A dear couple called me while they were on vacation for help. They adopted a rescue dog and were rehabilitating her behavioral habits with their kindness. She made a lot of progress and seemed to be adjusting well. But had a huge setback when they went on vacation.
The couple didn’t understand it. They were still giving her a lot of Love and now she had even more love because there was another family that joined them on vacation. It seemed significant to the woman to mention that her dog took to the other mother of the group and would spend a lot of time with her. It very slightly made the woman feel like the dog was rejecting her for the other woman. It was obvious to me what the issue was; and very easy to remedy.
Dogs are pack animals. This little dog just got comfortable in its pack and knew its place in the pecking order. But now with all these new members added, she could not feel safe. She was being nice to the other mother purely out of survival. She was not certain if the other mother was alpha or her current mom was. She wanted to make sure that she remained safe.
It was easy to explain to the little girl the difference between human family and dog packs. In human families,, the weakest one is still loved and no one is eliminated. Also I explained to her that the coming together was temporary and her original pack family was still in tact. Her behavior turned around easily. The rest of the trip she was fine.