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Hello!

I am new to this forum, so bare with me.

We just adopted our dog Basil a little over a month ago. She is a 7 year old Yorkie, and was rescued from a breeder.

From the very first day it was very obvious she preferred me over my husband and son (7 years old). From what we know, she spent her whole life in a kennel, unsure of how much contact she had with people so we were prepared to face some hurdles as she adjusted to our home. She's a very sweet and loving dog, and was never aggressive towards my husband or son, but showed zero interest in them and was my complete shadow. Because of that, I had my husband and son give out treats, and take her for walks, feed her, etc. to show her that they are good and here to give her love. One month later and there has been no improvement with my son, she refuses to walk with him or potty if he's holding the leash. She will take a treat from him but it takes a lot of patience on his part. She's a little better with my husband. She will walk with him, potty for him and take treats, but she still doesn't greet either of them at the door like she does me, she wont come to them. If I'm home, she follows me to every room, she sits next to me on the couch, etc....if I'm not home my husband says she will just lay in her bed or kennel. :(

I didn't seem overly concerned at first about this behavior and kept telling them that it's going to take a lot of work and time and that they can't give up. She seems more hesitant with all males and will willingly go up to females, so we figured it was a female/male thing and we've just been trying to work through it.

Easter weekend I noticed a change in behavior, she no longer just preferred me, she made it clear she didn't want anyone else near me. I first noticed it when my husband and I were laying on the couch next to each other...she was on the couch too, but on the other end. When he came up and laid next to me, Basil got very anxious and wouldn't sit still until she positioned herself in between us. Later that day she was sitting in a chair with me when my son approached. He pet her and talked to her and she seemed fine, then he laid his head on my shoulder and she jumped out of my lap and lunged toward his face. I couldn't tell if she was trying to bite, as I was able to get a hold of her before she made it to him. I was a little stunned so I told her no and put her on the floor (she will not jump up on furniture). The rest of the day was ok, but she seemed very guarded and sort of glared at my husband and son anytime they came near me. So I did not allow her to sit on the couch or chair the rest of the day. The next day, same thing. I was sitting on the floor trying to get her to play with one of her balls, when my son came and sat down next to me, she again lunged at him but I was able to stop her before she made it to him. --side note - since these things happened, she is now going to the bathroom on my floors (which she wasn't doing previously) and what seems to be marking any bit of carpet we have. Not sure if these things are related, but anytime she's near a rug or carpet she pees on it and it's always just a little bit and can happen even if we were just outside and she went.

I talked to the rescue we got her from and they told me to just ignore her when she behaves like that and not allow her on the furniture, etc. So we've been doing that, and the lunging hasn't happened since then. But she also hasn't made really any progress on wanting to be around my husband or son. What can we do? I love her dearly and we agree as a family that we are NOT willing to get rid of her...I just want her to love them too so they can enjoy her awesome personality, when it's just her and I hanging out she is quite silly.

When we were first talking with the rescue about her, they told me she was GREAT with kids (which I told them was a requirement - being we have one), 100% house trained, crate trained, and potty pad trained, and that she had no preference to male or female. I do feel a little misled by them because she most certainly has a bias to male/female from what I've seen. She seems to have had zero exposure to children, because around any children she goes into another room, and as for the potty training - from the first day she did well when I would take her out to potty, but she had accidents when in her crate and she has NEVER used the potty pad, except to lay on.

Again, we were prepared to face these issues getting an older dog, that may not have had a very good life before us, so we want to work through these things. I just need a little guidance on the best methods.

Thanks!
 

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What you have at the moment is an unhealthy relationship with your dog. Yes, I imagine in the dogs mind she owns you but at the same time, it sounds like the dog has been advanced to a level in the household higher than your family. Many of these little dogs - being allowed to continue this path - will get to the point of growling and biting. All too common in little dogs. Your dog is in a comfort zone, and it's time to remove her from it. Many yorkies are a one owner dog.

Try something simple. Get your husband or other family members to sit on each side of you, but relax, don't make a big deal out of it. The dog will probably get stressed - you take her and you put her on the floor without saying a word, put away your emotions, you're not hurting the dog. She'll probably look confused/stressed and jump back up, keep putting her on the floor until she relaxes. When she finally accepts and relaxes, let her back up on your lap. If she repeats the resource guarding, repeat putting her on the floor and keep doing it. She'll get it with time and patience. When she finally gets it, prevent coddling her, and work with your family on their relationship with the dog.
 

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What you have at the moment is an unhealthy relationship with your dog. Yes, I imagine in the dogs mind she owns you but at the same time, it sounds like the dog has been advanced to a level in the household higher than your family. Many of these little dogs - being allowed to continue this path - will get to the point of growling and biting. All too common in little dogs. Your dog is in a comfort zone, and it's time to remove her from it. Many yorkies are a one owner dog.

Try something simple. Get your husband or other family members to sit on each side of you, but relax, don't make a big deal out of it. The dog will probably get stressed - you take her and you put her on the floor without saying a word, put away your emotions, you're not hurting the dog. She'll probably look confused/stressed and jump back up, keep putting her on the floor until she relaxes. When she finally accepts and relaxes, let her back up on your lap. If she repeats the resource guarding, repeat putting her on the floor and keep doing it. She'll get it with time and patience. When she finally gets it, prevent coddling her, and work with your family on their relationship with the dog.
Thank you!

When letting her back up once she relaxes, should I just allow her to be on the couch, or should I have her sit on my lap specifically?
 

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Thank you!

When letting her back up once she relaxes, should I just allow her to be on the couch, or should I have her sit on my lap specifically?
You have to invite her back on your lap, can't be up to her to jump after she settles. If the does it after being invited, repeat the process.
Calm, time and patience will get the job done.
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IMO I wouldn't get too excited just yet. Your dog is seven years old, & you have only had her for one month of those seven years. Its not unusual for a dog in a new setting to favor one person over the others. She has to establish what and who she is most comfortable with. How does she behave with your husband and son, when you are not present? Make sure her feedings are shared between you, your husband and your son. Give it time, one month is way too short a period of time to draw any permanent conclusions from. You dog will learn to trust your husband and son, in time. Relationships are all based on trust, and trust can only be earned over a period of time.
 

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IMO I wouldn't get too excited just yet. Your dog is seven years old, & you have only had her for one month of those seven years. Its not unusual for a dog in a new setting to favor one person over the others. She has to establish what and who she is most comfortable with. How does she behave with your husband and son, when you are not present? Make sure her feedings are shared between you, your husband and your son. Give it time, one month is way too short a period of time to draw any permanent conclusions from. You dog will learn to trust your husband and son, in time. Relationships are all based on trust, and trust can only be earned over a period of time.
Thank you! That makes me feel much better.

When I'm not home, my husband said she mostly keeps to herself and will lay in her bed or kennel. The only time she will follow my husband around is when he's in the kitchen cooking, they she's at his heels waiting for him to drop and possible morsel.

I work later, so my husband typically gets home at 3 and I don't get home until 6:30/7 pm so she gets a decent amount of time home alone with them.
 
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