This question is asked more often than you may care to think. Moreover, if we are honest, it is not always the husband – sometimes it is a kid or the wife. In many cases, the husband or male figure is often targeted by pets, but things can go both ways. All things considered, a pet hating your partner can lead to all sorts of relationship problems. You may be tempted to choose your dog over over your partner, in fact 14% of us do.
No pun intended but dogs are usually the abusers
Dogs sit on the laps of whoever they choose to and they hackle, growl or threaten anyone who gets anywhere near or trespasses. Imagine a child sitting on your lap and flashing a switchblade every time someone comes near. Now imagine things got worse and the kid slightly cut or chased after someone with the knife. That would be a problem, right?
You would consider taking that child to a reform school, calling the authorities or doing something else that showed your intolerance for that kind of behavior. However, that’s exactly what many pet owners put up with. Whether it is the person on whom the pet is sitting or the hated one, such habits are not a big deal to them.
While one may think that they are being protected by the pet or protecting the pet, the truth is that dogs guard what they consider a resource.
Hold up - the dog is not always the problem
There have been instances where the husband wanted nothing to do with the wife’s dog and vice versa. This made the dog resent the partner. In other cases, the dog ended up becoming a tug of war toy for partners that are going through something, and when the dog feels attacked, it growls and barks at the owners in a bid to defend itself.
Such problems are fixable, but only if the couple or family fixes their issues and makes some changes. The dog senses the change in the atmosphere and becomes friendlier.
What do you do if in a situation like this?
The rule of the thumb is to always put the safety of people first and that of animals second. You must make sure that your pooch does not hurt anyone, especially kids. It is also important that you warn anyone who comes into your home that your dog might bite.
Also consider working with a professional behaviorist as, without professional help, there’s a good chance that you will run into trouble with your dog showing aggression or worse. A proper evaluation with a professional will help give an accurate idea of how bad the problem is and what’s causing it. After all, you can’t solve a problem if you don’t know its cause.
Stop enabling the dog
If your dog doesn’t like your partner, it’s important that any vindictive behavior is avoided. Ensure that you don’t enable the pooch. This is to say that it’s about time you start seeing your dog for what he is – an abuser. Remember the analogy of the kid and the switchblade.
True change cannot be implemented if you continue to make excuses, enable or even empower bad behavior. In any case, you may lose your family if real change isn’t implemented. If the wrong child or person approaches your dog, they could end up with a bite, thus increasing the risk of your dog being removed or euthanized. So however hard this change may be, make it for your dog who may die if the habit continues.
Treat life and amenities as a privilege
What happens if your kid breaks a rule or takes advantage of your spouse or you? They probably lose one or two privileges, right? The same rules should apply to your pets, especially dogs that have issues with aggression. And yes, threatening to bite any member of your family is aggression. Embrace it and call a spade a spade – this goes back to not making excuses or enabling.
If your neighbor’s dog threatened to bite you, you’d call it aggression, wouldn’t you? If it is so severe that you are worried about bites, consider getting a professional vet behaviorist involved. As previously noted, they will help figure out why your dog is overly aggressive.
If you are not worried about bites, consider doing away with some privileges, particularly allowing them on furniture. An aggressive dog should not be allowed on the bed, couch or your lap. Keep it on its own dog bed. All these are privileges that an abusive dog shouldn’t have.
In fact, any pooch that barks, growls, bites, hackles or threatens your loved ones or visitors shouldn’t have any privileges. A well-behaved dog is a delight, but if a badly behaved dog is given privileges, they start to think that they rule your household.
If you are the individual that your dog idolizes, then you need to back off in their lives. This is one of the hardest things for people to do, especially for those who are the apple of their dog’s eyes. However, it is critical that you take a step back. In the same way, the bullied spouse or partner should step up and take charge of all things fun for the dog. It would be reasonable if you had to see people, interact or live with them each day.
Whether or not you liked them, you would find something to like about them with time. It is normal for dogs to bond with one family member and not feel like they need to do the same with the rest of the family. It is our duty to convince them that that is wrong.
If you are the person the dog does not like, take the time to take it for a walk, feed or engage in play with the dog. You see, one of the reasons that dogs don’t grow on some people is that they feed, walk or take care of them without really engaging with them. In other words, they ignore their dogs. For a real bond to occur between a dog and the detested partner, the loved partner must break ties with the dog. This isn’t a forever step but it’s required for as long as the dog takes to love your partner.
Don’t force things
Forcing any contact with your dog can fracture any little trust you had built. It is, therefore, important that you take things slow. Move at the dog’s pace. If they stop playing, then consider playtime over. Don’t push it. Boundaries are just as important in a person’s life as they are in a dog’s life, so learn to respect them. If he misbehaves, lock him away in a crate with treats in a separate room so that you and your partner can have alone time.
Take Long Walks With the Dog
Long walks is a great way for a dog and the detested partner to get some alone time and bond. Both of you will be in a new environment with some space between you. The only thing familiar to both of you is each other. The choice of the space between you is just as rewarding to your pooch as treats and long walks. If you are the favored spouse, you can certainly tag along, but the detested partner should be the one to hold the leash.
What if my partner isn’t a dog person?
There is always the possibility that your partner doesn’t like dogs and that may be the reason why your partner and pooch don’t get along. The most efficient way to figure out such the problem is to get specific with it. If your spouse always complains about your pet or snaps at it, it is easy to assume that the dog is the problem when in fact it is your partner who hates pets. Small changes like teaching your dog not to beg can remedy the issue. Also, consider asking your partner what the issue and how they’d want it fixed.
Consulting a partner should also be considered, especially if your partner is annoyed at a specific behavior. Working with a trainer is an effective way of uncovering hidden health problems that may be causing frustrating behavior. It can help make your pet a friendlier member of the family.
Last but not least, understand that you and your partner will not always agree on everything. One of you may be in love with pets while the other simply isn’t. Provided your partner isn’t abusive towards your dog, he/she doesn’t have to put up with constant face licking or begging. If you are the one who loves pets and your partner doesn’t, be prepared to do extra work. The important thing is to strike a fair balance that ensures your pet’s needs are met.
To sum things up
It is ridiculous to think that your dog will never love you again. Just because you need to take a step back and let him bond with your partner doesn’t mean that he will forget how important you are to him. Obedience is key.
If he misbehaves, (Your dog not your partner, though
Has a dog ever caused a problem in your relationship? Have you ever successfully dealt with such a problem? Tell us about it in the comments!