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Canine Behavior/Dog Problem


I have a 8 or 9 year old Brittany Spaniel rescue, and my family has had her for about 6 years now.  When we first got her, i used to play with her, teach her tricks, walk her, and hang out with her watching tv.  I left for college in 2014, and when i came back that summer, she acted very different than before.  Instead of hanging around me and wanting to play, she avoids me at all costs.  She refuses to be in the same room as me, or the floor for that matter.  If i go upstairs and she's upstairs, she will immediately get up and go downstairs, and vise versa.  Whenever I am around, she looks 180 degrees away from me, puts her tail between her legs, and shakes as if she's freezing cold.  I don't do anything except try to be nice to her, pet her and comfort her, talk to her, take her for car rides, but she shows absolutely no signs of progress, and to be honest my patience is wearing thin.  Is there any reason why my dog will do everything she can to get away from me, but is perfectly fine with my dad and my mom?

Hi, Joshua. This is a hard situation to be in, but I've actually been there. It sounds like she is feeling betrayed by you for leaving. I honestly wouldn't worry yourself about it. She just needs patience and her time to trust to come around again. If you're not already doing this, do some routine activities, including even feeding, but don't put any feeling into it. Especially if it makes her shake that bad. Make it feel casual. And when there comes opportunities for a quick pet, take that chance but keep it casual. It's basically like allowing her to trust you again. You can totally incorporate training and rewarding so she gets the alpha feel with you again. But unfortunately you have to be patient.

I hope this helps. Feel free to respond back with any questions or thoughts.

Canine Behavior

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant


I have experience with multiple obedience issues, including anxiety, different types of aggression, introductions to a new pet and basic obedience situations, such as housebreaking, excessive leash pulling and excessive barking. There are several approaches to each behavior issue, depending on the animal's environment, as well as the breed, sex and age. I can also help you decide whether the problem sounds medical or behavioral.


I recently graduated with a Veterinary Technician degree with an emphasis in behavior and obedience training. I spent 5 years working in animal shelters where I trained shelter dogs in basic obedience and corrected behavior issues and educated adopting owners how to continue the training at home.

"Pawfect Pets;" a weekly column on canine and feline health and behavior tips.

Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

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