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We adopted a male dog just over a week ago, and MY anxiety continues to build since I discovered that he barks at men! This is my husband and my first dog besides the dogs we grew up with. He was in a foster for 90 days before we got him and was living in a home with 3 other dogs, and a family with a daughter and son. We did not know that he was afraid of men until a few days after we brought him home because he barked at my husband, dad and brother in separate incidents. After I asked our foster about this, she said he definitely took longer to warm up to the men, but didn't mention barking/aggression toward them. She assured me he is just scared and that this will take patience and time, and I agree! I am not normally an anxious person, but this is making me SO anxious! I have read tons online and I understand he needs to feel safe and that can take time. I don't want to stress out my dog more because I am worried about how he will behave. I want to give him a great place to live, and to have a buddy! I feel equipped and willing to do the work. I appreciate any advise on how you dealt with your dogs, and your own anxiety. I think time and consistency is the answer, but I need some encouragement also!

If you need more details to answer, here's what happened: He barked at my husband 2-3 times about 2 days after we got him, in a fearful, but kind of aggressive way; then he barked at my dad and brother in an aggressive manner after HE (the dog) approached them both. I think it was that they all put their hands out to pet him after he approached them, but could also be an eye contact, stance issue. After he barked at my husband we had my husband feed him, water, walk, etc, and he has only barked at him once since then, so that seems to be helping. After he barked at my dad and brother, (they were just visiting for Thanksgiving (I know this is not ideal, but it is what it is), I instructed my dad and brother to ignore him, and that mostly worked, in fact, he let my dad pet him for a few minutes, but then backed up and barked (less aggressive). He got up in my brothers face barking when my brother was seated twice. We crated the dog more while we had visitors/tried more decompression, after, then during these barking incidents and he seems to be very calm in there. My dad and brother left, so now it is just my husband, I and the dog; and I feel my anxiety actually raising. He is GREAT with me. He responds to my voice, follows me around, is such a sweet boy to me, but since he has barked at my family, I guess I am just afraid? He is 50lbs, and very strong. We go on walks and he will sometimes bark at things, but is mostly more curious than anything else. He will still go in his crate on his own, but now he is becoming harder to get in there when I try to lure him with treats/practice crate training. I am not crating him for very long periods of time unless we are gone (up to 6hrs, usually less) or overnight. For the first time he barked after I put him in his crate today when I was leaving. He has not had any accidents in our home, he eats regularly, loves pets from me, and will let my husband pet him too, but seems to stiffen/lower his head when my husband pets him. We have been working on sticking to the routine, and ignoring most everything else for now. He walks around the house (we have limited his space by closing most bedroom doors) and looks out the windows and whines. He will occasionally self soothe and get a chew toy, or come and sit or lay near us, but goes back to whining and wandering around looking for something. The whining worries me because it seems to indicate he is still very anxious. I try to stay calm and collected and a good leader around him, and he definitely feels safer with me than anyone else right now/is calmed by my voice/listens to me. Granted again it has only been 8 days in our home, with a visitor interruption, so this could all be premature, but my anxiety is my motivation for seeking advise. I don't want to do anything wrong/make anything worse! Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
 

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It sounds to me like the dog is genetically wired to be defensive. This does not mean he cannot be worked with or this cannot be worked through.

It is unlikely any man ever abused the dog. The reaction you describe is common. Men have deeper voices, different stances and a more serious presence and a defensive dog will show this.

In the case of company outside the house coming in, simply crate the dog in a different room and in a quiet area away from guests. Dogs do NOT need to interact with guests and it is best if any dog is put up before guests arrive or come in simply because most guests seem to need to interact with the dog. All are better off and safer if the dog is put up.

With your husband or any one staying there all the time, they should IGNORE the dog. if the dog approaches, do NOT look at the dog. Ignore him. Act as if the dog does not exist (short of tripping over the dog). It is the hardest thing to do.. the dog may come up to him.. don't say anything just IGNORE the dog. He should keep an EYE on the dog (you have had him 8 days and you do not know what the dog will do) but not look directly at the dog or offer interaction even if the dog sniffs or approaches. Act like the dog is not there.

If walking in the house or toward the dog.. and the dog reacts, say nothing. Turn sideways. Do NOT look at the dog or talk to the dog (either person). Stand relaxed or go about your business.. again keeping the dog in your peripheral vision but not looking at the dog, not talking to the dog, not offering to pet the dog and not offering the dog and hand to sniff.

It will take time but after awhile the dog will realize your husband lives there too and is not a threat.

Outside, if the dog will play fetch with a ball or a frisbee and your husband can get him to engage in that it could help their relationship. It may also help if the dog is fed in his crate (door open) and your husband puts the food in the crate (with the dog NOT in the crate first).

The object is to make your husband seem a non threat and for the dog to associate your husband with good things.
I was thinking about your husband giving the dog treats.. but I think the ignore route to start may be the best initial course of action.
 
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