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Old 08-17-2009, 01:27 AM   #1
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Default Dog Dependancy Issues

Hi There...
My wife and I adopted a little 2 Year old (approx) Silky Terrier / Shih-tsu cross about 3 months ago from a rescue shelter. So far he has settled in really well. His history is completely unknown, but he is very cute and loveable, and in most cases quite friendly. Although, I am worried about one behaviour trait which I am not sure with how to deal with. I would appreciate some advice!

He seems to be very attatched to my wife. He will follow her around the house, and will always share the couch with her when we are watching television. I spend a lot of time with him also, but it definately appears he prefers my wifes company as I really only get a look in if I pick him up, or if my wife isnt home! (or if she places him on the chair with me)

I am usually the person who feeds him, I will usually walk him, and I am very consistent with things like making him sit before giving him food food, making him wait until I walk in the door first, etc.

My problem appears to be with when I try and seperate him from my wife. We place him into "puppy day care" 1-2 days a week, and I am usually the one to drop him off. He starts shaking the moment he is out of the house and continues to shake and whine on and off the whole trip to the day care place (about a 20 minute drive). This morning I went to pick him up to take him to the car and he actually growled at me and attempted to bite my foot! He has also done this several times when I have gone to pick him up when he is next to my wife on the lounge.

I have only ever seen this behaviour when he is around my wife. If I take him for a walk without her, he can be very reluctant to walk too far from the house and will usually refuse to walk further than 1 block away! There has been no other agression that we have noted and he is really good with other dogs and even children.

I have tried using plenty of excercise and encouragement, and treats to boost his independance but i dont seem to be seeing any improvement! Can anyone suggest anything that we can do that can either make him a little more comfortable being away from my wife, and a little less agressive toward me? I have no idea if we have created this behaviour but if anyone could share any advice I would really appreciate it!


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Old 08-17-2009, 01:04 PM   #2
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Hi Chris,
It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right but I can understand why you're worried about this - better to nip it in the bud!
I'm not 100 % positive but it sounds like your dog is a bit overly attached to your wife. Is she home with him more than you are? That could explain why he is so close to her. Also dogs normally don't like being picked up. Does your wife pick him up too or just you? If you're the only one picking him up he may have decided he doesn't really care for your company that much and is telling you so the only way he knows how.
The only thing I can think of is for you to make friend with him on his terms - get down on the floor and at his level. Don't force it but just be near him playing with an interesting dog toy or holding a few treats. Sooner or later he'll approach you and that will be your chance to play with him. Maybe he'll enjoy tug, chasing a ball, perhaps even learning new commands whatever gets his tail thumping.

Good luck!
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agression, anxiety, biting, rescue

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