Why does my dog bark at my husband?
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Thread: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Wine0Clock's Avatar
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    Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    Toby is a loving dog and is nice to everyone, however he's started to bark at my husband (Only had Toby for about 5 weeks now).

    It's only when my husband is sat down watching TV and Toby walks in and lays on the carpet, but then he will stand up and bark at him.
    It doesn't seem like a nasty bark, perhaps he just wants to play (Something my husband doesn't do).

    There was once a moment though where we were both sat down in the living room and all of a sudden Toby started to Growl at him. He wasn't snarling, just a growl.
    My husband reacted by just staring at him - Something I've heard conflicting things about, some people say to do it to show who is boss, others say don't do it, it's dangerous. In the end Toby backed down and stopped, but I felt very uncomfortable about it all and we weren't sure why he started doing that and we weren't sure if it was the correct approach.
    I don't stroke Toby or give him positive attention when he barks at hubby.

    Although once I wanted to try this Alpha stuff, I decided not to but it seems I've become that person by accident. He does a submissive roll onto his back and when I stroke him he is submissive and head down (Until I stop and then he gets all excited and jumpy).

    I'm not in the room when Toby barks at him, it's not a constant bark, it's just a quick little bark and hubby tells him to Shh in a firm tone.

    Why is Toby doing this? Is it for play? Is it some kind of ranking?

    The growling happened last week, and this barking started a few days later, again, it doesn't seem like a nasty bark.

    We don't want to mess up.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member georgiapeach's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    You might want hubby to give Toby treats and be put in charge of feeding him his meals. If Toby doesn't want your husband near him, have hubby start by dropping a treat by the dog as he walks by every so often. Work up to hubby actually offering the treat by hand. Take it slow. Toby will then see him as the giver of all good things!

    Some dogs are just uncomfortable around men. My dog Potsie barks at my husband everytime he comes home from work - an alert, yappy bark. Very annoying. Potsie actually likes my husband, which makes it even stranger. He'll sit with him on the couch in the evening, like they're best buddies - lol! Potsie originally came from a very abusive situation, so he has lots of fears, which have improved with time.

    I wouldn't have your husband stare down your dog. In the dog world, this is very threatening. I would have him not look at Toby at all when he's barking or growling.
    Beth, mom to misfit rescues: Maddie (maltese/westie mix?), Sunny (toy poodle), and Jackson (boxer)

  4. #3
    Junior Member Wine0Clock's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    Thank you Georgia!

    I've just sent my husband out to walk Toby. It usually is me that gives treats and feeds Toby and I'm always walking Toby or at least with Toby when my husband walks him.

    I will make sure he ignores and doesn't look at Toby.
    He definitely doesn't respect/listen to my husband as if he's trying to get him to follow him to the door for the toilet, Toby runs over to me and looks up to me so I have to tell him to go Toilet.

    Toby is a rescue dog, he was found to be the width of his spine and we suspect he was abused too
    He was very nervous coming in but he's been great since I suspect he was beaten because I firmly told him 'No' once and moved my foot to move him aside (Not to kick) and he screeched and yelped and my foot hadn't even touched him! Poor thing :'(

  5. #4
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    It sounds like Toby might just want attention. If the bark is just kind of "Hey, I'm here!" sounding, especially if he only barks at your husband once or twice when he is watching TV (as in, seemingly available to play and yet ignoring Toby).

    My dog will do that to me when he either really has to pee, it's time for dinner, or I've been ignoring him for quite awhile on my computer. Just a single bark- he gets up, walks to face me, looks right at me and barks once. I ask what he wants ("Outside" "Walk" or "Dinner" and he knows to go to the appropriate door or location for whichever he needs). But I know that bark means I cannot ignore him.

    In Toby's case though, it seems your husband "Shhs" him and continues to ignore him. I can see how a dog would get frustrated with that and figure it is much easier to just never bother with this human that doesn't listen to him. If your husband isn't part of his care and isn't responsive to him, then he's unlikely to listen to your husband. Walks are good, little treats are good, gently petting and scratching him while sitting on the floor with him (less intimidating at his level). The more your husband does (positive good actions) with the dog, the more Toby will listen to him (it's not really "respect", that's a human concept I think, it is just like "Oh, this person is good to me so I will do what he says since good things happen)

    You want to be really really careful about even the least bit of harsh words or corrections if you have a dog that is especially nervous or sensitive. No staring him down, no raised voices (including between two people- so if you and the husband have an argument and shout, leave the room away from the dog).

  6. #5
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    As a tall male, I have found that getting down to their level and playing with a barking dog is helpful. I like the "I am here!" comment. i am guessing that Toby wants a relationship but neither he or your husband are confifent of how to build it.

    Of course, we can't tell from your post if your husband wants to actively participate in the dogs life. The stare down is not a way of building rapprt, and dominence theory is pure bunk. Therefore I would urge you to abandon that tactic right away, and engage the services of a behaviorist. You cannot train a dog from the couch with a remote in your hand. You can stare and shhh until you are blue in the face, and your dog will just think you are crazy.

    If a behaviorist is not in the budget, try lots of walks and caregiving (by your husband and also together) as suggested by others. spending quantity time tiring your dog and meeting his needs to explore your neighborhood should go a long way towards bonding, and it's great for your relationships all the way around! And thank you for adopting a rescue dog!!!

  7. #6
    Senior Member Amaryllis's Avatar
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    From the dog's point of view, watching TV, being on the computer and reading area all doing nothing. Neither Muggsy nor Kabota would/will bother me while I'm actively doing something, i.e., cleaning, folding laundry, etc., but while I'm watching TV, I'm apparently fair game.

    You know what I've learned? I don't ever regret putting off Newsroom for another day and playing with my dog is so much fun. So tell your husband to get off his duff and have some fun!

    Also, look into positive training. I don't agree with "no"s and foot swipes and such for any dog, but for a dog like the one you have, it's very counterproductive. You can't make him trust you enough for full bonding/training if you're scaring him silly on a regular basis. (Remember, what's scary to you and what's scary to a dog are two entirely different things. I don't cry if someone says "no" to me in a stern tone. My dog hides under a table.)

    Instead, use clicker training and use redirection and management. If he has a shoe, trade him a treat for the shoe, then give him a toy to chew on. Praise for chewing on the shoe. Then take all the shoes and put them away so the dog can't get them. That's redirection and management.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Why does my dog bark at my husband?

    I agree with Amaryllis. My dogs both do this to some extent. I suffered a back injury, and walking the dogs is painful, so we are down to one walk a day instead of two. As a result, the dogs have excess energy, and "ask" us to play more often than they used to.

    Dogs wanting to play is a good thing! I'm wondering about the OP's statement: "....perhaps he just wants to play. (Something my husband doesn't do.)"
    Does your husband not WANT to play with the dog ever?

    Anyway, when Harper wants extra play, he will give a funny bark or two or three, and growl. It's not an aggressive growl, it's his play/attention growl. If I CAN play with him right then, I do. If I am busy, I will look away from him, with my nose in the air (kind of snobby, snubbing him). I read in "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell that when you do that, a dog sees it as a dismissal of sorts, kind of like you're saying "Be gone! I don't have time for this!" It works for us!

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