You love your dog. Your dog loves you…until someone better comes along. Has your dog ever, well, dogged you? Mine sure has! Kayla absolutely LOVES my friend Wendy. Probably because Wendy lets her kiss her right on the mouth, which I don’t, but it’s amazing to see the effect this woman has on Kayla! I’ve even seen Kayla walk away from her food dish when she sees Wendy’s truck pull up outside.
Any other time, I am Kayla’s favorite. She spends most of her time on my lap, or at least right next to me. But when Wendy shows up, she acts as if she’s never seen me before.
Animal behaviorists say it’s really not all that uncommon, nor is it hard to figure out. This is kind of the dog’s version of “the grass is always greener”. Some dogs are looking for a home with only 1 pet, rather than their current home which may have many pets and children competing for your attention. Others prefer the neighbor’s treats, food selection, or even toys.
So what can you do? In my case, I just content myself with the cat that can’t do without me, and wait until Wendy leaves so Kayla will be mine again. But, if you are really worried about it, try taking the time to bond more closely with your dog.
Veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist Sophia Yin from San Francisco Veterinary Specialists recommends the following exercise: Put the leash on your dog and show him that he can get anything he wants, but only if he sits and focuses on you. When he does so, pet him and praise him for abour five seconds, then stop. Next time he sits and focuses on you, throw a frisbee or a tennis ball for him a few times. Teach him how much fun you are to be around.
Once he figures out the game, invite your rival over. When the dog sits and focuses on you, he gets your attention. When he doesn’t, he is still on the leash, so you can keep him from going to see the other person. When he becomes consistent in coming to you to fulfill his needs, then you can allow him to see his other person again.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!