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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My roommate (not romantic, just a roommate) has a bull terrier who is pleasant, cheerful, playful, house trained, good with the cats, and doesn't bite, growl, or show any aggression. She willingly goes into her crate during the day, and politely exits her crate at lunch and in the evening.

My roommate lets her sleep in the bed, drag on the leash, eat before her, and shove her way through doorways before her. The dog also constantly pushes her way between her and the cabinets while she is cooking, and does not move out of the way for her. So she is clearly dominant in some aspects, but is very affectionate and attentive to her owner, and again, is not in any way aggressive. She is extremely submissive to other dogs.

The problem is that the dog flat out refuses to acknowledge my presence. If I let her out of the crate, she does not make eye contact or look up or greet me in any way, and immediately slinks off to her bed in her bedroom. Not a submissive slink (tail is neutral), but more like a "get me out of here" slink. She comes into my bedroom and snoops around while I'm in there and doesn't acknowledge me, even when I call her. When we are home alone together, she never comes out of her room, even when I call her with a treat. If I give her a treat, she promptly (but politely) takes it without acknowledging me, and then leaves. She refuses to do her business when I let her out (sometimes my roommate is late at work, so I get home first). If I firmly command her, she cowers and rolls over on her back. On rare occasions (and always when her owner is in the room) when she actually interacts with me, she comes and sits on my feet. She is also constantly bringing me her toy when I am outside and dropping it in my lap.

When anyone else comes home or comes to the house, she cheerfully greets everyone. When I come home, nothing. She interacts with everyone else she encounters. Me, she completely ignores.

To make things very clear, I have never hit her, manhandled her, yelled at her, kicked her, nothing. I have tried to be kind and affectionate, but firm. I do not yield when we pass each other in the hall. That is, she now reluctantly moves out of my way. Also, I sometimes feed her, and I make her sit and wait every time before I release her to eat. I make her sit and wait before I let her inside. I make her wait when I go through a door.

She is my roommate's dog, so I don't have any primary care duties. I don't feed, walk, or train her, and her owner doesn't acknowledge the dominant behavior, either over herself or me. In my limited capacity of secondary care provider, I have tried to establish at least rudimentary obedience, and she reluctantly obliges me, but mostly just completely ignores me. Because I don't own her, there is only so much I can do.

I find her behavior towards me to be completely unacceptable. And it has been almost three years of this. If, for some reason, I really needed her to obey me, it would be impossible. Besides, it frankly hurts my feelings to be ostracized by a dog that I have never done anything to.

Please advise on this strategy: I have completely ignored her for two weeks. She stays in her crate until her owner comes home (only another hour or so), I don't look at her, say her name, or speak to her. No treats, no petting, no nothing. There is not much left that I can do, given my limited capacity as not her owner.

I am fully aware of how junior high girl this sounds, petty and sort of ridiculous. But this animal lives in my house, and her behavior is not acceptable. And I'm on my own (no help from the owner).

The first few days, she didn't seem to notice. Then, a couple of times I would see her out of the corner of my eye trying to make eye contact, wagging her tail tentatively. She has come to sit next to me and looked up at me. And has also come to sit on my feet (and I pushed her away). She brought me her toy today in the yard.

Is this a good strategy? More importantly, when do I start relenting? I don't expect her to have the same relationship with me as with her owner, but, frankly, some respect would be nice.

If this is not a good strategy, what would you suggest?
 

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Hi there....
First, you should understand that dogs don't like everyone and they shouldn't have to. To my understanding, Bull Terriers are more one person dogs anyhow. I don't think you should get so upset that the dog doesn't like you. (Plus, if you resent the dog for it, she could be picking up on that.)

Second, your regimen is going to get you nowhere. It is pretty outdated. Think about it.... Why would you withhold treats? Food is one of the biggest drives for a dog. Why would you withhold attention if you want to bond with the dog? Pushing her away? Why not reward her efforts to be near you, considering that is your goal?

My rec is to start doing Positive Reinforcement training with her. The training is fun, and she will associate that with you. Plus, it will allow you to teach her cues you want her to respond to.

And when you aren't training, become a treat dispenser. And talk to her/praise her. Relax. Be approachable.

I think you need to adjust your attitude and goals....

Also, check out this thread so you can better read her body language. Who knows--maybe you are stressing her out with your demeanor/body carriage/attitude.... http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/
 

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My roommate (not romantic, just a roommate) has a bull terrier who is pleasant, cheerful, playful, house trained, good with the cats, and doesn't bite, growl, or show any aggression. She willingly goes into her crate during the day, and politely exits her crate at lunch and in the evening.

My roommate lets her sleep in the bed, drag on the leash, eat before her, and shove her way through doorways before her. The dog also constantly pushes her way between her and the cabinets while she is cooking, and does not move out of the way for her. So she is clearly dominant in some aspects, but is very affectionate and attentive to her owner, and again, is not in any way aggressive. She is extremely submissive to other dogs.

The problem is that the dog flat out refuses to acknowledge my presence. If I let her out of the crate, she does not make eye contact or look up or greet me in any way, and immediately slinks off to her bed in her bedroom. Not a submissive slink (tail is neutral), but more like a "get me out of here" slink. She comes into my bedroom and snoops around while I'm in there and doesn't acknowledge me, even when I call her. When we are home alone together, she never comes out of her room, even when I call her with a treat. If I give her a treat, she promptly (but politely) takes it without acknowledging me, and then leaves. She refuses to do her business when I let her out (sometimes my roommate is late at work, so I get home first). If I firmly command her, she cowers and rolls over on her back. On rare occasions (and always when her owner is in the room) when she actually interacts with me, she comes and sits on my feet. She is also constantly bringing me her toy when I am outside and dropping it in my lap.

When anyone else comes home or comes to the house, she cheerfully greets everyone. When I come home, nothing. She interacts with everyone else she encounters. Me, she completely ignores.

To make things very clear, I have never hit her, manhandled her, yelled at her, kicked her, nothing. I have tried to be kind and affectionate, but firm. I do not yield when we pass each other in the hall. That is, she now reluctantly moves out of my way. Also, I sometimes feed her, and I make her sit and wait every time before I release her to eat. I make her sit and wait before I let her inside. I make her wait when I go through a door.

She is my roommate's dog, so I don't have any primary care duties. I don't feed, walk, or train her, and her owner doesn't acknowledge the dominant behavior, either over herself or me. In my limited capacity of secondary care provider, I have tried to establish at least rudimentary obedience, and she reluctantly obliges me, but mostly just completely ignores me. Because I don't own her, there is only so much I can do.

I find her behavior towards me to be completely unacceptable. And it has been almost three years of this. If, for some reason, I really needed her to obey me, it would be impossible. Besides, it frankly hurts my feelings to be ostracized by a dog that I have never done anything to.

Please advise on this strategy: I have completely ignored her for two weeks. She stays in her crate until her owner comes home (only another hour or so), I don't look at her, say her name, or speak to her. No treats, no petting, no nothing. There is not much left that I can do, given my limited capacity as not her owner.

I am fully aware of how junior high girl this sounds, petty and sort of ridiculous. But this animal lives in my house, and her behavior is not acceptable. And I'm on my own (no help from the owner).

The first few days, she didn't seem to notice. Then, a couple of times I would see her out of the corner of my eye trying to make eye contact, wagging her tail tentatively. She has come to sit next to me and looked up at me. And has also come to sit on my feet (and I pushed her away). She brought me her toy today in the yard.

Is this a good strategy? More importantly, when do I start relenting? I don't expect her to have the same relationship with me as with her owner, but, frankly, some respect would be nice.

If this is not a good strategy, what would you suggest?
She sounds like a lovely dog... It seems that your only problem you find unacceptable is that she doesn't like you... in fact she sounds to be intimidated by you, as in rolling on her back when you give her a 'firm' command...

What kind of behaviour does the dog do that is unacceptable to you?
 

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The problem is that the dog flat out refuses to acknowledge my presence. If I let her out of the crate, she does not make eye contact or look up or greet me in any way, and immediately slinks off to her bed in her bedroom. Not a submissive slink (tail is neutral), but more like a "get me out of here" slink. nyone else comes home or comes to the house, she cheerfully greets everyone. When I come home, nothing. She interacts with everyone else she encounters. Me, she completely ignores.

THE DOG IS AFRAID OF YOU. STOP BEING SO ANGRY THE DOG FEELS IT.


To make things very clear, I have never hit her, manhandled her, yelled at her, kicked her, nothing. I have tried to be kind and affectionate, but firm. I do not yield when we pass each other in the hall. That is, she now reluctantly moves out of my way. Also, I sometimes feed her, and I make her sit and wait every time before I release her to eat. I make her sit and wait before I let her inside. I make her wait when I go through a door.

YOU HAVE MADE THINGS VERY CLEAR TO THIS DOG THAT YOU ARE A SCARY PERSON THAT SHE SHOULD NOT TRUST. YOU ARE BEING VERY DOMINATE AND IT SCARES THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THIS DOG.



I find her behavior towards me to be completely unacceptable. And it has been almost three years of this. If, for some reason, I really needed her to obey me, it would be impossible. Besides, it frankly hurts my feelings to be ostracized by a dog that I have never done anything to.


HUMAN TO HUMAN IF YOU TREATED ME LIKE THIS I WOULD NOT LIKE OR TRUST YOU EITHER.

Please advise on this strategy: I have completely ignored her for two weeks. She stays in her crate until her owner comes home (only another hour or so), I don't look at her, say her name, or speak to her. No treats, no petting, no nothing. There is not much left that I can do, given my limited capacity as not her owner.

I am fully aware of how junior high girl this sounds, petty and sort of ridiculous. But this animal lives in my house, and her behavior is not acceptable. And I'm on my own (no help from the owner).

The first few days, she didn't seem to notice. Then, a couple of times I would see her out of the corner of my eye trying to make eye contact, wagging her tail tentatively. She has come to sit next to me and looked up at me. And has also come to sit on my feet (and I pushed her away). She brought me her toy today in the yard.

SHE IS TRYING TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOU BUT YOU STOP HER BY YOUR ACTIONS. SHE SITS ON YOUR FEET AS A WAY OF TRYING TO CALM YOU DOWN OR TO CALM HERSELF.

Is this a good strategy? More importantly, when do I start relenting? I don't expect her to have the same relationship with me as with her owner, but, frankly, some respect would be nice.

NOT RESPECT BUT TRUST IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR. FOOD IS THE EASY ANSWER. BECOME A TREAT MACHINE. DONT HAND THEM TO HER JUST TOSS THEM TO HER AND MOVE ON.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, maybe I should clarify.

For the past three years, I have been the treat dispenser, the praiser, the toy thrower, the petter, the be nice to the dog person, the "what a good girl" positive reinforcement, let's go play in the back yard, etc, etc. There has not been anger or resentment. I've had several other dogs in my life, all of which responded to this positive regimen. But for three years I have been doing what you guys are suggesting and what has worked in the past, and still nothing.

So, how long do I continue with that course of action with zero results before I try something else? In the last few days, she has been making overtures, which is light years from where we were.

Now what? The positive reinforcement did not work for us, so I don't know what to do to gain this dog's trust.
 

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You're very invested in dominance theory, which has been disproven. You're insisting on meaningless things: the dog follows you through doorways, etc. You've confused and frightened her and she doesn't like you.

Frankly, it's not your dog. Leave it be. You have no right to demand anything from this dog, and if I were the owner, I wouldn't want you doing anything to my dog.
 

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Personally, if she were my dog and you were trying all of these methods with her I'd be irritated. She is your roommates dog, not yours. I'd rather you leave my dog alone in his/her crate where he's waiting an extra hour to be out than give firm commands and block him from walking down the hallway. My dog is rather soft and it appears this one is too. Those kind of actions are not helping your case.

Then again, take this with a grain of salt. I don't trust my dog with anyone, not even my family, because they don't pick up on his subtle cues. I barely trust my husband with him. This is because I understand that each dogs are individuals and various handling/training styles are not for every dog.

Conclusion: If you don't like how she's interacting with you (assuming nothing is aggressive), it's not your place to force interaction. If your roommate is interesting in increasing her bond with you, that is something she should be coordinating.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dawnben, I was really hurt by some of the things you said, but I think I needed to hear them.

Thank you. I don't want those things to be true about me.

I really don't know what to do. I tried to think outside the box, and it came across in my post that I am some sort of monster. I was looking at this as a dominance thing on the dog's part.

I feel like at this point, I can't really salvage my relationship with the dog, and it makes me really sad.
 

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Just ignore the dog completely. Give her time and space. Really we cannot choose if an animal likes you or not. I am wondering if you have tension with your roommate and the dog picks up on this. Even a fight between you and the owner could make the dog see you this way. You clearly don't respect the roommate as evidenced by you saying she lets the dog run all over her and by you feeling entitled to correct her dog for her. I had someone try to alpha roll my dog and we do not speak now.
 

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Honestly, it's not your dog, back off.

I would be very angry if you were my room mate and you were treating my dog like that when I wasn't home. The dog is AFRAID of you because you are treating it like it's in the military. There's no such thing as "dominance' in dogs, that theory is totally bogus. See the link provided Amaryllis. None of the behaviors you described are the dog trying to be dominant. The dog was just never trained otherwise, or maybe the owner LIKES that the dog shows those behaviors.

Anyway, I say this as kindly as I can, but please just mind your own business. The dog doesn't belong to you, which means you have no right to be treating it like that or training it behind it's owners back. It also means that the dog doesn't HAVE to like you. I'm sorry that you feel ostracized, but it's a dog, it's not personal against you. The way you are treating her scares her, so of course she's going to avoid you like the plague.
 

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My roommate (not romantic, just a roommate) has a bull terrier who is pleasant, cheerful, playful, house trained, good with the cats, and doesn't bite, growl, or show any aggression. She willingly goes into her crate during the day, and politely exits her crate at lunch and in the evening.
She sounds like a very nice dog.

My roommate lets her sleep in the bed, drag on the leash, eat before her, and shove her way through doorways before her. The dog also constantly pushes her way between her and the cabinets while she is cooking, and does not move out of the way for her. So she is clearly dominant in some aspects, but is very affectionate and attentive to her owner, and again, is not in any way aggressive. She is extremely submissive to other dogs.
As has been stated in this thread she's not being dominant, dogs do not work that way. Sounds like your roommate did not mind those behaviors and didn't teach her any better. I didn't like my dog going through doorways before me, not because I was afraid he was doing so to take over the house but because if I didn't notice him he'd trip me. Dragging on the leash just means the dog is eager to get where it wants to go and hasn't been taught that that's not the way to get there.

The problem is that the dog flat out refuses to acknowledge my presence. If I let her out of the crate, she does not make eye contact or look up or greet me in any way, and immediately slinks off to her bed in her bedroom. Not a submissive slink (tail is neutral), but more like a "get me out of here" slink. She comes into my bedroom and snoops around while I'm in there and doesn't acknowledge me, even when I call her. When we are home alone together, she never comes out of her room, even when I call her with a treat. If I give her a treat, she promptly (but politely) takes it without acknowledging me, and then leaves. She refuses to do her business when I let her out (sometimes my roommate is late at work, so I get home first). If I firmly command her, she cowers and rolls over on her back. On rare occasions (and always when her owner is in the room) when she actually interacts with me, she comes and sits on my feet. She is also constantly bringing me her toy when I am outside and dropping it in my lap.
She's boarder line afraid of you, uncomfortable around you. The very best thing you can do is reset your relationship by ignoring her, UNLESS she seeks your attention, when she does acknowledge her gently pet her a few times, play with her gently if that's what she wants, then go back to ignoring her unless she tries to get your attention again. You can also try using calming signals with her. Yawn at her, turn sideways to her, look away from her. I know it seems rude to us humans but to dogs it's actually polite behavior that dogs use to say they do not want trouble. Here's a thread on it http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/

anyone else comes home or comes to the house, she cheerfully greets everyone. When I come home, nothing. She interacts with everyone else she encounters. Me, she completely ignores.
If you are the only one trying to be dominant toward her that's the problem, and what you are experiencing is fallout from trying that. Instead of trying to be alpha toward her try to be her friend, try to make her your partner.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/To
To make things very clear, I have never hit her, manhandled her, yelled at her, kicked her, nothing. I have tried to be kind and affectionate, but firm. I do not yield when we pass each other in the hall. That is, she now reluctantly moves out of my way. Also, I sometimes feed her, and I make her sit and wait every time before I release her to eat. I make her sit and wait before I let her inside. I make her wait when I go through a door.
Drop the but firm part, you really don't need it. If you are adamant about going through the hall first then teach her a command like wait and use clicker training to teach it, personally since she's not your dog I don't see a reason to really bother with it unless your tripping over her as she tries to get past. Stick with her owners feeding method. Yes I did make my dog sit to be fed but that was because he jumped around and knocked the food bowl out of my hand if I didn't, it wasn't because his sitting meant that I was dominant over her. Same with the other things you are making her sit for. Unless you have some reason besides it makes her think I'm the boss then drop it, it's hurting your relationship with her. NONE of those things make a dog think a human is the boss.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/She
She is my roommate's dog, so I don't have any primary care duties. I don't feed, walk, or train her, and her owner doesn't acknowledge the dominant behavior, either over herself or me. In my limited capacity of secondary care provider, I have tried to establish at least rudimentary obedience, and she reluctantly obliges me, but mostly just completely ignores me. Because I don't own her, there is only so much I can do.
Her owner is wise and probably knows that it isn't dominant behavior, just behavior that the dog was never taught not to do.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/I
I find her behavior towards me to be completely unacceptable. And it has been almost three years of this. If, for some reason, I really needed her to obey me, it would be impossible. Besides, it frankly hurts my feelings to be ostracized by a dog that I have never done anything to.
She's not ostracizing you, she's just wary of you. It's most likely because of your manner toward her. Quit being firm with her. Again toss the dominant theory out the window because it is wrong and based on faulty scientific research. My boy would probably treat you the same way if you treated him that way.

Please advise on this strategy: I have completely ignored her for two weeks. She stays in her crate until her owner comes home (only another hour or so), I don't look at her, say her name, or speak to her. No treats, no petting, no nothing. There is not much left that I can do, given my limited capacity as not her owner.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/calming-signals-10084/I
I am fully aware of how junior high girl this sounds, petty and sort of ridiculous. But this animal lives in my house, and her behavior is not acceptable. And I'm on my own (no help from the owner).

The first few days, she didn't seem to notice. Then, a couple of times I would see her out of the corner of my eye trying to make eye contact, wagging her tail tentatively. She has come to sit next to me and looked up at me. And has also come to sit on my feet (and I pushed her away). She brought me her toy today in the yard.

Is this a good strategy? More importantly, when do I start relenting? I don't expect her to have the same relationship with me as with her owner, but, frankly, some respect would be nice.

If this is not a good strategy, what would you suggest?
Yes ignoring her was what she always wanted in the first place, and by respecting her wish she's starting to view you as someone who is less threatening to her. If you want to make friends with her start acknowledging her overtures toward you in a clam, non threatening, non firm manner. Talk softly to her, give her a few pets, or gently play with her for a little bit.
 
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Dawnben, I was really hurt by some of the things you said, but I think I needed to hear them.

Thank you. I don't want those things to be true about me.

I really don't know what to do. I tried to think outside the box, and it came across in my post that I am some sort of monster. I was looking at this as a dominance thing on the dog's part.

I feel like at this point, I can't really salvage my relationship with the dog, and it makes me really sad.
You can if you stop giving mixed messages to the dog. One time you are a treat machine and the next time you are the mean large person that pushes the dog off you or speak in a stern voice to make her do what you want. I dont think you are a monster but I don't think the dog trusts you. If the dog trusts all others as you say it had to be something you have done to make the dog shy away from you. Maybe it is just the fact that you think the dog likes you that is the problem. I would ignore the dog entirely and let her come to you and if she does treat her and walk away. Let her follow you or not if she chooses. If she does give another treat. You might be surprised but this often works. It may take time but if you dont say anything or do anything negative the dog will learn only good things happen when you are there. I have never met a dog this does not work on.
 

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You can if you stop giving mixed messages to the dog. One time you are a treat machine and the next time you are the mean large person that pushes the dog off you or speak in a stern voice to make her do what you want. I dont think you are a monster but I don't think the dog trusts you. If the dog trusts all others as you say it had to be something you have done to make the dog shy away from you. Maybe it is just the fact that you think the dog likes you that is the problem. I would ignore the dog entirely and let her come to you and if she does treat her and walk away. Let her follow you or not if she chooses. If she does give another treat. You might be surprised but this often works. It may take time but if you dont say anything or do anything negative the dog will learn only good things happen when you are there. I have never met a dog this does not work on.

I don't know your relationship with your roommate or if you discussed what you can/can't do with the dog, but I'd check with her before you start dishing out treats. If she's fine with it and you wirking with the dog, make sure the extras are accounted for in meals. Obesity can come on quick with high value treats.
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Hi

As mentioned earlier bull terriers are kinda a one person dog. I've only met three and I could not get a single one to acknowlege me. Even with toys and food.

I found it odd/wierd/off putting also but I realized its just how they are.

I agree however the dog seems to be getting mixed messages. My first dog ignored me for a long time when I came home because I was mixing in dominance this and thats. When I dropped the concept completely within a month he was a normal, happy dog. Some dogs will tolerate "firmness" and still love on you. Others get very spooked by it and you have to really watch your tone and body language. Bully breeds as a generalization are sensitive to vocal tone...

Welcome to the board btw :)



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