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So I've had my 13wk old pup for a little over a month now, which I realize isn't the longest time, but it seems he is bonding with my father more than me, which makes me pretty sad to be honest. Whenever he comes home my pup will get super excited and will just in general follow him around everywhere. My father provokes this though as he greets my pup very excitedly before saying hi to anyone else in the family..but that's another story :rolleyes:

I spend nearly all my time with him (I work part time and am a full time college student), am the only one who feeds him anything, walk him every day, play with him, train him, and he sleeps in my room (crated). But, for some reason it just doesn't seem like he's connecting with me as much or doesn't see me as the leader. There is a connection between us for sure, I'm just not sure it's on the same level. I am very consistent with him though and fairly certain he knows my position.

It is worth noting that my father has 2 other dogs that he is in charge of and they stay outside until he comes home, so I'm sure my pup associates that excitement with him as well as he gets to go out and play with them. But I simply never get that excitement and attention that my father receives. I'm pretty worried that he's seeing my father as the leader/master. I'm not sure what else I can do until I move out and they no longer have contact.

I'm not sure if this is a phase or something I'm doing wrong, but I spent a lot of time in preparation for my pup because I wanted a dog I could take with me when I moved out and now it seems like he's stolen away. I could be overreacting but I've had dogs in the past that were extremely bonded to me and I miss that. Any advice on how to strengthen the bond between me and my pup?
 

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Dog don't have a linear hierarchic system like the chicken, in fact newer research even doubts that the traditional alpha/dominance theory is somehow badly describing the social life of dogs.
From experience I can say that the relationship between dogs and humans as well as between dogs and dogs is far more complex. Think of your own social environment of people you have around you: x like y, y adores z, but z is only ok with y, and can't stand x, etc...
So dogs have - just like us - humans and other dogs they simply love and also humans or dogs which they just can't stand. (And most are somewhere in the middle of these extremes).
In my current example: I also take care 80-90% of the time of our Herrmann, but he simply loves my wife. This doesn't have to do with any disobedience, in fact I do most of the training and the more complex stuff she can't really do with him. But even if I have a bowl of food in my hand: if my wife calls "come, baby", he forgets me. (yeah, it hurts a bit ;-) ) Most dogs I have seen had a person they choose.

But there is hope - just like with human-human relationships they are in constant fluctuation and might grow stronger or weaken depending on what you are doing together. A lot of negative experience like correction will weaken the bond, while positive situations (like giving food, but also just playing or snuggling) will make it stronger. Think about friends you leave behind, when you move, change school etc. Your attention moves with he people you spend time with.

So in your instance, don't worry too much, things are changing, but old love never dies.

PS: there is also a book about bonding: [ame]http://www.amazon.com/Bonding-Your-Dog-Trainers-Relationship/dp/0470409150[/ame] I haven't read it though
 

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I agree that the quality of your time together is important. When I brought home both of my rescues I spent significant amounts of time in training with them, plus play time in the back yard. I think the thing that has brought us closest is daily brushing. It's a good way for the dog to relax with you and associate happy times with your touch.
 

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Hm, I suppose I just need to spend more time in play perhaps. I do play tug and fetch with him often, am the only one who trains, feeds, etc, but I suppose it could look more like a work relationship instead of play. When my father is home his dogs are out and I let my pup romp around with them so I'm sure he just associates my father with pure fun.

Thanks for the suggestions, I really appreciate it as the whole thing has had me a bit down lately.
 

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I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that he associates your father with pure fun. The pup probably sees you more as an authority and you dad a playmate.

As your pup grows, the bond if working with him will strengthen. He will mature, that all out play above all will dissipate and you will have started a great foundation of loyalty and respect.

Don't fret!! It will all work out. Make sure you take the puppy places and you become the constant source of new things and familiarity.

Your puppy loves you. Right now you are parent and your dad is PLAYTIME!!! Join in on the fun, but stay consistent. Sounds like you are doing a great job!!


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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Dog don't have a linear hierarchic system like the chicken, in fact newer research even doubts that the traditional alpha/dominance theory is somehow badly describing the social life of dogs.
From experience I can say that the relationship between dogs and humans as well as between dogs and dogs is far more complex. Think of your own social environment of people you have around you: x like y, y adores z, but z is only ok with y, and can't stand x, etc...
So dogs have - just like us - humans and other dogs they simply love and also humans or dogs which they just can't stand. (And most are somewhere in the middle of these extremes).
In my current example: I also take care 80-90% of the time of our Herrmann, but he simply loves my wife. This doesn't have to do with any disobedience, in fact I do most of the training and the more complex stuff she can't really do with him. But even if I have a bowl of food in my hand: if my wife calls "come, baby", he forgets me. (yeah, it hurts a bit ;-) ) Most dogs I have seen had a person they choose.

But there is hope - just like with human-human relationships they are in constant fluctuation and might grow stronger or weaken depending on what you are doing together. A lot of negative experience like correction will weaken the bond, while positive situations (like giving food, but also just playing or snuggling) will make it stronger. Think about friends you leave behind, when you move, change school etc. Your attention moves with he people you spend time with.

So in your instance, don't worry too much, things are changing, but old love never dies.

PS: there is also a book about bonding: Bonding with Your Dog: A Trainer's Secrets for Building a Better Relationship: Victoria Schade: 9780470409152: Amazon.com: Books I haven't read it though

Great Post!!!!
 

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I agree - don't fret! Don't feel down! Dogs have so much love to give and your bond will strengthen over time. Your dog is very lucky to have both you and your father. And besides, she's still a very young puppy, she has a lot on her plate right now figuring out this big old world. You guys will get there - so much of life with dogs is patience and persistence. Enjoy the journey.
 

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I agree 100% with gsdar. Don't fret at all. It sounds like everything is going well. Your dad is fun and just like a little kid that will choose a playmate over a parent your dog is choosing a playmate (dad) over a parent (you). But the minute your dog feels uncomfortable or unsure I bet he will come looking for you. In otherwords I think the bond to you is stronger.

I have an 11 year old Aussie, Buzz, that I got at 5 years old. When he came into our house I did all the training and exercising and feeding. He is incredibly attached to me and wants to be with me all the time. He is definitely my dog. Still he absolutely adores my husband. We joke that he loves my husband but that he "must do" what I say.
 
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