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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

As some of you might have read, my husband and I adopted a beautiful, loving and mostly calm Staffordshire/pit mix end of January. Since I was the one who initiated the idea of getting a dog and also the one with the most experience of us two, I am the main care taker/trainer, even though my husband takes her out, feeds her once in a while (when he is home) and plays a lot of fetch/tug and catch with her.
Now, we have one love seat and one couch in the living room. Normally I have the couch and my husband is on the love seat in the evenings. Bri is allowed on the couch, but not on the love seat, so she is normally sleeping next/on me. If my husband gets up from the love seat and sits next to Bri (so that Bri is in between us, but still has 1/3 of the couch for her), she gets up and leaves the couch with an angry (?!) look at my husband.
If my husband is sitting on the couch (the side where I normally would be), she is not going on the couch at all. If I’m sitting next to him, in the middle, and invite her to come up next to me, she does, but doesn’t come close to me, as long as my husband’s arm is around me. If he takes it away, she comes closer and puts her head on my leg.

I’m a little bit confused if that has to say anything or not and if yes, is that something to work on, what should we do?

Also, when I left the house for 20 minutes last night to get something from the store, my husband was at home, she ran through the whole house, looking for me and whining. She’s fine in her crate though, no whining nothing (we have a camera set up).

Sorry, it got a bit long :)

Thanks a lot in advance!

Britta
 

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Sometimes dogs bond more strongly with one person, and it's also common for dog's to strongly prefer one gender or be afraid of one gender (and I've noticed when they're afraid of one it's most often men).

Growing up I had a family friend whose dog was strongly bonded to the mother of the family, and though she was fond of the 2 daughters and father she would always prefer to be nearest the mother and would exhibit separation anxiety problems when only the mother went out (as in literally stand at the door whining on and off until she got back). If everyone went out she was pretty much OK.

My lab/BC/mutt is the same way with my brother your dog is with your husband. She is allowed on the couch but for years she would move off the couch if my father or brother sat down, would tolerate me sitting next to her but not if I touched her too much, and would only really happily cuddle with my mother. We got her at 8 months and she didn't display outright fear of men but definitely always has preferred women. She's also very sensitive to people's energy and other people's energy towards them- he was a huge problem child growing up and there was a lot of resentment in the family towards him plus he has a very excitable energy that she particularly does not like. Now, after having her for coming on 6 years, she will happily sit next to anyone in the family, and let me, my mother and my father fuss with her (although she still tends to move off the couch if my brother fusses with her too much). Do you and your husband have really different energies around the dog? My first guess is that you have either a softer or a more exciting personality that made her gravitate towards you.

As for whether to be worried- I do think you should really up on separation anxiety a little just in case it gets more amped up with her. It's not something I've ever dealt myself but it can become a huge problem so good to have a working knowledge of the issue and ways to handle it when it's very mild vs if it started to get worse.

As for the rest I don't think its a problem. 1) You've only had her for a couple of months and she probably still isn't even 100% settled yet. There's a saying that dogs start showing their true personalities after 3 weeks and get comfortable and settled after 3 months, or something like that. 2) Even if she does end up having a preference for you (likely given you seem to be the primary caretaker) she's not really so much showing aversion to your husband as just giving him a wider berth than you. I'd guess she'll adjust in time and has perhaps had trouble with men in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sometimes dogs bond more strongly with one person, and it's also common for dog's to strongly prefer one gender or be afraid of one gender (and I've noticed when they're afraid of one it's most often men).

Growing up I had a family friend whose dog was strongly bonded to the mother of the family, and though she was fond of the 2 daughters and father she would always prefer to be nearest the mother and would exhibit separation anxiety problems when only the mother went out (as in literally stand at the door whining on and off until she got back). If everyone went out she was pretty much OK.

My lab/BC/mutt is the same way with my brother your dog is with your husband. She is allowed on the couch but for years she would move off the couch if my father or brother sat down, would tolerate me sitting next to her but not if I touched her too much, and would only really happily cuddle with my mother. We got her at 8 months and she didn't display outright fear of men but definitely always has preferred women. She's also very sensitive to people's energy and other people's energy towards them- he was a huge problem child growing up and there was a lot of resentment in the family towards him plus he has a very excitable energy that she particularly does not like. Now, after having her for coming on 6 years, she will happily sit next to anyone in the family, and let me, my mother and my father fuss with her (although she still tends to move off the couch if my brother fusses with her too much). Do you and your husband have really different energies around the dog? My first guess is that you have either a softer or a more exciting personality that made her gravitate towards you.

As for whether to be worried- I do think you should really up on separation anxiety a little just in case it gets more amped up with her. It's not something I've ever dealt myself but it can become a huge problem so good to have a working knowledge of the issue and ways to handle it when it's very mild vs if it started to get worse.

As for the rest I don't think its a problem. 1) You've only had her for a couple of months and she probably still isn't even 100% settled yet. There's a saying that dogs start showing their true personalities after 3 weeks and get comfortable and settled after 3 months, or something like that. 2) Even if she does end up having a preference for you (likely given you seem to be the primary caretaker) she's not really so much showing aversion to your husband as just giving him a wider berth than you. I'd guess she'll adjust in time and has perhaps had trouble with men in the past.
Thanks so much for your reply! Your description of how it works with your lab/bc seems to be hitting it on the head of what's happening in our house.
I don't know if she had bad encounters with men, but it could really be the more softer/cuddly side of me. My husband plays catch, hide and seek and fetch with her a lot, so more exciting stuff for her and maybe on the couch she just wants to hang out, relax and cuddle and that's why she prefers me (not that I don't play fetch/tug/catch, etc. with her, but there's always a lot of petting/cuddling involved).

I'm (obviously :) ) fine with her having a preference for me, the thing we want to avoid is that there will be resource guarding me against my husband. She is not aggressive in any means, but if there is just a hint of the beginnings of resource guarding visible in the described behavior, then I'd like to counter act as soon as possible, you now what I mean?

Also, the separation anxiety, what could we do in these early stages? My husband suggested maybe staying at a friend's house for a night or two while he stays with her, but I think that would just justify her fear that I won't always come back.

I guess I'll have to read up a little more :)
 
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