Working on their relationship

The progress of a fearful dog can often seem imperceptible. For me, one of the primary ways I am able to detect progress with Pyrrha’s myriad fears is by hearing guests say, “Wow, Pyrrha seems so much calmer/more interested in me/less anxious.” Without this external confirmation, I am often incapable of noticing her improvements on my own.

Guion and P

She has never been a fan of Guion. In many ways, she still doesn’t totally trust him. She brings a lot of baggage to the table, but I also think his personality is just one that she’ll never totally warm up to. He is expressive, animated, and loud, many of the traits that Pyrrha abhors in people, especially if they happen to be male. Pyrrha has warmed up to a few men in a noticeable way (my father and my brother-in-law), but their personality types are quieter and they seem to engage with her in a way that she wants.

Guion and P

However, since adding Eden to the household, we’ve both noticed a small shift in Pyrrha’s comfort level with Guion. She boldly begs from him whenever he is eating — a behavior that our trainer said to allow, because Pyrrha is expressing bravery by approaching Guion — and lately, she’s even been seeking attention from him.

Guion and P

He told me that the other day, when I wasn’t home, she came up to greet him, sniff him over, and lean on him for pets. This sounds like such a small, insignificant thing, but in the Pyrrha/Guion relationship complex, it’s huge! It’s doubly so because I wasn’t home; my presence is usually a prerequisite for any voluntary interaction between them.

Inter-species communication #germanshepherd #doglife

After two years together, they are still working on their relationship, but I am proud of them both. And always happy to observe progress, however slight.

If you have a spouse/partner, do your dogs interact differently with the two of you? In what ways?

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10 thoughts on “Working on their relationship

  1. Aww, that’s great!

    Silas shares his love pretty evenly. I’m always stunned that he doesn’t prefer my husband to me, because they do nothing but play together. I dispense the medicine. I take him to the vet. I play the games with rules. When he’s really frightened of something, or if he feels bad, he’ll hunt for me. Once in a while he will prefer to play with me–my husband grew up with hound dogs, and I think his play style is right on the edge of too much for Silas.

  2. This is so sweet. I love that second picture.

    I no longer have an S/O, but my father has been living with me on and off. Ruby adores him but Boca is wary and has to readjust every time he arrives. She hates it if he is wearing a hat or carrying things, and as you say about Guion, my dad can be loud and kind of brusque.

  3. Aww! That’s huge! And so sweet!

    Cooper struggles with John… not because he distrusts him but because he only has eyes for me. John will ask him something simple (like, “sit” before dinner), and Coop will look to me to see if he really needs to listen to John. When I’m not around, though, John reports that he gets the occasional snuggle, but it’s rare.

  4. That’s awesome! And sweet pictures:) I’ve had the opposite problem in the past with Kaya, reminding people to stay calm so she doesn’t get over-excited. She used to whine uncontrollably and leap on and off people. Having more people around the house has helped a ton.

  5. I love this post!

    I definitely see different interactions with our GSD, Hunter. I’ve definitely established the alpha role in our relationship. However, that’s different with my boyfriend. We’ve realized that Hunter picks on my boyfriend more than he does with me. i.e., he’s more likely to pull on the leash, won’t drop a chew dog, etc. But one thing we did noticed is that whenever Hunter is in trouble, he immediately runs in between my boyfriend’s legs!

  6. Newcomer to your blog…great stuff here! Our two-year-old GSD Ben seems to have a specific relationship with each family member too. He loves to play games outside with my husband, but spends most of his time curled up beside me or at my feet when we are in the house. He’s also fond of sleeping in my son’s room at night and sitting under his chair at meal times (smart fella).

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