Dog Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We got a puppy for my daughter as a 4H project and to be her friend. He is a lab/shepherd mix from the shelter, and we got him at 8 weeks (he is now 6 months old). My daughter feeds him, trains him, takes him to puppy/obedience classes, walks him, puts him to bed, and plays with him. I do nothing for the dog. I only pet him a very little bit. Unfortunately, he keeps looking to me as the owner. He will ignore my daughter to go nearer to me. I do my best to totally ignore him. I am now very vigilantly ignoring him, to the point I nearly never make eye contact. It's not helping. What can we do to help him see her as the "owner"? She does everything for the dog - I can't stress this enough. Because of all this pulling away, I am not connected to this dog at all. We have another dog that I have had since before my daughter was born, and that is the family dog, but she mostly sees me as the boss because I trained her. I am wondering if she is giving mixed messages to the puppy, and how to mitigate that. All of this makes my daughter, who is already fragile, very upset and despondent. I am willing to take any suggestions to remedy this. What should I do? My daughter's dog trainer says he will "come around", but she didn't give us anything helpful to do. This seems like vague instructions. Please help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hello, 2ManyAnimals,

Dogs are very intelligent creatures a lot more than people give them credit for, the dog is looking to you as the leader because you are the leader of the household and your daughter.

Dogs pick up on this relatively easy and follow suite because they are pack animals. As your daughter grows her dog will most probably grow with her, but at the same time he will always see you as the primary leader.

Your other dog is a perfect example of this, as she views you as the leader in the home.
Dogs attach themselves to people they feel can protect and guide them that’s just how they are programmed.

Being that your daughter is most probably very young she does not fit this. In most cases, children rarely make leaders for dogs.
A dog can and will love a child and protect them, but that is different. At that stage, they are protecting them because they need to be protected because they are not the leader.
Also note that dogs pick up on body language and emotion; it all plays into who they ultimately choose as their leader.

I hope this makes sense.
The only real thing you can have your daughter do is work with her dog, train with him every other day weekly minimum.

I hope this helps, and wish you both the best of luck.

-UnShackledPit
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
I'm afraid you might be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It would have been great if the dog had fallen into the plan that you had for your daughter, but a dog is also a living being and apparently this one has other ideas.

Just as a family's dynamic is fluid and always changing I would just go with the flow. You could allow yourself to form a bond with this family member, as it is healthy to do, and as your daughter grows and continues to spend a lot of time with the dog, having fun with the dog too, their relationship will grow into something that is just theirs and theirs alone! It might not be what you had planned, but it will be even better because it is real, and something they have built together!

Love is a funny thing, you can't tell a heart who to love or how to love!

When our eldest son and his wife got a second puppy (they are 5 months apart) I tried to ignore the smaller one for 2 reasons, one for the older dog to continue to feel special to me, and two for the smaller one to be not so overwhelmed with everyone being so focused on her. And you know, she ended up being even more drawn to me in later visits. I think possibly with you being so withdrawn from your daughter's dog might have this paradox effect that the dog wants to be closer to you.

I agree with unShackledpit about dogs knowing who the leader of the household is. It usually is the person who is in the kitchen handling everyone's food :D
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,673 Posts
I think it's really wonderful that your daughter has been learning about animal husbandry through taking care of your family's new puppy. Look at all the skills she's mastered: she "feeds him, trains him, takes him to puppy/obedience classes, walks him, puts him to bed, and plays with him." As as a former 4H-er, I can say that she's got the makings of a terrific 4H project. Keep praising your daughter on how well she is taking care of your family's new addition. This, in itself, should be the source of great pride.

I'm wondering if this focus on your daughter's "bonding" or lack of perceived bonding is causing unnecessary stress for your daughter and for you. If she's getting the message from you that there is a deficient in their "bonding," I think she might lose some confidence in her own interactions with the puppy. If your daughter is putting so much pressure on herself that she's becoming upset and despondent, then this will inevitably result in less bonding. Why not make this new puppy a "family" dog rather than "her" dog? Keep having your daughter do all of the care of the puppy, but take some pressure off of the whole dynamic.

Also, I might suggest that you all consider what kinds of activities your puppy gravitates to. Does your puppy like to learn new tricks, fetch balls, go on hikes, do nosework activities, or just lounge around the house? Your puppy has probably started to express some preferences based on his breed and personality. Knowing your puppy better could help direct the kinds of interactions that your daughter has with him. The more she engages your puppy in activities he loves, the more he will seek her attention.

Again, I would suggest that you take some pressure off of yourselves. It sounds like your daughter doing everything right and that you've got a super puppy. Just let this relationship grow, and praise your daughter for all that she's doing right. It's o.k. for your puppy to bond with you too, and you and your daughter can enjoy spending time with your puppy together. Think of the fun that all three of you can have. I'm sure that your daughter would love that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
I think you are doing yourself and the puppy a disservice by ignoring him. Dogs and people are social and they both need and want comfort and interaction. I agree that you're creating the dog's desire to please you because you're harder to win over. Since your strategy isn't working that's just another reason to abandon it and let yourself love the puppy. He deserves that, and you'll both be happier.

As for your daughter, don't point out or dwell on the attention the dog gives to you. The more it's pointed out the more inflated the "problem" becomes.

Maybe the puppy doesn't like something your daughter is doing. I have no idea if that's the case, but it's something to watch for. Too rough? Not playing enough? Ordering the puppy around? Mixed signals that confuse him? Not giving the puppy enough space and free time? There may be something going on that's making the puppy upset.

Dogs have their own personality and thoughts and like what they like. You can't force him to like something. I think the best bet is to find out what he enjoys and have your daughter do more of that, and become aware of what he avoids or shies away from. You'll find some answers if you watch his body language.

It would be good to watch videos on dog body language so you can better decipher how he's feeling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
If a puppy can't identify his Owner then He/She can respond to the wrong person. Need to focus on Puppy to treat him and explain to identify that we are yours. You have to explained that you have to respond to us not others. Once he Fixes in their mind then they will become more responsible for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Do you still have problems?

Who was the first person the dog met in your home when you brought it in? The dog might have made a wrong association even back then.

One thing, I think, is that maybe your daughter is trying too much and the dog is overwhelmed. Then you are giving space and the dog thinks 'whew, this family member is nice, not all over me'.

Your daughter is though doing already what she should. Taking care of the dog's basic needs and exercising it. Regarding the training, what kind of methods and equipment is she been instructed to use on the dog? I hope all reward-based!

Our dogs tend to gravitate towards my mom. I was a teen and jealous over our younger dog. I was having a severe boy and his dog complex (exept that I'm a girl). I never turned the dog fully away from my mom but when she was not present and I kept training and exercising the dog and she was like my left arm. One thing that affected us when my mom was present is that my behavior changed. I was nervous. I knew she would prefer to listen to my mom, and my mom didn't quite accept my interest in dog training. The dog saw all this and would not listen to an insecure handler.

The dog was technically my mom's so I decided to not fight that bond. Instead, I kept working on ours. Maybe by giving the dog more line I could reel her more in.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top