(Sadly) thinking about rehoming - no bonding


lozpop

New Member
Hi everyone, I really need your advice.

We adopted Aria (longhair mini dachshund) 10 months ago, and she's now 1 year old. She is a positive and friendly dog, but she's also always been a tough and intense puppy — to give you an idea, in her litter she only had one sister and Aria dominated her completely (I have videos of her literally doing whatever she wanted to her sister, who was 100% submissive). I don't know if that instilled a "dominance" behavior in her, but that behavior really continued with my wife and me.

Multiple training classes have helped a lot, we've been working so hard for the past 10 months and we have clearly seen many many improvements.

The issue is that we don't understand if Aria is really happy with us, it feels like there is zero bonding and we don't understand why.

A few examples:
  • She almost never looks for us for playing or being cuddled (it happens, but very rarely)
  • When we try to play with her (we tried several different toys) she plays for 2 minutes and then she stops.
  • She sleeps most of the day (it really looks like she's bored to death). We don't have a backyard, but we understood she'd love one just to sniff around on her own and just being outside.
  • Of course we try to walk her: most of the times she stops like she doesn't care or enjoy the walk, we have to drag her — of course we don't do it, several times we gave up and picked her up to go back home.
  • She never comes when called (we also did an extreme recall class and we are practicing the exercises, but no improvements so far), which is one of the main reason I feel there is no bonding.
  • When we're at a park, most of the times she literally runs away from us (pretty far) to go play with other people/dogs and we have zero control over her with a recall: this scares us because it's clearly dangerous for her if she goes on a street or to play with a big dog that can hurt her with its weight, but it's also bad behavior because she really harasses anybody she meets — "harassing" is a bad word, she just wants to play of course, but not everybody wants to play with her. Once we literally pretended to leave and she didn't look for us. We really feel like she wouldn't care at all if we disappeared.
I also want to mention positive things:
  • She's always been fantastic at potty training.
  • She's very good with any kind of training (she is extremely food-driven so that helps with the training)
  • She's very happy when either I or my wife come home
  • She's very friendly with anyone (dogs, cats, adults, kids)
  • She sleeps with us and cuddle with us in bed
  • When we cuddle her (although always our initiative), if we stop and we leave our hand on the ground in front of her, she puts her paw on our hands for more, which melts our hearth (we taught her that because we were not understanding if she was enjoying being cuddled).
She's our first dog, so we really have no experience and we don't know if this kind of lack of connection that we feel is a mix of teenager phase (being 1 year old) and the fact that she still growing, but the lack of interest in us is really hurting, because we've been working so hard in the past 10 months, and it's hard to keep going without seeing any sign of connection from her.

We don't know if we're doing something wrong, if she's still growing or in a teenager phase, if that's just how she is (which would be really sad), or if it's simply not a match between us and her.

I keep telling myself that she's still young (she still has puppy behaviors) and that it's just a matter of time, but I also want her to be happy, and it really doesn't look like she is.

Did you or someone you know have an experience like this? The fact that she's our first dog makes it hard to understand her behavior.

Thank you in advance to everyone.
 
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CaseyKC

Member
I adopted/purchased a retired ring/breeder dog last year, right after Hurricane Florence. I drove three days and spent two nights in a motel when I went to get her, the same on the return trip.Those three days during the return trip, we really, really bonded. Maybe to much bonding because even after almost a year, except for me, Annie really doesn't like any other human, including my husband. She will bark non stop, show her teeth, and sometimes make a short charge toward anyone who tries to approach her, however, she is the proverbial velcro dog and is only content when she is touching me.Essentially we are together 24/7 because no one else can approach her to pet her or put a leash on her to take her out. I recently attended a reunion of friends. most I had not seen for 50 years. I couldn't leave her alone in a dog friendly hotel and I was thinking I would not be able to attend. Then I had an idea and purchased a dog stroller. Most of the reunion activities were outdoors and my Annie could sit in her stroller while I chatted and caught up with old friends. I gained a huge amount of freedom because of that stroller. I know this doesn't answer your problem, but I think it illustrates that we need to think outside of the box to find creative solutions. At the moment I am thinking that maybe one of you could take her on a day and overnight trip. Nothing like being stuck for hours on end in a car to promote a bond between you and your dog, and maybe staying overnight in an unfamiliar place would cause your little girl to rely on you for company and safety.
 

lozpop

New Member
Casey, thank you so much for your reply and for being so candid. I'm not giving up, after I wrote the original post, I decided to try even harder and be more patient. I have to say that in the past 4-5 days things have improved. I'm starting to understand/think that she could be a very independent dog that just gives what she gets. As soon as I'm being more relaxed and very VERY affectionate, she actually starts to be like that too. It's our first dog, so I'm starting to understand how important it is to understand what is the attitude/character of your dog. Maybe she's less affectionate than the average and more independent, but I've started to get a feeling that with time there could be more bonding. Fingers crossed!
 
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