January 18, 2021

Why doesn’t my dog seem to love me like he used to? ?

Dogs gravitate (IMO) to sort of opposite things:  

1) They LIKE attaching to the leader, but that many mean the person who pays the LEAST amount of attention to them versus a doormat-type person – who begs for attention (but does not have, or has lost the dog’s respect).  Dogs who have to WORK for attention often crave – what is harder to get.  However, harsh discipline can make the dog afraid, and does not build respect.

2) Dogs tend to bond to or clamor after those who are the most fun; or where there is a PAY-OFF for them (which seems opposite to #1). The person who feeds them and who walks them or takes them to a training class, on car rides (if they like that) to the dog park etc. is often very ‘sought after’ by the dog.

There has to be balance and fun with appropriate attention NOT ONLY = when the dog misbehaves… but when the dog is GOOD.  If you had a parent who only cited all your faults & less than perfect grades and never told you they were proud of you – how would you feel?  Not very happy, but if you had an aunt or uncle who was fun and built up your esteem, played games with you and maybe helped you with homework etc. would you not gravitate to the more positive influence?

I suspect you have been overly harsh or very little fun for your dog.  If he has tinnitus, the clapping may actually HURT his eardrums and is clearly not a correct form of correction, for this specific dog – at this point in his life.  WHY is a verbal correction like “NO” or “Aaaant!”  or even a water spray bottle -not something that would work?   Verbal corrections can be firmly said, but does not hurt the dog – as clapping might hurt the dog – if he already has RINGING in his ears. 

Now, the dog has a CHOICE in which person to attach to, and has demoted you (as that person) for one or more reasons.  If you WANT to reverse this, versus simply “wonder” about it, do not take the “door mat” position and BEG for attention.  

Make a plan for action => to be more fun and active with the dog.  Consider a working GAME or some new activity to teach the dog – like nose work or tracking.  The dog gets to work for and WITH you, but also gets a food “pay off”  or game of retrieve (as the reward) – for FINDING a hidden “article” and very POSITIVE praise & attention for doing something fairly easy – basically using its nose.

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