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As much human behaviour...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by calamj, Nov 10, 2019.


  1. calamj

    calamj PetForums Newbie

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    ...as dog behaviour that is breaking my heart.

    Hello, I have just signed up because I am desperate for advice. Has anyone experienced lack of bonding between a family member and their dog?

    My parents got a new puppy 2 and a half years ago. Our old family pet had passed, who was my dad's loyal and loved companion. Over 2 years after getting their second dog, and the lack of bond between him and my dad is causing resentment and sadness. I have now moved out but every time I visit it upsets me to see a withdrawn dog and frustrated father He talks about rehoming the dog, because he feels wounded, but I feel as though the poor dog can sense the bad feelings and it's driving the wedge even further. How can we move forward and create trust between them? Should I offer to have the dog stay with me? Would some time apart to reflect do my dad good? Is it fairer to do the hard thing and put the dog up for adoption? Any words of advice from anyone who has dealt with a similar problem will be gladly received.
     
  2. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    Im sorry to hear this . Do you know why there is a lack of bond between them ? maybe your dog finds your dad overwhelming. Its hard to say how this has happened without more details .
    What breed is the dog ? If your dad wants to rehome then its best to do it soon while the dog is young ?
     
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  3. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    I suspect it was too soon after the loss of your fathers previous companion and what tends to happen I think is that people 'compare' and of course the new dog always comes up short. I do actually know someone who couldn't bond with their dog - I have no idea why in this persons case - but I recall having a conversation with her when she said that there was nothing there between them - she had the dog since he was a pup and it was a steady dog but she just didn't 'get a bond'. She was always very off hand with the dog. (And when she moved house she said it was too 'difficult' to take the dog and he went to the RSPCA - and incidently is now with a new loving family)

    I don't really know what to suggest. Time apart may help your father decide what he wants to do - he may miss his dog and try to reconnect or he may of course decide that it was less stressful not to have the dog there. Is there a particular behaviour that needs re training or would your father (and the dog) be interested in taking up a sport/classes etc?

    But if it's not working then it's not working and rehoming may indeed be the answer.

    J
     
  4. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Hi there, would your dad consider going to training classes or taking up some sort of activity to do with the dog? In my experience, the more things you do with your dog the closer the bond becomes. Training classes can be great fun and you meet other people, which can be good for mental wellbeing. Perhaps your dad could work through the good citizens dog scheme levels?
     
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  5. calamj

    calamj PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the kind words :) He is an English Bull Terrier and really sweet. I suspect maybe he bonded with my sister and I when he was a puppy. Now we have moved out, that dynamic has changed. My dad is the dog's 'main owner' in our eyes, but perhaps not in the doggy's.
     
  6. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    I think your assessment is correct. Dogs are fantastically tuned to body language, so if this dog is resented he knows something is wrong - but he cannot understand why he seems to be in trouble or however he’s interpreting the ill feeling.
    It does depend on what your dad wants and no one can really advise him on that. Dogs are sociable animals of course - they crave company - so, if he’s constantly ignored he may easily withdraw psychologically. And they need mental stimulation, so again it’s no good if they’re ignored, If you can, have a straight talk with your dad and if he cannot change his relationship with the dog, the best thing would be to rehome it - either with yourself (if that’s a possible long term option), or through a reputable rehoming organisation (RSPCA, Dogs Trust, local, breed-specific - but please don’t hand it direct to another family unless you know them well and believe they can look after the dog.)
    If, on the other hand, your dad wants to try again, fine; but it sounds like he really needs to change his approach to this poor animal (and Im not judging your dad as I don’t know him, circumstances, etc). And if he does want to try, I do think Sairy’s suggestion is an inspired one.
    All the best with it and please let us know how you get on.
     
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  7. calamj

    calamj PetForums Newbie

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    I think you are right. Its not the poor chap's fault he is being compared to an old dog. He has lots of charming quirks of his own, but of course it's back to square one with training and control with a new pup, and I think maybe the same levels of enthusiasm weren't there as with our old dog ( we were all 13 years older!)

    Its good to hear about someone else feeling the same -- a shame that it lead to rehoming, BUT actually if the lady's dog has a new loving family, then alls well that ends well I guess.


    Thanks for the advice. Classes could be the way forward!
     
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  8. calamj

    calamj PetForums Newbie

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    You are definitely right I think. I will have a look into what sort of things are available in our area. Thank you
     
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  9. calamj

    calamj PetForums Newbie

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    You've hit the nail on the head I think! Managed to sum it up much better than me! Yes, we have some work to do. I don't think dad's really ready to give up on him just yet, so I guess I have a bit of work to do in terms of suggesting activities they can do together, and being generally upbeat and supportive. I will try to post on here our progress :) many thanks for everyone's interest (a positive first experience on petforum!)
     
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