We adopted an owner surrender dog from a shelter whom we have named Liberty. She is almost two years old, American bulldog mix. We have had her for 2 months now. She knows sit and understands come if she wants to do it, isn't barky, low energy while inside (almost placid) not distructive and basically potty trained except for a few incidents. I feel she is finally past the major adjustment period and over all a very easy dog. We got her for the children.

Our concerns:

She displays signs of being afraid of my husband still, but, has had moments of positive interaction with him. I believe we could improve this with some more training/interventions. We figure she was not treated very nice by the man who turned her over to the shelter. She is so sweet and compliant for me (the alpha female) that we will keep trying at this issue.

However, our main concern is she ignores the children. I would describe it as indifferent and seems to prefer adults, particularly women.. (We have 3 girls, ages 8 almost 7 and 4 1/2 who are very loud most of the time and small for their ages)

From the very start, I have had the girls feed the dog, give treats to encourage interest in them, and let Liberty in and out the potty door etc. We are pretty consistent with routine. Liberty almost always will not go to the potty door for anyone unless they put her on a leash and take her, or I walk most of the way too telling Liberty to go. She almost never seeks the girls out and follows me every where I go in the house though I try to ignore her or limit my attention given to her. She is literally almost like velcro with me. She does not mind the girls petting her or loving on her when they approach her; However, I observe her to ignore them by looking away in addition to ignoring attempts they have made to get Liberty to come to them upon a friendly "come here" with knee pat and kiss kiss sounds from a few feet away. She has even re-positioned herself to get away from them a few times.

We have tried the interventions of treats, natural calming food called composure and me leaving the house for errands so Liberty would have to spend time with the other family members. The first time or two I left she stayed in the family room with them my husband said . Now, the last few times I was gone, she goes upstairs to her kennel in our bedroom or sits in the back hall by the door I come in from the garage.

My questions is: Can a dog be trained to like the kids/ play with the kids? I personally do not think so and feel sad that I do not believe Liberty is the right match for a family with young children and that we should ask the shelter to help us find a home for her that would be a better fit.

Look forward to others' insights.
Julie and Rob

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