Our dog is decidedly more manic when left alone with me. Is it normal for dogs to behave very differently with two different caregivers? How can I make things better for her where I'm concerned?
My partner and I take turns to feed and walk our one-year-old pup
in the morning and the evening, and when we swap notes, it's almost as if we're dealing with two different dogs. When I let her out of her crate first thing in the morning, she bounds out and makes a beeline for her toys in the living room. When my partner lets her out in the morning, she crawls straight into his lap, curls up into a ball, and snuggles with him until he gets up to take her out. I get the lap treatment while my partner gets ignored in the evening, however, whether or not I take her out for her final potty break before we all go to bed. The Jekyll and Hyde thing also happens on her walks. When I walk her, she pulls on her leash a lot and is constantly eating crap off the ground--grass, twigs, pebbles, snails (ew!) etc., but she does not exhibit this behaviour when she's walked by my partner. When we walk her together on weekends, I find her much improved while he thinks she's misbehaving more than usual.
I'm home alone with her during the day while my partner is at work. While she is mostly calm and dozy, there will be a time during the afternoon after her walk where she gets very playful; she'll tear her blanket off the sofa, chew her dog bed, and gnaw at the hems of my jeans. I try to refocus her attention by giving her a toy or antler which she easily accepts, but if I leave after a few minutes, she goes back to what she was doing before. Of course, when I went home to visit my family in Asia for two weeks and my partner was home alone with her all day during the weekends, none of that happened
. Nor is this a common occurrence on the weekends when we're both home.
The puppy is young and full of energy, but I'm guessing that she is responding to the differences in our body language. While we've tried to be consistent with the pup based on the NILIF principle
and positive reinforcement, my partner's definitely the stricter, calmer, less anxious pet owner of the two of us. He's comfortable taking the puppy out to the the apartment complex's animal relief area without a leash while I've never once gotten up the nerve for that. In fact, my partner claims that unleashed, the dog has behaved beautifully with passers-by, cyclists, other dogs, and squirrels while she's definitely bolted at them while leashed to ME.
She's hardly a little terror, but I think there's definitely more attention-seeking behaviour when we're alone together. For instance, when I breakfast or lunch at home during the week, she jumps up and paws at me quite insistently, but I do not pick her up or give her anything from my plate, so she gives up very quickly. Any ideas or suggestions as to how I can correct my body language/whatever I'm doing so the puppy doesn't freak out when I'm in charge?