New Dog Doesn't like My Husband

Updated on October 27, 2008
M.S. asks from Malvern, PA
9 answers

We just adopted a one year old Male Havanese dog and it was suppose to be trained and well socialized. He is housebroken, very mannerly in the house and sweet to both my children. The problem is he doesnt like my husband. Whenever my husband enters the room he growls and barks. The women we got him from recommends i tell him NO and my husband ignores him. The dog was suppose to really like her husband. Its been a week and it alittle better but not much. Any suggentions or help would be great.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

How about putting a pork chop in his pocket? Just kidding! LOL
Maybe let him start feeding him and taking him for his walks? That way he'll associate him with good stuff, and see him as an alpha dog.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Was your husband in agreement to get a dog?? Does he want a dog?? Was he with you when you went to see this dog? Was he with you when you brought the dog home? If your husband doesn't want this dog the animal will sense those feelings and attitude. The whole family has to want the pet.

It has only been a week. Give the dog time and sign up for obedience classes...and like another person said, have your husband take the dog by himself to training.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My mother has a female Havanese that she also got at about one year of age. The dog was extremely anxious around visitors, esp. males, for a long time (barking & growling), but I would always pick up the dog and make her "make friends" with the person. She felt reasonably secure in my arms, I think, and the visitor could talk nice to her and perhaps even pet her. Over time she has relaxed and come to love those same people. We also sometimes had them give her treats in the beginning. It took a while, but now she's great (other than separation anxiety issues and peeing in the house when left alone). Havanese are a wonderful breed -- smart and affectionate. They get the best ranking for "kid-ability", too, on a dog website I could find for you later, if you like. So, don't give up on your new pet!



answers from Philadelphia on

How well do you know the woman that you got the dog from? She could just be saying that the dog liked the husband and maybe he wasn't nice to it. You never know-usually a dog will growl at someone of a certain gender as he/she identifies that with being something negative from the past-ie: a male (in this case) that treated it badly so that now it will fear other males. It will also identify the next male now by smell. You might want to investigate into hiring a local dog trainer who has a good reputation and maybe they can help your dog overcome these fears he has. When a dog barks they usually are fearful of something and that is their protection. Good luck-it sounds like you are definitely working on it.

D. B


answers from Pittsburgh on

The chop in the pocket is really a good idea. Or treats, at least.

I would do a few things:
1.) have your husband have treats on hand, special treats that aren't normally given out (like cut up baked hot dogs), as soon as the dog sits or behaves well, your husband hands him the treat.

2.) make sure your husband isn't making eye contact when he approaches the dog, something dogs take as a stare-down type of challenge.

3.) make sure you're not petting or rewarding in anyway until the dog behaves properly.

4.) redirect the dog if he barks - have a leash on him and just guide him away, or toss a toy at his direction.

Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I would make an appointment for an obedience class. It is not that expensive and your husband should be the one to take the dog so that it will understand and learn with your husband. The dog might have had a bad experience with a man or your husband might remind the dog of the man that abused him. Dogs do not react like that towards just one person unless they have a reason too!! My mom and dad took their dog (an australian shepard) to one because she was very tempermental also towards certain people. Now all they have to do is say "molly come" and she listens. It is actually very interesting how they get to train the dogs like that! Worth a shot. good luck and let us know what u decide



answers from Lancaster on

This is a dominant thing. you need to train him how you want him to behave. When your husband comes in the door and he starts growling/barking you tell him shsh. keep doing this, make your husband go out and come back in until the dog understands the behavior you want. each time he does it correctly give him a "good boy" and a reward/treat. You will have to do this several times before he undersatnds. It's like anything else in life, practice makes perfect.

I agree that if you say NO he will get mixed signals about when people enter.

Good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi M.,
Actually the pork chops in the pocket is really a good idea!!! I've been watching "It's me or the dog" on the animal planet channel and that is one of the things the trainer does to change the behavior of the dog when people come in the door. Except she uses bits of chicken. Check out the show, it could really help. It has helped me as we have recently adopted a dog as well. Good luck and be persistant!



answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think you should say NO when your husband comes home, that sends a negative message to your dog about the situation. He doesn't understand you are saying NO to the barking. I suggest you teach your dog how you want him to behave when your husband comes home. Say "sit" or "down" and give the dog a treat. Use treats liberally at this time. Keep some treats in your garage or car & have your husband bring some in with him. Have you husband give him the treats (after he sits). You want him to associate your husband with positive things.
Some questions: does he do this with all adult males, or just your husband? (If it is all males you may want to return the dog, this is an issue you probably won't be able to change.) Does he stop after a few minutes of your husband being in the room or does it continue the whole time he is there? (If it lasts the whole time, you may not be able to change the dog's behavior & may want to return him. If he settles down after a few minutes, then he may just have some trouble adjusting to new situations). You say he it a vicious growl? Do you feel on ANY level that the dog may get violent/bite your husband if he gets too close? (If so, return the dog right now! It is NOT worth the risk.)
We have 2 adopted dogs. The one is a nut. whenever anyone comes over she barks & jumps & goes nuts. However, it is always happy & always due to the excitement of seeing someone new. (Most guests don't appreciate this & it scares some that don't know her - we have tried (half heartedly) to stop her, but it hasn't worked). After a few minutes she is completely calm - she just needs to get that burst of energy out of her system. We now let her outside when people first come over so she can greet them over the fence. It helps a little. I guess my point is its really hard to change adult dog behavior. Good luck. I hope some of this helps you.