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longgone's avatar

How can I improve the connection with my dog?

Asked by longgone (14349points) June 24th, 2018

I grew up with a very special Labrador. She died over a year ago and I was left with my young male, Wilson. Ever since, I’ve felt different about him. I walk him, we play and cuddle, but it’s less fun. I’m not as invested as I used to be.

I love him and he makes me laugh every day, but on most days I don’t feel that special connection I’m looking for.

He’s an amazing dog, so it doesn’t seem fair for him to be considered “less”. Is there any way I can change my mind about him?

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11 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I have experienced this type of transition a number of times in my life, most recently when my old boy dies last fall and now I am have only the almost 3 year old. I can sympathize with you, and only tell you that it will get better with time. Really. It always has with me. Remember, Wilson misses your old dog, too, it’s hard on him as well.

Just keep doing what you’re doing and you will get past this. I promise. This is the third time I’ve had to do this and I know it’s hard.

Pats and loves to both of you from me and my young boy. <3

ragingloli's avatar

Get him a volleyball costume and take picture.

canidmajor's avatar

Sorry about the typos and weird syntax mistakes, very distracted here.

chyna's avatar

I agree with @canidmajor. After one dog died and a few months later I got another one, I really didn’t bond with her like I did my previous one. I liked her, but we didn’t have the attachment I thought we should have. It took quite a while to develop that bond. Perhaps even a couple of years. But now, I absolutely love her.

PIN_24's avatar

Its your fear of losing the second dog that is preventing you from forming a personal attachment. You have experienced that the life span of dogs is shorter than humans’. Therefore, you fear that if you form a connection, it will be difficult to get over this one. Just get rid of this fear and enjoy your friendship with the acceptance that all good things have an end. So, enjoy while it lasts and see the magic.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with the other dog people on this thread. I had raised my last dog from a puppy. When we got a second dog (a rescue), I liked him but did not feel the same way about him. Do not try to force yourself. It may just take time or it may not happen at all. But you still care about him and cuddle him, right? As my husband would say, “It’s better than no dog atall.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

Time and effort. Every creature is special in some way, and most definately deserving of love and a sense of belonging.

If you’re unable to feel love for Wilson before long, I’d try to find a home where he can feel that connection and be joyful.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I remember, so very well, how deeply you grieved last year. I’ve thought of you often and hoped you were doing better.

Our relationships with animal companions really aren’t unlike those with people:

- When you love profoundly and then suffer a loss, you’re going to mourn. The void can be so bad that it’s physically painful. Your love doesn’t end simply because the recipient is gone.

- Time, time, and more time. There’s no expiration date for grief. A year may seem like a long while; for you, in this situation, it clearly hasn’t been nearly long enough.

- No two relationships are the same. You say that you’ve “felt different” about Wilson, but that’s because he is different. He can’t replace your Labrador. Wilson has his own personality and ways of connecting with you; please try to enjoy those unique things about him and grow to love him for them.

Take care, sweetie.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, jellies. It feels good to know that others can relate. We’ll just keep playing and cuddling. There are lots of things I love about Wilson precisely because he’s a whole new dog, and I will try to focus on those.

@KNOWITALL The thought of giving him away is scarier than I can put into words. I don’t think he’d want to go, either, if the way he greets me and snuggles close is any indication.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Longgone Of course you should keep working at it. I got a nine year old lab last year that had not been neglected but was not loved. She was so sad. Now she’s my velcro dog, loves her little brother and we’re all in love. She doesnt play much, she is scared of hugs but we’re working slowly on trust. That’s why I encourage rehoming if anyone thinks an animal is not worth the effort, which is obviously not the case with Wilson and you. The love you felt for your other dog will hopefully transfer to him over time. Let us know how it goes!

Sammyyy's avatar

Does the female Labrador is your first dog? I remember the feeling of my first dog until now, although she passed away 10 years ago. She has accompanied me over 5 years, so we have numbers of sweet memories. I regret I have never traveled with her after I read many articles about that recently. (such as:
I believe we can build a good relationship with our pets after trip, just like human-human. So, I decide to travel with my young puppy. And I have registered my pup as an ESA (in That means he is available to fly with me in the cabin.

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