower her growling with another stimulus, she stops.
 

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Perhaps you should get someone who can observe it first hand. If you look for a behaviourist please find someone with up to date, scientific approaches. If anyone uses the words dominance, alpha or pack leadership, run a mile.
 

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I don't think you saw the parts where I said she does this to my boyfriend as well. She isn't just growling at me. My boyfriend says she has been growling at him for 4 years. This isn't a new thing where she just growls at me. She is growling at my boyfriend who has been her primary caregiver for her whole life; a person who she obviously trusts.
Growling is generally speaking a defensive reaction. It's unlikely that you have to do with an agressive dog or a dog with a major psychological malfunction. To be sure, of course, you can take her to the vet to make sure there is no underlying medical condition.

Re: the harness: I had a 3 point harness for my dog that he hated. I caught some hair in the clip once or twice that pulled and pulled. It hurt. The dog was in pain when he had it on but I didn't realize it because I didn't see the hair in the clip. At some point he started protesting when I tried to put the harness on. In our case the dog went further than growling. He snarled at the prospect of having that harness put on. In fact, I had "conditioned" him to not like the harness.

The solution? We didn't put that harness back on him. We used a slip lead to walk him for a while while we tried different ones. We found one that was considerably more comfortable for him and now when I grab the harness, he'll run to me from where ever he is and put his head in it. The point here is to be curious about what "triggers" the reaction. In our case we reached the conclusion that the harness was hurting him and looked for an alternative. See what I'm saying? He didn't hate me and he didn't hate harnesses in general. He hated THAT harness.

This is what I was trying to get at in my post above. The dog doesn't hate you. Dogs clearly do have primary emotions but hate is a secondary emotion. It's an emotion based on assumptions that a person makes about the world (or other people). Dog's simply don't have a good enough sense of time continuity or the lateral thinking ability to engage in any significant way in secondary emotional responses. Dogs -- and I personally believe that this is one of the life lessons we, as people, can learn from them -- live in the moment. If my dog gets mad at me (and it has happened) his attention span is about 10 seconds. After 10 seconds he's back to living in the moment and the fact that he was mad just 10 seconds ago is ancient history to him. He has already forgotten about it even though I might think about it for much longer.

This is SO important for you to understand. Dogs live in the moment. They are, indeed, emotional beings but demonstrate almost exclusively primary emotions and conditioned responses. You dog doesn't hate you because dog's are literally incapable of hating. As I said above, you need to see this as a conditioned response.

The good news about conditioning is that it's like programming a computer. You can change the program. There are a number of steps you need to go through for that but once you have it figured out, it's actually pretty straightforward to condition and/or re-condition a dog. Reconditioning is harder and/or can take longer because you have to undo a programmed response and supplant a new response in its place. It CAN, however, be done in almost all cases in which the dog is "normal" mentally. Even severely traumatized dogs that are very aggressive can be reconditioned.

And when Tori bites me, it's not when I have told her to "stop growling." It happens when I walk towards my boyfriend. This usually happens when she is on the other side of the room.
This is the part where I reached the conclusion that you lack -- with all due respect -- some skills that you need. YOu can try to learn some of it by watching youtube channels, reading books and posting on internet forums but the fastest and most effective way to fill your "tool box" with the tools you need for this specific dog is to consult a professional trainer. It's never too late and the dog is never too old (don't believe the old addage...). However, in my opinion, if you try to figure this out by yourself then you will probably continue to struggle with it.

When I say Tori "isn't in there" when she growls, I mean that when she is growling she has a glazed look in her eyes like she isn't herself, and then when we overpower her growling with another stimulus, she stops.
There is something called the ladder of aggression (see below). Some dogs will skips "rungs" on the ladder but maybe taking a look at this will help. If you look at this you will see that your dog has reached the rungs "stiffens, stares, growls". It's not that the dog "isn't there". This is normal canine body langugage for a dog that is very uncomfortable with what is going on. Telling the dog to "stop growling" at that point would be like telling your BFF who is having a major panic attack to "just relax". The instruction has to be germane to the event taking place. Fortunately dogs are easier to deal with than BFF's having a panic attack.... once you have the tools you need.

I would also like to point you again to the video I posted and to encourage you to learn about dog body language. Understanding your dog better will help you side-step some of the issues you are having right now. I think that learning about dog body language and putting some effort into avoiding the confrontation with an early change in your behaviour will help to take the edge off for now. In the meanwhile, please, for your own sake and the sake of the dog, try to find a competent trainer in your local area.

good luck.
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And when Tori bites me, it's not when I have told her to "stop growling." It happens when I walk towards my boyfriend. This usually happens when she is on the other side of the room.
I just wanted to address this in a separate post. This behaviour is what dog trainers call "resource guarding". In a basic sense the dog thinks that your boyfriend literally BELONGS to her. She thinks your boyfriend is her possession.

Some dogs are more inclined than others to exhibit resource guarding behaviour toward individuals. You could interpret it as jealousy but again jealousy is a secondary emotional response. The dog is "claiming", she is not "jealous".

This response can be reconditioned, just as other programming can be reconditioned. It requires the same skills I alluded to in my previous post.
 

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Why don't you spend a couple of days with the dog (only you and the dog) and feed her and take care of her and master her. Build your trust towards the dog, making her realize that you are there for her when nobody's around. That way she might begin to see you as her possession too and might stop reacting that way. Maybe her insecurity might end when she starts seeing a new master in you.
 

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:) it means.. being a back up master when the real master is absent for a while .. hope this helps.. and i pray that you end up solving your problem
 

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It's more your interpretation of the word ”master” I am interested in - I'm trying to work out whether it is just a language, translation issue; or if it is something you are suggesting the poster should be doing.

The concern I have is that ”master” might be related to being alpha, pack leader as that theory has now been widely discredited. :)
 
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