Family Relationships

Ever since I read a post on 24 Paws of Love that reflected on the different walking styles of the author and her spouse, I have been comparing the relationship I have with Shiva to the one she has with my PH. The two are markedly different.

When I walk Shiva, I tend to keep a longer leash. I let her sniff as she pleases three or four feet in front of me. As long as she doesn’t pull or cross in front of me, I don’t really mind if she spends most of the time with her nose to the ground. I also am pretty understanding if she needs to stop and check out a tree or light pole. Unless I am running late for work, I will let her take as much time as she needs. I don’t let her stop if she looks like she is about to eat something disgusting but I do let her snatch up some grass.

When the man walks Shiva he tends to keep her closer to his side. Shiva is only allowed to sniff on cue and only in certain spots. They move much faster and Shiva must ask permission by looking at him if she wants to investigate a tree. He rarely lets her take anything off the ground – as much as he can anyway. As a result Shiva tends to be a lot more focussed on walks with him as opposed to our more leisurely strolls.

When I play tug with Shiva she is very polite. She never grabs the toy near my hand and she pulls with only minor force. Our games tend to be divided up between tugging and then fetching the toy. Shiva’s body remains loose and her mouth open. When she growls the sound isn’t very intense.

When the man plays tug with Shiva she is much less polite. She play growls almost the whole time. The game is almost entirely a competition of strength. When he asks her to drop the toy, her body becomes stiff and her mouth closes. Her eyes are almost as intense as a Border Collie’s while herding sheep. He has been known to push her too far past her limit, resulting in tooth marks in his hands.

When I pet Shiva she is very sweet. She will lean against me and relax her body. If she licks, she only ever licks my hands. She will often place her head on my knee and stare up at me.

When the man pets Shiva she often climbs all over him. She licks any spot she can reach, most often the face. Her tail doesn’t stop wagging.

Those are just the areas in which the differences are most noticeable. There are other little things. We’ve already covered how I am more of a sucker. Since my PH works more hours a day than I do, I tend to do the bulk of the training and walking. When he gets home, he tends to do the bulk of the playing. Shiva is usually much more excited to see him than she is to see me. He gets a happy dance; I get an expression of impatience. However, since I do most of the training, especially in regards to agility, Shiva tends to be a lot more goofy around him when he is asking her to work. We both have slightly different expectations in regards to her behaviour. Sometimes he looks to me for assistance when Shiva just isn’t getting it. Sometimes he comes up with something I’d never think of on my own.

Are there differences in how your dog responds to other members of the family?

21 thoughts on “Family Relationships

  1. Sampson is totally different with Chet then with me. Quite honestly Chet rarely (if ever) walks Delilah on leash, that is usually my job. He is however far more strict with Sampson when we are walking together.

    I haven’t noticed much else that is different, except for maybe the enthusiastic way Sampson licks Chet’s face when we go to bed.


    • I am not of fan of face-licking and it’s something I discouraged early on. My husband, however, actively encourages it. Amazingly enough Shiva is able to differentiate between the two of us and behaves as appropriate. It’s kind of cool!


  2. I guess the main difference is I wouldn’t have managed to pull the Man Of The House over last week like I did the LOTH (well that’s what HE says).

    Like the new-look blog by the way. Very clean and clear.

    Love and licks, Winnie


    • LOL. You wouldn’t pull anyone over on purpose, would you Winnie? I didn’t think so. 😉

      Thanks! I’m glad you like it.


  3. Hiya, it looks like your blog transfer went swiftly, although I don’t seem to get your post notifications anymore (which is why I’ve missed the last few ones). Maybe I need to resubscribe?

    Anyway, good idea for a post. George definitely behaves differently with each of us. He’s always more gentle playing with Brianna and I, whilst his games with his dad resemble life and death battles.

    When it comes to walking, I think he goes further away from his dad than he does from me. We think it’s because he thinks he’s protecting me when we’re out by ourselves. Maybe, I don’t know. He does have good recall for a whippet, so he comes back quickly to both of us, although he likes mummy best because she carries liver cake in her pockets 😉


    • Yes, the subscriptions seem to be not so much working yet. I don’t know why and it is my biggest frustration right now. I apologise for the issues and hope it all gets fixed soon!

      Aww, it’s sweet that George can be your little protector. I just think it’s so interesting that dogs will behave differently with different family members when we were always told that everyone needs to maintain the same rules.

      Liver cake? Do you make that yourself?


  4. It’s similar in our house too. I think Mr. T is the “fun” one while I’m more cuddles and treats. Although I do tend to give them more slack on the leash like you do. They’re always happy to see us both when we get home!


    • Heh. Shiva always looks at me as if to say “what took you so long?!” I’m starting to feel a little taken for granted. 😛


  5. I am the pack leader while Sean is the pack instigator. When I come home, Jersey will politely come up to me for a greeting. When Sean comes home, Jersey runs around the house like an idiot because Sean encourages it!! *sigh*

    I am the “boss”, Sean is the play buddy. But isn’t that always how it turns out in nature?


    • Yep, that’s exactly like our house. I do a lot of the sighing around here too. *sigh*

      Thanks for your comment!


  6. It is so neat how different pups are with different people. Kayloo is way more of a suck with John than with me, and Mickey is more of a suck with me than John. With my mom Kayloo is an absolute GOOF and with my dad Mickey is really calm.

    So interesting to see!


    • It is really interesting, I think. Dogs know a lot more than we realize and can behave accordingly. They also know what they can get away with with one person, and can’t with another. Very sneaky. 😉


  7. Ryker is my dog. The man of the house was not so keen on getting a dog. However he loves Ryker to bits. I am the trainer, he is the spoiler, esp. when it comes to food. He thinks that Ryker needs a snack when ever he wants one and that I don’t feed him enough. Does he look underfed to you?? I can barely feel his ribs!
    Ryker spends most of the day out in the front yard waiting for me to come home(dad works 90% from home) and then howls with glee and plasters me with kisses. He wags his tail and smiles when dad comes home.
    Ryker is upset if I don’t take him in the car everywhere I go. He will NOT get in dads car (without me).
    Yup, there are differences for sure!


    • I love how the person who didn’t want a dog has turned into the big suck. Isn’t that always the way?

      Ryker is so cute. It’s sweet that he won’t go anywhere without you. He knows who is really in charge!


  8. Hi there,

    Yep, things in our house are different too – when Dad comes home I go rushing to the door as soon as I hear the garage and I’m super excited – if Mum’s been out she may just get a relaxed, hi there – well, I see Mum all the time – tee hee

    Have a fun day,

    Snoopy 🙂


    • That’s just like Shiva. I get a “oh, hey, when’s dinner?” and he gets a “ohmygodyouarehomeineverthoughiwouldseeyouagainohmygodiamsoexcited!!!!!!!”


  9. Oh, there are definitely differences! Hubby tends to be a lot less patient when walking the girls, too. I’ve teased him about working with Morgan. He’s done obedience with her, and she will work, but she’s very serious. When I do heeling exercises with her, her tail wags like crazy! This drives hubby nuts and he swears she is now my dog. lol


  10. Bender throws his toys and barks at N and doesn’t stop… trying to play, whereas he knows that I am not a sucker and doesn’t really try to do that with me.


  11. Same here. I too am the boss and my husband is the play toy. Both packs just about do flips, spins and act like complete manics when my husband comes home, yet give me a happy welcome and run out the door. They are always begging me for entertainment, yet when my husband is around they are just happy he is there. Oh, the list goes on and on.

    Sounds like you have more of a women’s touch with Shiva and a very gentle relationship whereas your man has more of that rough boy instinct with her. Isn’t it interesting how our dogs respond differently with different people?

    Thanks for the shout out. We’re touched.


  12. What an interesting post!! We only have my husband & me in our family but Honey is definitely different with us both. I’m very much “top dog” and my word is law and she is usually always on her best behaviour with me – but she really tries it on with Paul!! Dogs learn so quickly who’s a “soft touch” and she knows that Paul has a heart like marshmallow – whereas I have a heart of stone! 🙂 But interestingly, when she is feeling insecure or something, I’m always the one she looks for and when we’re out on walks, etc, she gets very anxious if I move away or if I lag behind, she will stop and wait for me to catch up. If I really walk off & leave her with Paul, she’ll be fine once I go out of sight but if she can, she’d always much rather be with me. Of course, I do do most of the training & bonding activities – although I do most of the disciplining too! I find this with the cats as well – it’s really weird – you’d think they would prefer Paul over me as I’m usually the one doing the disciplining and enfocing household rules but they often choose to snuggle with me over Paul. Strange!



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