Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Gainesville, GA
Attention hog and nonresponsive to commands
I have three girls. All rescues:
-Freja: Lab/Pitt mix (3 1/2-4 y/o, fixed)
-Cassie: GSD (3 1/2-4 y/o, intact)
-Phoebe: GSD/mix (2 1/2 y/o, intact)
My husband already had our Lab/Pitt mix Freja when we met. She's about 3 1/2-4 now and is spaid. He also had our male cat Loki who is 4-5 and is also fixed.
Freja was a chronic chewer and (as we lived in an apartment and as my family used to breed labs) I knew most of that behavior was due to boredom and lack of exercise. Shortly before we moved out of the apartment, we decided to foster Cassie and Phoebe. The rescue we got them from would not allow them to be separated as Phoebe is Cassie's only surviving puppy and the two had MASSIVE separation anxiety when they were found to the point that Cassie quit eating entirely when they tried to separate them and Phoebe barked herself completely hoarse.
We knew Freja needed interaction with something her size even though she and the cat got along famously. We fostered the other two to see how she would react to having friends. Freja and Loki's reactions to them are the reason we decided to keep them. The cat took to Phoebe to the point where they would curl up and sleep together and Freja quit chewing almost over night.
We have now been in an actual house with a yard the girls can run in for 2 years and the problem we're having is with Cassie. She and Phoebe are crated together at night. There are still some anxiety issues but only a fraction of what they used to be. We're working with all of the girls on training and I'm having trouble connecting with Cassie. She seems so desperate for attention at absolutely all times. She has broken things in her attention seeking and she simply will not listen when we say "down". The other two dogs cuddle with us while we're sitting watching tv. I understand that that just isn't Cassie's thing. It doesn't seem to be how she shows affection and that's completely fine. But then she'll turn right around and shove her face into mine or my husband's face and paw at our chests and will not respond to "down". When she finally does, her ears are back and her head is bowed like we've just kicked her. She slinks away to her crate with her tail between her legs.
She will also respond when we call any of the dogs names and will persistently ignore the "back" command if I'm trying to examine Freja's paw or get Phoebe to bring something to me. We feel fairly certain that she was abused before we found her and she used to have problems with peeing any time my husband even spoke to her or when we told her "no". She's since gotten much better but I just don't know how to get her to listen. I don't want the only thing she hears from us to be 'no' and 'go away' but she's very persistent and can make quite the pest of herself.
I want her to get what she needs from us but to also learn to listen to us. I feel like we're just not speaking in terms she understands yet. How do I address this? How do I give her the attention she needs while still setting boundaries so that she doesn't think she requires everyone's attention all the time? How do I get her to come when SHE is called and not when ANYONE is called? She's so smart and picks up on training the quickest of the three except in the area of attention seeking. Rehoming is not an option for us as not only are we afraid of the effect it would have on her and Phoebe being separated but we also refuse to give up on her as we made a promise to take care of her by adopting her in the first place. We love her so much and are committed to providing her with a happy, healthy environment we just need some help.