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Old 03-04-2014, 10:29 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
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Default Need Some Bonding Advice

Let me start out by saying that I know that this is 100% my problem. The problem isn't Gimmick at all. But, right at the moment, I'm ready to send him packing. I would never do it, but everything he does irritates the crap out of me.

He is now 11 months old, and I got him at 16 weeks. He came from a byb, and then went to a home that did no socializing, so I knew it would be an uphill battle with him. I've done everything I should have, and continue to work with him daily.

But it doesn't seem to be doing much. I don't care if he's friendly with strangers, but he acts like they're all going to kill him, which makes taking him places very difficult.

One of he reasons I wanted to start with an 8wk old puppy and go to a good breeder was to avoid having an overly fearful dog. I already have Gambit in that niche, and I was hoping for a dog that could do more. I hate to say it, but I think I should have just stuck with that plan.

I think that he would have had a very soft and timid temperament no matter what, which was compounded by his lack of early socializing.

I'm just frustrated with him, which is not what he needs. And I should also say that he loves me more then anything, and I never slack on cuddles and training.

What can I do to help us get out of this rut? I know that I need to let go of what I wanted, and love the dog I have, but it's so hard right now. I feel like the worst dog owner in the world, not only for these feelings, but because I can't seem to help him. Literally, tears are welling up in my eyes as I type this.

It's like a delayed case of the puppy blues. Please, someone, anyone, give me some suggestions for dealing with these feelings.

ResQ 99 Problems but a Glitch Ain't One "Glitch"
ResQ Opening Night Jitters "Gambit"
ResQ Something Whippet This Way Comes "Gimmick"
"Just Remember, Baby: When Life Gives You Lemons, Tuck 'em!" Marbles, Bobs Burgers
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:46 PM
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Dogdragoness Dogdragoness is offline
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Location: Gillett/Flower Mound TX
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I dont have any real advice, only that I am sorry you are going through this, and I was in a similar situation with buddy, a dog from rescue with an equally questions or past, I have also reached a point where I (me personally) simply can't take him any farther. But being at the ranch he has fallen in love with my parents (and they have fallen equally for him, and since their other dog's buddy is getting up there in years, he will be a good companion for her.

Again I empathize, I wish I had some better advice

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Old 03-04-2014, 11:18 PM
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GoingNowhere GoingNowhere is offline
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Hang in there! You know - sometimes it is the dogs who are the hardest and the most frustrating, who, at the end of the day, are the ones that we cherish the most when our time with them begins to dwindle.

Keep in mind he's still young and could be going through a weird fearful period. He may never be that bombproof "take anywhere" dog, but then again, he may be. Time is still on his side.

And you know, even sensitive dogs who aren't bombproof can learn to do a whole lot and can go many places that a bombproof dog could go, just with the right work, management, and handler awareness.

Lastly - it's maybe not the right place to ask, but do share pictures of the little guy! I would love to see some and at least in my experience, it's always a bit of a cheer up having other people tell you how adorable and wonderful your dog is

My Hiking Blog:
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:34 PM
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meepitsmeagan meepitsmeagan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Southwest Michigan
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I know exactly how you are feeling. I went through this with Rider. I resented him. Wished I'd never found him. Wished I'd stuck with the plan of puppy from a breeder.

Fact of the matter? We don't always get the dogs we want. Mostly, we get the dogs we need. The puppy plan you didn't stick to could have had other issues or could have been perfect. You will never know.

Do you try to go out to non-stressful places like hiking where there are minimal people? Have you thought about training for something specific, such as rally? Trick training? I know once I started training for Rally, the focus and structure really helped Rider to zero in on me and start to care less about the people. It also distracted ME. When a man we'd never met before would come upon us, I'd tense up and I think that made Rider's fear worse. I've begun to do the opposite of what most people do... I ignore the situation. If Rider wants to approach them, he can. If he wants to hide under the desk, he can. I don't make a big deal of it, and if someone doesn't seem to understand he's uncomfortable I ask them to give him some space. It has really helped a lot.

I posted a thread very similar to this a while back and got a lot of good support. I was ready to rehome him. I couldn't stand a thing he did or the sight of him. Honestly, if that is a decision you decide to make don't feel bad. You got him out of a bad situation and have done your best to turn him around. Sometimes it just doesn't work out, ya know?

DISCLAIMER- I know that I can sometimes get irritated when personal experiences don't really touch on my original questions. However, when I was having these issues, it was nice to have support from other people to do what feels best and that other people went through this.

I would seriously give some dog sport a try. If anything, the additional training will help make it fun (hopefully).

Lots of help came from this thread:

I hope you get something from this post. Sorry it was long and rambling.

Iggy 2007 Chesapeake Bay Retriever :: Harlow 2010 Boxer ::
Rider 2012 ACD/BCx :: Tulsa 2014 ACD
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:03 AM
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sassafras sassafras is offline
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Honestly, as he's from a byb I'd suspect there's a not-small genetic component to his behavior, so don't beat yourself up. Because with the amount of work you've been doing with him, 16 weeks is not too late to socialize a puppy who started with a solid temperament IMO.

So I think you'll help yourself the most by letting go of what you want him to be and trying to bond with what he is than anything you change about him. Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot you can do to help him navigate the world more easily, but help him be the best he can be not be an imaginary dog in your head.

When I got Maisy, it took me a LONG time to bond with her and although I didn't realize it at the time, it was really because she wasn't Roxy II. Once I admitted to myself that was the problem and worked with Maisy as Maisy I instead of Roxy II, everything fell into place.

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Old 03-05-2014, 08:41 AM
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Emily Emily is offline
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Originally Posted by sassafras View Post

So I think you'll help yourself the most by letting go of what you want him to be and trying to bond with what he is than anything you change about him. Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot you can do to help him navigate the world more easily, but help him be the best he can be not be an imaginary dog in your head.

When I got Maisy, it took me a LONG time to bond with her and although I didn't realize it at the time, it was really because she wasn't Roxy II. Once I admitted to myself that was the problem and worked with Maisy as Maisy I instead of Roxy II, everything fell into place.
So much this. I had a hard time with at Keeva because she was just...different from what I expected, what I wanted. I really struggled to feel bonded with her because of it. I know it sounds like fluff but it only gets better when you accept them for who they are, and enjoy it.

This might seem silly but I watched Sylvia Trkman's DVD Ready, Steady, Go! and it actually really helped me. It's about agility but honestly it's more about relationship and how you interact with your dog. It really encouraged me to find Keeva's strengths and play the games SHE wanted to play, not the games I thought she should like.

I dunno, I know it is all easier said than done, but there will come a point where you let him be who he is going to be, and everything will get better for both of you.

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Old 03-05-2014, 09:04 AM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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I haven't read my response on the other thread but it'll probably be similar...

It took me around 8? years to really bond with Trey. I liked him and he was treated well don't get me wrong but he just kind of coexisted with everyone for the most part. He was a very strange and difficult dog in a lot of ways. Didn't 'do' too much. Had some drive but no sense and was so afraid of everything. My other two shelties had been so fun and confident and loved to play and it was hard to really bond. It took me a lot of time to really see what I had there in him. He was a kind little soul. Totally devoted to me to the point non dog people would comment on it. His world revolved around me and it took me so long to reciprocate that bond. I still feel guilty sometimes.

But dang that dog taught me a lot and I miss him all the time. I miss my other dogs too but I miss him the most. I had to stop comparing him to Nikki and Rosie and just look at Trey and who he was. I would not ever seek a dog like him again for sure but he was a great dog. In his own Trey-like way.

I think it can also help to just focus on what you CAN do and to play around till you find something that makes your dog just light up like nothing else. I have always loved Summer and really bonded with her when my mom was sick and passed away. But I have bonded even closer through being her team mate in agility because I get to see a side of her that's not always apparent. Watching her be wild and crazy is so much fun. It wouldn't have to be something organized like agility but finding a game that just makes Gimmick happy that you can do together as a team and set goals with.... I think that could help too.

Hank CA - (approx. 1 1/2 year old Spotty Dog)
Mia CGC - (6 1/2 year old Papillon)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (11 year old Papillon)
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:08 AM
Catsi Catsi is offline
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Hey Still and Silent,

It took me a very long time to truly bond with Abby. I always loved her, I always knew that she'd be with me until she passed on and I do remember someone suggesting that I perhaps rehome her and I was pretty devastated at the very idea.

She was a byb purchase so there was guilt surrounding that as well once I started learning more about dogs. I took her to puppy school. She was difficult (reactive to dogs and people). I took her to lots of training - obedience, beginners agility, 'pet manners', a behaviourist and got really involved with dog clubs. She really began my fascination with dog behaviour. I thought I could fix her problems. In amongst that, I got it in my head that I really, really wanted to do dog sports with her.

I worked hard to help her and also to get her comfortable enough to do dog sports. There were tears and meltdowns. There was guilt and frustration. Unfortunately I was a very highly-strung person and despite good intentions I didn't really help her. It was a never-ending struggle trying to keep her safe and others safe. It was exhausting.

It doesn't help that I'm a very stubborn individual and to take a step back was to quit and give up. After a particularly bad run of classes I decided to take a break. I just trained at home and with a friend - both places where she was comfortable. She shined. I was happier. She was happier. I started realizing that I had limitations (in terms of personality, access to training) and that she would rather stay in her comfort zone. She didn't care if she couldn't graduate from beginner's agility. She was more worried about everything going on around her. When she wasn't worried, she was happy and fun to be around. I was happy and fun to be around.

I stopped being such a highly-strung, reactive person myself. I went from a bag of nerves to a calmer person. To be honest, looking back I can't believe what I put her through as a young dog. Sure, one can try, but I had to really take a step back and see my limitations and that of my dog and accept it.

This worked for me. I slowly became more easy-going (but never negligent mind you). Walks were more fun. Training was awesome. Life was better. And all of a sudden I realized just how wonderful my little dog is. Our bond grew. She trusted me. I appreciated how hard she would try.

Plus, she is just an awesome pet dog. She has so many qualities that I adore and that, to be honest, I didn't truly appreciate because I was so busy trying to 'fix her'.

I think Laurelin said something along the lines of 'sometimes we don't get the dog we want, but the dog we need'.

This is Abby 1000x over. Except now that I've accepted her for who she is, she is the dog I want. She is my beautiful girl who I'll always love, who has taught me so much and there will never be one like her.

She'll never compete in dog sports - don't get me wrong we still train, but I don't pressure her or myself with formal training. That's just a choice I made given both our temperaments. We have fun at home or somewhere quiet. And for me, now that's what it is about. What can I share with this dog that makes both our lives so enriched? There is so much we can do, that I don't even miss the idea of doing dog sports anymore.

I would love to do it in the future with another dog, but I know now what is more important to me and that's the relationship I have with my dogs.

I'm so sorry Abby, for all I put you through. But thank you for teaching me so much - about dogs, training, behaviour, myself, relationships and love.

Sorry for such a sappy post, but she's a special little mite and without her I'd be half the dog owner I am today. I think every dog teaches us something. She's taken more than her fair share of the responsibility though!

I'm too lazy to post a pic (lost photobucket account) but I'll change my avatar to show a picture of my girl.
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:09 PM
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Dog Boarding Toronto Dog Boarding Toronto is offline
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I sympathize with you for sure. Years and years ago I had a dog who spent a year jumping between a couple families. One kept her in the garage all the time (even in storms which she was deathly afraid of), and the other which hit her all the time as a puppy when she was only learning.

By the time we got her, she was a wreck. She had learnt to only go to the bathroom in a small pile in the very back corner of the yard (which I assume was from being cooped up in a garage and not wanting to walk/lay in her own poop). And every time we lifted a shoe to put on or a fly swatter to swat away a fly... she would immediately lower her head between her paws and cover her nose as if we were going to hit her with them.

It was difficult to get her back to a normal dog. But eventually, by just letting her get used to us, and sharing her with family and friends and their pets, she became very loving.... but it did take time. I know 16 months seems like a long time but just give her a chance, she just needs some more socialization.
As a traveler myself, I know exactly what I want for my dog when it comes to Dog Boarding.
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