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Discussion Starter #1
Guap (sheltie2.5yo) - Our relationship needs rebuilding.

In the last year I’ve undergone a divorce, quit my job at failing company, moved to a different state, etc. Lots of enormous changes. My dog, Guap, has done extremely well considering all that has happened. We use to live in a house with a yard and a dog door, so even when I wasn’t home he had the freedom to go in and out. Now we live in a one bedroom apartment.

He’s extremely well behaved. No accidents inside. No destructive behavior. Very friendly to strangers. Is socialized. He goes to daycare at least twice a week when I’m at work. I walk him at least twice a day. I’ve finally begun to get my life on track and want our relationship to be stronger. I’ve had a sheltie prior to him and we had a very close relationship/bond! Unfortunately, Guap has gotten the short end of the stick. I thought best to start with some training. He already knows the basics really well. Sit, stay, up, down, take it, etc.

Symptoms
Will ignore me. (How should I properly handle this? It only happens 30% of the time.)
Avoid eye contact when I’m trying to give him attention.
Goes to other room that I’m not sitting in.
Is super friendly to everyone else.
Seems to lack self-confidence.
I might be over coddling him.
I bought a toy for him, he plays with it when I’m not home, won’t let me know he likes it when I’m home.
He’s reluctant to play with me when I try. (In the apartment)
I can tell he’s mad at me?
If we sit on the couch and watch tv, after 5 minutes, he will get up and go to his bed in the other room and stare at me. I will tell him to ‘come here’ very positively and sometimes he’ll come back, but sometimes he won’t. I will go get him put him back on the couch and were fine again. It’s like he wants to be wanted. I’ve let him do his own thing too, where I don’t put him back on the couch, but that has really solved anything.


I try to just ignore the unwanted behavior (like when he ignores me), but sometimes I take a overly positive approach, neither seem to yield different results.
I know he really wants my attention, because when I leave for work he jumps up on me and immediately wants to play. Though VERY cute, is very frustrating for me because I tried playing with him many time the previous night when I had time.
I can tell he’s craving my attention, but when I give it to him he does the stone cold shoulder.
How do I get around this?

Maybe do training at the same time everyday, so he knows that this time is dedicated to learning.
Maybe I should get a clicker….

My efforts haven’t been successful and I’m beginning to get frustrated.
I really want to build our relationship.
It’s almost like we have no relationship except for me to walk him and take care of him. No formal training time or play (because of all the stuff I’ve been going through). It’s like we don’t know how be playful with one another. It’s strange.
 

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This is my dog 50% of the time, minus going in the other room. Some dogs don't crave attention all the time like others do. When I take my dog places people always say "you're an excitable one" out of sarcasm because he is completely nonchalant most of the time.

He gets excited when I come home or I'm on the couch, or of course when I have food, but he just isn't a cuddler or a waggy tailed dog, and that's ok!

Not being excited is not a bad behavior.
 

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This is my dog 50% of the time, minus going in the other room. Some dogs don't crave attention all the time like others do. When I take my dog places people always say "you're an excitable one" out of sarcasm because he is completely nonchalant most of the time.

He gets excited when I come home or I'm on the couch, or of course when I have food, but he just isn't a cuddler or a waggy tailed dog, and that's ok!

Not being excited is not a bad behavior.
I disagree. Not coming when called 100% is a problem imo.
 

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Once he got passed puppyhood has he always been like you describe or is it completely new behavior since the move?

Honestly you could be describing my boy and what I had to learn to do is just except that how he's acting has nothing to do with me, but it is simply his personality. It was a hard thing to except considering my old dogs were the opposite.

I can come home from being gone for hours and no dog greets me at the door, he simply stays in his bed, but some days he does get up and greet me. If he does not want to play nothing is going to make him and he will look at me like I've lost my mind as I try to entice him. Sometimes he lays on my lap till my legs go numb, but today he's in the bedroom. I could try calling him but there's a 50% chance he'd stay where he is. He'll greet people he knows and has made friends with like they're the best thing since sliced bread, yet see above to see how he mainly greets me.

You may need to just except that Gaup is how he is, like I had to accept Zody. You can try training, and such but please don't feel bad if it does not really change things.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey everyone thanks for the responses. This behavior he's exhibiting is not him. When I was unemployed for a few months we hung out all the time. (I probably should have put that in the original post) We were the best of buds. None of the behavior he's exhibiting now occurred. Hence my concern. I think we might just need a regimen. I'm still getting settled in the new apartment and our schedule is now becoming more concrete. idk. He's playing hard to get. I can't seem to figure out how to break down that wall.
 

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Hey everyone thanks for the responses. This behavior he's exhibiting is not him. When I was unemployed for a few months we hung out all the time. (I probably should have put that in the original post) We were the best of buds. None of the behavior he's exhibiting now occurred. Hence my concern. I think we might just need a regimen. I'm still getting settled in the new apartment and our schedule is now becoming more concrete. idk. He's playing hard to get. I can't seem to figure out how to break down that wall.
He is likely still adjusting to his new life, and with everything you've been through is it fair to say you haven't spent a large amount of your time bonding and spending quality time with him lately? It's one thing to take a dog on a walk, but your pup may be missing your affection! I find playing physical games with your dogs is a really good way to get them hyped about you again. Try playing a very big game of tug, with lots of movement and running and jumping around with some fetch for good measure. Spend some time training silly games like hide and seek or party tricks. I play a game with Cosmo where I say "I'm gonna get your feets!" over and over while kind of tickling and quickly grabbing at and messing with his feet. He gets super excited and happy about that game and rolls around on the ground and plays with me and I'll grab his face and he'll kind of play with my hands. Dogs really enjoy genuine play, and if you're the only one in the home with no other dogs, he may just miss playing with you!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah you're probably right. I think I'm too much in a hurry to get our relationship back on track. I just want to make sure he's happy and healthy. I guess it's a slow process. I'll check back in a few months to let you guys know how things turned out.
 

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Jeri with all the changes you went through, that all happened over a few months right. so for months your dog picked up on your emotional state while you were dealing and figuring out all the changes and organising transitioning from your old life to your new life. animals are very sensitive to these things. so he must now get used to all the changes as well and accept that your stormy waters is calming down and that your pre-occupied mind is now less occupied and relaxed and focused on him again. so just give it time. Hope that makes sense to you!

@ Cos - my boy also loves the foot game and hide and seek.
 

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@lielu - aw lovely :) I think playing games with your dog is the best way to really bond with them! Treats are a bribe but games are just good pure wholesome fun and bonding!
 

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Definitely agree with games after I got dog number 2 my first dog stopped wanting to spend as much time with me and spent more time with the 2nd dog
I started doing nose work games at home now she's back to her old self didn't take long they both love it and I get to practice sit stay find it and focus while they thoroughly enjoy themselves and it definitely increased my bond with both dogs


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