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Canine Behavior/boyfriend/dog not getting along


Hello, my boyfriend and I just moved into a new place together. My male 4 year old boston terrier (who is great, gets along with everyone, fun and wonderful disposition) shakes when my boyfriend tries to interact with him and wants to no part of him. My boyfriend is trying so hard and is very sweet and gentle with him, but my BT either does not like him or is terrified of him. Home is not fun for either when they are around each other. Desperately looking for advice on what to do please.

I told him it would take time since my BT is male and has never lived with a male owner before. How can we make them bond?
Thank you

Please answer the following questions:

1.  How well socialized is this dog to men (from puppyhood)?  Has he lived only with women and had little exposure to men?
2.  How do you know your BF has not done something to this dog when you weren't looking?  Believe me, it happens.
3.  Invite a couple of men over, over the course of three to four days; observe the dog with them.  Instruct the men to ignore the dog unless he approaches them freely.  Report results: is the dog as fearful of them as of your BF?
4.  Is your dog neutered?
5.  What do YOU DO when the dog appears frightened (obviously you want this living situation to succeed so you are anxious)

Please use followup feature to send answers.  Until then: advise the BF to totally ignore the dog as if he is not there.  You are not to attempt to calm or soothe the dog if he shakes (this is a reward to him and a validation: be afraid).  Answer ASAP.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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