My dog is aggressive towards me but not my husband. Why is this the case? Am I doing something wrong or is something wrong with the dog?
You are probably reading this because you or your spouse is going through something similar. It’s an unpleasant experience that can deeply affect any family and in worst-case scenarios where the dog has become a danger to family members or other people, they may have to be put down.
This may solve the problem but no one wants to have to deal with that. Dogs become aggressive when they feel that they need to protect their owner from any perceived danger.
When the aggression is towards a member of the family though, this behavior is stemming from a place of possession of the favored person and this behavior must be corrected sooner rather than later.
Why Does my Dog Growls at Me but Not My Husband
To best answer this, a dog is protective of those that it deems to be family. Naturally, it will do all it can to make sure that those it considers to be part of the family are safeguarded from any and all danger.
A dog, under normal circumstances, exhibits a sense of family and just like any member of a healthy family, they will want to see their family members happy. When they now start attacking a family member or becomes aggressive towards them, this is a sign of a deeper problem.
Most people tend to brush this off and think that it’s not a big deal but it is. Imagine if one of your children started exhibiting aggressive behaviour towards you or your spouse, you would see it for what it is; unacceptable.
So why does a dog do this exactly? Unlike in the case where it becomes aggressive to protect a family member, aggression against a family member signifies a different thing altogether.
It’s a way that the dog protects a resource. Usually the person that the dog is protective of is usually the more nurturing person in the house or the person who feeds your dog.
Think of this behaviour as something that a jealous child would do. They may favour one parent over the other. Though this may be cute for a while, it can quickly get out of hand if allowed to go on for a long time.
Another issue could be that there is a dominance issue between you and your dog. Dogs challenge each other through eye contact and it’s one of the things that you need to do when you are giving a dog verbal commands.
There are instances when a dog will develop certain responses to you over time. For example, when you walk towards your dog looking straight into their eyes when as you reprimand them for bad behaviour.
Over time they will start associating you walking towards them and eye contact as aggressive behaviour and in turn retaliate.
Dogs will also respond to hormonal changes in people. For example, when a woman falls pregnant, dogs will sense it long before humans realise it.
Normally, the response is more of a nurturing approach towards the pregnant woman. Dogs, much like people tend to have different personalities and can become aggressive in response to the owner falling pregnant.
What To Do If Our Dog is Aggressive Towards Me Or A Family Member
Now, how do you handle a situation where you have an aggressive dog? Let’s look at that a little, shall we? There are different ways that you can handle this depending on the situation.
When a dog is showing aggressive behaviour towards you, you need to act quickly before it gets to a place where it’s out of control.
The last thing you want is for animal services to get involved and possibly get your dog put down because they have become too dangerous.
When a dog is showing aggressive behavior, they need to be made aware that it is not acceptable for them to do that.
To this end, you need to reprimand them firmly so that they know who is in charge of the situation. Repetition is key in getting the message across.
When they misbehave in this manner, you reprimand them then isolate them for some time so that they cool off. Doing this over and over will send a message that they are not permitted to act in that manner.
Bond With Them
Firmness can be inter-changed with bonding. One of the reasons that your dog may be aggressive towards you is because they feel closer to your spouse than they do to you.
Take the time to bond with your dog. A good start is to start feeding the dog for a period of time or whenever you are around. Feeding is one of the best ways to get a dog to bond with you.
Consider hand feeding as this is more intimate. If it’s not possible, feed then while holding the bowl. Also take over the duty of walking your dog going forward so that this bond is strengthened. You should begin to see some positive results with time.
At other times when sitting and doing nothing let the dog lay on your chest, dogs love this.
Get Professional Dog Trainer to Check Them Out
When you don’t see any results from using firmness and nurturing, it’s a good idea to call in a professional dog trainer. Oftentimes we miss what a trained eye is able to pick up.
Sometimes the dog is just too aggressive to handle and you need someone better placed to help. Calling in a dog trainer who has the experience to come and observe you and your dog can help you pick out behavior that you may have missed that is causing your dog to act in the way they do.
When your dog is aggressive towards you and not your husband, it is probably due to a number of factors. Try and implement the recommended remedies in this article before seeking further professional help.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.