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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 month old puppy that we have had since 8 weeks old from a very respectable and contentious breeder. She loves to meet new people and dogs and is generally very friendly but if I take her to the dog park or puppy socialization time at the local positive trainer, she acts like she couldn't care less about us. She sometimes tries to keep as much distance as possible from us in off-leash settings.

At home she is not very affectionate, only licking us every once in a while. She has isolation distress so does stick close when there is no other dogs or people around. She doesn't play by herself very well at all. If someone or some dog is not paying attention to her she tries to get someone's attention or just wonders the house looking for something to do.

When I put on my super happy and excited voice, she does wag her tail and butt while walking towards me. She will look at me but if I don't give her a treat for eye contact she gives up fast and doesn't look again unless I say something or do something unexpected.

I will admit that positive training is new to me, (I had dogs in the 80s and 90s and had never heard of positive training at that time) and have smacked her on the butt or head a few times in panic when she did something that could seriously injure her but then I would try to do some easy positive training right after so she wouldn't think I was abusive or mean. She seems to forgive dogs very quickly for scaring her with their aggressiveness.

How do you tell if your dog likes you if she is not the cuddly sort? And how do you improve the relationship? Is it possible? We already do training and walks daily which she loves. What else can I do? I understand that I need to stop the smacking (but I can count on my fingers how many times it has happened and I am improving in that area).
 

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Be yourself, do feel any animal builds a relationship to who their owners are. Being consistent in who you are is important. I have seen all kinds of different owners of the same breed and all the dogs responded to them. Some times you don't realize your trying too hard, and/or setting yourself up for failure when you put your own expectations of what (you) feel you should be getting back from the dog. I've gone from GSD's,, which are your constant shadow, always moving the instant you move of what are we doing, what are you doing, where we going, whats that.. like you the center of their world every second.. Now I have LGD's,, and they just not that interested... they sleep alot unless there is something to alert on. Did I mention they sleep alot. lol.. it was a shock to my system for the difference and not having constant side kicks easily entertained for hours on end.. I had to see the LGD's for who they are and not compare them to the GSDs.. LGD's are just as loyal, devoted, attentive, loving, affectionate, funny have a sense of humor in their antics... but in their own way when they give it, other then that they lay around outside sleeping alot.. And will watch me walk by and come back from where I was give a happy wagging tail and then go back to sleep.. huge huge difference at times to adjust to and not take personally.. Do agree work on your bonding, trust and relationship finding positive interaction with them.. If you make a mistake, don't end it there on a low note find a way to for it to be positive interactions. If you have to stop your pup from doing something, getting into something ...... follow through in showing them the right way, or the right thing to get into, or where to be, or doing something else that is better...so you can praise them for a better choice.. Hang in there...
 

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Minor note, but " from a very respectable and contentious breeder."
You might want to look up what contentious means :D

Otherwise, sounds like normal 5 mo behavior. This is the age where it's common to see some regression, more independence, more reactivity, etc. The world is suddenly more interesting than you, I imagine.

Keep on the positive track, stick with your trainer if you like their training program. It will get better with maturity.

Minor note, but " from a very respectable and contentious breeder."
You might want to look up what contentious means :D

Otherwise, sounds like normal 5 mo behavior. This is the age where it's common to see some regression, more independence, more reactivity, etc. The world is suddenly more interesting than you, I imagine.

Keep on the positive track, stick with your trainer if you like their training program. It will get better with maturity.
 

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Also I will add that dog parks can sometimes teach dogs to be very fixated, easily over aroused, and reactive around other dogs. Again, "sometimes" being the key word. It is a mosh pit of play and sometimes inappropriate interactions. Dogs can learn inappropriate behaviors. Often there is no structure, so DOGS!!!! become very exciting and owners less exciting.

I am all for dog interactions! But I think structure and good matches are important. I am only mentioning this because you are asking about developing your relationship with your dog.
 

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When we first got Esther (and she was likely around 12 months old) she had very little use for any of us. My family could not understand what I saw in her. It took a while (maybe six months or so,) but she has become a loyal and devoted family member. Her version of affection is a bit atypical, but there is no question that she likes us a lot.
 

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Note @RonE - I seem to have problems with the Reply Button - I get the back rotating circle?

Dogs, especially puppies, are easily distracted with New people and things. I had a Lab mix that would try to walk off with all kinds of strangers [and they would've loved to have had him!], but when he turned and saw I wasn't following, he'd come back... eventually ;-)

Suggestions:
1. Try to stop hitting, yelling, raising your voice, using the word No! (instead, say - not yell - Sit).
2. Set aside 5 - 10 minutes, morning and evening to pet, massage, or rub your pup's belly. Don't "pat" him, but rub him.
3. Bond by sharing - Get some food that you like, such as cheese cubes; a sliced, cooked hotdog; cold cuts; or even vegetables such baby carrots, broccoli, or steamed green beans. Sit on the floor and take a bite of the cheese cube, then give the remainder to the dog, one piece at a time, maybe only 10 pieces so he doesn't get an upset stomach. Do this twice a day. But, never share your meals or while you are cooking, b/c that could lead to begging.
4. Bond by hand feeding - If your pup does not guard his food, then take some food from his dish, and hand feed him one kibble at a time, allowing him to eat from the dish, if desired. My dog loves me to hand feed him, moreover if I toss the kibble to him, he thinks it's a treat!
5. Bond during TV - While you're watching TV, let him sit or lie next to you while you pet him or rub his belly.

These activities should help ... fairly quickly.
 

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Bucky was a hard nut to crack. He's super stimulated by everything and I'm boring except that I feed him and don't scare him much. He loves training, thrives on it. I just spent a fun half hour with him working on good leash manners until the cheese was gone then fetch. That fetch session was more intense than usual because of the training preceding. I'd do as suggested and do a lot of hand feeding but hand feeding as you are training. Doggy zen is the first trained behavior I do with new dogs and the dogs seem to like learning to delay gratification.

The original by Shirley Chong. It's been taken up by nearly if not all positive trainers sometimes with different names.

She's a Pointer, right? Intense bird dog. Have you looked into working with that? Get a bird wing and play fetch pole with that as a lure. I don't know anything about bird dog training beyond that but you've got a dog that has been bred to point birds for hundreds of years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the feedback and tips. I'll try them all but understand that she may not be as affectionate to dogs I've had in the past.

Haha! Yes, apparently I misspelled "conscientious" and spell check changed it to "contentious", and of course I didn't proofread it.
 

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And how do you improve the relationship? Is it possible?
Of course it is, anything is possible.

Suzanne Clothier has a wonderful book, "Bones Would Rain from the Sky". It's not a step-by-step manual but it should provide you with an abundance of food for thought. I highly recommend reading it.

Keep in mind that, if faced with one choice or the other, it's FAR more important that you love your dog. Over and above the converse.
 
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