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Okay, I feel absolutely petty for even beginning to make this post. I should just be happy to have a dog - but this isn't even close to what I imagined/have known dog ownership to be like.

So after living on my own (with roommates) while being a working college student for quite awhile and after talking with my, at the time, roommate - I decided to adopt a dog. I wanted to adopt a 'Pitbull' to prove that within a proper home and with proper training, 'Pitbulls' didn't always follow the "bad media" and have the potential to be a wonderful family member. I found pages upon pages of pibbles available in my area and I finally found 'the one'. She was a (roughly) 1 year old, red Pitbull Terrier Mix that was found wandering the streets. After nobody claimed her, she went up for adoption. Long story short, my application was approved, my future dog trainer came along with to evaluate her (which she passed her evaluation with no "bad quirks") and home we went.

This girl is the smartest dog I've owned to date. She had one accident in her kennel before learning to potty outside, learned sit within minutes (the facility said she didn't know any basic commands), and had 'down', drop it, leave it and stay quickly memorized within a week.

Well, story a bit shorter, after getting settled in, Velma began taking to everyone but me. My roommate? She preferred her. Visited with friends? She'd go straight for them. Strangers? Definitely go to the strangers. After awhile, I moved in with my mother while I'm in the middle of a school transfer and I have a job minutes from her house (I enjoy living rent free). We've been here for a couple months now and my dog is constantly glued to her side.

I'm the only person that feeds/waters her, I take her out for potty breaks, for walks, training (we are in professional behavioral training) - and yet, once we get in the house and I let her off the leash - off to everyone else. I can be sitting there for hours and my dog could care less unless I'm about to go in my room (she's never allowed in my room so she LOVES attempting to sneak in), if I'm about to get in my car or if I have food. Aside from that, I don't exist.

I try not to get butthurt over it by saying "my dog hates me" - but it'd be nice to get a sliver of attention that she gives everyone else. Especially after all the time and money I've invested into her. I feel so greedy - but at times I question if rehoming her would make her happier (my family doesn't even enjoy having her around and they want nothing to do with her, yet she runs straight for them). I've tried bonding exercises, being the sole feeder/waterer/treat giver, exercising her throughout the day, taking her on momma and puppy day trips for bonding, professional training, attempting to mimic other peoples behavior to get a response out of her, etc to even just leaving her alone and "ignoring her" (although ignoring a dog that doesn't know you exist is challenging).

It's just frustrating having a dog that wants absolutely nothing to do with you - but wants to be around everybody else. And it's been a little over six months since I got her - which has been plenty of time for bonding. I'm just at a loss and I want her to be happy, even if that means finding her a new home. Overall she has a good life - it's just, I'm the one constant she's ever going to have if she stays with me and if she isn't happy with me, then I feel that's unfair to her. I feel as if she tolerates me at best.

Any tips for bonding (maybe there's something I haven't tried) to change this or input on what to do in this situation?
 

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I'm sorry, I wish I had advice to offer you! I'm in the same boat with my lab/German Shepard mix. I just got him 3 days ago though, but I feel how you're feeling. I'm trying to not get discouraged. It almost seems like he would be happier with someone else and he knows I'm not cut out for dog ownership or something! I've never owned a dog before, I've always been a cat person. I wanted a dog to go hiking and jogging with by myself since I'm a female, I wanted a big dog for protection. I hope things change for you! I wish I could offer some advice but all I can offer is empathy in this case. Good luck!
 

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Your story has some discrepancies, you say that this dog is not what you imagined owning a dog would be like, but you also say that this is the smartest dog you've owned to date, implying that you don't need to imagine what owning a dog is like because you have already owned dogs. (What happened to them?)

It seems you chose a breed not because you love it, but to prove something. Once you had the dog, it was not even allowed in your room, according to you.
You pay a professional trainer, yet you don't pay anything to your own parents who have opened their home to you.
And you say your family doesn't even want the dog around.

Your trainer said the dog has no major quirks. So do without the trainer for now. Contribute something financially to your family, pay your Mom what you were paying the trainer to help defray family costs. Let the dog in your room. Figure out why your family is not happy with the dog and fix that.

The solution here is not to rehome the dog, in my opinion, it is to rethink how you see the world, and how to build your relationships.
 

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So this is almost an identical story to one I read in an animal behaviour and emotions book. In the book the owner had trouble with giving the dog consistent body language so the dog stopped looking at her. That said, I have no idea how you are interacting with your dogs so it's just a guess.

What type of activities do you do with her? What training methods are you using?

I'd start using a clicker and shaping, start by googling 101 things to shape with a box and go from there. Shaping is guided by the dog's choices and because there is no wrong move with the box game there is little chance of miscommunication.
 

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kids huh? they always hate their parents.

i feel like we're missing a bit of context, what training techniques do you use? are you giving her too much or too little attention? how often do you play with her or do things she enjoys? she finds other people more interesting or fun than you, we just gotta figure out why, some dogs find meeting new people thrilling and that's part of their personality, but if she's outright ignoring you my guess is that you just bore her.
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of pit bull ownership! No, really, I'm at least half joking. The typical pit bulls I've known/owned have always been all about greeting/hanging out with people outside of their immediate owner circle, though they are usually also affectionate to their owners as well, which your dog appears to not be? I suspect my dog preferred strangers over me for the novelty- strangers were NEW! and Exciting! and "Yay! Friends!". Plus they usually don't really enforce any sort of rules, which she was all about. I'm admonishing her while trying to detach her from their shoelaces, and they're laughing and assuring me it's ok while cooing and petting all over her.... no wonder I'm second rate! It's funny, that particular dog had belonged to a friend of mine prior to me owning her, and I used to be the best thing ever when I came to visit, but once she lived with us, I became chopped liver and OUR guests were more exciting. However, when new people weren't around, she was hanging out with whatever resident person was available, and always very affectionate toward us as well. She would get sort of bored/depressed if in the house with just one person for an extended length of time, she needed to be around people, the more the merrier.

There are pit bulls which are solely/primarily interested in their owners (I had one of them, too, but she had some other non-breed typical behaviors as well, and her behavior was related to those moreso than its own entity), and it could be just that those dogs are less interested in people they see less often, or that their owners have made more effort to elevate their value in their dog's eyes. And of course, most probably fall somewhere in between, liking new people but not necessarily preferring them over their owners.

Since you were looking for a breed ambassador type temperament, were you specifically looking for a dog that "loved everyone"? If so, you may have inadvertently set yourself up for this situation, by selecting a dog with an exceptionally extroverted personality.

Is you mom home all day with her? How about your roommate when you lived with them? It's possible that she just prefers them because she lives in "their" space, and spends more time with them. I would guess she spends a fair amount of time apart from you due to you working, then for at least some of the time you are home, you deny her access to you when you go into your room without her. How do you deter her when she tries to sneak into your room?

What sort of training methods does your trainer use? Is she engaged with/ attentive to you at training class? Have you mentioned her lack of attachment to you to your trainer?
 

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As the old axiom goes, 'Rome wasn't built in a day', and even with dogs that love comes with trust, which can only be earned over time. Six months really isn't that long, and I suspect your dog thinks more of you than you suspect, its just that different people represent something new and different to explore. Even after six years, our dog is more interested in any visitor when they arrive, then she is in my wife or me, but after a period of time, she always comes and sits on or next to one of us. Relationships, even with dogs, are complex and take time to build.
 

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The first response to this thread I feel is incredibly unhelpful and aims to target the OPs personal life by pressuring her to pay her mom. We don't know the circumstances of their relationship and it's unfair to tell someone to pay their mom and guilt them about living rent free (you're not their dad, I'm presuming?) I also want to add that just because a dog has no bad quirks doesn't mean the owner shouldn't work on training and it's not right for someone to tell the OP to stop spending money on training.

To actually help with your issue, many owners experience this and unless you got a Velcro or stranger danger breed as I like to call Cosmo, your dog may just get excited about strangers and people she doesn't see as often. That's something I've personally seen a lot in pit mixes though I've never owned one so I could be wrong. She sees you most I'm assuming, as you are the person who trains her so you are old news. That doesn't mean she doesn't love you, and I'm sure if you are using PR and giving her lots of fun happy attention she trusts and loves you. She may just prefer being around people who are new and exciting.

I would suggest staying in training classes as it helps the bond between you and your dog, as well as spending quality time with her doing fun things like swimming, hiking, long walks, etc.
 

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I am curious though the other reasons you chose a pit mix? Surely you didn't just choose her to prove something...? Researching a breed and their traits is important to find out whether or not they're right for you and your personality. I could never own a dog that loved to run up and meet every stranger they saw I'd rip my hair out. I find it really frustrating and prefer a dog to keep their focus on me and be aloof with strangers. But that's just me.
 
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