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I have a small female mix breed dog. Her parents are Lhassa Apso and Pomeranian. Some of her siblings were also adopted by my other friends and they behave similarly. Their father Lhassa Apso has been barking and nibbling while I visited their house. I have been careful while walking Bella in the neighborhood but she spends most time in the fanced backyard. The problem escalated when I got married and my husband has permanently moved in to my house after 3 years living and working out of state. Bella does not like him and acts worse in his presence. She runs back to her cage and sits there most the time. My husband is not a dog lover but tolerates them and does not interact with them much.
I feel frustrated because It makes both of them uncomfortable and create tension between us. I have heard confusing advices whether my husband is to stay away from Bella or interact carefully by offering snack
What can be better done immediately to make this better except dog training/therapy which we cannot afford at this moment?
Every comment is greatly appreciated.
 

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In order to get her over the fear of your husband he's going to have to participate in the counter conditioning / desensitization (CC/DS) How I'd start is, figure out what reward Bella loves the most. Think of super high value things like chicken, beef, hotdogs, etc. Once you figure out what she loves then your husband is going to be the only person to give them to her. Break them up into little pieces that are no bigger then your pinky nail and put them into some container that he can keep near him. When he gets up he should grab some and toss them to Bella, when Bella is out in the same room as him he should toss her some. Notice I said toss to her and not drop by him. You do not want him to lure him to him with the treats.

Once she starts to look forward to being around your husband and is eager when he stands up, it's time to start dropping the treats near him, BUT he should not try and touch her yet. What she'll do is start to come up to him and check to see if he has any treats, that's what you want. When she does that he can start holding out his hand for her to sniff (again no touching) and either drop the treat for her, or let her eat the treat off his hand. She'll get comfortable with that and that's when he can try touching her for a pet or two before giving her the treat. Keep going from there and as she gets more comfortable pet her a bit longer.

Do NOT rush her, all of that needs to go at her speed with her being happy about each step before moving onto the next. If you push her too fast it'll backfire on you. I've seen it with my own boy, he'll start to get comfortable with someone so they'll try and pet him, even though I've told them not to, only to have him growl and start avoiding them.

The reason for only your husband giving her those treats is to get her to associate him with one of her most favorite things. Oh that nice man is the only person who has those yummy treats, and he give them to me! He can't be that scary. You pretty much use the treats to change how she feels about the scary thing.

It will take time! Don't look for instant results, and don't get discouraged by set backs. It could take weeks or months for her to fully change how she feels, it just depends on how fearful she is.
 

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Thank you so much for giving me these hints, now is up to my husband to participate in this procedure continuously and not be afraid of Bella snapping on him. She is not like that towards other family members visiting or sitting with her while we travel for a few days. Bella has snapped at my neighbour once while front door were not closed fully and my neighbour came to my front door. With some non family members she may bark or act uncertain first but is OK later on during visit. I am not sure what triggers it. I thought it could have been size, tone of voice, body language or hard stomping on the floor or stairs that she feats. It has been rather quiet environment in my house so far and I am a soft spoken person as well. I believe Bella clings to me most the time, even follows me to the restroom and does not like anybody getting very close to me. She would get between us, wagging tail but watching closely.
We are thinking about seeing her vet for behaviorist recommendation in the near future for our and Bella sake.
Thanks again!
 

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You have had great advice from Rain, I'd just like to pick up something from your second post. A wagging tail doesn't mean she is happy. It can show anxiety. Maybe watch her overall body language - yawning, lip licking, wide eyes, stiffness in the body and a raised paw are early signs. If you see any of these, she is telling you she is uncomfortable so help her by getting her out of that situation.

When anyone pets her (and for your husband this could be a long way off) use the 5 second rule. Pet her for 5 seconds then stop. If she initiates further contact by nudging the person or similar, they can pet for another 5 seconds then stop again. They should continue only for as long as she asks. This gives her control over how much she is touched and knowing she can make it stop will help her be more confident.
 

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We had a dog who was very fearful and my husband worked away so it was hard for him to bond with the dog and visa versa..Feeding times were awful because the dog wouldnt dare come into the galley kitchen if my husband was there or eat if my husband was nearby so we moved his bowl into a space where he could walk away if he felt stressed ..Then I had my husband sit on the ground and roll some treats towards the dog (Remy) at first Remy wouldnt even come close enough to pick up the treats but when hubby looked the other way he ran out and grabbed some, gradually he was able to get closer and close until he stood on hubbys lap to get the treats. It took months but Remy did get used to my husband and although he never snuggled or sought out my husbands company he would allow petting and walking by my husband and ceased to fear him.

Make sure you dog doesnt feel trapped in a small space or room always make sure it is their decision to engage and their choice of when to walk away. Respect that, dont chase after them or try to restrain them. If you do they will simply think its a trap and it will make the situation worse.
 

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You have had great advice from Rain, I'd just like to pick up something from your second post. A wagging tail doesn't mean she is happy. It can show anxiety. Maybe watch her overall body language - yawning, lip licking, wide eyes, stiffness in the body and a raised paw are early signs. If you see any of these, she is telling you she is uncomfortable so help her by getting her out of that situation.

When anyone pets her (and for your husband this could be a long way off) use the 5 second rule. Pet her for 5 seconds then stop. If she initiates further contact by nudging the person or similar, they can pet for another 5 seconds then stop again. They should continue only for as long as she asks. This gives her control over how much she is touched and knowing she can make it stop will help her be more confident.
I really appreciate you taking your time to read my post and reply back. It is a good beginning because my husband is willing to be an active participant in training process so we decided to start today. I will be watching Bella for other signs of anxiety you have mentioned other than big eyes and stiffness I see when she barks at others. Also, we will remember that 5 second rule while others pet her. I have heard of an examples where to pet ( not head ) and how ( with 2 fingers not whole hand) but I am not sure if that matters.
 

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We had a dog who was very fearful and my husband worked away so it was hard for him to bond with the dog and visa versa..Feeding times were awful because the dog wouldnt dare come into the galley kitchen if my husband was there or eat if my husband was nearby so we moved his bowl into a space where he could walk away if he felt stressed ..Then I had my husband sit on the ground and roll some treats towards the dog (Remy) at first Remy wouldnt even come close enough to pick up the treats but when hubby looked the other way he ran out and grabbed some, gradually he was able to get closer and close until he stood on hubbys lap to get the treats. It took months but Remy did get used to my husband and although he never snuggled or sought out my husbands company he would allow petting and walking by my husband and ceased to fear him.

Make sure you dog doesnt feel trapped in a small space or room always make sure it is their decision to engage and their choice of when to walk away. Respect that, dont chase after them or try to restrain them. If you do they will simply think its a trap and it will make the situation worse.
I am grateful for sharing your situation with your husband/dog relations because feels close to home. We know now that are not an isolated case and looking at the outcome of your story there is a hope for us. I am aware that this is a very long way to see some results but we will try right away to save as and Bella that anxiety we are feeling now.
Happy for you all and wish you continuing successes in pet parenting.
 

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I really appreciate you taking your time to read my post and reply back. It is a good beginning because my husband is willing to be an active participant in training process so we decided to start today. I will be watching Bella for other signs of anxiety you have mentioned other than big eyes and stiffness I see when she barks at others. Also, we will remember that 5 second rule while others pet her. I have heard of an examples where to pet ( not head ) and how ( with 2 fingers not whole hand) but I am not sure if that matters.
Can't say I've heard of the two finger thing (that doesn't make it wrong, I totally get the logic) but you are right, the head is a high risk area for a dog. Feet too - no feet = no food in the wild.

But - I hope we get some cute photos in payment for the advice. It would be lovely to chart her progress :)
 
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