View Full Version : First post! My dog is less affectionate

2nd June 2009, 08:31 PM
Hi everyone! I've been reading the old threads on here for awhile now, as I have to admit over the past year I've become a bit obsessed with Cavaliers.

Last October I got my first Cavalier - a little tri girl named Harlow. She LOVES everyone she meets - needs to jump all over them and lick every inch of their face. She has been like this from day one. Also, in beginning she was extremely cuddly. She always had to sleep in our laps when we were on the couch. I brought her into my bed the first night and she has slept with me ever since. The first few months, she had to be physically touching me at all times during the night. I loved it - but at the same time I had a hard time sleeping, so I put a doggy bed next to me in bed and started making her sleep in that. She would start the night out in the bed, but by morning I would find her pressed up next to me again. It really is the most hilarious thing to wake up to your dog sleeping next you like a human (sprawled out on her back, body under the covers, head on the pillow).

She's always been extremely playful (VERY hyper up until about 5 months of age and still very playful ever since). She could follow me around the house with a tennis ball in her mouth all day long. I consistently felt guilty that I couldn't play with her as much as she wanted. I had wanted a second Cavalier anyway, so two weeks ago I got her a little brother: Andre. They have been playing nonstop since the day I brought him home.

However, when they are not playing, I do feel like she's a bit jealous and mad at me for bringing home the second dog. As she's grown, she has become more independent (less cuddly and clingy), but I it's even more apparent now that I've brought Andre home. She still usually sits next to me on the couch, but at night she cuddles much less (some nights she just stays in her doggy bed the entire time). During the day, if I call her over to me, she'll usually walk in the opposite direction. If I'm ever giving kisses to Andre, I'll catch her staring at me from a distance. Only times she's ever really excited about me anymore is if I leave the house for a bit. Then she'll go crazy when I come home.

I miss Harlow's suuuuuper-cuddly puppy behavior!!

I read somewhere that girl dogs get more aloof with age. Plus I know they can be very moody. I guess I'm wondering if 1. she's probably getting more aloof/moody as she grows up and will continue to do so or 2. this is just a rebellious teenager phase (she's 10 months) and she might grow out of it or 3. she's simply just mad about Andre. Do dogs ever get over their jealousy issues over the second dog? Will I ALWAYS feel guilty for giving him any attention?

Thanks for reading!! I'll try to post some pics soon :)

2nd June 2009, 10:51 PM
Hi and welcome to the board. :)

I think mainly your bitch is just becoming an adult dog. She is less dependent and focused on you because of that. Girls are generally more aloof and independent than boys overall but this is still a pretty affectionate breed. :) Also, you got her a playmate so that means she will be less focused on you (this is generally a GOOD thing. A confident dog needs that degree of independence and is better with some canine interaction as well). Dogs will not be 'mad' at you (in the way a human might hold a grudge) for getting another dog. They may be miffed for a while at having to share their owner -- basic jealousy -- but if she is happily playing with the new pup this is unlikely to be an issue for her.

Have you done any formal obedience and training with her, as you say she now walks away when you call her? If not, this is very important to do before she gets any older, not least as a dog with no recall will be at risk any time you are outside if she won;t come when called -- this is one command that can save a life. The best time to start training is the minute you get a puppy home -- fun, easy initial training but structured positive-methods obedience by 6 months or so. Most people don't have the focus and commitment every day to give a dog the training it needs at home on their own -- this is just a real challenge to do correctly and comprehensively -- and the interaction with other people and dogs, and the chance to learn to focus on training commands with these distractions in a class, are invaluable and make for a far better socialised dog too. :)

I'd recommend reading Ian Dunbar's articles on training on his website www.dogstardaily.com. You can get a free download of his two puppy training books as well which should be very helpful with your second pup.

2nd June 2009, 10:54 PM
Hi and welcome! Well...you know what they say, "females love you but males are IN love with you". I think its just her maturing and also a bit of the new brother. I'd say just keep giving her plenty of attention and alone time with you and see how that works.

Brenda in SC
3rd June 2009, 01:44 AM

Looking forward to seeing pics of Harlow & Andre!

3rd June 2009, 02:22 AM
Hello! I think your little girl is just growing up a bit. Our cavalier Holly is 14 months, and I've noticed her gaining a bit of independence (from me in particular). Rather than needing to have physical contact 24/7, she is now content to be near me. She is always in our physical presence, but does not necessarily need to be the constant center of attention anymore.

I liken it a lot to raising human children. It's a slow process, but eventually they gain independence from their moms. I miss my kids' wanting me to carry them everywhere, but I know a bit of physical separation from me is healthy for them. I also miss having Holly constantly seeking my physical attention, but I love the fact that she's confident enough to not need it. Like Karlin said, Holly (being a cavalier) is still the most affectionate dog I've known!

3rd June 2009, 03:54 AM
Thanks for all the responses! You know, when Harlow was more dependent, I constantly felt guilty and wanted her to be more independent. Now that I have that, I want the opposite. HA! Well, the good news is that Andre has only been here for two weeks and the two dogs are getting along superbly. They would play together 24 hours a day if they could. All this activity drains Harlow, so she doesn't have the extra energy to dote on me all day. I'll suppose I'll get over it eventually :mad:

Karlin - Yes, she did go to a puppy training class at 11 weeks old. She is very good with all the basic commands. She knows a "come-touch" command and is pretty good at coming when I use it (always responds at home but has failed a couple times at the dog park). I don't use this as an everyday command because I only want to use it when absolutely necessary. On a day-to-day basis I just call her to me normally. If I use my "stern" voice, she'll come (albeit it takes a few repetitions if her and Andre are playing). But if I use my sweet "puppytalk" voice and ask her to come for a kiss or a cuddle - that's when she's starting to ignore me. Whereas before, she would have tackled me, now she just turns and walks the other way. I have to admit, it kind of hurts my feelings :cry*ing:

I've heard the saying "The girls love you but the boys are in love with you" many times :) Funny thing is, compared to Andre at 10 weeks, Harlow at that age was waaaay more affectionate. Her affection was displayed in a hyper all-over-your-face way. I didn't want that for the second pup because I didn't want their personalities to conflict. So I asked the breeder for a more low-key puppy. He is an adorable, carefree little boy. Runs to me and kisses my face whenever I ask for it. But in a much calmer manner. And he's not much of a cuddler at all (although you wouldn't think so by the first picture below).

Here's some pictures of the babies:

(he climbed into this position all by himself)




3rd June 2009, 04:01 AM
I just wanted to say that it all sounds pretty normal. You have gorgeous cavvies. Welcome to the board!

3rd June 2009, 09:04 AM
Hi & welcome! icon_welcome Harlow is a stunner! & Andre is a lovely pup. I felt the same guilt when we got our 2nd cav, our no 1 seemed quite put out, but they do get along just fine & i think we have been forgiven for getting Harry a brother! Its certainly twice the fun when they are in full flow playing together!:p

3rd June 2009, 02:31 PM
gorgeous 'babies' you have there!!!!:lotsaluv:

4th June 2009, 12:03 AM
ur dogs are absolutely fabulous!:rah:

4th June 2009, 12:26 AM
awww thanks for the compliments! :D

4th June 2009, 10:46 AM
they're so pretty! i look forward to hearing more about your adventures with two. and welcome to the board.

i've got one 15 month old tri female, Maggie. i'm in los angeles too! :thmbsup:

5th June 2009, 04:54 PM
The exact same thing happened with Lucy when I brought Charlie Brown home. At first I was a little sad, but now that I see how good it has been for Lucy to have a buddy, I am not sad anymore. Lucy is still my baby girl...she is just a slightly less clingy version of the only dog-child she used to be. We still have cuddle time but it is more about when she is in the mood for it. Plus, now I have two dog babies to love and that is more than enough for me.

Your dogs are gorgeous...enjoy them.

8th June 2009, 07:28 PM
i've got one 15 month old tri female, Maggie. i'm in los angeles too! :thmbsup:

I always get so excited when I see other Cavaliers in Los Angeles. They really are a rarity out here - or so it seems.

LucyDog - That's exactly what I'm seeing from Harlow. She is still affectionate, but it is all on her terms - and I'm realizing that I'm fine with that. I really just want what is best for them.