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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all!

My wife and I just recently got a 9 month old pittbull, boxer, lab mixed dog. Since we have gotten her, she has grown quite fond of my wife, however, she doesn't like me so much. Recently, she has started to bark at me while in the house or whenever I move. She'll constantly growls at me too on occasion but shes never bit me or anything. This is only when my wife is home. Also, she won't come near me or take treats from me. I can't pinpoint why. I also noticed when I am calling her name she'll constantly pace back and forth and yawn and so forth while I sit and wait for her to come. I've waited as long as 20 minutes and she will do this the full 20 minutes. I think she could go all day with this if I didn't get bored.

The only thing is, I can give her treats in her crate, and get her to go into the crate (after several attempts unlike my wife who says it once). This is pretty much how I get the leash on her to go outside. She also will take treats outside from me when she does her business. Other than that, its odd she won't even bother. Its like I have a bi-polar dog! This is bad because I want to clicker train her but its kind of hard to do when I can't get her attention.

Just want some other insights on this and possibly on how to fix it. I hope I explained her behavior well. It just feels like she hates me and its not fun for me and it makes me sad!

Also should note we have a black pug who absolutely loves me. I should also say I'm usually loud and move quickly I would say. I hope this isn't frightening the dog.

Sorry for long post! Thanks all!
 

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You don't say how long you've had the dog or where she came from. If she was a rescue and you don't know what her life was like before you got her, you might consider the possibility she's afraid of not just you, but all men. Some dogs are afraid of men naturally, and others may be if a man has treated them harshly in the past. You also say you are loud and move quickly, which could also be frightening for a new dog.

As far as what to do, I am no expert but I think you could start by just having treats on you all the time, and every time she comes near you, give her a treat. If she doesn't come that close you can toss treats in her general direction. You want her to get the idea that good things happen (like treats) when you're around. If you're trailing treats all the time like they just fall out of your pockets I think she should get the idea. Since she takes treats from you when you're outside and when she's in her crate, maybe you could start there and work your way to the places where she avoids you. Good luck.
 

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a7dk gave really good advice IMO ... I wanted to add that I had a rescue who hated men because she had some baggage when I adopted her. It took a few months but I used the same technique as a7dk gave. I was also wondering if you dressed in dark clothing? My rescue had a thing about dark clothed people of any gender. She still does and it has been 8 years since she was rescued. She is however wonderful with all people now providing you aren't dressed up in all dark clothing. :) Also, I forgot to mention that hats bother her too. She was abused and I am guessing it was by a man.
 

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Lots of dogs are afraid of men, so don't take it personally! If she's afraid of men either because they are bigger and louder than women or because of a bad experience, she'll eventually come to trust you if you take it slowly. Our elderly Cattle Dog is afraid of teenaged boys and men in uniforms. Now, we had two teenaged boys (they are young adults now)...she did eventually decide that they were just fine, but she still hates all other teenaged boys. The only man wearing a uniform that she's come to accept is the mailman, she's still afraid of policemen, firemen and UPS drivers ;).

The key for both our boys is that they spent some time at first just ignoring her and going about their business. Approaching her would have set her off. Then, they'd purposefully sit relatively close to her, but still not look at her or do anything to her. Once she decided that their mere presence wasn't threatening, they started offering her treats and talking to her a bit...tossing the treats at first and then holding them out by hand. Then gentle petting...once they started taking her out on good walks, she was totally won over and no longer considered them to be part of the "evil teenaged boy" contingent.

While the dog is learning to trust you, you might want to try to done down the volume and sudden movements to avoid intimidating her...once she's comfortable around you, you can gradually start working back to you normal activity levels. Also, is the dog protective of your wife? If that's the case, you may want to work on winning the dogs trust and work up to hugging your wife in front of her, my husband's dog, who he had before I met him, used to think I was a threat to my husband (even though he's considerably larger than I am!) and she'd get upset if we showed physical affection in front of her...we just gradually ramped it up in her presence, slowly, over time, while giving her loads of treats and including her in the hugging, until she decided that I wasn't trying to strangle my husband ;).
 

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Pacing and yawning indicates uncertainty, anxiety and distrust. Try this: stop calling her name; instead just ignore her. Don't make eye contact and don't speak to her. Use a very hi-value treat, like a piece of chicken or cheese or something. When she eventually takes the treat, don't make a move towards her, or acknowlege her in any way. If you reach out to her, she'll see that you were just using the treat to lure her in to a trap or something.

Do it like that a few times, until she gets comfortable enough to approach you without signaling distrust. Then, start stroking her face or chin, instead of reaching your hand over the top of her head. Petting her on the head will come later, after she trusts you.

Even if you get bored after 20 minutes, don't give up. Giving up sends the message that she's not really all that important to you, and she will understand the message perfectly. You'll only have to go through this ritual a few times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, the dog has new behavior today, however the wife is at work. Today, she went to the door and sat for me and waited for me to put the leash on her (wife has her do this). I then took her outside where I treated her twice for peeing and once for the number 2 with cheese. We came back inside and she wanted to get away from me for about 5 minutes. I sat down and ignored her and then she started inching over to me. Once she got near me, I tried to offer her a treat but she didn't want it, however, she let me rub under her chin and belly at this point and time. Then five more minutes later, I moved her crate into the computer room and she went right in and I was so happy I gave her a jackpot of treats which she ignored first but as soon as I sat down on the computer chair, she gobbled them down. At this point, I was like awesome, so I gave her more from my hand while in the crate and she happily took them. Now she looks happy and keeps looking at me for more.

To further elaborate, we got the dog from the humane society. They related to us that she was dropped off with four of her brothers as the owners couldn't care for them all in their apartment. Thats about the extent of what I know. We've also had the dog for about 20 days I think it has been. Thats why I am here so soon, because I don't want to reinforce bad behavior. We also plan on taking classes here soon in the near future. Its all positive reinforcements as the lady who teaches use to teach the dolphins and killer whales at Sea World.

This morning has been good, but I'm sure it will be completely different when my wife gets home!

By the way, thanks all for the quick responses. Was not prepared for that when I woke up! Its awesome!
 

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Pacing and yawning indicates uncertainty, anxiety and distrust. Try this: stop calling her name; instead just ignore her.
I would even make no attempt to touch dog if a month down the road she approached you. If it's a forever keep dog there is no rush.
 

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That's certainly encouraging! You are probably right that she'll be a bit different with your wife around.

3 weeks isn't all that long when it comes to a dog adjusting to a new family. Everything is different, and different means scary to dogs. Even if she wasn't abused by men, she may not be used to men and dogs are generally a bit wary of the unfamiliar. Some dogs, even without abusive backgrounds, are scared of men, or people of color, or people in uniforms, or people with canes or people wearing hats. My old dog hated hats. He'd bark at me if I put on a hat.

Loud and fast are huge problems for all dogs. (Which is why children and dogs are often a tragic mix.) I would work on being quieter and slower for a while.

I've had my new dog for going on four weeks now. It took him 2 weeks to warm up to me and he's just now warming up to my husband. Maybe he was abused by a man, maybe it's just that a small woman is a lot less scary for him than a large man, but he is warming up to my husband. You've already been given the strategy we've been using on Kabota. Just keep it up and be patient. She'll come around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I been moving quietly. If I'm going to move, I make sure she knows I'm going to move so it doesn't startle her. Shes sleeping in her crate right now right next to me so she can't be that afraid of me! She'll look at me randomly and I'll drop a treat in and she'll eat it then go back to sleep. I'm going to get hot dogs later and I hope they are to die for for her. I'll keep everyone posted as we progress. I also bought The Dog Whisperer by Paul Owens. Hoping I can get into it with the clicker training he provides. I noticed he had breathing exercises as well so you appear calm to the dog which looked good.

As for clothing, I wore the same thing last night as I did this morning. White T-shirt with grey sweat pants. Now I put on a leather jacket to take her outside both times too along with black shoes. I don't think thats whats making her avoid me as she was hesitant last night and this morning she was fine. I am going to blame my wife for this! haha
 

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If your wife is nervous about her (the dog's) behavior, she'll know about the nervousness but not the reason; if she assumes the wife is wary of you, that'll work against your purpose.
 

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There is a great free clicker training site you can sign up for here on the forums in the dog training forum! :) :) :) I use it ... it is great! They will send you the lessons right to your E-mail! :)


Canis Clicker Training
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If your wife is nervous about her (the dog's) behavior, she'll know about the nervousness but not the reason; if she assumes the wife is wary of you, that'll work against your purpose.
Hmm, I don't know if my wife would be nervous other than the potty training which hasn't been to bad. She's snuck a couple in on us but we never punished her for it. Just went oops, better watch her better next time.

There is a great free clicker training site you can sign up for here on the forums in the dog training forum! :) :) :) I use it ... it is great! They will send you the lessons right to your E-mail! :)


Canis Clicker Training
I actually signed up for this too. I got the first and second email already. I should of said that too! I like the homework they give you. Its a good progression thing that I need to train Molly as I work better with programs. I just know dogs don't function the same though!
 

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Also, keep in mind that some dogs just have "favorite" people. I am Harper's favorite, my fiance is Abby's. When I am home, Harper will often ignore my fiance. But, if I'm not home, they're buddies.

It does appear that the dog has some fear issues, and you seem to be doing great! But, even if he does become comfortable with you, he may never treat you as he does your wife.
 

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Yeah, I been moving quietly. If I'm going to move, I make sure she knows I'm going to move so it doesn't startle her.
I'm not to sure about the becoming a mouse in the house, I would avoid loud stuff shouting etc but I would pretty much move normally. That's just me though.
 

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You have to bond with the dog.
Do you know what dogs like more than treats and their Mommy?
They like a ride in a car...a walk in the park...a game of tug o war..interaction and socializing ..meeting other dogs and people..
barking at the guy at McDonalds drive thru window....etc etc.
You can win this dog over...stop being boring and have some fun with the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm not to sure about the becoming a mouse in the house, I would avoid loud stuff shouting etc but I would pretty much move normally. That's just me though.

Eh, its not like being a mouse, its just so she knows Im moving. I walk regulary. I toned the voice down a bit. She's been sleeping her crate next to me most the day. Been outside a couple times then she goes back to sleep. Shes doing good today. Plus the snow doesn't bother her which is great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You have to bond with the dog.
Do you know what dogs like more than treats and their Mommy?
They like a ride in a car...a walk in the park...a game of tug o war..interaction and socializing ..meeting other dogs and people..
barking at the guy at McDonalds drive thru window....etc etc.
You can win this dog over...stop being boring and have some fun with the dog.
This is a good point. However, she doesn't fair to well on car rides. She does frequently go for walks(I usually take her when I take her outside to go pee, we'll go for walk instead), however the past two days have been a little to much weather wise as its been snowing. She won't play tug of war with me, and she has met numerous people over the holidays.
 

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Play requires a relaxed state of mind from a dog. When she warms up to you, she'll play. Kabota just started playing this week. For the previous 3 weeks, he just looked at toys the same way he looked at household decorations, briefly and with no interest.

As to sleeping by you, maybe it means she's comfortable, but extremely stressed dogs will often go to sleep to deal with the stress. As long as they're asleep, they can't be afraid. Don't wake her up or prevent her from sleeping, but it doesn't necessarily mean she's happy and relaxed. Keep it up with the treats and the toning it down and she'll come around.
 
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