And they call it...
August 25, 2007 1:15 PM   Subscribe

NewDogFilter: We just got a new puggle about a week ago. 9 months old. He's the greatest. However...

He has taken to me a lot more than my fiancee. Which has caused a bit, jealousy I guess.

I want the dog to see us (fiancee and I) as equals.

For example, when I leave the house, he whines and whines. Which, for the Fiancee, is a) a bit annoying and b) makes her feel a bit like 'hey, what about me?'

He also follows me around the flat. Pretty much leaves her alone, unless I happen to be sitting in the same room.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to go about this? I love his affection, but I also want my fiancee to feel it too.

posted by ryecatcher to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
This happened to us when we got our second dog, at first he was ALL OVER Mr. Bunnycup. But, as it turns out, I didn't like that because I was jealous so I took on myself to be the one to feed the dog, walk the dog, play with the dog and hang out with the dog. I'm not even sure he knows who Mr. Bunnycup IS, and I can't get the damn dog to stop following my every time I leave the room, sitting in front of me and whining at me if I'm not paying attention to him, coming running every time I say a single word, etc. It's annoying, I wish the dog would get a life (haha).

A dog is not going to love somewhat because equality is pretty much the right thing to do, you have to be the pack for the dog. So, if you share the tasks equally and both spend time one-on-one playing with the dog, you'll BOTH build the relationship. It may take time...
posted by bunnycup at 1:25 PM on August 25, 2007

I agree with bunnycup. Take turns feeding the dog. You could also do some special activities on your own with the dog, such as going to a park or playing in the yard together.

You should also make sure that both you and your wife are both pack leaders, above the dog, by eating your meals before the dog gets fed, making the dog "ask" to get treats or attention by sitting, and not letting the dog walk in front of you on walks (at your side or behind you is okay.)
posted by Nematoda at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2007

"future wife" that is...
posted by Nematoda at 1:35 PM on August 25, 2007

Our first dog is biscotti's dog. He loves her with an unhealthy intensity, is upset when she's not around, and can think of no worse torture than seeing her but not being able to reach her. He likes me fine, and if we're both in the same room will come over to me for a cuddle or scrobble sometimes. But nothing we could do would ever make that little dog love us equally. Even if biscotti ran him through a thresher and poured lemon juice on his wounds and danced about on his grave singing hallelujah, and I gave him hotdogs and ice cream, he would always be her dog.

So do whatever, but don't expect miracles. Dogs are living critters with their own personalities, and sometimes a dog gloms onto one person a lot more strongly than another. So to some extent, your fiancee needs to just deal with being #2 in your dog's world.

You should also make sure that both you and your wife are both pack leaders, above the dog, by eating your meals before the dog gets fed, making the dog "ask" to get treats or attention by sitting, and not letting the dog walk in front of you on walks (at your side or behind you is okay.)

This is goofy Dog Whisperer nonsense, up there with alpha-rolling.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:55 PM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sometimes dogs (and cats) just prefer one person over another...or one sex over the other.

I got a pug/german shepherd mix in April and while he loves me - he would also love nothing more than to spend all his time with my dad or my stepdad if either would allow it. He fully realizes I'm the one who walks him and feeds him and that he spends 99.9% of his time with me BUT he just loves older men. I'm okay with this because it benefits everyone in the situation. He gets spoiled and petted by them and they get someone who loves them unconditionally for short visits.

And not to sound too hippy dippy but if your fiancee is giving off any jealousy vibes the dog might realize it. In my experience animals definitely pick up on emotions.

It may also be that your new pup still needs more time to form a relationship with your fiancee. These things take time. It may end up that while the dog has initially picked you that he'll end up favoring her.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:39 PM on August 25, 2007

Our dog is the same way - follows my wife everywhere, and is much more excited when she comes home. It's just something I've come to accept as natural - she's the one that has the most time to spend playing with and walking the dog, and I'm the guy who trains the dog and lays the smack down when she does something bad. It's not that she doesn't like me (as I'm sure is the case with your fiancee as well), it's just that she views me as the leader of the pack, whereas my wife is her playmate. I'd imagine something similar is going on in your home.

As others have mentioned, the way to change that is for your fiancee to spend more time than you do feeding / walking / playing with the dog. And even then, sometimes dogs are just drawn to one person more. That's life. If it bothers her that much, she should get another dog and be more involved in raising it as a puppy.
posted by chundo at 3:32 PM on August 25, 2007

Dogs are naturally hierarchical. It's completely normal and natural for them to see one person as "alpha" and respond differently to that person.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on August 25, 2007

Don't feed the dog except as reward. And for a little while, only have your fiancee do the feeding. Once the dog realizes that your fiancee is the go-to person for that, I can guarantee you the puppy will start being very very happy whenever she's around & will start bonding more. Also, always make sure your dog has to do something to get the food, that it's a reward for something in particular. This will make it easier to train your puppy -- he'll pay a lot more attention to your commands because he's hungry and wants the food.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:37 PM on August 25, 2007

Another, less delightful thing to consider -- how does she treat the dog when you're not around?
posted by cior at 4:52 PM on August 25, 2007

Do you make a big to-do (pick him up, ruffle his ears, baby talk to him) with the puppy right before you leave the house? I've noticed our dogs tend to whine after anyone who rouses them before shutting the door; it's a big emotional build up for the dogs and seems to make them anxious.

Even still, among our herd, every pet has picked a favorite human and sticks by him or her no matter what. With the cats, it's laughable how often the most loved human is the person who least likes cats. Among our dogs, even with shared feeding duties and play time, favorites are picked by the dogs, not the people.

Could be worse, I used to have a parrot who disliked men in general and actively loathed whomever I was dating, flying (literally) into a shrieking rage and biting with a beak designed to crack brazil nuts. Ow.
posted by jamaro at 6:05 PM on August 25, 2007

My experience is like Chundo's: I've had my dog since she was a puppy- she'll be 14 next month. She loves me, goes to bed when I go to bed, lets me do things like bathe and clip her nails without fussing, but she adores my boyfriend because he plays sillier games with her, lets her lick his face, and generally spoils her a lot more. She's far more excited when he comes home, whines sometimes when he goes to work. Dogs with personalities respond differently to different people, and puppies will change as they grow into dogs. I think if your girlfriend spends a bit of extra time playing and being silly with your pup there's a good chance he'll warm up to her.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:28 PM on August 25, 2007

We have three dogs. The third dog, the most recent addition, has a clear preference for being around me --- he follows me from room to room, wants to snuggle with me at night, and whines when I am gone. My wife and I are equally loving to him. It is true that I was the one who first wanted to adopt him (we fostering him for a dog rescue organization, and I was the one who initially wanted to adopt him permanently; my wife thought three dogs would be too many) and it has occurred to us that maybe he instinctively knows that ... but that is a little hard to believe, that a dog could "read" something like that.

I think dogs, for their own reasons, pick a favorite. I don't think it is anything we can do anything about.
posted by jayder at 10:44 PM on August 25, 2007

First of all, how could you make a pet post without a picture?! :)

Since you're the male, lil Puggle might be inclined to follow you because he sees you as alpha and he wants to please you as much as possible. Have Fiancee get more involved in pleasure activities such as feeding, and also have her be involved in puppy classes (you are taking him to training right?). He'll warm up to her.
posted by radioamy at 11:01 AM on August 26, 2007

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