Puppy treats me and my wife differently
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Thread: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

  1. #1
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    Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Hi,

    My wife and I just got a Maltese/Yorkie puppy last week. When we first picked him up he was 6 weeks old (found out after that we probably should have waited a couple more weeks).

    Overall he's adjusted well, but I can't seem to understand why he treats me and my wife differently.

    With my wife, he's more reserved and obedient.
    With me, he usually goes into excited and hyper mode and loves licking (somtimes biting) me to no end until he's exhausted all of his energy.
    Also, when my wife and I sit together, he always prefers to lie on my lap instead of hers.

    What are we doing that causing him to act like that?
    I actually prefer that his reaction is reversed between me and my wife, because I'm going to be the one sneaking out of work at lunch on weekdays to let him out of the crate to pee, and it's hard for me to do short runs when he goes berserk every time when he sees me.

    Any hints would be appreicated. Thanks.

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    Senior Member Poly's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    First of all, dogs are individuals and react individually to different people. So it's difficult to really tell what is going on.

    I get the feeling that maybe you are interacting more with your puppy than your wife is. Try to share the interactions more.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Some dogs seem to treat males and females differently. My dog is always more obedient and calmer with females and more hyper and roughhousing with males. Doesn't matter if its a stranger or a regular visitor like my parents.

    Don't worry, he's a little puppy. He won't truly calm down for awhile but with time and training he will listen better and better to both of you. Once he gets his shots, you and him sign up for a puppy training class together. Good learning experience for both of you and since he's already more obedient with your wife, he can practice being obedient with you.

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    I think every dog I've had has treated different family members differently. Dogs can have favorite people, just like people who own multiple dogs can have a favorite hound. Dogs manipulate us and we allow ourselves to be manipulated by them. We do the same to our dogs and they go along with it for the cookies.

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Thanks for the replies! I'm very glad to have found this site. The information is very useful and I'm learning a lot from others' experience.

    Here's a little update on our 8 week old puppy.

    We've been crate training him. He's learned to pee/poo pretty much the minute we take him outside. We're also trying to train him to go on queue on the puppy pads (for those rainy/winter days). So far he doesn't know to "look" for the pad, and he did his business on the ceramic tiles several times (and twice in the crate after we left him in there for too long). Overall though, we're pretty happy that he'd usually go if we carry him onto the pad.

    We're also trying to settle him into a routine. Both my wife and I work, and we took a couple of weeks off to get him more comfortable before we have to be away for a good part of the day. There were a couple of times when he'd whine if I stick him in the crate after playing with him, but so far he has been pretty well behaved when he's alone. We do try to dedicate at least a couple of hours a day with him so that he has his daily dose of interaction.

    The toughest part for me right now is the biting. My wife learned from the vet to hold his snout when he bites. She's been doing that and it's worked pretty well for her. I tried it as well, and he usually gets more excitable / aggressive after that.

    After reading the posts here, I've been letting him bite me but using the Ouch!/turn around method. Let's say so far it hasn't registered with him yet. After I turn around, he would pause for a second and then go off and explore something else. When I face him again, he'd rush at me and bite me again. I should also mention that I'm seeing holes in my socks and pants.

    My wife thinks that he treats her as the "leader" and me as his "sibling". I've been doing the "sit" training with him, and he's actually responded pretty well to it, so I don't know what she says is true.

    Anyway, I'll keep trying to do the Ouch! charade and see how it goes. We've also signed him up for puppy training at the local Petsmart, so hopefully with more dog interaction he'll improve.

    Thanks!

  7. #6
    Senior Member bfoster's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    I think you are his person.
    Congrats!

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Quote Originally Posted by Rannio View Post
    Anyway, I'll keep trying to do the Ouch! charade and see how it goes.
    Some pups get even more fired up when they bite and their "victim" yelps. They are playing at/practicing all the skills they'll need as adult apex predators. Stands to reason that some pups get more excited by the sound of injured "prey". Every technique won't work equally well on all pups.
    Last edited by Marsh Muppet; 04-20-2010 at 04:53 PM.

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    First of all congratulations! Also, I think it is really great that you are willing to try different things.

    Some of the things I noticed, using puppy pads and trying to get him to eliminate outside can be a lot of confusion for a dog. "Where do you want me to pee/poop!?" It can be done, but it will cause a lot of confusion for the poor pup and getting him housebroken will take a little longer, usually.

    Vets are not trainers! This is an 8 week old puppy, a baby. Grabbing his snout is most likely frightening him, no wonder he's not biting her anymore! He's learned that playing with wife=pain/being scared/etc. I probably wouldn't hang around her if she grabbed me forcefully every time I did something that I didn't know was wrong. As for you, it sounds like the puppy has a stronger bond with you. He's going, "wait a minute! This isn't fair! You're usually nice!" So, if you want to continue holding his snout you can and eventually he'll learn BUT in learning this he will also learn not to completely trust you or your wife. Plus, teaching him that people touching him=being scared, hurt, etc. can develop later problems with people trying to pet him, groom him, administer shots, etc.

    If you want to teach the puppy not to bite but still maintain a good relationship, keep doing as you are with the turn around method. Why not try this, put collar and leash on puppy, tie him to a table, etc. Come up to him with a toy, play with him. If he bites, "Ouch!" walk out of room with toy. Come back in a minute or two and try again. You're right to say it takes a little longer but your puppy will learn that people=great things versus people=scary!

    This is a puppy. No offense, but that leader stuff is kind of misleading. Being a leader means being in control of resources. If you practice NILIF (nothing in life is free) then the puppy will learn this and that is fine. Don't expect your puppy to listen to you without some sort of motivator/praise (treats, toys, attention, etc.) as it is in these stages that the pup learns that people=fun!

    Oh and for the liking you over wife. Who feeds him? Plays? Trains? and walks him? Is it 50/50? Dogs love the "leader", the one in control of resources, which means the feeder, walker, and trainer. If you are feeding him, try getting your wife to feed him, see if that changes anything.

    *Hopefully that made some sense. =) Good luck with the classes too! I think everyone would love some updates!

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    Member Terra's_Mom's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    this is a great thread and thanks to the OP for starting it...we are having similiar issue with our puppy Terra in that she goes absolutely bonkers around my husband but is more reserved with me. (She still goes bonkers, but not quite as much haha) I am glad to see I am not the only one seeing this behavior in a puppy; for a while I thought she didn't like me! Now I am thinking she is calmer with me because I am the one training her....she sees my husband as more of a free-for-all since he does not necessarily maintain the same level of consistency as I do and doesn't 'put her thru her paces' as I do (NILIF stuff). (Im not suggesting the OP isn't consistent, just that this thread opened my eyes about our situation.)
    That's why I love this forum--so many good answers and suggestions!

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    Senior Member luv2byte's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Both of our dogs have "their" person. I am Chloe's - she doesn't let me leave a room without following to see where I went. When she comes in from potty, if hubby took her out, she runs to see where I am. If I am cooking she is laying off to the side in the kitchen. If she is hurt and we are both home with her she runs to me. BUT with my hubby she loves for him to chase her to play, she won't do that with me. She loves when he flips her upside down & holds her, she immediatly goes to sleep. She won't do that with me.

    Skyler is the hubby's dog. Even last night at agility class when he was off leash he ran to hubby for his praise party for doing well. At home he will snuggle with me but will be leaning over to lick my hubby. He will snuggle with me but with the hubby he really nuzzles in to his neck & closes his eyes as if he is totally enjoying the moment. Skyler is more animated in play with the hubby though he is happy to play with me.

    Both dogs just have their own relationship with each of us, that is ok. We just enjoy the love we get from them.
    Ellie R. (married w pets)
    <img src=http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d67/lv2byte/Christmas2010-2.jpg border=0 alt= />

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Hey guys,

    Here's an update. My puppy is now 9 weeks ago.

    The Good:
    - He's very well adjusted to the home setting. Washing machine, dishwasher, TV... nothing bothers him
    - He's very friendly with strangers and dogs. We took him to his first training class, and he went up and started playing with a huskie 10 times his size
    - He now recognizes his name. He's also very consistent with the "sit" command. We're working on "down" using the NILIF method
    - He's fairly good with walks. Sometimes he gets distracted and would zigzag left and right, but most of them he'd just follow my lead
    - He now knows to run to the puppy pad to go potty. He'd also know to go potty the minute we take him outside and set him down on the grass
    - He *loves* licking my leg

    The Bad:
    - He's still having pee accidentals on the kitchen tiles... the frequency has gone down, but that's mostly because my wife and I have gotten smarter about when he needs to go
    - It's as if he's got a split personality. When he's calm and docile, he's the best pet anybody could hope for. Then sometimes he would get into these super hyper bursts, when he would move so fast it almost looks like he's being zapped or something. That's when the Ugly usually happens...

    The Ugly:
    - The biting is not getting better. I tried the Ouch! method for a few days, and the fact that I let him softly nibble on my hand somehow made him feel that it's actually OK to do it all the time. So it got to the point where everytime I played with him, he'd just go straight for my hand. When I Ouch! and leave the room, he'd wait for me to come back and resume the bite session (sometimes more aggressive than before).

    I then let my wife convinced me to incorporate the holding the snout, so that after the Ouch!, instead of walking away, I would just gently hold his snout and say "Good boy!" when he calms down. That actually seemed to have worked better when he's calm. But nothing would work when's he's hyper.

    To carry on the theme of the original post, I should say that he's been bitey with my wife as well, but he's never as crazy with her as he's with me. Still don't know why.

  13. #12
    Nil
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Each dog is different and while there are methods than many can use, sometimes it takes a different dog to learn easier with a different method. Glad to hear things are going well for the most part though. Part of this is just the puppy kicking in too. =)

    Pictures?

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Here's one - not the cutest one I have, but it'll have to do for now.

    Puppy treats me and my wife differently-img_0993.jpg

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    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    =Rannio;795808]
    The Bad:
    - He's still having pee accidentals on the kitchen tiles... the frequency has gone down, but that's mostly because my wife and I have gotten smarter about when he needs to go
    Probably! However, if you're still trying to teach him to use the pee pads in addition to going outside, THAT could be confusing him.

    - It's as if he's got a split personality. When he's calm and docile, he's the best pet anybody could hope for. Then sometimes he would get into these super hyper bursts, when he would move so fast it almost looks like he's being zapped or something. That's when the Ugly usually happens...
    Hehehe also known as the zoomies!

    The Ugly:
    - The biting is not getting better. I tried the Ouch! method for a few days, and the fact that I let him softly nibble on my hand somehow made him feel that it's actually OK to do it all the time. So it got to the point where everytime I played with him, he'd just go straight for my hand. When I Ouch! and leave the room, he'd wait for me to come back and resume the bite session (sometimes more aggressive than before).
    When the bites start, the game is over. Done.

    I then let my wife convinced me to incorporate the holding the snout, so that after the Ouch!, instead of walking away, I would just gently hold his snout and say "Good boy!" when he calms down. That actually seemed to have worked better when he's calm. But nothing would work when's he's hyper.
    Please don't hold his snout. It's not going to work, and could create more problems. Most vets don't know jack about training, and this is just plain BAD advice.

    To carry on the theme of the original post, I should say that he's been bitey with my wife as well, but he's never as crazy with her as he's with me. Still don't know why. :
    He's a puppy, and this is what puppies will do. Especially puppies who were removed from their mom and littermates too early, like your little guy was at 6 wks. He just didn't have time to learn bite inhibition from them.

    As far as his behavior being different with you than with your wife, I think that's been answered several times!

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Quote Originally Posted by poodleholic View Post
    Please don't hold his snout. It's not going to work, and could create more problems. Most vets don't know jack about training, and this is just plain BAD advice.
    I did a lot of research from many different sources and friends and it's quite frustrating that everyone is advocating something different. I appreciate all the advice provided by everyone here, but frankly I'm probably as confused right now as I was before I did the research. The only common theme I see is that everyone is saying consistency is the key.

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    Quote Originally Posted by poodleholic View Post
    Please don't hold his snout. It's not going to work, and could create more problems. Most vets don't know jack about training, and this is just plain BAD advice.
    It depends on how you do it. If pup is coming at your hand to bite, and you wrap your hand around his muzzle, I say it's fine. Puppy is not harmed, you've foiled his attempt to sink teeth, and--most importantly--denied pup the satisfaction. That is different, however, from reaching out and grabbing a handful of muzzle. That is intimidating, punitive, and can create hand-shyness.

    If I'm walking in the house, and make a "claw" with my hand at my side, my dog will stick his snout into it and let me pull him around the house by his face. He has not been emotionally scarred by the technique.

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    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    =Marsh Muppet;796410]It depends on how you do it. If pup is coming at your hand to bite, and you wrap your hand around his muzzle, I say it's fine. Puppy is not harmed, you've foiled his attempt to sink teeth, and--most importantly--denied pup the satisfaction. That is different, however, from reaching out and grabbing a handful of muzzle. That is intimidating, punitive, and can create hand-shyness.
    I agree. And you are dog savvy, so know what you're doing, and when to do it.

    If I'm walking in the house, and make a "claw" with my hand at my side, my dog will stick his snout into it and let me pull him around the house by his face. He has not been emotionally scarred by the technique.
    LOL Love the visual on that! My Poodles use their mouthes to communicate a lot of things, including affection, or just plain joy. My youngest will leap into the air, then rush up to me to gently take my hand/finger(s) in her mouth, giving me two nibbles (always two) to let me know she's delighted with me and whatever it is we're doing!

  19. #18
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    I feed, walk, and play with our dogs, they go berserk when i get home from work, but they also go berserk when my fiancee gets home...they associate daddy being home with cuddle time in the recliner once they calm down, and more play time with him.
    Although I do more with the dogs during the daytime, night time is daddy time. We try to do most things 50/50..he gets up early and lets them go potty before he leaves for work, and then they come back to bed with me until its time for me to get up. Then we go potty and have breakfast and then PLAY TIME!
    however, I have done all the training..i did all the potty training with sniper...in our old apartment..this meant carrying him down the steps since he was 8 weeks old when we got him and back up the steps every time they ate, got up from a nap, etc, he learned fast that outside was where we potty..now he tells me by going to the door and barking to go out..if he wants to stay outside on his lead, we allow him to play in our fenced in yard on his lead...he will come to the door and bark when he wants to come in...
    I also taught him sit, stay, lay down, rollover and fetch...and he loves to do his tricks for people...although i think he'd rather play fetch all day long if we let him..lol..he has taken to throwing his toys for himself if we don't throw them...
    we had more issues with the chihuahua for potty training seeing as we got her at a year old..it has been a bit harder a task...and she doesn't tell you she needs to go out, you just have to catch her right on time to go or she will go on the puppy pad by the door..
    she also has a puppy pad in the bedroom..because at night she often can not wait until morning to go out and will use the pad to go, we praise her for both going outside and for going on the pad and luckily have only had one incident where she went on the floor and not the pad...i also trained her to sit and we are working on stay now, she is just starting to get the concept...

    patience is key in dog training...take your time...there will be accidents...but sometimes you have to see the reason why there was an accident..sometimes its our fault they aren't picking up potty training as fast as they could...for example: did puppy just drink water and not get taken out promptly afterwords?

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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    I want to give an update on our puppy from the last 6 months.

    The peeing on the kitchen tiles pretty much stopped by June. He had a relapse in September when he would all of a sudden pee in his crate every other night. We figured this was due his schedule being messed up when he stayed at my friend's place for a week while I traveled. This was quickly rectified when we reduced the size of his crate and went back to a more routine wake-up schedule.

    The biting also gradually stopped. At one point I got so frustrated that I avoided any opportunity for him to bite me, i.e. not sitting on the ground to play with him. Eventually he just decided to not bite anymore. The side effect is that he now tears into his toys. He bites his toys so aggressively that he "kills" about one a week. Of course that's a problem I'd much rather have. Now, he still loves to nibble my hand when he's excited and wants to play. Usually all it takes is for me to push him away and he would come back and lick me.

    As for the original topic, yes he still reacts differently towards me and my wife. I'm happy to report that he definitely prefers to hang out with me! (although my wife would probably disagree...)

    Overall in the last 6 months we saw both the good and the bad. We couldn't believe the vet bill after we had to take him in to check out his vomiting. A bunch of blood tests and xrays later, the rascal got better on his own. He's also starting to take on the training quite a bit better now. For the longest time he couldn't differentiate between sit and down, but he seems to be coming around. As some of the posters already mentioned, patience is the most important thing. If you do something enough times, chances are that it will stick. Good luck!

  21. #20
    Senior Member bfoster's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy treats me and my wife differently

    thanks for the update- i'm glad you didn't give up on him.
    puppies=patience thats for sure!

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