Dog lover living with an anxious, shy Toy Fox Terrier.

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Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 4, '12 8:04am PST 
I'm new to dogster. In fact, this is the first pet or dog site I have ever been on.

A little about me before I get into why I am turning to dogster for help and advice.

I have always loved animals. From infancy to the present time (I'm 37 years old) I have always been around animals; dogs, cats, and other "childhood" pets (Guinea pigs, fish, turtles, etc). I currently do not have a dog. Unfortunately I had to give Bella (my Cairn/Scottie mix) to my parents a year after I adopted because my living situation changed. I adopted two cats 10 years ago and I currently have them with me.

So that's me in a nutshell. An animal lover.

My fiance has a Toy Fox Terrier that she adopted from a rescue group that rescued him from a puppy mill when he was 5 months old. Tater and I have known each other for over a year now. When I first met him he was very friendly and excited to see me. Then after the third or forth time we saw each other he displayed signs of fear and shyness. He would cower and pee submissively and would not want to be alone with me. Why the sudden change? My fiance and I can't pinpoint any specific event that changed his behavior. It got to the point where he wouldn't come near me even if my fiance was in the same room as us. Now, over a year later, Tater and I have made significant progress in our relationship but there is still a long way to go. Tater and I will play; I can throw his toys and he runs and gets them; I can give him treats; I can let him out, walk him and he even gets up on me and hangs out for brief periods of time. Just recently he will get on the couch and snuggle, briefly. But this only happens when my fiance is present and visible. When I am home alone with him he stays in his crate all day and will not come out for any reason. The door to the crate is open at all times and he is not asked to go into the crate. I have a seasonal job and have a few weeks off in the winter which is why I am home. But he also does this when my fiance leaves to run errands and stay at the house. He will immediately go to his crate and will not move until she returns, again without being asked. The only time we interact is when she is present and visible and only on his terms and comfort level.

We have determined that he does have some sort of anxiety. Based on many websites and talking to other owners and vets, his behaviors are consistent with separation anxiety. Constant, non-stop chewing on toys and bones, constantly on my fiance when she is sitting (and he is chewing something on her), the minute she gets up he is right behind her and following her everywhere she goes. In the event she does get to leave the room without his noticing it only takes a minute or less for him to get up and run to her.

He will show various submissive behaviors around me even when she is present. Example: we will all be in the kitchen preparing dinner and he will be sitting next to her literally touching her. I will kneel down not make direct eye contact and reach out slowly to touch him and he will lick his lips, lower his head, get closer to her (as if to crawl inside her) and half the time pee, even if I have his favorite treat(s) and speak calmly and quietly.

Like I stated two paragraphs prior to this one we have made progress but not to the point where he is comfortable.

It breaks my heart and hers that Tater will not interact with me when he and I are alone and even at times she is with us. We have both cried and stressed about it on and off over the past year. It is frustrating and disheartening. We have tried all kinds of methods and techniques to get him to trust and be comfortable with me in both situations (when we are alone and when she is present) but the behavior is not getting any better.

I have never experienced this from any pet, weather it be my parents, relatives, friends or strangers pets.

Please feel free to give advice, tips and techniques to help Tater and I to form a great, loving relationship.

Sometimes I have- a screw loose...
Barked: Mon Feb 20, '12 5:00pm PST 
Chloe has always been very attached to me for most of her life. For a few months she had to live with my parents without me and she had some trouble adjusting to the new living arrangement. Now that I am back in the picture she often displays some strange behaviors. For instance, if she is laying on the couch next to me and my father or mother come to try and pick her up for whatever reason she begins to snarl and bark and has a few times bitten my mom. She will do this to me at times if she is laying next to my mom or dad. I don't know if she is experiencing some weird attachment issues or abandonment issues from the few months I was not around, but we just deal with it and firmly tell her no when we can see it coming on (we have termed it "having a screw loose") and we just try to back off. I know this sounds a bit different than what you are explaining, but it does attest to the odd attachment these little dogs seems to have at times. red facered face