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Old 12-13-2007, 07:11 AM   #1
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Default Is Nellie unhappy?

Hi everyone,

Been away for a while, what with moving house and having poorly kidneys, but now back with some new questions about Nellie (my 19 week old Patterdale puppy). I'd be grateful for some insight!

For maybe 3-4 days in the working week, she goes to work with my husband. She roams 40 acres freely with three other dogs, and rests in her warm bed in the greenhouse when she chooses. She may have to spend the odd hour in my husbands car if he has to leave the site, but otherwise she has a lovely time and gets all the exercise a terrier should need.

The remaining days she spends with me, if I am working from home and have no appointments. And this is when she seems insecure and miserable!

She's never been a "morning" dog, she likes to kip until at least 10am, but when at home with me she mooches around moodily all day, barking at every little noise, refusing food (apart from chicken ) and not even wanting to play. She wants attention - she grumpily chews everything she's not supposed to, despite an array of available chew toys - but refuses affection (she wriggles away from any petting and bites at my hand). She pesters me but doesn't want to play or be fussed.

This morning she has stolen a log from the fireplace, chewed it then vomited up the remnants. In fact I'd say she vomits on most days she is alone with me. She spent a few minutes wandering round the sitting room crying earlier, then actually yowled. Right now she is curled up in her bed, staring at the front door.

I think she has bonded strongly with my husband, who she sees as the pack leader, and she has also bonded with her playmates at work. I think I might be subordinate to her, and she feels anxious when its only her and I in the house and she doesn't have her friends or my husband for support.

How can I improve our relationship? I've tried my best to be firm but fair with her, but I'm gentle and quiet and don't rough-house with her like my husband does, and I've never yelled furiously at her like my husband has. I've done most of her training, as my husband doesn't have the patience, and I take her for her walks.

I don't want her to feel unhappy and bored when she's stuck indoors with me - what shall I do?

Incidentally, when she is home with both me and my husband she is generally over excitable and a typical puppy!

Thanks in anticipation.....

CS

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Old 12-13-2007, 08:24 AM   #2
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Do you have a box or container of toys for her that she knows she can get at and play with? Take a few minutes and play or entertain her so she is not bored. Just takes a few minutes to let her know you care about her being there with you. She might feel neglected some just needs a hug now and then. Have her do a few commands for a special treat or hug. Keep her mind busy like this.
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:09 AM   #3
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Hi CurlySue,
nice to see you back, and very sorry to hear about your kidneys!

From what you are saying, it sounds like Nellie has decided that your husband is the fun one and the one to be respected, and that she can ignore you (or even snap at your hand) if she wishes. Somehow it seems to happen a lot that dogs like the roughhousing man of the house even though it's the woman who does all the dirty work.

I can think of two things that could help.

One is to look into NILIF (nothing in life is free) as a way of interacting with Nellie. Here is a bit of info for you on how to do it. It's easy to do, too.
http://www.dogforum.org/showthread.php?t=10872

Another is to get her to associate you with fun. Since you work from home it might be tricky, but the idea is that you and she do something fun, just the two of you. If she thinks that being with you means being in the house all day and pining for the fun romps with her buddies in the great outdoors, then anything you do to change that will help. When you take her for walks, is your husband home? She might be seeing this as taking her away from him. Can you make the walks really fun, maybe throw the ball for her, so she looks forward to her times with you? Or even play with her in the house?

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:22 PM   #4
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Thanks guys.......thats helpful, particularly the NILIF info. I'd say we do that most of the time with her, but we're definitely guilty of being inconsistent!

When I'm at home with her, I try to stop work several times a day to fuss her, play with her, encourage her to run around outside for a couple of minutes etc. If I can get away from the phone I'll take her for a short walk.

But in relation to NILIF, she does tend to demand attention of me rather than the other way around. I tend to respond to her demands whenever she makes them because I feel guilty about neglecting her.

Yes she has a bag of toys that we are in charge of, and a wicker basket of chews and toys which are available for her to amuse herself with. We just came back from a short trip in the car, and once indoors I got her to sit quietly while I took my coat off, changed my shoes etc. Then I took out her toys and encouraged her to have a game with a ball in a sock.

I rolled around on the floor, made excited noises, threw the ball......but she barely even wagged her tail! She managed a brief tug and a play growl, and meandered off to fetch the ball once or twice, but then she shuffled off to her bed and left me laying on the rug amongst all her toys. I felt like a right loser, so much for entertaining her!

CS

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Old 12-13-2007, 12:44 PM   #5
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aww poor you !!

sounds like she is giving you a hard time!!

if you feel like its time to take over and be the leader of the pack instead of your partener mabe this will help!!
http://www.janfennellthedoglistener.com/

its all about becoming the leader or the alpha male/female of your pack!!!

check it out and tell me how it goes with her!!

Bye
xxx

merry christmas
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:54 PM   #6
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That's funny about you rolling on the floor and her ignoring you! The same thing happens to me! If hubby does it, both dog go over and play and they have a fun time. If I do it, they look at me like I'm doing something to emabarrass them. I guess you have to be a GUY to roughhouse properly!
CS you can have your cake and eat it too as far as using NILIF but not ignoring her. Next time Nellie comes over to pester you, have her 'sit' before you pet her, play with her take her out etc. Same with feeding her. If she won't sit for you, she'll just not get fed until she does. At any rate, good luck and let us know how you get on!
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:12 PM   #7
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Firstly, if this lucky pup goes to work with your husband or stays home with you all day, goes for walks, is played with etc then she is definitely not neglected and there is absolutely no need to feel sorry for her, many pups would kill for her life!

Terrorists are notoriously independent creatures, bred to hunt alone rather than to work closely with you like herding dogs, so don't take it personally if she doesn't want to interact with you all the time but only on her own terms - totally normal for many terriors. She also needs to learn to be calm around the house and to entertain herself for short periods of time. It does sound a little like she may be too used to demanding attention for you and your husband so the NILIF idea would be worth a try.

Dogs, and especially puppies do thrive on routine. If she spends most of her time going to work with hubby she is probably feeling a little bit lost on days where she stays home. I would provide structure for her, she will learn to relax when she can predict what will happen throughout her day. She will also come to understand that you control the routine not her. I would get her up early and take her for a short walk before you start working. Perhaps come back and set her up in a puppy safe area with her breakfast (and some chicken?) in a stuffed kong so she has to work for it. Plan on then working solidly for at least a couple of hours and don't pander to her demands for attention during this time. Schedule in a break for say twenty minutes at a set time during the morning, take her outside to toilet and perhaps play fetch or doing a short training session with her, then back to work. Don't leave the basket of toys for her all the time, they get old quickly. Instead take all toys away and give her one or two toys after this play session. If you rotate the toys each day and don't leave her free access they will become a lot more interesting. Schedule another break for lunch and perhaps another short walk or play session in the garden etc etc. If she learns that she will get attention at set times but no matter what she does she won't be able to demand your attention when you are working there is a better chance that she will resign herself to it and settle increasingly quickly.

Last edited by Kaos; 12-17-2007 at 02:41 PM..

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Old 12-17-2007, 11:50 AM   #8
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Thanks Kaos.......you're speaking my language, that was such a concise response that I know exactly what you're saying and what I should do next!!!

I will make sure I have a routine planned for next time she's at home with me (prob Friday). In the meantime we did some short training sessions with her at the weekend, and I played a few tug games with her where I made sure I won possession of the toy (much to her disgust) - she did seem slightly more interested in being near me as a result.

She's back at work with Kris today, so she won't wanna talk to me tonight or for the rest of the week!

"Terrorists" hahahahahaha

Suze xxx

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