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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16934
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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I brought home a 7 year old Maltese dog from the Humane Society

Customer Question

I brought home a 7 year old Maltese dog from the Humane Society back in June. She was a puppy mill dog and I enjoyed showing her how much I loved and needed her. I feed her, walk her, sleep with her, brush her and give her all kinds of love. It was a gradual thing but I started noticing that when my husband comes home from work she would hover around him the rest of the day. On weekends she just wants to be by him in her chair or in his lap if he will allow it. My husband is doing nothing to encourage this situation but I feel like I've lost my pet. It was recommended to me to get a dog to have as an companion. She even goes to doctor appts with me. This is really upsetting me. I adore the dog but watching her with him all time is breaking my heart. Can you help me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

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My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

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Let me see if I can explain how dogs think about things and what might be the issue here. Dogs are pack animals. There is a top female and a top male in a pack. Dogs see humans as part of their pack. Males are usually alpha over females. Submissive members of the pack tend to fawn over the top dogs. They will how them attention even if they haven't done anything to deserve it. .Now the fact that you showered your little girl with lots of loving and likely have not been doing obedience work with her, means that she took all your affection as a sign that she is higher in the pack then you are. Therefore, she expects you to be beneath her notice unless she wants something. Your husband on the other hand does not shower her with attention so she is treating him with the affection she would for a higher ranking member of the pack.

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The good news is that you can change this behavior with just a few simple things. First off, for a couple of weeks do not allow her on the furniture, bed or your lap. Attach a leash and use it to give a correction of a short tug and firm NO if she tries to get on the furniture. Once she stops trying to get on, then reward her for that behavior by giving her a tiny hot dog slice. .Start obedience training with her. Classes are best, XXXXX XXXXX can start at home. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below. http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

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Once she is listening well to commands, you can make her work for the privilege of getting on the furniture. Make her obey a command before allowing her up and be sure she gets down when you tell her to.

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I believe it will only take a short time before you see her responding to you in much the way that she responds to your husband. Dogs like structure and they like a strong leader as it takes the decisions out of their control and allows them to be more laid back.

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Try thins and I am sure you will be pleased with the results. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have.

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If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here http://www.justanswer.com/pet/expert-jane-lefler/ and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16934
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thanks for the advice. My husband would like to know how he is supposed to act around her. The dog legs are too short to jump on any furniture. We have been picking her up. She has been barking at my husband because he won't pick her up. She loves to be held. She didn't bark in the beginning and was a very timid dog. She still is a bit timid. I just told her she was a bad dog (first time!) for peeing on the carpeting. She just hung her head and disappeared somewhere in the house. Right now the dog is at my husband's feet just lying on the floor. If I even tried to pick her up she would move away from me. I'm ignoring her now but how should hubby act?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Kris,

.

Your husband seems to have been treating her like you should. She recognizes him as dominant. He should also make her obey a command to be shown affection even if it is just sit. Otherwise, he can continue treating her pretty much the same. .The way YOU treat her is what is going to achieve the most change. Once she sees you taking control, she will start showing you the attention and trying to get you to pay attention to her. This will especially be true if you start the NILF program and are the one who controls her food and the special hot dog sliver treats. I hit the wrong button. Please do not rate again. Thank you for your previous rating.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Kris,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Billie. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


This past week she has been dividing her time between the 2 of us. If my husband isn't home and I'm not paying attention to her she goes into her carrier. People at the Humane Society told she feel safe in there so it's ok if she does it a lot at first. She is not trying to get on the furniture since she has such short legs but is putting her paws on our legs to get attention. My husband is pretty much ignoring her except for letting her outside to do her business. She is sleeping on a quilt on the floor instead of our bed. If she fails to get our attention she goes into her carrier and looks pathetic. She was stuck in a crate for 7 years of her life and I don't want her to feel unloved. I hope we are doing everything right. It's been a long week.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Kris,
.
It sounds like she is doing better if she is splitting her time between the two of you. If she is going to her crate, that is not a bad thing. All my dogs hang out in their crate because it is their place. Get her a nice distracting toy like a kong that you can fill with yogurt or peanut butter and freeze. It will keep her busy and she won't feel neglected when you are not showering her with attention. Now don't forget that you can use obedience training to give her attention in a good way and still maintain the "boss" position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


She is still doing the back and forth thing with husband. He's home everyday now since he lost his job a week ago. I have put the leash on her and have tried to work on sitting and come. Not real sucessful yet. She does not care for toys but does love to chase our male Himalayan around the house. She is sleeping on a quilt on the floor next to our bed but not in the bed. Like I said she has very short legs and cannot get on the furniture. She does put her front paws on my husband's leg when he is in his easy chair. She just wants to be picked up and placed on his lap. I told him to say no but he doesn't have a very authorative voice. He hates to reject her (me too) because of her 7 years in a puppy mill.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Kris,.You could both work on obedience with her. Try this for the come command. Reward your dog with small tiny hot dog sliver and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me..You and your husband can sit at opposite ends of the room with tiny slivers of hot dog and practice calling her from one to the other and giving her treats. They usually love this. If she traditionally ignores the "come" command, change the word to "HERE". Many times they learn to ignore one word but respond to a different word that means the same thing.

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