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sorry, another (long) puppy question

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Hi everyone-

I've posted many questions about my puppy Gypsy...she's quite the handful. My post a few months ago was about her independent streak. She's a very assertive girl. I love the seriousness about her though, unless she's on one of her hyper streaks!LOL


Her coming when called is not a problem anymore, she loves to come to me, but when we got her we knew that she wasnt a lap dog, she's just doesnt like to be held but she will come. I can even take her in a walk through out property and she'll keep this certain distance between me and wont roam any farther.


Ok, we all know that all puppies are different. As i said, my pup takes everything seriously. She's assertive, testy, and INDEPENDENT. I'm wondering if this is normal: she will be playing w/ me and her toys (she has billions of them), and will all the sudden leave and go roaming throughout the house, i've watched her carefully around the corner and she's not looking for a place to pee, she just romps around and will become fascinated with anything, like dust, the other dogs in the house, the baseboards,etc. She doesn't even realize that i'm not there...you'd think once she realized i wasn't around she'd come running back, NO WAY! Actually, she will after about 10 minutes! Is this normal? My friend got a puppy and she can't get it off her heels! I actually have never heard of a puppy that doesn't want to hang around its owner. My pup will follow me until I sit down and do something like watch T.V.....I talk to her and tell what a good dog she is and she doesnt even acknowledge me talking to her. She'll occasionally give me a glance and then look away, just to see what I am doing then she'll leave, not runaway..just casually walk out.

This has me concerned, I've only been crying about it for the past few days. She hardly wags her tail when I go to her (and i have never hit or anything). Maybe she just finds me boring. Anyways I've searched and searched through all my dog books and have found no answer for: "Why your dog roams and doesn't like to be with you". It makes me feel really bad. I feel like I am the onyl one with this kinda problem.


One time just as an experiment I sat in an empty room with her and let her run around and play....she never came to me, she'd look at me but didnt wag her tail or anything and continue on her way, sniffing all around the room.

I did some seraching this morning and found that assertive dogs will always try to dominate the owner, and that you have to be very careful in how you discipline them or they can start snapping and biting at you. When I discipline her, I might give her a little pop on the muzzle, but now she links me disciplining her to my hand..therefore trying to bite my hand. So, I'm also worried about that little issue. Where am I going wrong??


This is my 2nd bc, and I didn't have nearly this many problems w/ him, like I do w/ this pup. I really need advice, because I do not want her to dislike me or find me not fun. I also do not want her to start biting me harder and become aggressive. So far, she isn't food aggressive at all and very friendly to all dogs.

I am sorry this is SO long, but this has been going on for the past week and I need some advice because what I am doing is not working.

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My BC was just like that when she was younger. I was heartbroken for a while because the other dog (lab) would follow my BF everywhere he goes, sat by his feet and loved being petted. Jazzy (the BC) was completely opposite. She used to sit in her favorite spot 20 feet away from where I usually sit - but where she could still see me. If I tried to pet her, she turned her head and stopped wagging her tail. She obviously didn't like being petted. When we went to our first couple of SAR training, she showed no interest, just roamed around the area. No recall whatsoever.


What did I do? I did everything I could do to become the most interesting 'thing' in the world to her. I didn't go back to SAR training until I had her focus and solid recall. Getting her obsessed with balls was one of the tricks. You can't force a dog to be a velcro dog. Have you ever tried 'recall party'? where you call you dog inside the house and everytime she comes, you reward like it's the end of world. Eventually the dog will start following around so that she wouldn't miss out the 'party'.


For not liking to be touched, I had to take some time. It's just like introducing tooth brushing - just slowly, using treat. After a few months, she let me rub her body all over.

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Thanks- that makes me feel better. So, does Jazzy follow you around now and wag her tail and act happy around you since you've done the recall work?

Gypsy is crazy about tennis balls, she loves to fetch them so I guess for the next few weeks I will carry a tennis ball around in my pocket and whenever she looks at me or is about to wander, I'll pull out the ball and call her name and have a party when she comes. I just hope that things get better.

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I have a simple question for you that I hope will shed some light on this situation for you.


When you sat in this room and your pupppy checked out everything but you - what were YOU doing while she roamed?


Just sitting there?


If so, do you think that your puppy finds THAT interesting? *YOU* just sitting there.


Or when the pup follows you all around until you start watching TV....hmmmm....do you think the puppy LIKES to sit there and do NOTHING?




I help teach a puppy class with 30 to 50 puppies in it. We have 5 instructors in the class and let me tell you - every instructor can divert any puppies attention from any owner 100% of the time. Why? Because we are FUN. We are crazy! We move around, yelp, howl, scream, lay on our backs and flop around like fish!!! We are a nutty group of folks and the puppies LOVE US. Why? Because their owners are BORING and we are FUN.


A puppy that has hundreds of toys in the room to do with as she pleases when SHE pleases doesn't give a hoot about you. You don't control the play...she does. And there is where you are going wrong. Put those toys away...every single one of them. You take a toy out that YOU want to play with when YOU want to play. And you MUST act like an idiot. The nuttier you are, the more interested your puppy will be in what you are doing. I would find dust more interesting too!!!


Does your puppy have free roam of the house? Best thing to do is put up baby gates. Keep that pup in the room with you and turn off that damn TV. Puppies are much more entertaining than something that will be on in re-runs AFTER your puppy has grown up anyway. If you MUST watch TV, put her in her crate or x-pen for some down time.


Your puppy is not being snotty or controlling of you. She's doing exactly what you have raised her to do - her own thing.


Put some control on that puppy. Start running the house and you will find that your puppy will begin to look to you for play, food and fun. Once that happens, the bonding will happen and if you play your cards right, you may end up with a lap dog.


Control her world and you will see a difference. But be persistent!



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ok, then let me get this straight.

I put away all her toys and then let her come to me and i give her a toy to play with (except she's playing w/ me) not totally with the toy. I run around the house acting like a complete nut and she will find me interesting. Hmmm, doesnt sound too hard. I'll keep her in a confined area, or on a leash and let her know that i am fun to be with. Thanks for the uh...firm advice!LOL

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I think you've got it!


Missy follows me around the house, and gets excited when I come home. Why? Because we do REALLY neat things together. We play ball, I take her to the sheep, I take her for rides in the car, I feed her and give her treats, I get excited with her and she bounces all over. Even bath time is tolerated because when I get the towel out it becomes crazy fun time. And I also correct her when she needs it.


When we did obedience work at first I had to get VERY excited about it to show her it was a good thing. So much so that if I was tired it just would'nt work. It was a job!


As you become an interesting person for your pup and do NEAT things with her, I'm sure she will more and more want to be with you!

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Ditto what the others said. And I would add, take time to teach her lots of stuff - using treats, toy rewards etc. - in short sessions, and with great excitement on your part. The more you teach her, the more she'll learn to learn, and since that learning is associated with you, she'll enjoy being with you more.


There's lots of stuff on the Net about teaching tricks as well as standard obedience and pre-agility stuff. Personally, I would use a clicker (again, heaps of stuff on the Net) - but that's just because the clicker makes me focus more on what I'm doing.


I know you know this, but this is not a stuffed toy - this is an intelligent and independent pup just waiting for you to interact with her in a way which she sees as meaningful. She is a working breed after all.

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Definitly sounds like you need to build on your relationship with her.....

You could also start handfeeding her meals along with the play.... Use this time to condition your clicker with her kibble , measure out what you would feed her for the day and use it !

Everything should come from you!!!! When you play with her make sure the toy is with YOU!!! I wouldnt play any retreive games but lots of tug toys and toys on a rope right now make sure you set the rules to the game but always positive and fun, use the tug to work her basic obedience and commands.I wouldnt give her any free toys in the house.

Also try to think about not CORRECTING your pup but redirecting her and giving her something positive to do. I find that alot of people fall into the trap of always correcting and not rewarding for even small things ie. a nice sit!

Have fun and happy training!



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I will endorse all the fun and game issues raised by everyone but in addition you can work on her focus issues by feeding her meals by hand and making her work for each piece.

Sits, drops, tricks, heel patterns, stays and recalls can all be done indoors and rewarded with a click and half a dozen bits of kibble from your hand.

Unlikely she will bite the hand that feeds her and she will learn you are more rewarding than running around.

If you can get her to tug, play a tug game give her a treat and then get her to sit/drop whatever - reward, tug/reward, stay/reward - mix it up and have fun.

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What they all said! LOL.


Sounds like you may need to adopt the "Nothing in life is free" philosophy. I have one very independent dog, and wish I had done more with her at a younger age. She really doesn't care if I'm around or not!


You might also take a look at the book, Rough Love (or is it Ruff Love?!). Basically, the same idea folks have given you here - dog doesn't get to do much alone, spends a lot of time in a crate, but when she's out, YOU are the best thing around!


Best of luck.


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