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A friend has a rottie and everytime she comes home from work the dog cowers and runs from her doing everything to avoid her. When she takes her for rides in the car the dog hides on the floor behind the seat. But when I go down or my roomate goes down to her house the dog is friendly and loving until her owner comes and around and then she sulks back into her bed. She always walks with her head down when she's around her owner. But her owner swears she doesn't abuse her. Could there be any other reason for this behavior? Anything helps. Thanks
I know I had rotts as a little girl and they were very protective of us. That's why the first thing that came to mind was abuse but she thinks it's everyone else abusing the dog. But the dog only cowers from her. I found an article about dogs mimicking their owners behavior but she doesn't believe that is true. I just don't know what else to do or think.
Perhaps it is just her demeanor & she doesn't realize it? Is she loud & brusk? Demanding by nature? It certainly sounds like she is doing some damage to the dog. I will send this to Phoenix & get her take on it as well. She knows her breed very well
I agree. What you're describing is very fearful behavior.....even if you're convinced that your friend isn't abusing her pet purposely, the dog's reaction could be due to something that your friend doesn't even realize is detrimental to her dog. Does she yell at the dog for improper behavior? Punish it physically? Many people don't even realize that these approaches aren't "training" their dog, they're only scarring them emotionally and teaching the dog to fear their owner, or that their owner is perpetually displeased with them. No dog wants to feel that way, dogs are, in general, eager to please their human. If there are behavior issues with this dog aside from the fearfulness, it sounds like lots of positive reinforcement for good behavior would work much better than punishing bad behavior (which IMO doesn't work all that well anyway. there's a big difference between correcting bad behavior and punishing it.).
In the unlikely event that none of this applies.....did the dog have a previous owner? It's possible she was abused there, and there's something about your friend that triggers those same memories in the poor dog's mind. Either way, if your friend wants to change this behavior, she could try sitting patiently a few feet away from the dog and calmly offering her treats and affection when the dog approaches her. She'll have to be extra careful to be calm and reassuring around the dog, and to do as much as she can to soothe it in her presence. It will take time, definitely, but I'm sure it will be worth it to your friend to have the loving, affectionate companion that I'm sure she wants in a dog.
Thank you alot of this is very helpful. We are not sure if she physically abuses the dog or not, but she does have a very mean voice when she doesn't get her way. The only things that I have noticed her doing is getting mad when the dog doesn't want to leave the house, pulling her out of the car on a leash when she doesn't want to get out. Takes her food from her and gets mad when she doesn't want to eat. Those I know are abusive behaviors both mentally and somewhat physically. We watch the dog while she is at work, and are wondering if maybe we backed off on helping out if things would possibly change and if she would try to take more responsibility for her dog and her behavior. I'm not a dog expert by any means, and I'm sorry if this all sounds crazy. I'm just trying to figure out how to help and at the same time protect the dog from any danger that may come.
You are probably the only hope the poor dog has. She will not stop if you back off. the best possible thing that could happen is for you to be able to rehome the dog into a loving home.
Is the dog properly licensed & rabied? If not can you file an annonymous complaint. Sometimes that is enough to push an owner into getting rid of the dog. Of course have a plan if that happens, whether it be a rescue or a home
The dog is properly licensed and has all of her shots. Thanks for everything and all the information. If you can think of anything else that we might be able to tell the owner to help her see whats going on, that would be greatly appreciated. I will continue to do what I am doing since that seems to be the only time the dog is happy. Thanks agian
She's mentally abusing this dog. Negative punishement for an unwanted behavior typically produces this type of reaction. Try to find a way to educate your friend about positive reinforcement. For instance, when the dog doesn't want to leave the house, instead of getting mad and forcing her to leave try this. Cut a hot dog into nickle sized pieces and put it into a plastic sandwich bag. Put the bag in your pocket where it is easy to get in to. Call the dog to you in a happy voice. As soon as the dog comes, reward with more happy talk and a piece of hot dog. Put the leash on while rewarding with still more happy talk, nice upbeat "baby-talk" kind of voice. Once the leash is on, another piece of hot dog. Continue to "baby-talk" the dog out the door. Using the hot dog as bait if necessary. Every time the dog takes a few steps forward give the hot dog. Hold the hot dog a few inches in front of her nose and call her to it. When she gets to it, shorten up the leash so she can't backtrack and repeat with another piece of hot dog. Once the dog is out the door, give her the jackpot. Lots and lots of happy praise and all the hot dog that's left in the bag. You may need 2 or 3 hot dogs depending on the dog's level of fear of leaving the house. If you find that the dog is starting to stress at some point during this exercise, stop and get her to do something she can accomplish without fail. A simple "sit" will work even. Praise her, another piece of hot dog and quit for the day. Obviously this needs to be done on a day when you're not in a hurry to go anywhere. This is a training exercise, not a trip to the store exercise. Work up to that. The goal at this point is to get her to understand that leaving is not a bad thing, and to get your friend to understand that there are other ways to get what you want from your dog.
The problem we are running into since we have brought all this information to her attention is that she doesn't think her behavior is wrong she is blaming anything else. We are trying to figure out how to go about helping the situation without her feeling the blame even though most of this if not all of this is her fault. I felt that if I backed off with helping out then maybe she would see that the dogs behavior has nothing to do with me but with her. But now I am being told that I am practically the only chance the dog has to be happy when she isn't around. I am just very confused as to how I myself can help the situation. I already give the dog lots of love and praise tons of attention, but none of that seems to do any good once the owner comes home she's back to her cowering and being scared. It's almost like how a child acts when they don't have consistency. But I don't know how to make things consitent with the owner. I hope this is all making sense. Thanks for your tips Phoneix, they will be helpful if the owner excepts them. The dog has no problem leaving the house with me, but she doesn't like leaving with the owner. Any more tips from you or anyone else is still greatly appreciated.
Unless the owner is willing to see her mistakes & make changes in how she treats the dog, there isn't much you can do about the time she is with it. However you are providing the only love the dog is getting. You are giving the dog somehting to look forward to. To be happy about. That is what I meant. That is why I didn't want you to step back.
What you can do is stop talking (pointless) and start setting an example. If you are able to, demonstrate some of the suggestions you've gotten here in front of the owner, without a word to her. This dog sounds like my golden, very sensitive and terrified of making a mistake. This also sounds like a bad match between owner and dog, but not much to be done there. It can be frustrating to have a dog cowering and refusing to move when you open a car door, because the expectation is normal behavior, not blind terror at common occurances. However, she needs to stop being angry at the weakness and start building the relationship. I was very frustrated by my ultra soft golden when he first came, and my strong personality only scared him more. He'd freeze up or cower on the floor if I even used a normal tone to give him a command. Honestly, it was infuriating. He seemed miserable all the time. I had to learn a whole new way of dealing with dogs when he came, and now I am more positive and softspoken and he is able to handle commands and even some moodiness. If the owner of the rott is not willing to see that her behavior is exacerbating the problem, watching the dog be non-fearul with you in the same situations will say it all without you stepping on toes. There's no denying reality, at least for most of us!
Thank you for caring about this dog, too.
Sounds like the owner needs a taste of her own abuse.
Start pushing her around when she doesn't move fast enough for you. Yell at her & scowl your face if she doesn't sdo something you want her to do.
For good measure, punch her in the face & kick her in the shins a few times.
Of course I'm kidding...maybe...
I agree with what others have said, and the one thing that stands out the most is what Sue said - you're this dog's only source of love, so don't take that away.
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