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Okay, I know it's PROBABLY ridiculous to say, but I'm just not sure she likes me very much. I'm firm with her and don't take any of her boundary testing. She doesn't get away with anything I don't want her doing. I'm pretty much a no nonsense treat dispenser at this point to her.

Don't get me wrong, we do play. She spends all day with me at work (no crate, just a bed beside my desk with some toys and chewy things) and pretty much never leaves my side until we get home, at which point she get some free time to wander about the apartment before dinner and then bed (which means it's crate time).

I guess my concern about how she feels with me is simply that she seems way happier with strangers. With me she's like, "I guess if I have to....". She does come when I tell her to (when she feels like it) and generally does what I ask of her (when she isn't being an ADD puppy). I find myself wondering if she wouldn't be happier with someone else, so it gets me down worrying that she's just going to grow up resenting me somehow... even though I'm the one who takes care of her exclusively.

Eh, I don't know. I still feel like I'm just taking care of someone else's dog and it's already been a month having her. Maybe it takes longer to get that connection? I'm really tired and feel like my patience is at the limit. All totally normal, I'm sure...
 

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Strangers or known others (like trainers, dog walkers, etc.) will often get more of a reaction from many dogs than an owner will simply because they're new and shiny toys, whereas you they see every day. That doesn't mean their bond with you isn't stronger. Sometimes the impact is more obvious when you've been away from them for a while and it clearly worried them.

Even at that, with some dogs it really does just seem to take longer to build a strong bond. The first time I went on a week long business trip, when I came to pick him up after getting home my dog just lifted his head and looked at me and did nothing else. I was totally deflated.

Fast forward to a year or so later, I go on vacation and when I get back he's clearly excited and I'm furthermore told he waited at the door whining between 3 & 4 PM every day (when I typically get home from work). Maybe a little morbid to feel flattered by my dog's emotional distress, but of course it's nice to be missed.
 

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What breed and how old is your pup? What does your daily schedule look like with her?

Some dogs just take a bit longer to build that bond or it could be that you're together all the time, that she doesn't get the opportunity to actually miss you yet.
 

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I can completely relate! In the beginning when Callie was a pup, as much as I loved to see her be so excited over other people, it often did make me sad that I didn't get the same reaction when I arrived home.
With that said, as she got older I noticed 2 things.
1. I had trained her to respond that way when I arrived home, I didn't specifically set out to train her to remain calm when I came home but I did ignore her until she was calm and then gave her all the attention in the world.
2. She's 2 now and I took her to agility. One lady held onto her at one end of a tunnel and I was at the other - Callie was having none of that, she didn't want to go through, she just wanted to get to me. So I asked the lady to let her go and she came right to me, I told her to go through the tunnel and she did and then came running back to me.

It takes a while to build a bond, your Pup is just excited by strangers because they are new - she sees you every day, she doesn't see the strangers every day so of course they are exciting.
 

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She comes to you when she feels like it because you might not have made coming to you a positive experience. Do you use food to reinforce behavior you want to see repeated? What's her motivation to come to you?

Dogs don't actually test boundaries. They are clueless about what our boundaries are unless we teach them. Dogs aren't really trying to get away with stuff. Being no nonsense sounds like you may use corrections.

I think you should think about making yourself more attractive through positive reinforcement training. Teach her some tricks. Make it fun. Try clicker training. Hanging around all day on a dog bed while you work and then wandering around the apartment until bedtime sounds pretty boring.

You might want to read Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. It may help both you and your dog.
 

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I still feel like I'm just taking care of someone else's dog and it's already been a month having her. Maybe it takes longer to get that connection? I'm really tired and feel like my patience is at the limit. All totally normal, I'm sure...
She is a puppy - even an OLDER dog - would behave like this because guess, the dog sees you 24/7 and those strangers are indeed new toys.

And all dogs are different.

My Fina, I've never had a stronger bond with a dog than her, was not typical in displaying her affection. She was, despite being a collie type, an independent dog and her affection was different. It wasn't unusual for her to grab my hand and start "mouthing" [which to the average person is ill behavior] the moment she laid eyes on me... she didn't get overly excited and wriggly and rarely would she wag her tail for anyone. Nor would she come seeking pats and belly rubs, she was much like a cat in her mannerism in that you had to earn her affection it wasn't a given. Most people called her a standoffish dog which I almost always ended up bursting into hysterics about because that was hardly the case.


I'd like to know how you're training the pup though. Most pups don't treat training as a "chore" unless it is boring - too repetitive - or there isn't enough reward to it.
 

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It really does take quite a while to develop that bond, and it does tend to be be breed-specific. I have two dogs bred to work with their shepherd, so they are quite attached.

Levi is extremely bonded to us, and is very happy when we come home. He is way more excited to see my husband (because he is gone all day at work) and greets him with a very excited "Awooo wooo woo".

Heidi, I'm sure loves us, she's happy and loves to play, and seriously loves to work/train (but that's a Border Collie for you). However, she LOVES strangers. They are so much more fun than we are because they are new and she doesn't see them every day.

Having a dog that loves strangers is actually a nice problem to have, as hopefully it bodes well for a dog that is not stranger-reactive. As far as training, you have an English Bulldog correct? Unless I'm totally off-base I believe they're known to be a tad stubborn, and you really need to find something motivating for them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
She comes to you when she feels like it because you might not have made coming to you a positive experience. Do you use food to reinforce behavior you want to see repeated? What's her motivation to come to you?

Dogs don't actually test boundaries. They are clueless about what our boundaries are unless we teach them. Dogs aren't really trying to get away with stuff. Being no nonsense sounds like you may use corrections.

I think you should think about making yourself more attractive through positive reinforcement training. Teach her some tricks. Make it fun. Try clicker training. Hanging around all day on a dog bed while you work and then wandering around the apartment until bedtime sounds pretty boring.

You might want to read Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. It may help both you and your dog.
She's an English Bulldog. Even with the right motivation, if she doesn't wanna... she ain't gonna. They're stubborn. And trust me, this dog gets plenty of love, praise and attention.

This is probably going to come off as kind of snippy, so I'm sorry, but here goes:

1) Me being "no nonsense" doesn't mean I'm using corrections... I don't know why you're just assuming I'm being heavy handed. I'm actually pretty offended. I'm firm with her, yes, but she still gets plenty of praise, treats, play time, whatever engages her interest for 5 seconds to let her know I'm pleased with something she's done. When she misbehaves, she gets a firm "no." from me, and disengaged from what she's doing, redirected, or outright ignored until she settles down. Basically, I don't tolerate behaviour I don't want.

2) Her being at work with me all day doesn't mean she's relegated to her dog bed and that's that. Again, you're assuming. There's another dog there for her to play with. Plenty of my co-workers to greet and play with. She has toys, food, treats... and me. We go out for short walks several times during the day, plus a big one at lunch for play and training time, but she hates walks, so... what can ya do. I can't entertain her every 5 minutes, so while I'm working, she's being trained to stay in bed with her toys and she either entertains herself or sleeps. Certainly a better deal than being left at home in a crate for hours at a time with someone checking in on her to let her out. I should also mention, we walk to and from work every day. No car.

3) When she's at home... yes... she gets free wander of the apartment. How is that boring? She's exploring her home, interacting with us and our cats. She gets a bit more training if she'll pay attention enough, then dinner, then another outing, then bed time. And that's that.

By the end of the day, I need a break from her because I spend it training her, managing her, TRYING to keep her happy, and trying to work at he same time. If I'm boring her to death, then maybe I'm not the right person for her and I should contact the breeder to have her re-homed with someone who's a lot more... fun.

I'm sorry. I'm doing the absolute best that I can for this dog. My energy is pretty much gone and I'm running on dry. Clearly, because of that, I should just hang up the towel on dog ownership altogether. I'm not happy and excited enough. All the praise, cool treats, fun **** in the world won't get this dog going if she doesn't feel like it... but hey, I'm probably wrong. I'm just NOT the right person for her.
 

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@Khajiit - I don't think Grabby meant offense, but I think in general when somewhen says "no nonsense" they do tend to be strict, which I think is what was was inferred there, even if it isn't true.

I'm also going to come across as a little blunt, so I hope I don't offend you. What encouraged you to get an English Bulldog? My sister co-owned one with the breeder years ago, and she was quickly disenchanted with the breed. They're stubborn, don't listen, fart, snore, drool, and you need to clean their skin folds. If you're fine with all that, great! But it was more than my sister bargained for. She now has two Dachshunds, whom she seriously loves. Are you looking for a dog to go on hikes or do dog sports with or will you be content with a little bit of a snoring couch potato? :)

As far as "trying to make your dog happy", I wouldn't worry about it. Your whole life doesn't have to be about making your dog happy. People work, have kids, hobbies, other obligations. As long as you play with her for a little bit through the day, feed her, water, and give her appropriate exercise, she has a fantastic life. My dogs go out for an hour with me in the morning for a walk/run around the park, and then we come inside, and they sleep or play with each other while I do things I need to do. Sometimes when we go to do a training/play session they don't seem that interested, so I just don't worry about it.

As far as training, what kind of rewards are you using? Maybe we can find something she'll go crazy for.
 
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She's an English Bulldog. Even with the right motivation, if she doesn't wanna... she ain't gonna. They're stubborn. And trust me, this dog gets plenty of love, praise and attention.

This is probably going to come off as kind of snippy, so I'm sorry, but here goes:

1) Me being "no nonsense" doesn't mean I'm using corrections... I don't know why you're just assuming I'm being heavy handed. I'm actually pretty offended. I'm firm with her, yes, but she still gets plenty of praise, treats, play time, whatever engages her interest for 5 seconds to let her know I'm pleased with something she's done. When she misbehaves, she gets a firm "no." from me, and disengaged from what she's doing, redirected, or outright ignored until she settles down. Basically, I don't tolerate behaviour I don't want.

2) Her being at work with me all day doesn't mean she's relegated to her dog bed and that's that. Again, you're assuming. There's another dog there for her to play with. Plenty of my co-workers to greet and play with. She has toys, food, treats... and me. We go out for short walks several times during the day, plus a big one at lunch for play and training time, but she hates walks, so... what can ya do. I can't entertain her every 5 minutes, so while I'm working, she's being trained to stay in bed with her toys and she either entertains herself or sleeps. Certainly a better deal than being left at home in a crate for hours at a time with someone checking in on her to let her out. I should also mention, we walk to and from work every day. No car.

3) When she's at home... yes... she gets free wander of the apartment. How is that boring? She's exploring her home, interacting with us and our cats. She gets a bit more training if she'll pay attention enough, then dinner, then another outing, then bed time. And that's that.

By the end of the day, I need a break from her because I spend it training her, managing her, TRYING to keep her happy, and trying to work at he same time. If I'm boring her to death, then maybe I'm not the right person for her and I should contact the breeder to have her re-homed with someone who's a lot more... fun.

I'm sorry. I'm doing the absolute best that I can for this dog. My energy is pretty much gone and I'm running on dry. Clearly, because of that, I should just hang up the towel on dog ownership altogether. I'm not happy and excited enough. All the praise, cool treats, fun **** in the world won't get this dog going if she doesn't feel like it... but hey, I'm probably wrong. I'm just NOT the right person for her.
Sounds to me like she's living a great life. Like a lot of people on here I think you're probably spending a bit too much time with her. Puppies are exhausting and you being on puppy duty 24/7 is likely causing most of your anxiety because you never get a break to relax and get your sanity back.

I think your approach to training is fine. Keep giving her treats and praise and all that fun stuff. It takes a while to fade that stuff out and get her consistently listening. For the come though, you might want to try something super high value (chicken, ham, steak) and use it only when working on come, that command should get rewarded 100% of the time, either it's treats or high praise.

Have you started puppy classes with her yet?

Also I don't think she's bored. Don't be so hard on yourself, you're doing great.

For your own sanity I would take an hour or so everyday when you get home, crate the pup and take a break. Watch TV, play video games, read, sleep, whatever just take some time to chill away from the puppy.
 

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To the OP, Bulldogs are known to be pretty laid back, so I highly doubt it's you that she doesn't like. I worked for a person in their home and they had a bulldog. He was a very sweet dog, but was so laid back that he sometimes didn't even get off the couch to say hi and walks would be super short. They are also known to be stubborn so we need to find different ways to get them to do things. I have an extremely stubborn dog (not a Bulldog though) and she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to or will take 2 years to just sit, lol. I think your daily schedule is just fine, but I agree with another that you might set yourself up for burn-out. For your mental health I would suggest leaving the pup at home a couple days a week to give yourself a bit of breathing room. If you crate, think about it this way; it's only temporary and the amount of time used can be much shorter than the whole lifetime. Seeing as she's so laid back, maybe even just a puppy proof room would suffice instead of a crate. I too am no nonsense but I still have fun with my dogs, I just don't let them get away with inappropriate things. In other words I agree with you in that sense, so don't take other posts to heart. We just don't really know you so it's hard to put a whole picture together with a short paragraph on a computer screen. :)
 

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To the OP, Bulldogs are known to be pretty laid back, so I highly doubt it's you that she doesn't like. I worked for a person in their home and they had a bulldog. He was a very sweet dog, but was so laid back that he sometimes didn't even get off the couch to say hi and walks would be super short. They are also known to be stubborn so we need to find different ways to get them to do things. I have an extremely stubborn dog (not a Bulldog though) and she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to or will take 2 years to just sit, lol. I think your daily schedule is just fine, but I agree with another that you might set yourself up for burn-out. For your mental health I would suggest leaving the pup at home a couple days a week to give yourself a bit of breathing room. If you crate, think about it this way; it's only temporary and the amount of time used can be much shorter than the whole lifetime. Seeing as she's so laid back, maybe even just a puppy proof room would suffice instead of a crate. I too am no nonsense but I still have fun with my dogs, I just don't let them get away with inappropriate things. In other words I agree with you in that sense, so don't take other posts to heart. We just don't really know you so it's hard to put a whole picture together with a short paragraph on a computer screen. :)
Thanks. I understand. And I'm sorry for losing my patience a little. It's been a rough month to say the least... I've come to expect harsh criticism from people who don't know myself or my dog (people on the street can be grating), so the defenses just went up after a lack of good sleep. That's really no excuse, though... again, very sorry...

I feel like I'm simply not the person I thought I was when it comes to dogs. I like them. I really do. I grew up with Shepherds in the family, so since Freybug is my first Bully, I'm finding the difference more jarring than I'd come to expect. I knew going into this that Bullies were pretty laid back, which is part of their charm and just one of the reasons I figured she'd be a good fit eventually... I'm pretty low key and not expecting a marathon companion. I just don't have the energy or space for a GSD, otherwise I'd have opted to have one instead. Bullies being a close second favourite breed, well... that was kind of a no-brainer for my lifestyle.

But now that I'm in with this, I'm just angry all day, every day, and my mental/emotional health is worse for it... I'm probably not good for my dog as I can't seem to "get into" the groove for her. I'm just going through the motions, so... I don't know. I guess I just slug it out and hope I don't lose my head in the mean time.

I think you may be right about leaving her at home a couple of times a week. I need that, and it would probably help me regain some energy in dealing with her.

Eh... I'm just super deflated right now. Not my dog's fault.
 

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Puppies are THE WORST, like the absolute worst. I love them, but they suck. :p Even if they're not doing anything bad, they require constant supervision. It is totally normal to be super exhausted, and to sometimes hate them, just a little bit. I feel like once they hit the 4 month mark, they start being more manageable, and they listen a little better.

I recognize the transition from GSDs to EB must be quite shocking, but as far as your dog goes, I imagine she's probably living a pretty happy life. If you're stressed, definitely get out and leave her at home, and go do something you LOVE. Anyone who has ever owned a puppy has felt like you at some point, so you're in good company.
 

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Are there other things going on in your life that are influencing your relationship with your pup? How old is she? Many people suffer from depression and/or anxiety, so it's no surprise that you may feel overwhelmed at times with the new commitment of having a dog. What is she like, can you elaborate a little more?
 

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@Khajiit - I don't think Grabby meant offense, but I think in general when somewhen says "no nonsense" they do tend to be strict, which I think is what was was inferred there, even if it isn't true.

I'm also going to come across as a little blunt, so I hope I don't offend you. What encouraged you to get an English Bulldog? My sister co-owned one with the breeder years ago, and she was quickly disenchanted with the breed. They're stubborn, don't listen, fart, snore, drool, and you need to clean their skin folds. If you're fine with all that, great! But it was more than my sister bargained for. She now has two Dachshunds, whom she seriously loves. Are you looking for a dog to go on hikes or do dog sports with or will you be content with a little bit of a snoring couch potato? :)

As far as "trying to make your dog happy", I wouldn't worry about it. Your whole life doesn't have to be about making your dog happy. People work, have kids, hobbies, other obligations. As long as you play with her for a little bit through the day, feed her, water, and give her appropriate exercise, she has a fantastic life. My dogs go out for an hour with me in the morning for a walk/run around the park, and then we come inside, and they sleep or play with each other while I do things I need to do. Sometimes when we go to do a training/play session they don't seem that interested, so I just don't worry about it.

As far as training, what kind of rewards are you using? Maybe we can find something she'll go crazy for.
It's cool. I was looking for a low key breed and don't mind the wrinkle maintenance. The stubbornness, I was expecting, but I guess maybe not this much. LOL! I grew up having and training German Shepherds, some of whom had selective hearing as puppies, but they eventually came around with enough persistence, so.... maybe I was hoping for too much with Freybug, heh. I know GSDs and Bullies are leagues apart as far as personalities go, but I figured my own stubborn nature would mesh well here. Now my confidence is wavering. As for the drooling, farting, snoring, I'm not particularly bothered by it. I was about 80% certain of what I was getting myself into with a Bully.

As for treats, she really digs the freeze dried chicken chunks or liver snaps. Cheese also gets her going. Just, sometimes NOTHING is more interesting than that spot on the floor, ya know? Heh... she's a goof.

Anyway, egh. I'm really sorry for getting snippy. It's not my usual way about life. This past month has given me a shorter than usual fuse, but that's no excuse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all so much. Really. From the bottom of my heart.
It's really not in my nature to get snippy with people, so I really and truly apologize for it. I'm pretty embarrassed with myself right now, but what's done is done. I DO appreciate the feedback :)
 

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You've already gotten great advice, I just figured I'd chime in with some support.

I know exactly how you feel. Puppies are draining, absolutely draining.

You have dog experience, but is this your first dog on your own? I can't remember. How much training did you do with previous dogs?

I was raised with dogs myself and trained them some, just the basics, so now that I have a dog that I am trying to teach more (both because I want to and because he needs the skills just to get to "normal dog" level) I find myself even more tired and frustrated. He wasn't really the dog I was expecting, and I constantly think I'm doing things wrong or that we aren't making the right kind of progress. An outside trainer to help was probably the best decision I've made - she was filled with praise for the things he could do right, which in turn made me feel better.

I think once your girl grows and your bond strengthens, you'll see everything will be fine. I don't think anything alarming is going on with her behavior, which is really a blessing, trust me! :)
 

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I understand being frustrated. I've owned dogs who "seemed" to be unmotivated. Sometimes it took a while to figure out what I needed to do to motivate that individual dog.

I would like to point out that dogs aren't stubborn. Regardless of the breed, all dogs, and in fact, all animals learn the same way. Dogs do what works. If a behavior is reinforced it will be repeated. If a behavior is not reinforced it will fade away. It's science.

If I assumed and got it wrong, it may be because I was going on what you posted. Sometimes it's difficult to make a correct assumption without all the facts.

I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not when you mention returning her to the breeder. It's hard to discern intent with the written word. I'm not being sarcastic when I say that if you aren't enjoying life with this dog, then you should consider returning her. If you keep her I would encourage you to get the book Culture Clash.
 

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Awww. I really appreciated reading the blunt honesty of your post. And I can relate to it, from a different standpoint.

I have a rescue dog and she is very unhappy with me. She spent over a year of her life feral, and now she is safe in my home... that she plots all day how to escape from. :( I have to pick her up to move her from place to place and the only time she shows happy emotions is when she sees another dog or is outside. The rest of the time she hides in my room, and is crated when I am at work. I've had her for 3 weeks and she has yet to come towards me on purpose, even with a treat. I have to carry her back in the house after using the bathroom/walking because she so badly just wants to run away.

I'm committed to her - it's just hard. I relate.
 

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Are there other things going on in your life that are influencing your relationship with your pup? How old is she? Many people suffer from depression and/or anxiety, so it's no surprise that you may feel overwhelmed at times with the new commitment of having a dog. What is she like, can you elaborate a little more?
She's 3 months. And yeah, I do suffer from anxiety and depression. It's something I've had all my life and something I'm going to have to manage for the rest of it, so I find it really hard stay positive when I feel like I'm failing.

Freybug is generally a good pup. Walking is the biggest issue. No amount of encouragement, treats, toys, whatever will get her going, especially if she's fixated on someone across the street. It's a no go. I've timed it... I've stood several feet away, leash outstretched, giving the occasional light pressure and a "let's go", making it pretty damn obvious, treats at the ready... 20 minutes later, I'm still just standing there like an idiot, trying to get her to move without pulling her along. Meanwhile people keep petting her and giving her attention and I'm just too polite to tell them all to bugger off while I'm trying to get her focused....
 
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