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Hello. I have just joined today in order to ask a single question. I hope that is okay.

I have a very uncomfortable question that I hope someone can assist me with. Please understand, the details are complicated, and I ask that you simply accept the facts for what they are.

I live with two dogs that I love with all of my heart. I play with, walk, bathe, etc. both of them religiously without exception. They are a male Patterdale Terrier and a female “German Shepradore”. They are both about 4 years old.

Here is my problem. I do not actually own the dogs. I live with the person who owns them, and something has happened. I need to continue to live with this person and her dogs for an unknown length of time, but I need to immediately sever all relations that I have with the dogs.

I don't know what to do. I am trying my best to simply ignore them. They follow me around, stare at me, etc. It is breaking my heart, but I am powerless.

Is this the best thing that I can do? Just simply ignore them and hope that they will finally get the idea that we need to leave each other alone? Or do I need to become more aggressive, and start scolding them every time they attempt to approach me?

Thank you for taking the time to give me your advice.
 

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If you don't interact with them (no talk, no touch, no eye contact, no food), you will no longer be a source of reinforcement and they will learn to ignore you over time. If you have a long history with them, it could take a while. But keep on pretty much shunning them and they'll get there. At the same time, if the dog's owner gives them all the good things that you no longer are giving them, they should look to her more instead.
 

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^^^^^ Canyx ^^^^^ at any cost don't emotionally harm them with more aggressive means, better off to leave the main areas and find other activities and places for yourself while you are waiting for the time for you to leave.
 

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This is heartbreaking. I went through the same thing with "my" cat.

I would suggest that you start thinking about what you want your life to look like when you do get your own place. Rearrange your possessions so that your private (dog-free) space is as attractive, practical, and pleasant as possible. Avoid using the common areas as much as possible. This is for your own sanity.

In and out of the doggie's territory as quickly as possible. Limit interaction to familiar phrases such as, "Good doggie", "No", "wait/stay", "go outside", etc. and only as necessary to protect your own belongings and go about your business. Avoid any sort of eye contact, petting, belly rubs, etc. but the same way you would if this were the normal state of affairs and you were very late for work and very busy.

Dogs are resilient. They will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for all of the replies. You are going to like this:

Last night, just before bed, the owner of the dogs approached me, and in so many words, admitted that she was not willing to care for the dogs like I do. She then offered them to me, and I accepted. I am now the owner of the dogs.

I still appreciate all of your replies as much as ever, and I thank you very much.
 

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It is a happy ending when an owner does the right thing and surrenders a dog (or dogs) to someone who clearly cares more for them.

Years ago I was teaching SCUBA in Santa Barbara when a dog followed me from the parking lot into the shop where I worked. We escorted her out the back door and she promptly walked back around and back in the front door (which was propped open.) After this was repeated several times, she would come in the front and - without waiting for an escort - immediately go out the back door. I was smitten.

She was still hanging around at lunch time, so I took her out an bought her a burger. That evening she went home with me and I was astounded at her grace and good manners. After checking all the usual places, I was unable to locate an owner. I took her to the vet, got her licensed and welcomed this gorgeous Irish setter into my life.

She came to all my SCUBA classes, went on the beach dives and paddled around the surface and even went on some overnight boat trips to the channel islands.

I had just started a class with a new group when one of the students told me he recognized "my" dog. He called the previous owner, who came and picked her up. It was very hard for me to focus on the rest of the session - especially when I got a message that the owner called and wanted a call back.

I did call him back and he told me that if I could continue to give that dog the kind of life she'd had for the past 2-3 weeks, that I was welcome to come and get her. He refused to take any money. She was one of the best and most fun dogs I've ever had.
 

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Oh, that's wonderful news! Please make sure you get all the dogs' vet paperwork, microchip details, and any other documentation transferred into solely your name, just in case. It's good that the former owner made the decision to give them to you herself, but people can always change their minds, so you'd want to be legally covered.
 
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