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A: Although dogs don’t mean it as a personal jab when they give us the cold shoulder, it’s only human to have hurt feelings.
Begin by ruling out fear as a reason your dog is not as available to you. Does your dog cower or hide, urinate or defecate, or act aggressively by growling and lunging? If so, fear might be the reason. That is a complex issue and you should discuss it with your veterinarian immediately.
However, if fear is not the root cause of disengagement, there are ways you can build up your friendship. The more your dog associates you with “good things happening,” the more he or she will want to be around you.
Some dogs love to snuggle and be held, while others only tolerate touch. If your dog doesn’t enjoy petting, but you keep trying to touch him, it’s very likely your dog will avoid you. However, if the dog enjoys petting, doggie massage can deepen your relationship.
The more games and fun you can have with your dog, the deeper your bond can go; whether it’s a game of fetch or playing hide-and-go-seek in the house. Walks are also bond building. Take your dog on fun outings, such as to the dog park or to the pet shop to pick up a favorite chewy.
Feeding your dog his or her meals will help them be more reliant upon you, but even more powerful is doing positive reinforcement training. Although I’m only around dogs in my training classes for one hour a week, most dogs are extremely excited and wag their tail in exuberance when I approach because they’ve learned to associate me with asking them to do a behavior, and the behavior is associated with a wonderful reward.
Dogs also like people who are consistent and not unpredictable. Taking punishment out of your interactions with your dog can build trust.
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