My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.
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Thread: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

  1. #1
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    My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Ok, after reading a bunch of posts here on the training forum I feel blessed. My 3year old Jack Russell doesn't chew the house up, doesn't bite, doesn't mess in the house. He isn't hyper, doesn't have separation anxiety and doesn't howl at all or bark randomly or excessively. In fact, he doesn't do much of any thing. When my wife is home he follows her around and sleeps in her lap or next to her on the couch. When my daughter is around he splits his attention. WHen neither of them is around he's on my daughters bed, at the foot sleeping. He never comes to find me. Never asks to go out (he never asks any one to go out ever but when he DOES have to go it's always ME he come to see and there is no doubt that it's time to DROP WHATEVER I AM DOING and get the poor thing outside!). He never wants too play, rarely sits with me and if he does it's in a other chair in the room. and he doesn't follow me wherever I go. He plays energeticly and happily when engaged and loves to play tug-of-war, chase, hang from the rope (like a little pit bull) and fetch (he is THE fetchingest dog that I ever did have. He can't catch a cold but hell fetch the flu!).

    "OK rookie," I hear you all asking "what's the problem? You have a happy healthy dog who's needs are met and not anxious or destructive."

    Well, the might be the problem. I might just not be used to such a non-needy dog. I keep him fed walked and watered to a point where he doesn't ned to look for those things and he gets ALL the affection that he could ever want from the girls but I feel like the dog's butler. The only time I interact with him is when I am serving a function: training, playing, feeding him or walking him.

    Plus, I left two things out.

    This is, by far, the lickingest dog ever. He licks hands and bare legs, not faces. He isn't all stressed out and wound up when he's doing it and it's never the face but he'll lick you for 5 minutes straight if you let him. But it's not all the time and not a regular part of his greeting and when he's done he's done.

    The dog is scared as hell of me. If I'm upset or angry about any thing he will run and hide under the bed and even pee himself sometimes. He's not scared of me normally and he only does this if I really upset about something but he does it EVERY time I'm very angry about something weather or not I am "acting" angry or not. He just keys right in on it and runs and hides. I do not beat or abuse the poor thing. He got swatted once in his life (and that ended his house training issues once and for all) and from time to time he gets on the short end of the fact that I forget he's only a small dog (I have always had big dogs before) and he'll get stepped on or he'll get "wheelied" off the ground if I'm doing something with my leash hand and forget that most of the slack is already played out of the leash just getting down to the dog.

    Neither thing seems to have much to do with his routine avoidance of me though. He's not running and hiding, he's sleeping on my kids bed in the next room or in the chair on the other side of the room. It's just not worth his effort to interact with me.

    So, what can I do to get my dog to LIKE me?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Well I'm interested in the swat that ended all your housebreaking problems once and for all.(must have been a good swat on a young impressionable dog) I'm surely not going to argue with success though. I tell customers when they pick up dogs about come work, with 98% of dogs trained no force of any kind is used and with other 2% very light force/corrections etc. I do like a fast come, I can beat up a dog and make him come. The problem with this program is that they look like wet noodles when I'm done with that type of work because the last person they want to come to is me, but come they must. When I do have to use force etc I make sure I increase my reward program to compensate. Now you have with the swat, stepping on dog, also what you call the wheelie program. with a large percentage of dogs their would be no problems, evidently with this dog something might have been destroyed. I don't think your large dog experience helped you with the training/handling of this dog. I know of no foolproof way of getting a dog or person to like somebody. especially when considering how scared he is of you, he reads you like a book. You have been the bad cop it's now time to become the good cop and let somebody else do all the reprimanding of your dog.

    I just noticed you on the Cesar thread stating there was something you did not like about Cesar's work. Does that mean there are Cesar things you have implemented in your work with this dog. Just curious.
    Last edited by wvasko; 02-16-2009 at 09:05 AM. Reason: More Info
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Cooter was well over a year old and 95% house trained when he stood on the sofa, lookde me straight in the eye and peed all over it. Until that point I was 100% positive reinforcement and proactive with getting him out too often and on a regular schedule and all that. He got a single, controled swat that sent him off the couch but not across the room. That was the last time he ever peed in the house. He comes to me just fine if he's called (unless I'm upset) and the poor thing some times gets wheelied because I forget he's so small. It's not a "program". I think you are right in that I treat him like a big dog and that might not have helped any but not because I use force to control him, I don't I use positive reinforcement and peparoni, but simply because I forget that a "tug" on him is actually a "yank". I also agree that he's probably more in tuned with my emotions that I am, and can "feel" that I am tired or annoyed or whatever. I don't use any of Ceasar's methods on him. He doesn't have any behavior problems. He just doesn't like me and as you said, that's not something that I can "correct' only re-establish.


    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Well I'm interested in the swat that ended all your housebreaking problems once and for all.(must have been a good swat on a young impressionable dog) I'm surely not going to argue with success though. I tell customers when they pick up dogs about come work, with 98% of dogs trained no force of any kind is used and with other 2% very light force/corrections etc. I do like a fast come, I can beat up a dog and make him come. The problem with this program is that they look like wet noodles when I'm done with that type of work because the last person they want to come to is me, but come they must. When I do have to use force etc I make sure I increase my reward program to compensate. Now you have with the swat, stepping on dog, also what you call the wheelie program. with a large percentage of dogs their would be no problems, evidently with this dog something might have been destroyed. I don't think your large dog experience helped you with the training/handling of this dog. I know of no foolproof way of getting a dog or person to like somebody. especially when considering how scared he is of you, he reads you like a book. You have been the bad cop it's now time to become the good cop and let somebody else do all the reprimanding of your dog.

    I just noticed you on the Cesar thread stating there was something you did not like about Cesar's work. Does that mean there are Cesar things you have implemented in your work with this dog. Just curious.

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    Senior Member pugmom's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    after reading both your posts...I curious to what you think caused your dog to be so scared of you?

    is the pup doing the same things when your wife is mad?...can he read her the same way?

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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by pugmom View Post
    after reading both your posts...I curious to what you think caused your dog to be so scared of you?

    is the pup doing the same things when your wife is mad?...can he read her the same way?
    Because I'm a six foot tall, 200 pound man and he is a 20 pound dog. He can do THAT math! I have never "babbied" him and have always felt that just because he was a small dog he was still a dog and wouldn't allow him to do things that I wouldn't have let my Rotty do. I have probably been too stern-voiced and or loud with my corrections when I try to get him to not do something. I have never had to lay a hand on him to get him to stop doing something. Maybe that's telling. Maybe that a strong willed dog should NOT be so intimidated that he never needs to be touched to be corrected. On the other hand, whenever I have trained him to do something I have always used multiple, short sessions and positive, reward based methods and have never scolded him for not performing the desired behavior. I might just be too big, loud and low voiced for him. My wife, as far as I can tell has never been upset with the dog. She does baby him. Also, I have had the dog longer than the wife and this avoidance behavior didn't start until after she moved in.
    Last edited by Noreaster; 02-16-2009 at 09:50 AM.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Ok, look at it this way. You live with somebody for almost a year and in that year everything is hunk-dory, which if you think about it that's kinda what 100% positive motivation is all about. Now one day, you for whatever reason make a mistake, then add to that, the mistake is made in front of somebody who is huge in size and convinced you did it on purpose to defy him. (this is a make believe scenario) This creature hauls off and swats you hard enough to knock you off the area where you were standing. That's why when training a dog some balance
    is needed. I have no doubt when dog peed in front of you, you lost it and I would bet there was also some yelling. I will stick with my first consensus that you back off dog and practise calm easy going manners if front of dog, I like unrequired rewards/treats as bonuses the dog does not expect and also ignoring the dog sometimes is good as we all want things we can't have. Will this help? Think about it, at the very least it can't hurt. You have nothing to lose.
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    Senior Member pugmom's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Well every dog is different and maybe this one is afraid of big men ......but I don't think size is normally an issue...I have 2 small dogs under 25lbs that are not in the least intimidated by men...I also have quite a few male friends that have small dogs...2 mini doxi and a chi and don't have this problem.

    I think this is just a case of association......wife and kid= treats, love, cuddles, play

    You=treats and play..but also swats, yelling, " discipline " ,wheeling, anger..etc

    who would you rather hang w/?

    I think your on the right track though....re-establish what he associates w/you

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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Ok, look at it this way. You live with somebody for almost a year and in that year everything is hunk-dory, which if you think about it that's kinda what 100% positive motivation is all about. Now one day, you for whatever reason make a mistake, then add to that, the mistake is made in front of somebody who is huge in size and convinced you did it on purpose to defy him. (this is a make believe scenario) This creature hauls off and swats you hard enough to knock you off the area where you were standing. That's why when training a dog some balance
    is needed. I have no doubt when dog peed in front of you, you lost it and I would bet there was also some yelling. I will stick with my first consensus that you back off dog and practise calm easy going manners if front of dog, I like unrequired rewards/treats as bonuses the dog does not expect and also ignoring the dog sometimes is good as we all want things we can't have. Will this help? Think about it, at the very least it can't hurt. You have nothing to lose.
    there was no yelling or any of that. I wanted to make a point and I did. No more. BUT you do make a very good point that that was the first time he had to be physically corrected. If that was when he started avoiding me I'd say that you were dead-on. I think that your plan is a good one. I think that the positive associations that I made with him while I was training him to Come and Sit and all that should be reinforced. He needs more treats.

    A little tough to hear but sounds like sound advice to me. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by pugmom View Post
    Well every dog is different and maybe this one is afraid of big men ......but I don't think size is normally an issue...I have 2 small dogs under 25lbs that are not in the least intimidated by men...I also have quite a few male friends that have small dogs...2 mini doxi and a chi and don't have this problem.

    I think this is just a case of association......wife and kid= treats, love, cuddles, play

    You=treats and play..but also swats, yelling, " discipline " ,wheeling, anger..etc

    who would you rather hang w/?

    I think your on the right track though....re-establish what he associates w/you
    Last edited by Noreaster; 02-16-2009 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  10. #9
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    So you understand I'm old school trainer, I guess the description below covers it.

    Negative reinforcement trainer I use Positive punishment and Negative Reinforcement.

    I learned that description on this DF, when I describe my work I say more corrections less reward stuff. I'm just telling you this so you understand I am a correction type trainer. The difficulty in that is you must know when to use a physical correction and or a sharp reprimand.

    Quote
    BUT you do make a very good point that that was the first time he had to be physically corrected. If that was when he started avoiding me I'd say that you were dead-on.

    Actually your little dog did not need a physical correction here but you did luck out and all is well. It could have turned into a submissive peeing every time you approached him, stood over him etc. You are very fortunate that he is a tough little rascal. This in no way is preaching for you to train any particular way. Just hoping it's useful for your this and your next dog.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member Erick Aguilar's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by pugmom View Post

    I think this is just a case of association......wife and kid= treats, love, cuddles, play

    You=treats and play..but also swats, yelling, " discipline " ,wheeling, anger..etc

    who would you rather hang w/?
    Pardon me, but this it just not true...

    I give discipline to the family dog, raise my voice, ocassional spank (when he humps or bites) i treat him, love him, cuddle with him and play, and my other family members (besides my mother, who is very discipline driven with dogs) give the pup all the ''fun stuff'' but the pup rather hang out with me over all family members.

    If association is what you are talking about then the pup might be more time with who he/she thinks is part of the ''pack''

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    Senior Member pugmom's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick Aguilar View Post
    Pardon me, but this it just not true...

    I give discipline to the family dog, raise my voice, ocassional spank (when he humps or bites) i treat him, love him, cuddle with him and play, and my other family members (besides my mother, who is very discipline driven with dogs) give the pup all the ''fun stuff'' but the pup rather hang out with me over all family members.

    If association is what you are talking about then the pup might be more time with who he/she thinks is part of the ''pack''
    Well thats your opinon....and your dog...every situation is different......this is what I see in this case w/this owner....

    I dont understand the 2nd part of your post.....so you think the dog only perceives certain people in the house as part of the pack?

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick Aguilar View Post
    Pardon me, but this it just not true...

    I give discipline to the family dog, raise my voice, ocassional spank (when he humps or bites) i treat him, love him, cuddle with him and play, and my other family members (besides my mother, who is very discipline driven with dogs) give the pup all the ''fun stuff'' but the pup rather hang out with me over all family members.

    If association is what you are talking about then the pup might be more time with who he/she thinks is part of the ''pack''
    Erick
    I know you have been on DF long enough to understand that all dogs and families and homes etc are different. The truth of the matter is that your dog put in different home could be a totally unrecognized dog because of changes mentally. He would look same on outside but inside many changes.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Noreaster: reread your posts on this thread and the answer is obvious. For whatever reason, you have lost the dog's trust. It doesn't matter how reasonable YOU think your actions may be, it's the dog's perception of them that counts. And let's be 100% honest about it: we are not getting the dog's side of things.

    You absolutely can reverse the situation, but you'll have to get the help of a disinterested 3rd party with some dog sense.

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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Personally, I feel your dog needs to be socialized more. Great socialization goes a long way.

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    Re: My dog ignores me and it makes me sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noreaster View Post
    When my wife is home he follows her around and sleeps in her lap or next to her on the couch. When my daughter is around he splits his attention. WHen neither of them is around he's on my daughters bed, at the foot sleeping. He never comes to find me.

    He never wants too play, rarely sits with me and if he does it's in a other chair in the room. and he doesn't follow me wherever I go. He plays energeticly and happily when engaged and loves to play tug-of-war, chase, hang from the rope (like a little pit bull) and fetch (he is THE fetchingest dog that I ever did have. He can't catch a cold but hell fetch the flu!)..

    The dog is scared as hell of me. If I'm upset or angry about any thing he will run and hide under the bed and even pee himself sometimes. He's not scared of me normally

    I do not beat or abuse the poor thing.

    He got a single, controled swat that sent him off the couch but not across the room.

    He got swatted once in his life (and that ended his house training issues once and for all) and from time to time he gets on the short end of the fact that I forget he's only a small dog (I have always had big dogs before) and he'll get stepped on or he'll get "wheelied" off the ground if I'm doing something with my leash hand and forget that most of the slack is already played out of the leash just getting down to the dog.

    Neither thing seems to have much to do with his routine avoidance of me though. He's not running and hiding, he's sleeping on my kids bed in the next room or in the chair on the other side of the room. It's just not worth his effort to interact with me.
    Key points quoted.

    Your dog is afraid of you. He has associated you with "bad things" happening..including but not limited to "being yanked by his neck because you seem to "forget" that there's a dog at the end of the leash" and stepped on because you apparently forgot there's a dog standing next to you (do you have adult attention deficit disorder by chance), you don't abuse him but you sent him "flying off the couch with a single "controlled" swipe...

    You've definitely abused your dog, caused it physical pain and it avoids you because you're unpredictable and dogs learn to stay away from things that cause them pain and injury.

    It's time to apologize to your dog. Play with it..talk in soothing, friendly, upbeat tones...even though on one hand you say your dog only comes to you for "chores" and it "never plays with you" and then you say "it plays with you" which of course makes no sense but I'm trying to understand here

    Rather than seeing playing with your dog as a chore..try "enjoying" the time with the dog..otherwise it will read right into your body language and know you don't want to be around it.

    Accept that you are the problem here and change your attitude. Otherwise your dog never will.

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