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My husband and I adopted a 5 year old poodle/maltese mix, we've had her for 3.5 weeks now. She whines when only I leave the room and is left with my husband. When we both are gone, she whines a little but eventually settles down. She used to follow me everywhere, but I have since discouraged that and now she stays where she is unless called, but still has her eye on my every move - even if I shift on the bed.

We've been working on the typical SA protocol, me coming and going and increasing the time. We're up to 30 minutes with her and my husband in the room, no whining! My husband has been walking, treating, feeding her, basically meeting all her needs. How can we help their bond grow while making her less dependent on me? I don't really provide her with anything as of right now (and haven't for the past 2 weeks). Any advice would be great!!
 

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Dogs, like humans, will choose who they like best and bond with them more. I’m not sure I understand why you’re trying to force bonding with your husband. I understand about working on the separation anxiety bit, but it seems to be mild. Keeping her from following you and making her stay put when she wants to go with you from room to room must be very stressful for her. In the long run it will make her anxious and could cause behavior problems.

I have two dogs, and both of them will stay close to the door if I leave, sometimes whining. Poodles are very sensitive dogs and very attached to their owners. This can’t be undone.

I think you are going to break her and do damage if you forbid her from being the loving dog that she wants to be with you. I would just accept her for who she is, and love on her ! Your husband will have to work to develop a relationship with her, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of her losing you.
 

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You've only had her 3.5 weeks? To be honest, I would celebrate that bond. It will take her months to fully settle in and she feels safe in your presence.

Do you know anything about her past? My last girl was a one-human dog. She was happy to play and be affectionate with others, but if I went to the bathroom, she went with me. Maybe your adopted pup had a similar bond with a previous human and you've taken that human's place.

I would just work on consistency. Help her feel safe and confident with a consistent routine.
 

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I don't know your personalities or hers, but I found that clicker training really solidified the bonds with my dogs. Simply feeding and walking them was enough to get us into the "valued household staff" category. Clicker training and playing with them was what bumped the relationship up to the next level. YMMV.
 

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It sounds like her separation anxiety isn't all that bad. I adopted a 6 year old dog when I lived in an apartment, and had to work on a routine that helped her settle so I could leave my apartment to go to work. Any other time, such as taking the trash out or leaving spontaneously, would cause her to cry loudly and whine for 5-10 minutes. I tried many strategies, but I lived by myself so I was her one and only.

My thoughts are if your dog is just whining a little, and will stay put when you leave the room without throwing a fit, I think she's doing ok. :)
 

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I was thinking about this some more, and I recalled that when Peggy first came home with us (from the breeder, not a rescue) she was obsessed with my husband. I felt a little left out, to be honest, but mostly I was just happy he had such a devoted new friend. And we used their bond to build her confidence.

By around the 8-month mark, Peggy was dividing her time equally between us. It's rather impressive! She makes us each feel quite special. And this took no conscious effort on our part: He walks her. I do low-distraction trick and obedience training. We attend classes together. He generally feeds her. I do a lot of couch cuddle time. And so on.

It just all balances out.

But that early devotion to my husband really worked in our favour. He took the lead on anything that made her nervous.
 

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Thanks for your responses, everyone!

We don't know much about her past, she was presented to the rescue as a stray, but she did come to us potty trained and the rescue did say she was afraid of men. So we can only assume some things about her... She also met one of my friends today (female), and warmed right up to her, so I think we can safely assume she has issues with men.

We'll just keep on giving her time to settle in and love!
 

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Aw. Yeah, then I would definitely let her stick to you if that makes her feel more secure, while giving your husband plenty of opportunities to heap on the no-pressure love and treats.

Would love to see some photos. :) What's her name?
 

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She does look like a Benji! Very cute little pup. If she’s reliable in the house, I would allow following. Buck never wants to miss out on anything. It’s great that you and your husband are developing affectionate bonds and routines.
 
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