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Old 09-22-2008, 06:33 PM
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Domestika Domestika is offline
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Unhappy How to encourage an aloof dog to be more interactive?

I'm having a hard time wording my question...

My 3 month old puppy is already very headstrong. She wants to do what she wants to do and isn't particularly interested in what I want to do, or whether I'm even around.

She rarely looks at me (even though we've spent a LOT of time on "look at me" exercises) and does not come to me for affection, period. She crawled into my lap once while I was on the floor, but that's it in the month that I've had her. She sleeps away from where I'm sitting and if I move towards her or walk by and pet her, she'll usually move away.

When she does interact with me, she bites me. Playfully, usually. She uses her mouth and teeth on me constantly despite the many, many, many techniques I have used to try to stop that. She will, on the odd occassion, turn and snap at me if I physically move her away from something she wants to be doing (like chewing something she shouldn't) or if I put her in her crate when she's not particularly tired - she'll turn and bite me as I'm trying to put her in.

I've spent a LOT of time working on getting her to pay attention to me, and she will if I have something she wants, but if she's laying on the floor calmly and I say "Nova!" nine times out of ten she won't even raise her eyes to acknowledge me.

She's not pushy in most other ways. She doesn't barge ahead of me (though she is quite pushy on leash - either making me drag her or racing ahead and not acknowledging me when I stop moving). She doesn't guard her food or toys. She is VERY friendly with other people, climbing all over them and wagging her tail ferociously. She doesn't wag her tail with me and she doesn't play with me. Well, without biting constantly and hard.

I am TRYING not to be offended that my STUPID dog doesn't appear to like me AT ALL. But, as I'm sure you can tell, it's very hard. We are in puppy classes and we can have a trainer come to the house, but I don't think that she will act this way when other people are around. She gets very animated and friendly with others. I do all the stuff from Nothing in Life is Free. She will grudgingly sit (ONLY facing away from me) to have her leash put on, etc.

Ok, I guess it was part a rant and part a question. Help? Ideas?
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:42 PM
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jess2416 jess2416 is offline
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Chloe rarely pays attention to me and is very "aloof" towards strangers, lol you can ask Angel Chicken, but that just makes the times that she does come to me and gives me kisses even more special..

but anyhoo maybe someone will have some advice for you
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:36 PM
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My black lab Daisy also isn't much for affection. Although she is trainable. Benji is the one who ignores me, lol. I would suggest finding out what she likes. Does she like tummy rubs? Ear scritches? Brushing? What activities does she like to do - walks, play with toys/frisbee, eat? Do the things she likes, and do them often. This will help you bond and connect with your dog.

It is also important not to force your dog to do anything she is afraid of, rather gradually introduce her to it. The snapping when you put her in the crate is, IMO, a combination of being bratty and not being fond of the crate. Feed her in the crate to associate it with good stuff, and teach her a command to go in the crate so that you don't have to push her in. Nobody likes being shoved into anything.

With Benji, he likes walks and plushy toys, and loves loves LOVES chicken. He will come when you say the word "chicken". I have been using a combination of these things to teach him stuff. Sometimes you gotta get creative.

One thing that has been helping me is a nifty little confidence - building game. Get a clicker, and click-treat for random behaviors that your dog gives you. You can try and see if they'll mess with an object such as a basket, but if not just let your dog do whatever and click-treat. Daisy likes this game, its great fun and I have noticed that she is more...outgoing (for lack of a better word) already. You could use this to teach your dog that looking at you is good, she looks at you, click-treat. Benji is taking a while to catch on though, he likes to sit there and stare at me cutely, while edging closer and closer...lol
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:37 AM
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Have you ever heard of a game called "runaway"? It's a search and rescue exercise that is specifically used to build your dog's drive to be with you/humans. And it's really, really fun. If she likes to chase stuff, she will probably enjoy this game.

I found an online preview of a book with a very good explanation of how to do it:

http://books.google.com/books?id=7MF...um=4&ct=result

Since she's not training for SAR, you don't need to hide out of view. Actually, I recommend you don't, especially at first. This is doubly important if you are going to do Sch or tracking with her, because you don't want to encourage her to air scent. Hide in plain sight where she can see you, this is just drive building.

The other important thing is that you have to act like an idiot for this to be effective. The means running backwards while playbowing and hooting and waving your arms using the most ridiculous squeaky voice possible. The person holding on to her who is responsible for releasing her to get you needs to get really excited too, to get her revved up, and then release her when she's really straining/ready to run! Then when she gets to you have the partay of her life. It's pretty embarrassing, which is partly why SAR training is done in the deep woods.

Lastly, while you are leaving don't call her name, don't tell her to come, don't tell her to stay, DO be exciting, VERY exciting.
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:56 PM
Jynx Jynx is offline
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I agree with Romy's suggestions,,I have always had GSD's, and while most of them are very aloof with others,,they have always wanted nothing more than to be with ME..

My 5mth old puppy is like my 11 yr old,,I can't move without them rightthere and wanting to be 'in' on anything I'm doing.

Yours is only 12 wks old, but even at that age, I have never had a problem with them bonding to me totally...

As well as Romy's suggestions,,which is somewhat like Romy's,,a ping pong game,,,two people,,(you and someone else),,call the dog back and forth,,give REALLY good treats/praise for coming..Also, hand feeding her her meals might help ,,and actually sometimes IGNORING them ticks them off enough to WANT to be with you ))

I don't know if your working on any basics yet,,,but just one thing,,don't repeat yourself,,in other words,,don't keep saying things like NOVA COME COME NOVA COME,,,repeteating commands gets' 'nagging' and they will end up tuning you out...

Good luck,,and how is she feeling by the way?? I know in other thread you were having some health issues with her??? Any results yet??
diane
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:10 PM
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I just wanted to add my two cents. The keepaway game is marvelous for training your dog to come when called. Also, since she seems extremely reluctant to respond to you, DO treat like a pez machine when she does something you want her to do. ie, call her, she comes, give her a treat immediately, give her another, give her another, give her another. Try again. Reinforcement works wonders. Do NOT get into that habit where you say a command more than once, it really makes the dog less willing to do it the first time you tell them.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:10 PM
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I had nearly the exact same problem with my dog when I first got him, except he didn't even care for strangers at first.

He never wagged his tail, he never acknowledged me or anyone no matter HOW silly and fun we acted, if I ran away from him, he'd turn around and trot away from me, if I tried to play with him, he'd get up and go find another room. For the first month, he hung out in my launry room all day by choice and would leave if I went in there to do laundry.

I did discover the only thing he seemed to care about was food, so I used that. I clicker trained him and found out that he absolutley LOVED it. Over time with training, he became more friendly towards me. I had strangers give him treats and he started to love them. At about 4.5 months old be began being terrified of people for unknown reasons, but because of that, he looked to me more than ever. I'd say it wasn't until he was about 6 months old that I could say my dog liked me and actually believe it.

I advocate finding out what she enjoys doing and do it a LOT. My dog loves training, so we've been through 3 classes and are now in agility, and I aim to teach him a new trick weekly. It seriously helped the bonding.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:15 PM
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Domestika Domestika is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jynx View Post
I agree with Romy's suggestions,,I have always had GSD's, and while most of them are very aloof with others,,they have always wanted nothing more than to be with ME..

My 5mth old puppy is like my 11 yr old,,I can't move without them rightthere and wanting to be 'in' on anything I'm doing.

Yours is only 12 wks old, but even at that age, I have never had a problem with them bonding to me totally...

As well as Romy's suggestions,,which is somewhat like Romy's,,a ping pong game,,,two people,,(you and someone else),,call the dog back and forth,,give REALLY good treats/praise for coming..Also, hand feeding her her meals might help ,,and actually sometimes IGNORING them ticks them off enough to WANT to be with you ))

I don't know if your working on any basics yet,,,but just one thing,,don't repeat yourself,,in other words,,don't keep saying things like NOVA COME COME NOVA COME,,,repeteating commands gets' 'nagging' and they will end up tuning you out...

Good luck,,and how is she feeling by the way?? I know in other thread you were having some health issues with her??? Any results yet??
diane
We did something very similar to Romy's suggestion in puppy class and Nova was the only dog in the class that could not have cared LESS what I was doing. I was jumping up and down, clapping, cheering, getting all excited...yeah. She was like "Ok, idiot. I'm going to go over here now..."

I'm starting to get very frustrated...which I'm sure she can pick up on. I can handle disobedience...puppies just don't know better! I can totally handle a dog that misbehaves and gets up to no good. It's a totally different thing when your dog just plain old does not like you. I've waited so long for this dog and watched for years with such jealousy as everyone around me as found their little buddies who are bonded to them like crazy. Then I FINALLY pick my little girl and...she couldn't care less whether I'm around or not.

I've tried so many things and she just gets more and more independent. I mean, we're not even at the rebellious adolescent stage yet. I can't fathom how she would get MORE independent...

I'm trying now to not pay any attention to her. When she does get attention it's rarely and it's on my terms. I treat her for looking at me (which is very rare and she usually doesn't want the treat) and I don't talk to her, for the most part. She has to sit and down for her food (which she doesn't care about, so she just walks away when I give the commands), she has to do commands to get any toys (I've taken them all up off the floor so she has NO access to them unless I give one to her) and generally will forego the toy so she doesn't have to do what I've asked. And the biting is just so bad.

I totally saw myself finally getting this little ball of fur who I would have this great relationship with, who would look to me for leadership and protection and want to be with me and play with me and instead I have somehow ended up with a dog who will wag her tail for everyone but me and sees herself as the boss of the house and me as the lowest dog in the pack. I've seen people who are pushovers with their dog and teach their dog to walk all over them. I have SO not done that. I don't know what I've done wrong...

ANYWAY, her health issues persist. We have ruled out pancreatitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We won't be able to get decent biospies with the endoscope because of her size so we're looking at spaying her early to kill two birds with one stone. Spay her when we go in to get the biopsies so she only has the one anesthetic. We're trying one last antibiotic and then my vet is COMPLETELY out of ideas. He said he's never seen anything like this and he's really tried to get it figured out. So we'll be on to a specialist next.

And the best part. My pet insurance isn't covering a penny of this because it was "pre-existing" because she's had diarrhea since I got her. And the breeder hasn't returned my emails in a week.

Kill me now. [sorry for the rant]
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:45 PM
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Domestika Domestika is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzzie View Post
I just wanted to add my two cents. The keepaway game is marvelous for training your dog to come when called. Also, since she seems extremely reluctant to respond to you, DO treat like a pez machine when she does something you want her to do. ie, call her, she comes, give her a treat immediately, give her another, give her another, give her another. Try again. Reinforcement works wonders. Do NOT get into that habit where you say a command more than once, it really makes the dog less willing to do it the first time you tell them.
Unfortuantely because of her health problems I can only "treat" her with her regular kibble with some garlic powder on it. She liked it at first but now she's like "Blech...whatever". She did seem more interested in doing what I asked when I was able to give her treats she actually cared about. Unfortunately her health comes first...though I do ask my vet on a regular basis when I can start giving her other food again because I think it's having a negative effect on her training and our relationship.

If I give her a command and she ignores me, stares at me or walks away I just turn and walk away and say "Oh, you blew it. Too bad. No treat for you". And then I might come back a minute or two later and try again. I think she gets more headstrong each time I ask her to do something and she's able to stare me down and not do it so I give her about 3 seconds to decide to do it or not. "Sit...no? Ok I'll take my treat and go". But, for sure, I am a fan of the "jackpot" approach.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skKi View Post
I did discover the only thing he seemed to care about was food, so I used that. I clicker trained him and found out that he absolutley LOVED it. Over time with training, he became more friendly towards me. I had strangers give him treats and he started to love them. At about 4.5 months old be began being terrified of people for unknown reasons, but because of that, he looked to me more than ever. I'd say it wasn't until he was about 6 months old that I could say my dog liked me and actually believe it.
That is VERY encouraging. I really appreciate you posting.
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