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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@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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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
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.
I'll have to check out the book you mentioned.

I do sincerely apologize for my rant. No hard feelings, really!

As for returning her, I wasn't sarcastic. I know it sounds horrible, and I've been trying my damnedest to stick with this situation, but it could very well be she just.... isn't the one? Or maybe it's all me and I'm just not right for dogs anymore. I can't tell since my emotions and judgement are so clouded over with anxiety. I've honestly been not myself since bringing her home to the point that my boyfriend is concerned about my mental health, so I'm now wondering if she wouldn't be better off re-homed by the breeder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Just out of curiosity, how much research did you put into the breed? That - well all of your comments about her - she sounds like a typical English Bulldog [my closest friend has owned them for years, 3 in total].

Sure some might be overly affectionate, however, as like any dog breed it doesn't mean that every single dog is a given. They are living, breathing animals and have different personalities. Fargo, my friend's current bulldog, is affectionate on his terms, not those of the silly humans trying to pet him. I've tried engaging him many times to be widely ignored and watch him lumber off, only to have him throwing himself at my feet an hour or so later or when I'm leaving looking for a belly rub.

Add to the fact this is a puppy and her attention is going to be easy to distract.


Also you are going to need to be a bit more assertive. Not necessarily towards the dog but definitely towards other people. If people start getting touchy feely, just tell them off... because by you asking the dog to do something and yet she gets distracted by people petting her so you let the command "go" she's just getting confused.

Literally:

You give command "Come" - someone bends down to touch her or approaches and she gets excited - you don't follow through with the command. So to the dog "come" is a joke, not a command.
Oh, for sure, I get that animals have different personalities. This isn't anything new to me having had a range of pets for pretty much my entire life, including dogs (but only one breed prior to this one).

As for research on English Bulldogs, I'd like to think I did far more than the average person who just wants a particular dog "because cute". It was a good 2 years before I came to this point, and after meeting a handful of Bullies and their owners along the way, I figured, "Okay, this is something I could see working out.". I knew about the stubbornness as well. Could very well be I overestimated my level of patience and the length of my fuse, so I'm not the right person, or rather this breed isn't right for me. There's a lot I'm unsure about at this point, but I'm doing the best I can while trying to figure this pup out.

I agree that I need to be more assertive with other people. The play biting and nipping is manageable with me, but I have to keep telling people not to let her bite their hands since it's reinforcing exactly what I'm working against, among other behaviours. Pretty damn annoying. I'm going to have to leave her at home a few times a week (with me obviously coming by a few times to let her out, etc) because I'm sick of butting heads with people and their "it's okay, she can bite me/jump on me/be a little brat because I know it's fine".... yeah, no. Not only is this becoming a battle of wills with the dog (seems like it anyway), but people as well, and I'm beyond exhausted. I don't have the outgoing type of personality to be able to handle the pup AND people like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Well I'm glad you did research. My college classmate didn't with her BC, my goodness if there was ever a person whom shouldn't have had a BC it would be her.

With respect to the people - maybe take a few steps back and instead of socializing her that way [by walks] try attending an obedience school to get the basics down. People at obedience school / class are all trying to achieve the same thing and they're not necessarily going to be "undermining" your training.
Thanks. She's starting classes very soon, so I'm crossing my fingers that this will help smooth things over, as well as give me some extra tips I wasn't aware of. My confidence wavers with this, which I guess is normal when you're starting out (it's been a long time since I've had a dog, let alone a puppy), but I had a bit of a breakthrough with her last night with the leash walking, so I'm feeling a little better today about my lot. It's just something I'm going to really have to work at with her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Again, thank you all for your input. Sorry if I don't reply directly to you, but just know that I've read all comments and greatly appreciate them!

Freybug and I are doing a lot better now and I have my confidence with her back, more or less. My boyfriend and I discovered that she absolutely hated the harnesses we tried for her, so part of her perceived "stubbornness" and not listening was simply that. I've switched to walking her on leash with a collar exclusively, and she's like a different dog. Whatever works for her! I'm just glad we figured this out. She is now a good 90% better with leash walking and her obedience is coming along swimmingly. Bug is a very smart, happy girl. I just feel a little bad for not seeing what the problem was :/

We're still going to be attending classes soon, so I'm looking forward to picking up some extra tips. I know she'll enjoy the experience and chance to play around with some other dogs her age. My coworker's Boston Terrier is a fun playmate for her, but Banana only comes into the studio a couple of times a week.

Things are looking up and they can only get better from here, so... hooray for that!
 
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