The dog becomes increasingly bonded with the man and behaves like the lady is not particularly relevant.
He seems mixed up
The couple I went to see this evening have had two-year-old Mastiff Staffie cross Buster for six months now.
Buster’s life revolves around the man and he takes little notice of the lady – especially when the man is at home. Despite her gentle and affectionate nature, Buster can be quite scared of her for no accountable reason.
He loves to lie down between them on the sofa. One evening while he was fast asleep she reached out and touched him. In panic he jumped up and ran upstairs where she found him cowering and shaking. This distressed her too. One can only speculate what damage a previous female owner may have done to him that’s made him so mixed up.
Confidence around other dogs
Knowing that he wasn’t confident around other dogs, his new lady has worked really hard, for weeks walking him with other dogs and making great headway. Then, very disappointingly, a quarrel with another dog over a stick turned into a fight. The lady shouted. This terrified the mixed up Buster. He now refuses to walk with her any more unless near to home.
Now she panics whenever they see another dog, so walks that were previously enjoyable are now a disaster for them both.
With the gentleman walks are fine!
Added to this, they had to have Buster castrated as agreed with the re-homing organisation. Since then his personality changed. He seems depressed. Is it coincidence? Who knows. I saw a photo of him previously and he looked alert and happy. Now he is mostly worried and sleepy.
The first part of our plan is to work on the lady’s own confidence and for her to walk Buster near home only. This is where they are both happy. She will play a ‘guess where we are going’ game. She will rehearse what she will do when they see a dog, so that when it happens she is ready.
Buster is scared and doesn’t feel safe so if she, too, is in a panic she can’t help him.
The gentleman is decisive and confident so it’s little surprise that the nervous, mixed up Buster puts his faith in him.