|Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 7:14pm PST |
|Hi all - please bear with me on this one, there is some back story to explain, but please do read through and give me any insight you can.
So, approximately 5 weeks ago we brought home our sweet bundle of joy, Youki (a Husky/Bernese Mountain Dog mix). We've tried having dogs before, and haven't been able to give them the time and attention they need to be happy. Now that our life is more stable, my girlfriend really wanted to try again.
The goal was that this was to be *her* dog.
Neither of us have much experience with dogs - but she has slightly more, so I tend to bow to her experience/knowledge, especially when it matches what I read online (when comparing multiple sources).
After about a week or so of the puppy at home, we had a discussion about who would be the "master" with him: My girlfriend is a better disciplinarian (I'm way too much of a softie to effectively train him), but I'm the one who gets up in the morning to take him out for morning pee/walk/play.
The idea was that I would take on the "master" role, trying to step up my authority with the dog and take a firmer hand in all of this.
About week later, my girlfriend decided she wasn't happy about the situation, that she was the one who wanted a dog, and that she wanted to take a more active role in his life, being his master and trainer. I admit that I found it hard (I had bonded a lot with him) but I agreed that it was a good idea for her to take it on - she has more time and patience and a firmer approach that makes for a happier dog, IMO.
So, for the past week, I take him out for pee in the morning, give him food and water, and then put him in his cage until she gets up. Then she plays with him, takes him out for training and walks, and so on. I have very limited interactions with him - I don't play, I don't give treats, I don't give commands.
He's still very attached to me, likes to come see me, looks for my attention. Today we took the dog to the vet for the next round of vaccinations, and (at my girlfriend's request) I sat in the back of the car with our puppy to make sure he would be safe. After that we took him home and went out for some errands. On coming back home, I started unloading the car while my girlfriend took the puppy out for pee/play. She was then very upset afterwards, as apparently he wasn't even interested in seeing her, all he wanted to do was go see me and jump around (near me). This she attributes to me having spent approximately 1/2 an hour total with him in the car (just holding his collar and trying to keep him from moving around too much).
She's now very frustrated, and claims that basically it's hopeless, he's bonded with me and that she can fill the "trainer" role but he doesn't see her as his master and he never will. I think that this isn't theoretically true, since dogs can and do get successfully adopted. Perhaps the transition will take a bit more time, but I think he will see her as his master with no doubt.
My questions are:
1) What are the signs that a dog considers someone his master (as opposed to him just being happy to see someone)?
2) If, indeed, our puppy considers me his master, is that something that can be transferred/shifted to my girlfriend?
3) What sort of behavior should I avoid with the puppy to help him make that transition?
Many thanks to everyone who managed to make it through that long and rambling description - and thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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