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Both times my husband and I got a dog I ended up being the only person to take care of the dog. It would start off that I would be the provider and the dog would form a bond with me and obey me readily. Then my husband just wanted to be “pack leader” without any work in training and care (meaning he ends up competing with me for the dogs attention when I’m trying to insure consistency and respect) and not have to do any of the dirty work. What I’m assuming is happening is that he convinces the dog that he’s pack leader and that’s why it becomes a lot more difficult for me to take care of the dog because the dog quits following my commands after my husband becomes pack leader. What do you take from this? Does this sound solely like a problem with me... a problem with my husband? I think of course the dog picks up on the power struggle and it weakens his ability in trusting my leadership... as I’m the one who waters, feeds, takes him out, walks him, bathes him, washes his stuff, trains him, everything. This makes life so much harder for me when the dog quits obeying me. I’m just now realizing with this second dog and suddenly things are starting to change just like with the first one we had... and I’m realizing after closer examination that both times my husband was actually trying to convince the dog that he’s pack leader when I’m trying so hard to train him, get him to respect me, and give him consistency in training/ and my husband doesn’t always support the consistency I’m trying to create. Husband gets him to come to him and commands him to stay with him right after I ask the dog to come to me as an example. I don’t know if we can have a dog unless my husband takes over most of the dog care (which he would never do any of it). What are your thoughts. There’s no way this can work without my husbands cooperation right? Can a dog have several alpha pack leaders in a family or is there typically just one main alpha and is it the one providing most of the care normally or not?
 

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In all honesty, the problem is that dog's don't need a human 'pack leader' as they aren't really pack animals who operate within a rigid dominance hierarchy. And, even if they did with conspecifics, they know fully well we aren't dogs & don't need us to be 'the alpha' at all. Your problems are most likely coming from inconsistent handling & training between you & your husband. Stop worrying about it being such a power struggle & just focus on solidifying a positive relationship with the dog. Maybe sign up for a good, positive-reinforcement based, basic obedience class (or even something just 'fun' like a trick-training, or nosework class!) that all three of you can attend. Here are a couple of articles discussing the whole 'alpha' thing:
 

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Some dogs and breeds only bond to one person. So there is that. While this may sound odd, female dogs most often bond with men more easily and males bond more easily with women. This is not a 100% hard and fast rule, but a broad generalization. I had a female that bonded to me and no other.

I think the thing you need to do is train with the dog without your husband present. You need to simply be consistent and you need to be fun to be with and your training needs to be fun. If he is there, the dog may gravitate to him. But when he is not there, the dog should be fine with you.

Start by making the dog work for his food. No food from a bowl. It all comes from you and he must work for it. Be clear. Be consistent. Be positive. Play with the dog when your husband is not there. Form a bond even if it is a secondary bond when your husband is present.
 

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I know it was just an example, but I'm puzzled as to why the dog would listen to your husband at all while in your presence. Is your husband using forceful or punitive means at any time? If so, I would see THAT as the larger problem you and the dog are facing.

You are the one who is kindly providing for the vast majority of the dog's needs. By all rights he should view you as 'the leader', if you will, and naturally tend to be more compliant to your wishes over and above other's. That is, unless there is some form of military-type subjugation happening on your husband's part. If this occurs while in your presence, well... I can also see it undermining all confidence, bonding etc you have previously built.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know it was just an example, but I'm puzzled as to why the dog would listen to your husband at all while in your presence. Is your husband using forceful or punitive means at any time? If so, I would see THAT as the larger problem you and the dog are facing.

You are the one who is kindly providing for the vast majority of the dog's needs. By all rights he should view you as 'the leader', if you will, and naturally tend to be more compliant to your wishes over and above other's. That is, unless there is some form of military-type subjugation happening on your husband's part. If this occurs while in your presence, well... I can also see it undermining all confidence, bonding etc you have previously built.
Your guess is as good as mine. I’m no dog whisperer, I just know the basics and they work well until he starts to bond with my husband. Then the dog starts to turn on me and doesn’t obey anymore. I didn’t realize until we got the 2nd dog that it’s a pattern. He’s not physically abusive of the dog or me if that’s what you’re asking. The only thing that might be considered forceful I know of that he does is make the dog stay with him instead of follow me when I get up and walk away/sit down whatever. At first the dog was stuck to me like glue and we were developing a lot of trust.
 

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Your guess is as good as mine. I’m no dog whisperer, I just know the basics and they work well until he starts to bond with my husband. Then the dog starts to turn on me and doesn’t obey anymore. I didn’t realize until we got the 2nd dog that it’s a pattern. He’s not physically abusive of the dog or me if that’s what you’re asking. The only thing that might be considered forceful I know of that he does is make the dog stay with him instead of follow me when I get up and walk away.
 

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No, I wasn't insinuating or asking if your husband was physically abusive to the dog. But with certain dogs, just for example, actions such as restraining / blocking can be perceived as aversive to them.

In that instance, I might be inclined to use it as a spontaneous training opportunity on my own accord. Simply ask the dog to "wait" with your husband before you rise and leave the room. Reward with a casual "atta boy" and a smile when you return. That way, you're maintaining your 'leadership' status and all is good. Just a thought.
 

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I suspect your husband is more clear in his communication with the dog between tone, body language and use of words (maybe says less).
 

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Husband gets him to come to him and commands him to stay with him right after I ask the dog to come to me as an example.
If your husband is directly & purposefully competing with you as this sentence implies, leave the dog out of the conflict. Which means you walk away, don't give a competing command/cue. Anticipate when this might happen and don't command your dog at that time. I'm not a marriage councillar so I can't comment on your husband's behaviour.

As for using the word alpha as a descriptor, it's just not a useful way to describe what is happening, so describe observable actions/behaviours of dogs and humans to give a clearer picture of what is actually happening.

On competing commands. I take my dog to a nursing home. Everyone knows his name. That means there can be 3 different people making kissy noises or saying Sonic sit sit sit. This puts him in an awkward situation full of conflict, who should he listen to? What should he do? That indecision can be difficult for dogs.

Here is what I did about that. I am ready to reward (treats for him). When any of this happens, regardless of his decisions, I mark & reward (how to do that is another conversation, google clicker training), I also mark & reward attention on me. This turns it into a win, win, win, situation for him and removes the conflict. Occassionally, if someone is saying 'Sonic, sit' I will say, 'sit' and reward for 'sit'. Some of this may be useful to you.

ps. edited for clarity
 
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