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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Shadow is about 4 years old now and a fabulous family companion. He loves everyone but has what my wife describes as an obsession with me. When I leave the house in the morning, he whines at the door...which annoys my wife to no end.

When I am home, he will sit in front of me and whine until I give him attention. If I attempt to ignore him he will (if I am standing up) will climb up my leg with his fore paws. If I'm sitting down, he simply jumps into my lap.

Any suggestions how to get him to normalize his behavior?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:47 PM
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I think you need a two-pronged approach. First, you need to strengthen the bond between Shadow and your wife, so that Shadow looks to her just as much as you. To do this, I would put your wife in charge of feeding and ALL THINGS FUN for a while.

At the same time, you need to be in charge of training replacement behaviors for his demanding behaviors. As I said in another thread, it's much easier to teach them to DO something than to NOT do something. So think of an acceptable replacement behavior for when he wants your attention. For instance, if he already knows sit or down (if not, you need to teach those first) ask him to sit or down quietly in front of you the MOMENT he sees you. then feed him a small training treat IN POSITION before you release him. Start with expecting no more than a couple of seconds duration, but over time, you can build to longer periods of duration. Always see-saw back and forth between asking for shorter and longer stays so he doesn't get discouraged.

When he is successful with this, you can start developing a "place" where he is to go and wait until you CAN (and want to) give him attention. This can be a crate, a dog bed or the corner of the couch. IT doesn't matter except that it needs to be your choice, and consistent. (and to make it easier for both of you, have it within your line of sight) Your wife can use these same replacement behaviors to interrupt his cycle of crying when you leave. If she gives him a job to do, and then rewards him for good (quiet) behavior, you should see him settling down quickly.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information. I believe they will be helpful!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 12:39 AM
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I'm not a behaviorist at heart, and Karen is spot on.

reinforce the behaviors and 'energy' you want. ignore/extinguish the behaviors you do not want (demanding, on your leg, whining).
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-26-2012, 01:03 AM
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I have just about the exact situation with Tasha. She jumps in my lap as soon as I sit down. If I leave, she whines a little and sits in the three season room watching for the car to return. Sounds like Shadow loves you and feels you are his favorite companion in the house. We both know that Tasha favors me a little, probably because I take her for walks which she loves. Our Shih Tzu favors my wife some so it evens out.
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