I Love You To Death; Why Over-Bonding Is Bad Even Dangerous For Your Dog

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my dog only likes me, dog overbonding

Thanks to Wikimedia for the Rembrandt Photo

I get a lot of questions about dogs that are bonded to specifically one person in the house and no one else.

Whereas this kind of attitude is normal in cats (those crazy cats) it isn’t exactly normal or healthy for dogs.

Don’t get me wrong, most animals have a stronger bond with one person; for example in my family my girl, Fury is my competition dog so she has bonded most to me and my husband’s competition dog, Jovi, would choose him in a heartbeat… this is pretty normal.

What isn’t normal is if these dogs didn’t like or care about the other person in the house.  For example when I come home all the dogs go nuts and are happy to see me and vice versa, and when I leave they all want to go with me… but they love their dad too!

They may occasionally look out the window for me, or my husband when he is gone, but it doesn’t affect their quality of life while I am gone.  There is no screaming, whining, pacing, scratching, destruction or other serious signs of anxiety.

One of the Biggest Problems with Over Bonding?

People actually like a dog that pines for them when they leave.  Somehow this adoration makes them feel special, and in some ways I understand that.

My old dog NIX was very much bonded to me and when he was younger wouldn’t eat when I wasn’t there; he wanted to wait for me.

It made me feel special, like I was loved and adored above anything or anyone else.  I suppose we all like feeling that kind of extraordinary love.

But it becomes a problem when we recognize it and we feed it and encourage obsession and addiction. And for a great video series that shows you how to work on re-wiring your dog’s brain and controlling their impulses, click here.

This can be especially likely with rescued dogs that go from an unstable environment into a home where they are loved, so precautions must be taken to love but not over love the dog.

my dog only likes me, dog overbonding

This might be too much!

Obsession and Addiction Are Never Good

This is also true when it comes to your pet.

Sure you want him to love you, but it crosses a line when he thinks he can’t survive without you.

As humans we have an ability to be more rational; we realize we can survive a few hours or even days without our dog and we get busy thinking about and dealing with life and our daily struggles but your dog doesn’t have this option.

If you feed his addiction you only set him up for failure and pain (and sometimes some very dangerous and expensive separation anxiety)!

The last thing you want is for your dog to have a panic attack and try to hurl himself out windows or chew your walls!

my dog only likes me, dog overbonding

THIS, is Hopefully More Exciting That Pining Over You

So How Do You Deal with an Already Over-Bonded Dog?

Start distancing yourself while you are with him.

I know this sounds terribly mean and difficult, but spending 20 hours a day spooning with your dog isn’t going to help him feel like he can live without you those other four hours!

I don’t want you to totally ignore him or be unkind to him, I recommend that you allow him to figure out he can survive on his own and enjoy his own independence.

Give him a big bone and let him chew it outside while you do some chores around the house, but don’t let him have that special treat when you are around; if he wants to chew it he has to fly solo for a while.  This teaches him independence while you are still around (so he doesn’t have to panic that you left the premises) this teaches him with small steps.

You can still snuggle just a snuggle a little less!

If You Live in a Family

my dog only likes me, dog overbonding

Puppy Snuggles are Important, but so is Teaching Him Independence

Let your family members take over the care of the dog.

If the dog doesn’t like your husband… let him be the one to feed the dog, play with the dog, and take him for walks and everything else that is fun.

In order for your dog to be comfortable when you are gone, he has to feel like his needs can be met by others in the family and learn to love them also.

Chances are he will never change favorites, he will just learn to love everyone else on a different level.

I suppose….

This would be like only having ONE friend or ONE person to talk to and no one else… if that person weren’t available to you, you might go a little crazy and you might be putting too many demands on that one person.

But when you have several friends you have more options and are usually happier without the jealousy and negative feelings that come with having to share just one friend.

As Hard As It Is….

Giving yourself and your dog a little bit of distance is in his and her best interests.  It will help him or her to learn to love some independence and it keeps you from worrying when you have to leave.

It doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t love you as much, or that you don’t love him; it simply means that you can have a healthier relationship!

 

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There are 65 Comments

  1. Michele Picillo says:

    Minette,
    We have so enjoyed the training sessions you and Chet put on earlier this year, and look forward to your blogs. We have two german shepherds, Lady and Shadow (female and male), brother and sister who just turned one last month. We also had a 13 year old shepherd who passed away about 3 weeks ago, while we were visiting our daughter in Charlotte. We took the pups with us, but boarded Samson with our friends, who usually take care of him / them. He died in his sleep the night before we came home. The problem is, Lady, must be missing him terribly, because she refuses to come into the house and has been difficult to get back into her crate (they sleep in the garage in their crates at night). They are mostly outside dogs (nice kennel in the yard and 2 acre fenced in yard). However, when we would be done playing, training or walking, it would be “okay guys, let’s go in” “one, two, three” … and Lady was always #3 following Samson into the garage. And Samson, always slept on a blanket next to her crate. She has been getting better, but is so skittish lately. I’m just wondering if just spending a little extra time with her is good, or if we just do our normal routines, and this skittishness will pass. She still plays with Shadow, but her appetite is changing .. nibbling during the day rather than 2 full feedings, once at night and once in the morning. She ends up getting one full feeding with her nibbling.
    Just thought I’d check in with you and Chet about this.

    Thank you. Michele

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would change her schedule a bit and give her more walks and exercise on her own just with you.

    You don’t have to love on or coddle her just spend time with her to help with her mourning and when you see she is doing better you can cut back.

    Dogs mourn too read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/pets-mourn/

    [Reply]

  2. Jody says:

    I adopted a Bischon stray a year ago and have had this problem from the get go. He has separation anxiety and must be crated when I leave (which isn’t every day). He whines, barks and digs in his crate; however, he does calm down after a few minutes.He also messes in his crate sometimes. He is quiet when I come home so I don’t rush in to get him out. I let him walk into his crate albeit very slowly. I will try your suggestion about a big bone outside only (they can stain carpet).

    [Reply]

  3. Carol Ryan says:

    From the day I brought Rosie, my Italian Greyhound home, she was very, very timid and, unfortunately, I innocently encouraged that by letting her sleep with me, under the covers, and spoiled her in other ways and now she will not socialize with other dogs or other people. If anyone comes to the door, she hides under the bed, and that includes family and friends. When out walking, she will momentarily sniff someone’s hand or another dog and then she is at the far reaches of her leash, pulling me down the street. She has never destroyed anything while I am at work but sleeps on my bad all day. Someone told me this is normal in this breed of dog–either they are super hyper or super timid.

    [Reply]

    nancy dively Reply:

    Hello,
    This is not normal behavior for any dog. By basically introverting her without maybe realizing it, she no longer has that desire to be with others. YOu need to work on this as dogs are social animals, and while like humans, they don’t love everyone, it is important that they have fun and seek the attention of others. YOu may want to try slowly bringing her out of your room when you have someone over, like one person at first. Let her lay in the hall or somewhere near you so that she can see that it is okay and let her comet to your friend. Give her much praise or tiny treats if she responds better with food. There will come a time when you might have to leave her and then there could be real issues. Good Luck.

    [Reply]

  4. Irene says:

    My 1 year spaniel/poodle cross goes in the rear of the car with no problem,but sqinnies the whole time until we get where we are going to. He used to try and get in the from with us even with his seat belt on. We have now put a guard between the front seat and the back seat for safety but he still seems distressed. Any ideas will help.

    [Reply]

    Mandy Reply:

    I bought a doggy carseat for my ten pound dog, Lucy. She went everywhere in the car when I drove. Not safe for either of us! Tiny treats and praise when I put her in the seat, praise during the drive, and treats and praise before I took her out was all I did for a couple trips. Now no treats are needed. She loves to get in the car to go to a park for walks. She falls asleep everytime in her seat. Give your dog verbal praise and treats often when training him. You might need someone else in the car to had over the treats. My dogs carseat was in the front seat at first so I could give her treats for calm behavior as I drove. Now she is in backseat.

    [Reply]

  5. Wanda says:

    I was just given a 10 month old merle/dachsund mix that has been passed around from 4 different homes already. She is a perfect dog in all ways EXCEPT seperation anxiety. Her last owner left her kenneled from 5am til 7 pm and caged again overnight. 20 minute potty breaks at 4:30 am and when she got home from work.

    Poor baby starts howling if I leave. Neighbors are complaining.

    What can I do for her?

    [Reply]

    margie Reply:

    Hi, Wanda –
    I just found this website, so just now read your posting. I hope you have resolved the problem by now, but if you haven’t, I hope you won’t mind my butting in. I have been training dogs for about 20 years, and often run into this problem.

    The first thing you want to do is not think of her as “poor baby.” This kind of thinking lowers your energy and makes you come off as weak to your dog. You want your dog to look to you as a source of strength and stability.

    Now that you’re feeling calm and secure, take her for a good walk first thing in the morning. Don’t get her all revved up for the walk – it needs to be a quiet ritual. Don’t even put the leash on her till her tail stops wagging. Don’t say anything, just stand there. She’ll get the message – oh, when I’m calm, I get to go out.

    Then you step out, you going out first. After the walk, she gets rewarded with breakfast, then goes out again to pee or whatever just before you leave. When you leave, no talking. No promising her you’ll be back, that’s she’s to be a good girl while you’re gone, and that she’s not to worry, everything’s ok. The pack leader goes out quietly, not paying attention to the pack. This probably sounds cruel to you but believe me, it is very calming to the dog.

    If you can, you’ll want to practice leaving. Leave calmly, step outside, count to 10, go back inside. Ignore her. Repeat this a few times. Don’t ask her if she’s been good. Just come in. Go out again. Over time, extend how long you stand you’re outside, to get her used to you coming and going. She needs to see that you will return and also that nothing bad is going to happen to her.

    Because she’s so young, you shouldn’t leave her crated too long – you might want to get someone in to let her out (as long as they do it the way you are, calmly and quietly).

    If you have already solved the problem, I would love to know what strategy you used. If my suggestions help at all, please let me know. Also if they don’t! Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Nige Reply:

    This is an EXCELENT reply!

    Many owners humanise their dog and feed it’s anxiety by petting & talking to it in sentences, as if it were a child – making the problem worse.

    I couldn’t add anything to this advice – spot on!

    [Reply]

  6. Karen Hawthorne says:

    I enjoyed your remarks. I recently drove a friend from my home in Michigan to Independance, Ohio for her to have open heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic. We were gone for about 10 days. The family that live with me love here and are very nice to her. The first day she cried alot but did fine after that she was fine. I think I missed her more than she missed me. I sleep with her every night. One of the younger kids tried sleeping with her in my bed but she wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    [Reply]

  7. Sam says:

    Hi there
    My Shihtzu-Terrier is now 8 months old. He starter barking at strangers calling at the door or even in the street within the last 2 weeks. its a lot of annoying barks. How can I train him to ignore all strangers? Pls assist me with this.
    Thanks and regards
    Sam

    [Reply]

  8. Miriam Yarden says:

    When a stranger is in sight, put your puppy in a “good sit!” position and immediately in a “good stay!” while showing him a favourite treat. Make sure he focuses on you and the treat – let him smell is and even lick it but DON’T give it to him.

    When the stranger has gone by, give him the treat with a “GOOD STAY!” and continue in the opposite direction as if nothing happened.

    Within a week to ten days, he should be focusing on you when he he sees a stranger. Reward him each time – however, in about 3-4 weeks you can start weaning him off the treats. A resounding “GOOD STAY!” and a happy head of chest scratch should be enough.

    As for barking at the door, I would leave it alone – he is a good alarm-giver! Again, show him the treat and say “Thank you!”. When he STOPS barking, give him the treat with a happy scratch.

    Good luck – Miriam, B.Sc., MS, APDT

    [Reply]

  9. Melissa says:

    My dogs are very bonded with me, but I have one that now will fight with her sister, and the other dogs I have, because she wants all the attention. How can I break her from this? Plus her and her sister will sit at the window until I return home….I need help with this.
    Thank you

    [Reply]

  10. Pam says:

    Get your dog to a play group to interact with the pets and other other owners. Walk him outside your home to get him used to seeing people passing by are not a threat. Exercise is one of the best remedies for an anxious pet.

    [Reply]

  11. Jan says:

    My dog is fine with me leaving as I give her a “Greenie” every time I leave (not more than 1/day.) The problem is she won’t eat, drink, or eliminate when we are not home. It doesn’t matter that she is with me. She won’t eat her favorite treat in the car. I took her on a long weekend. She eventually ate and drank a small amount. She waited so long to urinate (all day and all night) that she ended up going in her crate when I was out of the hotel room. Obviously, she did not want to do that, but had waited way too long. I feel it would be as bad or worse if I boarded her. I’ve been taking her on short trips since she was a small puppy and it has always been this way. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Edward Smih Reply:

    We hsve a toy poodle who prefers my wife over me. I groom her and give her a bath monthly. She will come to me each evening for a treat. Maybe you can try this with your dog.

    [Reply]

    Janelle Reply:

    We took our dog camping with us for the first time last summer and she wouldn’t eat at first either. She would take her blanket and cover her food with it and “bury” it with her nose. We tried coaxing her and nothing worked. Finally my husband played a good fun round of “tug” with her and a few minutes later she chowed down all her food! We looked it up online and apparently if a dog is in an unfamiliar place they will hide their food so no other dogs will eat it. As soon as my husband played with her like he does when we are at home it made her feel at home and she ate.
    Not sure if that helps but it worked for us.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    An in home pet sitter is as close to home and normal life as you can get.

    [Reply]

  12. dave' says:

    My dog that’s a American pit bull terrier she will always jump on house guest and I don’t no if I should just leave her in a room by her self when we have company

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put her on a leash and teach her what you want.

    [Reply]

  13. Edward Smith says:

    We have a toy poodle (female) who prefers my wife over me. But I groom her (Hair cuts) and monthly baths, plus medicines for hesrtworm and fleas. She will come to me for evening treats and hugging. Perhaps you could try this with your dog. It may aleive the separation snxiety fears.

    [Reply]

  14. diane robinson says:

    i have a wired hair terrier mix with i think mini dobie, anyway he is a yr and a half now but i cant get him to eat his dry dog food i have to mix canned with it but even then we have to coax him to eat. he does the same thing that janelle ws saying about her dog will bury the food, well my dog tries to cover up his food he pushes his nose at it like hes trying to cover it with something and if the food is on a blanket he uses his nose to coverit up with the blanket. he will only eat dry dog food one time then he wont touch it again. i am on a fixed income and cant be buying different food every day. my vet said just leave the food in his bowl and eventually he will eat he said ” he wont starve” well i think this dog would. i have never had a dog like this before and i have had dogs my whole life. if anyone has any suggestions please put them here and i will check back later. thanks, diane r.

    [Reply]

    Isiris Reply:

    My dogs have done the same thing. Maybe it’s not fresh enough for them after the bag is opened. Maybe you could try to put some of it in a zip lock bag and freeze it so it stays fresh. I cook for my dogs. Since I’m a vegetarian, the money I would have used for meat if I were eating meat, is spent on my 2 Shih Tzu instead. Now I don’t have to worry if they are going to eat or not. They also get a vitamin. I cook the meat in the oven or in a pan, or a pressure cooker or crock pot. That way it’s different and they don’t get bored with the same thing all the time.

    When I first got my boy who is 4 1/2, I fed him the dry dog food recommended by the breeder. I had an older one at home who was on a raw diet most of her life. He started eating his food but when he got a whiff of her raw food, he went straight for it. He was on raw till I got my little girl, who is now 3. She just could not adapt to the raw. She got such bad diarrhea that her stool was bloody, so I started cooking the food instead. They’re both doing very well on a home-cooked diet. Many people that I have talked to that have dogs that are very old(like past 15 yrs old) have all fed their dogs home-cooked food. I have a neighbor who has a Rottweiler/Black Lab mix who is 18 yrs. old (on home-cooked)!! Isiris

    [Reply]

  15. teresa says:

    it seems so funny just when i feel like i might be having a problem with my dog. you come up with the answers. I have been worried that my dog is becoming to dependent on me also so i have been taking him to a friend of mine they have 5 fenced acres where the dogs can really run. They have two dogs also so i take him to play with them also. but i try to leave his sight for a few minuites at a time. i will go into the garage and go out to the front yard where he cant see me just to get him used to not being so dependent and it seems to be working in fact when we left the last time he didnt want to get in the truck to leave so hes not crying and wining all the time i leave his sight. So this information you just posted is great cause i didnt know if i was doing the right thing but he is siberian husky and shep mix and he would get real upset if i just left the room and he couldnt find me. so im trying different things on him. got him so bones from butcher today and he was outside alone all day and did great thanks for this lesson.

    [Reply]

  16. Debra says:

    Would this be similar to resource guarding? I’m having a horrible time with our 8 month old Chihuahua mix. She’s been socialized since the day we adopted her. She’s very social with other dogs. It’s only when someone comes up to me or near my car that she goes nuts with the growling & snarling. The closer they get, the louder she gets. If they even attempt to touch me, she lunges at them. She doesn’t guard just me — she guards my husband and my daughter also, and only with strangers. She bit the dog trainer & drew blood and attempted to bite the vet. While I like that she’s protective, I’d like her to understand if I’m speaking to someone or if I’ve allowed someone in the car (or the house), that person is OK and there’s no need to guard. I’ve found dozens upon dozens of articles on resource guarding, but none mention guarding PEOPLE. I’m at my wits end.

    [Reply]

  17. janice mcvicker says:

    I have a one year old female German Shepherd, she has a great temperment , wonderful with children and dogs. I plan on getting another GSD puppy she will be 8 weeks old when she joins our family. What shoul I do to ensure my dog accepts the puppy?
    Thanks
    Janice McVicker

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would test her around other puppies before getting one to make sure that she is appropriate and will put up with another dog.

    Ask your vet or find someone who runs obedience and puppy classes.

    [Reply]

  18. Tracey says:

    recently a neighbor asked me to find a home for her 9 month old pup. She had over bonded with it for 9 months, never socialized it, and now wanted to get rid of him. I found someone willing to take him but this person could not handle (physically/literally) him, as he would cower in the corner and try to bite if anyone got near. He ran away within 8 hours and still had on his leash; luckily someone caught him and turned him in, but all along his journey, nobody could physically touch or handle him. The original owner, wracked with guilt decided she wants him back now and they were reunited. She is back to carrying him around, and she still goes from coddling him to yelling at him with no training. My point is I can see what happens when you over bond a dog. Thank goodness on his journey he was taken to a pound, then a rescue and at least is now neutered and microchipped. Of course the owner thinks all of this was everyone else’s fault.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    When people have a problem they always blame it on someone else!!

    [Reply]

    Tracey Reply:

    Definitely ! I guess it’s easier than accepting their role in something. :(

    [Reply]

  19. Emile says:

    My dog runs out of the house when the front door is open. And when i call het she doesnt come back. It takes long to try and catch her. how can i train het to come to me when I call her.

    [Reply]

    Maureen Reply:

    Hi Emile, I had the same problem with my hyper Border Collie. She would take off and not come back when she was called, so I put her on a lead and took her to the park, walking around letting her do her thing and when she was distracted I’d call her and run, she had no choice but to come to me. I did this over and over and eventually it would take ages for her to get distracted because she was so focused on me. I always rewarded her for coming to me with pats and although she’s not food motivated, she does love a game with the tennis ball. So she worked out that coming back when called was a good thing and much more rewarding than whatever had distracted her in the first place. Hope this helps, I found it worked for our Penny.

    [Reply]

  20. sylvia says:

    Hi I have 3 collies the youngest a male will not let my older male near me he bites the older dogs leg if he tries to go past him he chews on his neck and ears he wont let him play when I through the ball in other words he harasses him all the time wont let him sleep near my bed , I can’t even pat him unless he’s pushed out of the way and takes over he’s 4 years old the older dog is 6 what can I do?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He needs more obedience. This would simply not be tolerated at my house. The younger aggressive dog would be put on down stays or given a command that he would have to perform while the other dogs are around.

    i would make sure that he gets one on one time and that you make sure you are meeting his exercise needs. Exercise him alone and exercise the others together.

    But your youngest needs control and structure.

    [Reply]

  21. Vanessa says:

    Hi we have a dog who is kind of a big shook! We have her outside in the day and inside of an night. She can live without u once she is inside but she pines for u all the time if she is outside she whines to come inside and crews at the door to get inside. Gets stressed out if u don’t let her in as soon as she sees u. Yet the funny thing is that we don’t over spoil her we tell when she can cm in and when we want her on our lap and yet she still whines when she can’t come in when she wants. She at u too pat her a lot and she can b very demanding! Do u have any thoughts on what else we can do?

    [Reply]

  22. Jack says:

    We rescued a five-year-old Doberman female. She is very affectionate and responds well to basic commands and to the whistle when we want her to come. However, she is very distracted when walking on he leash (we use a Freedom harness on her) and she wants to sniff and explore everything along the walk (a leaf, a bird in the shrubbery, or just the scent of any creature like a small squirrel, etc.

    I carry high-value treats to try to distract her (small pieces of ham or hotdogs) and it works to some extent but not when she sees another person without or without a dog. Because of her breed, she is always on alert, which doesn’t create a pleasant, leisurely walk.

    Any suggestions?.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Teach eye contact and focus, read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    [Reply]

  23. Nicole says:

    My rescued female Doberman barks frenetically whenever someone approaches the house or rings the door bell. Showing her and letting her smell a bag of her favorite treats (hotdogs) and asking her to go to her crate work only when catching the visitor before he/she has had a chance to ring the doorbell. How can I curb her barking when she is already in full “protective/defensive” mode?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Ring the doorbell all of the time so that it has little to no meaning anymore.

    I recommend hooking up a doorbell and bell inside so that you can ring it and click for a happy and nonaggressive response.

    [Reply]

  24. Barb says:

    Hi, I live alone, have 2 Chihuahua’s and am “walking impaired”. (I need a walker or 2 quad-canes.) My 3 yr old female is the ideal well mannered young lady, but my 5 yr old male goes ballistic everytime I try to leave the house, which is usually only 2-3 times a month for short periods. Being handicapped, I don’t move fast enough to escape out the door or the gate without him and have to constantly come up with different ploys. (He’ll only fall for them twice, then outwits me.) Other than having someone else babysit him, do you have any suggestions on how I can go to the grocery store without such a hullabaloo?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You need to leave several times a day, even if it is just for short periods of time; to get him used to it.

    [Reply]

  25. Angie says:

    I have a 2 year old pit that has bonded to my 3yo daughter. I was worried until I read this article. He will sleep and snuggle and love everyone but she is his favorite. He sleeps in her bed every night and in the mornings snuggles in bed with me. He loves everyone but definitely loves her the most. Anytime she goes in the yard, regardless of what he’s doing, he follows her. Everywhere and anywhere. Nanny dog to the max.

    [Reply]

  26. wendi forbes says:

    Hi,
    I have specific questions regarding over bonding. I am caring for a dog ( Rosie) while her owner and family go away for 4 weeks.
    I have been concerned by how strongly Rosie is bonding to me and only me. In her normal family home she is bonded strongly to the mother of the family and over the first 2 days of being here with us she refocused her relationship to me. I have had both Dogs and horses in the past though no pets at the moment since my Standard Poodle Blossom passed 6yrs ago. I have never experienced such strong bonding as the bond Rosie has developed to me in the last 4 days. Each time I move she also moves . She sits at my feet if i am not moving through the house or outside. She won’t eat unless I feed her and won’t stay quiet or rest through the night unless she is in the same room with me. She will not go for a walk with my husband and if I am out of the house she sits at the door quietly whimpering till I return.

    She went through strong puppy training when she was young and was trained to one person. She is happy to see other people and to be pated by them but only if I am around. This is apparently normal to her relationship with her owner.
    I must admit I find it very difficult and am concerned for her that in fact she is pinning for her owner but is relying on me while she is not here.
    When she is at home in her own environment she is not allowed into the bedrooms of the family. Here with us we have moved her bed into our bedroom as it has been the only way we can get to sleep through the night as she cries for me when she is separated from me over night.

    I work full time running my own business from home but i can not give her full attention every day. My husband is very happy to spend time and be a carer for her however he also works full time and some independence on Rosies part would be very helpful.
    Do you have any suggestions.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes, you need to detach from her and let her be more independent. Give her bones or something to chew on outside. Crate her while you are home and when you leave. Exercise her HARD an hour or so before bed and then make her sleep in her crate in another room.

    Not only are you making it hard on her owners when they come back, you are making it hard on her when she can’t be treated the way you are treating her at your house.

    Plus it is not creating good habits

    [Reply]

  27. Melanie says:

    I was recently in an accident and.cannot walk my dog so a friend son is helping out. He my dog for about five walks with no problem. Now my dog completely shuts down. Will not leave the property. No treat, no coaxing, nothing works. My dog is extremely well trained! He is sociable with both people and all kinds of animals. I believe it to be separation anxiety. But why after five walks? We are trying to get them to spend time in the backyard together but it’s hard because he is not part of the famiky he cant feed him or play with him daily. What can I do? My dog loves to and needs to walk.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would look into someone else walking him. I find it odd that this happens after 5 times with no incident.

    It tells me something happened. I am not saying it is the human’s fault if you know him well and trust him implicitly. Sometimes something as simple as a train going past will have the dog associate the thing that scared them with the person.

    Try asking someone else and see if after a few times you still have the same problem.

    Also you can attach him to a wheelchair or scooter and give him the exercise he needs.

    Honestly I rarely walk mine anymore… I just have them retrieve and do obedience for a while until they are exhausted

    [Reply]

  28. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for the information on bonding to death. I have a 10 month old beagle and she is a mess. We have had her go for training, but she still doesn’t listen. She loves me to death, but when other people come around she loves them to. My husband feel bad because he says we are the ones who feeds and take care of her, but if she hears the door bell rings she goes wild. I know my dog has anxiety when we leave her for a long time ,but I know she will be okay. We need help with her being obedient. She just want listen.

    [Reply]

  29. Kathryn Watson says:

    I have a rescue Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound Mix (I think). She absolutely hates my husband and will bite his feet when he gets up to go outside. She is quiet and o.k. when I and/or my daughter are not at home. He has no balance, and uses a walker when going outside. Someone recommended treats from him; my adult daughter and I should be the only ones to scold her.
    Is this a solution for this rushing anger and constant barking when he is in the room with her? Thank you.
    Kathryn

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You husband needs to be in charge of all things good, food, play, walks etc.

    You and your daughter need to totally ignore the dog until it has accepted and bonded to your husband.

    Right now, it has no reason to do this because she has both of you. If however she is not getting affection from you anymore and he is lavishing praise, treats, affection and walks or games of retrieve with her she will have to bond to him to meet her needs.

    [Reply]

  30. Janice miles says:

    I have a toy poodle that was my sons dog ,my son was a quadriplegic and died 2 yrs ago. The dog is so attached to me.when I leave the house he crys and howls till I return. He is blind in 1 eye and almost in the other,14 yrs old ,he gets along with other dogs his size and try’s to bully bigger dogs.I would like to leave the house and not have him upset others in the home with his howling

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Perhaps a doggy day care would be the kinder option. At 14 habits are pretty solidified, you can fix it; but it is going to cause a lot of stress and consistent work.

    [Reply]

  31. desiree says:

    I think I may have this issue with my dog. I got him from A shelter when he was 3years old, he is a long haired chihuahua pomeranian mix and since ive had him ive gotten a boyfriend and me and my dog have moved in with him. When I first got him I didnt work and it was me and him, so we walked all the time, played a lot and had many training sessions in a day. I think when I got my boyfriend the dog got jealous of the time I spent with him instead. Now I work two jobs aswell so im gone alot. My dog won’t go outside with my boy friend, no matter how he tries to get him out there. He talks in a friendly voice, but the dog always creeps away to his bed when he hears the words outside. My boyfriend cant even put the leash onmy dogbbecause he will just pee all over the place. I dont understand, my boyfriend is not abusive or mean, so why would my dog act this way?

    [Reply]

  32. Bonnie says:

    Adopted a year old Jack Russell Mix puppy from a shelter and she has bonded too strongly with me and doesn’t seem to like men. She’s finally warmed up to my husband, but balks when he tries to take her out on the leash. She has also started to growl at my male 8 year old border collie when I give him affection. She is also not house broken and I’ve been encouraging her to use the doggie door. She’ll go out and often poop in the backyard, but she won’t pee out there. Sometimes I’ve been with her for over 20 minutes, waiting with a treat, just in case, but it doesn’t happen. Then she’ll come in the house and pee on a rug. Big help needed.

    [Reply]

  33. Mary says:

    You’ve got to be kidding. This isn’t bonding. It’s babying. Kindly call it what it is. Bonding is totally different as it involves not only interaction but a healthy relationship built on respect and trust. I have 4 dogs. All four are bonded to both my husband and myself as well as to our adult grandchildren, who do not live with us. If I am out of town, my husband or any of the grandchildren can care of the dogs and the dogs are completely happy about it. That is bonding.
    Bonding is strengthening while babying is crippling. There is an huge difference between a dog who is bonded and a dog who is so babied to the point of total emotional dependence.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    That is why I call it over-bonding

    [Reply]

  34. Jo says:

    I have 2 brothers ( Papillon/Dachsund/border collie) that were neglected rescues. They are a year old now. One is handicapped, a shriveled front leg so he can’t get around as fast as his brother, a cleft palate that used to require hand feeding, and he is almost completely blind, seeing shadows only. He is happy and sweet tempered but is close to impossible to train due to his vision and his leg. He does sit on command and “Go to your room” to eat and sleep at night. The healthy dog is beyond jealous and pesters him everytime he gets near me. My husband gets equal attention from them but when I come in the room, the non-handicapped one pushes him away and basically can’t stand to have me pay the handicapped one any attention. I do not baby either one, but we do have our cuddle time at night watching tv, each one separately for 1/2 hour or so. Any suggestions? I can’t leash train the handicapped one as he hobbles on his shriveled leg and cant see where I want him to go. The vet says to not amputate the little front leg as he would get along the same with or without it so why put him thru it. I don’t know how to get the other one to stop being so possessive….

    [Reply]

  35. Mary Hiles says:

    We have a Shih Two 4 mos old and we can’t get her o quit biting and chewing on furniture. We are in the process of potty training but she will pee after coming in from outside – WHY? I put down potty pads in our sunroom and under our dining room table as she’s good when it is poop but peeing is another story. She’s very sociable as we have a friend that takes care of her while we are gone for hours during the day.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You aren’t doing your job of monitoring her.

    I wouldn’t let a baby run loose in my house without watching it or using a crib.

    If you watch her you won’t let her chew furniture and you can catch her when she squats. She is just a baby. use a crate and read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/2-main-ruining-potty-training/

    [Reply]

  36. Kathy says:

    Hi, I have three small dogs. Happy is 7 years old pom mix, Sam is 2 years old a Jack Russell mix and our newest is Frodo 7 months old a chaweenie. They all sleep on the bed with me. Frodo got attached to my roommates pup who is the same age as Frodo. He plays with Sam and my cats is very shy with people at first but wams up after awhile. He chews on everything, tissue, paper towels, pine cones, my flip flops, corners of my book, anything that is left down is put up when I leave. I am retired so I’m home most of ;the time. I am concerned because I have noticed his poop has white tissue/paper towels in it. Also, when I leave them I have been told all three dogs whine all the time I am gone. Also, Frodo will not go out side to go poop or pee. I trained him to use the pads inside the house. I have a doggy door so he goes outside all the time and loves playing in my yard. How do I get him to go outside to poop/pee? I thought he would follow Sams lead as they are buddies. Also my roommate takes her dog with her when she leaves for the day. Frodo crys and whines when they leave and pouts for about 5 minutes and gets over it. But several times a day he will go to her bedroom door and cry. I call him and play with him to distract him. HELP!!!

    [Reply]

  37. Mandy says:

    Hi thank u for helping.i have a serous problem my German Shepherd wont exept other gogs i have 4they grew up together but niw my sister moved i. With her pugs and theu are very cheeky but the German Shepard want to rip her 2 fogs to peaces he even bites through the wire fence and gets so angry how can i intreduce them without him atting them and to learn them not to challenge him it gets scary he respinds to me talkinf to him but then just turns around to try and get hold of them .I am scared he eill kill them yeat he expected my sister and niw goes crazy when they go near thear own owner

    [Reply]

  38. Kathleen M says:

    I also have a problem with separation anxiety. Mine is a little different.
    She poops, pees or both whenever I leave the house. She a 6year old rat terrier.
    I am her 4th home
    Crating is not an option. Does the same in her crate,which only make a bigger mess.
    She is very social loves people and other animals.
    I have had her for 6 months.
    She is now confined to the kitchen when I am gone.
    Sweet little girl. I never dreamed of this when deciding to rescue.

    [Reply]

  39. Miss Cellany says:

    My german shepherd mix puppy bonded with me from the moment I got her – the first day I had her home (half an hour after adopting her) she followed me EVERYWHERE despite other people being in the house with me, and my mother having accompanied me to the shelter to adopt her.

    She still follows me everywhere, and looks for me when I’m gone, but she can stay with my parents now for a day or a couple of weeks without pining or getting depressed (I leave her with them when I go on holiday or when I go for a night out drinking at the weekend). She always flips out when I get back though (even if it’s only been a couple of hours) and acts as if she hasn’t seen me for years… She hates being left in the house alone and cries when I leave.
    She also won’t listen to anyone else’s commands but mine, and used to refuse to walk with anyone else – dropping to the floor and refusing to move without me, even when dragged by the leash (I’ve got her out of this now thankfully) I can see now why people call german shepherds “loyal”…
    I wish I knew how I could help her cope more and love me less, I do distance myself from her as much as possible when I’m home but it’s a small apartment without a yard so it’s really not much distance at all! I have a feeling she’d be fine without me if I left her with the cats but I don’t trust her with them alone (she plays too rough).

    My border collie was more of a family dog – he loved everyone more or less equally (but still listened to my commands over anyone else’s if we gave contradictory commands) and could stay alone at home without crying, pining or getting depressed. He may have preferred me slightly over the rest of the family (although I always used to say he loved my mother best) but the preference wasn’t as obvious as it is with the new pup and he was more confident and less dependent. I really miss him.

    [Reply]

  40. Steve says:

    Very glad I found this site! I have a 1 year old lab mix who I got last year from a shelter. He’s very well adjusted and gets along great with everyone, but has terrible separation anxiety. I’ve been working on behavior mod training for over 6 months now, with limited results. He goes to daycare every day while I’m at work, and I have a go-to list of sitters that watch him whenever I need to go out or travel. My vet started him on some medication, but it hasn’t helped much with the training (and he’s exhausted all the time now). I’m being advised by my trainer not to have him left alone outside of his SA training (to avoid any major setbacks). I want him to spend more time alone and be more independent, but I feel like all these months of never being left alone are only reinforcing his dependency on me.

    To make matters worse, my house is very small, so it’s hard for us to spend much time “apart” when we’re here. I make sure he gets good exercise – he plays at daycare, and I take him for a run every morning. I also do a decent amount of obedience training with him as well, and he’s super obedient (until I leave of course). All in all he’s a perfect dog apart from the SA.

    I’m at a loss as to what to do at this point, and the 24/7 bills for sitters, daycares and trainers are absolutely killing me.

    I don’t know much about where he came from aside from him being separated from his mother very early and spending his first few months in a shelter.

    I first realized this issue last year — I left to run some errands for 30 minutes and came home to find him very distressed trying to chew through the bars of his crate. I tried leaving him for a few minutes outside of his crate and came home to find him trying to chew through a window shutter. I began doing behavior modification shortly thereafter, and he hasn’t been left alone since, with the exception of his daily training absences (between 2-5 minutes each, beyond which we continue to hit a wall).

    I want him to become more independent, and clearly what I’m doing now isn’t working. I tried a few weeks of behavior mod with the crate, but it was a disaster so my trainer suggested getting rid of it.

    Do you see cases like this often? Should I keep him on the meds? I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’m open to any and all advice at this point and hopeful that this can still be fixed- for his health (and mine)!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I have worked a large percentage of dogs through the anxiety by forcing the crate.

    I know it sounds terrible at first. But these dogs either had to overcome it and work through it or get euthanized because no one would put up with the expense of never leaving the dog.

    I used crates made for police and military dogs that are impossible to chew out of like Impact crates. I even have had them manufactured and welded. The crates are expensive but cheaper than a dog that eats the house and there is nothing for the dog to injure himself on.

    I feed the dogs in there and leave them for short periods of time with the radio on high and also make sure to put them inside while I am home, so that the crate doesn’t just equal my leaving.

    [Reply]

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