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Hi everyone, my boyfriend and I recently adopted a beautiful 10 month old female labelled "pit mix" but she seems to be any combination of lab / pointer / bc / pit. She is an absolute angel, playful, well behaved, and very obedient ( always receiving compliments on her behavior :D.) After a few days of having her, my boyfriend left the country for about 3 weeks. During this time, I worked with her relentlessly on bringing her out of her timidness. We had multiple play dates with my families other two dogs and they all got along great, and really helped her break out of her shell. A few days ago my boyfriend returned home, and she has developed a new habit. As soon as he gets home, she starts growling at him. If he reaches down to pet her, she tucks her tail and growls at him. Any noise he makes, more growling. This is very upsetting for him as he wants to love her but she seems to not want anything to do with him. My boyfriend in return acts badly to this behavior, and yells at the dog or tries to get in her face and stare at her ( which I know is only making things worse. ) How do I try to build up their relationship and get the fact through my boyfriend that his dominance with a fearful dog is not the way to go. Thanks ! ( Sorry about the long story)
 

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yeah, your BF needs to stop treating the dog like this! smh, she is afraid of him, and every time he does this to her, she is given good reason to fear him!
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/growling-86338/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/helpful-training-videos-articles-11426/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/dominance-dogs-4076/

ok, so a bunch of links to help you out, read through them, there are some really great articles and videos in there.

for right now PLEASE don't allow your BF to treat her like this anymore!

maybe show him some of the articles in the "growling" sticky? i dunno... but if he continues to do this, the situation will only escalate and end badly for your poor girl! not to play too much on a "macho" attitude, but his behavior screams "i'm afraid of this dog" as well... maybe you can point that out to him?

anyway, to fix her, you just need to pair something great (yummy treats) with something scary (your BF) until she thinks that his presence means that yummy treats are on the way, and her underlying emotional state changes. keep treats on-hand, something great, and give them to her the whole time she is around him (you may need to feed her meals this way) start out with you giving her food, then progress to him tossing stuff to her periodically (ESPECIALLY if she growls)



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Tell the boyfriend to keep a bag of really great treats in his car. He needs to grab a handful every time he comes home and become a treat machine. If he feeds one of the meals this will help bond the dog to him. Ask him to do this one thing for 2 weeks and look at the progress. No staring or yelling or any thing but the treats. When he is sitting around have him call the dogs name if she comes in his direction throw a treat. Tell him not to go to the dog the dog has to come to him and the only thing he does for two weeks if give treats nothing else.
 

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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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Yeah, agreed with the above. Your bf needs to stop doing that now before he scares her so much she bites him. Right now the growling is a good thing. She's trying to say that she's scared to death of him and asking him politely to please stop and go away. You do not want to punish growling.
 

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Not only no staring, but looking away and other calming signals could help. I really hope he's willing to try because what he's doing won't work and it would be awfully sad if your dog needed to be rehomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the suggestions, I love the treat idea and will have to give it a go later today. I would never even think of having her rehomed, even if that means myself and her leaving.
 

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Yes, he needs to stop that right away! Make it completely clear how important this is to you, and how serious. He should be completely ignoring her, but a treat/meal machine! When things get better, he could start with some basic obedience (followed by treats, of course). Does she like to fetch? if so that would be a great way to bond. We went through this with my stepson, once they start to like each other things will improve rapidly.

Don't forget this is a new rescue. Even though she is doing well for the most part, this is a HUGE life adjustment for her. It often will take weeks or months for a rescue to settle in completely, and their behavior will change during that time. It is very common for rescues to bond closely with one person in their new "family", and that person is you. So don't be surprised if she "guards" you from your boyfriend. Be careful if he hugs you or touches you in front of her until she is comfortable with him. Take it easy on her, and she will continue to improve.
 

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Thank you all for the suggestions, I love the treat idea and will have to give it a go later today. I would never even think of having her rehomed, even if that means myself and her leaving.
Good for you if he wont give to win the dogs love he isn't worth having around anyway.
 

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Thank you all for the suggestions, I love the treat idea and will have to give it a go later today. I would never even think of having her rehomed, even if that means myself and her leaving.
i'm glad that you are keeping the well-being of the dog such a priority! that said i'll keep my fingers crossed that you can get through to him ;)



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