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13 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Aggressive Towards Your Husband

My Dog Is Aggressive Towards My Husband

Harmony is a little disrupted in your home…

That’s because your dog doesn’t get along with your husband.

As flattering as it is not to receive this attitude from your fur baby…

Should you be concerned that your canine is playing favorites?

You’re about to discover:

  • 13 reasons why your dog is aggressive towards your husband.
  • 5 things to do when your dog is aggressive towards your hubby.
  • 7 kinds of aggression that your husband might receive from your canine.
  • And much, much more…

Why is my dog aggressive towards my husband?

Your dog is aggressive towards your husband due to jealousy, favoritism, fear, or lack of trust. It could also be due to social, redirected, frustration-elicited, defensive, or territorial aggression. Sometimes it’s from inconsistency, pain, or resource guarding.

13 reasons why your dog is aggressive towards your husband

#1: Your dog’s jealous of your hubby

Imagine this:

You finally have the time to watch that latest movie with your husband…

Further into the film, he puts his arm around you.

Your dog then walks in and starts showing aggression towards your partner.

Fido bites your hubby’s jeans or barks their feelings out.

“He’s just putting his arm around me!” You say, like defending yourself from a strict parent.

However, that isn’t what your dog’s going for… 

They’re actually acting like a jealous kid.

Based on research, a dog’s jealous behaviors are similar to a child’s.

You can tell from the little things. Like when you hug your hubby, your dog barks at them.

And, your husband’s not the only individual your canine’s jealous of…

Any social being can set this emotion off on your pooch.

That’s what this study shows us. Dogs reacted with envy when their guardian pet an animatronic dog.

Now, you know that aggression is one of the indications for this behavior. How about more?

PetMD gives us these other signs of a jealous dog:

  • Walking out.
  • House-soiling.
  • Aggressive barking.
  • Showing off by doing a trick. 
  • Pushing the individual that they envy.
  • Growling at the creature they’re jealous of.
  • Being too attentive to their primary guardian, which is you.

Reading tip: 11 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When You Kiss + 7 Tips

#2: It’s due to social aggression

Dogs are social animals as they thrive in a pack.

In such groups, peace is established by creating and following rules.

Much like in society. And in such, hierarchical order is present. 

In this time of domestication, your family is your dog’s pack. And for them, they hold status in this group.

Now, to your dog’s aggression towards your husband…

What could’ve caused it?

Your husband might have overstepped some bounds. 

Note: This isn’t much of a show on who’s dominant and who’s submissive. The point is that your dog is a living being with boundaries set, too.

And when those boundaries are overstepped…


Your pup would be determined to show social aggression.

This type of aggression comes out once a threat provokes your pup. It could also show if Fido experiences an unpleasant interaction.

Experts give us a few examples, like:

Moreover, here are some more facts regarding this type of aggression.

Fact #1: This is more common in male dogs than female dogs.

Fact #2: It’s also more commonly observed in purebreds than in mixed breeds.

Fact #3: This type of aggression could start manifesting between 1 to 3 years of age.

#3: It’s a misunderstanding

You may want to cut your dog some slack…

And while you’re at it, do so for your husband, too.

I say so because it might just be a misunderstanding.

Your dog didn’t intend to show your husband this behavior…

It might be directed to something else.

How so?

Let’s break the situation down in pieces by playing a scenario:

Your dog is out in the backyard as part of their daily routine…

There, you leave them to their own entertainment and let them explore.

Later on, you hear your canine aggressively barking outside…

So, your husband decides to scout the situation.

After a while, the barking still hasn’t stopped.

You decided to see for yourself. There, you see that your dog’s barking at your husband.

What happened when you weren’t there?

Your hubby must have tried to stop your dog from being aggressive. As he feels that he should…

However, Fido’s hostility is directed towards a rodent that they saw. Then, your husband interferes with the pursuit.

With that, your canine redirected their aggression to your hubby.

This type of behavior is called redirected aggression.

It occurs when your canine is aroused and aggressive towards another being. Then, someone else interferes, and they receive hostility, too.

So, there concludes why it might be a simple misunderstanding.

#4: Your canine was just excited

Your Dog Is Aggressive Towards Your Husband Because He's Excited

Have you ever experienced being excited about a trip? Then, it gets canceled because of the weather or something of concern…

It could be a little frustrating to experience…

That’s why you might empathize with your dog on this one.

They might be showing aggression towards your husband because of excitement.

This time, your pooch was excited. But, your husband interfered and cut the fire.

With that, your pooch shows frustration by being aggressive towards him.

This type of aggression is called frustration-elicited aggression.

You could see this type of aggression in the following scenarios:

Situation #1: Your hubby’s holding your dog’s leash.

Outside, another canine is present, and they excite your pooch.

However, the leash prevents them from approaching their friend. So, your pooch bites and tugs the leash. They also bark and nudge your husband.

Situation #2: Your dog wanted to play, but your hubby put them in their crate.

Situation #3: There are guests over, and it makes your pup excited.

Your husband sees this amusement. So, he picks up your fur baby.

Such action stops your pooch from greeting your guests. So, they show resistance by displaying aggression.

#5: Your husband’s not your dog’s person

Here’s where a little favoritism comes in…

Dogs can show such behavior.

Holding that badge of honor from your dog is such an epic bragging right.

On the other hand, your hubby gets the cold shoulder and doses of aggression.

Why do dogs act that way?

Let’s learn from this study:

It investigates 7 dimensions of the human-dog relationship. They are:

Symbiotic relationship

It’s the mutually beneficial bond between a person and a dog. The human is happier while the dog is fed and nurtured.

Dog-oriented self-concept

The dog is the human’s best friend. Their guardians treat them as an extension of themselves.


The human sees the dog as more of a person and less of an animal.


The canine makes the guardian feel younger. They do so by making them more active.


The human doesn’t impose too many limits on the dog’s freedom.

Specialty purchases

The guardian is showing an extra effort by purchasing belongings for the dog.

Willingness to adapt

The readiness of the guardian to change their routines for the canine’s convenience.

That’s every dimension in that study…

So, you might have scored higher in these dimensions than your husband…

Gender plays a role, too

Moreover, the study also suggests another thing. It says that women are commonly the primary caretakers of dogs.

That’s from the data where 72.6% of women of U.S. households are the main guardian of their dogs

Therefore, gender contributes to your dog’s favoritism, too.

So, apologies to your hubby because you won this one…

#6: They don’t trust your husband…yet

There are a lot of signs that your dog trusts you. The best place to look is on your pup’s body language.

I’m specifically talking about how they relax when you’re around.

Dogs don’t easily let their guard down. So, if they’re calm when they’re with you, it means that they trust you.

A dog’s calm body language shows through:

  • Play bowing.
  • Wagging their tail.
  • Blinking their eyes.
  • A soft and relaxed face.
  • Rolling over for a belly rub.
  • Slightly opening their mouth.

Now, what’s the opposite of this calm and trusting body language?

It’s aggression and feeling threatened.

That opposite might be how your dog feels with your husband.

Fido might not trust your husband as much as they trust you.

With that, their guard remains up. 

So, they still watch their backs around your hubby. And they won’t hesitate if there are any actual or perceived threats.

Note: You don’t have to worry. It’s because this situation could still improve.

Your canine could learn how to trust your hubby. I’ll explain further in this article…

Also check this out: 13 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Protects You From Your Husband

#7: Your husband is unusual for your canine

There might be something in your husband that sets off Fido…

“What is it?”

Your canine fears your husband…

“But he’s gentle with our fur baby…”

Still, fear could be in the equation…


It could be due to your pooch finding your husband to be unusual.

It might look like I’m making a weird assumption at first…

But I assure you it has a basis, and it’s the nature of fear in dogs.

According to the Merck Vet Manual, dogs could develop a fear of:

  • Loud noises.
  • Unfamiliar dogs.
  • Surfaces like wood floors.
  • Uncomfortable environments, like the crate or overcrowded places.

One thing I didn’t include in that list is visual stimulus. That includes things like hats and uniforms.

So, imagine this scenario as an example:

You only notice your pooch being aggressive towards your hubby at a particular time.

And that’s when your partner comes home from work.

Every time he arrives home, he’s still wearing his uniform.

That must be it. The uniform sets something off on your pooch…

And with that, they act aggressively towards your partner.

It could also be from that one time that your hubby’s wearing a hat.

Such displays could cause fear in your dog. And that feeling drives your canine to become aggressive towards the stimulus.

Another thing is reacting to new or unusual people. And by unusual, I mean that your dog finds something odd about them…

That includes their smell, the way the person acts, or the way they dress.

Note: Your canine’s not being judgy. It’s just that they aren’t used to seeing people dressed the way they do.

So, let’s visualize a scenario for this case:

Your husband comes home and is greeted aggressively by your pooch…

When your partner speculated, he told you that he met another dog on the way home.

Your fur baby detects the smell of that dog. 

And so, they react aggressively because of how your husband smells different.

#8: Your canine’s in pain

Your Aggressive Dog Is In Pain

Usually, your dog and your husband get along…

Sure, you’re Fido’s favorite. However, they’re still gentle and friendly with your husband.

That’s why the sudden aggression surprised you and your hubby…

“Right…what’s up with that?”

Unfortunately, it’s not good news.

That’s because your pooch might be in pain. And that agony drives them to become aggressive. 

It’s called pain-elicited aggression.

You might understand. When you’re not feeling well, you get easily tired and frustrated. The illness makes you more irritable…

Well, it’s the same for dogs.

The MSDVM says something particular for this case:

An example of a disease that causes aggression is hypothyroidism. And oftentimes, this aggression is directed towards a family member.

In this case, that member is your husband.

Hypothyroidism in dogs

In this condition, your dog experiences decreased levels of the thyroid hormone.

There are many signs of this condition, VCA Hospital says that those are:

  • Lethargy.
  • Weight gain.
  • Thin coat of fur.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Hypersalivation.
  • Dry and shedding fur.
  • Lack of interest in physical activities.

What are the causes of this condition?

The most common reason is a disease. There, your dog’s immune system attacks their thyroid gland. Such occurrences have no explanations for happening yet.

Another usual reason involves genetics. Your dog inherited the condition.

Moreover, it’s not just hypothyroidism. It could also be…

Hip dysplasia in dogs

According to experts, dogs who suffer sudden aggression are in pain.

This pain might be caused by hip dysplasia, which affects more than 40% of dogs.

This condition is most common on large dogs like Labradors or Golden Retrievers.

It causes pain as it affects your dog’s joints.

And as it does, your canine’s mood is affected, too.

#9: It’s due to inconsistency

Your fur baby thrives in routine, so are their fellow canines.

That’s why inconsistency could pose some problems for dogs.

And your husband’s situation with your dog might be an example of that problem.

How exactly did this situation arrive?

Let me give some example situations:

Scenario #1: Your dog gets confused while doing the trick ‘sit down.’

That’s because you and your husband use different cues.

While you use the quick ‘sit!’ your hubby uses ‘siddown!’

Such a difference creates uncertainty in your dog’s mind.

Scenario #2: You really like your living room sofa. That’s why Fido’s not allowed to jump and stay in it.

However, when you’re not around, your husband lets them.

That’s another case of confusion for your pooch.

Scenario #3: Your pooch showed an undesirable behavior.

With that, you decided to use timeouts as a form of punishment.

How about when your pooch shows this unwanted behavior to your husband?

Your partner’s go-to response might be to scold your pooch.

So, it’s only you that practices this timeout method. Such inconsistency puzzles your pooch…

That’s about all the scenarios I’d provide. But, aggression due to this matter isn’t limited to those 3.

Moreover, there’s an exact term for this case.

It’s called conflict-induced aggression.

According to VCA Hospital, such confusion could create conflicts. And those would show during interactions with your pooch. That conflict could include aggression. 

#10: Your husband might be using punishment

Your dog might not have seen any movies about it…

But, they know about what we call ‘good cop, bad cop.’

Unfortunately, your husband might have used physical forms of punishment on your dog. This makes them the ‘bad cop.’

Since you don’t use that on your pooch, they know that such responses are unnatural. Moreover, that makes you the ‘good cop.’

So, the punishment could be an isolated case. It might have also happened a few times…

Regardless, your pooch has learned a lesson different from what your hubby intended.

According to psychologist Stanley Coren, “a punished dog is an aggressive dog.”

In this article, he talks about how force triggers an aggressive response by dogs.

That kind of reaction is called defensive aggression.

It’s kind of similar to reason #7’s fear-induced aggression.

I say so because your pooch is still scared to be hurt. That’s why they might act a little paranoid, too.

Despite that, they decide to play offense to prevent themself from getting hurt again.

Dogs who show this also display a mixture of fearful and offensive postures.

Note: Both male and female dogs are prone to showing this type of aggression.

#11: Your hubby stepped in your dog’s territory 

Your Husband Is In Your Dog's Territory

No matter the size, dogs will always be territorial.

It’s from the time that their ancestors spent in the wild. There, nature’s competitive and they must protect their den.

This could occur whether the approacher is a friend or a foe.

So, it might be a stranger or a familiar person, like your husband.

It won’t matter for your territorial dog.

Maybe your hubby walked on your pooch’s favorite spot…

Or he moved some furniture in that very place. With that, your pup has lost their territory…

Now, they’re showing aggression towards your husband.

Warning: Territorial aggression is common among dogs. Here, your canine might be ready to attack and bite.

#12: The aggression is related to an incident

Envision this situation:

Your hubby took your pooch for a walk…

When they got home, your partner told you that Fido got into a dog fight.

With that, your pooch is either badly hurt or only a little.

Regardless, you have your pup checked and treated.

When you finally think it’s time to walk them again, your dog begins to show aggression.

This happens mainly when your husband offers to do the daily walk…

That’s because your pooch related the incident to walks and your husband.

Such could cause your dog to become aggressive suddenly.

#13: Resource guarding

That aggressive behavior towards your husband might be due to an innate drive…

I’m talking about your dog’s natural tendency to guard their resources.

It’s called resource guarding. It could also be considered a form of protective aggression.

Here are a few facts about it:

Fact #1: It’s a common behavior where your dog is protective over their belongings.

It could be anything starting from food, toys, and even you, their dog parent.

Fact #2: There are no predisposal factors involved in this behavior. It occurs on all dogs of all sizes and breeds.

Fact #3: According to AKC, dogs can’t tell the difference between 2 things.

It’s whether you’re going to take their property from them or you’re just passing by.

Now, back to your situation…

This reason is more applicable if it’s you who always feed your dog.

How so?

Say that your dog is currently having their meal.

Your hubby then passes by your eating pooch.

Like I mentioned in fact #3, dogs can’t tell the real intention. That’s why they’re going to react the same way…

They might bite your hubby’s ankles or chase them to scare them off…

On the other hand, Fido doesn’t show you this behavior.

It’s because they know that you give food rather than take it.

What do you do when your dog is aggressive towards your husband? 5 tips

#1: Recognize, assess, and prevent

In the article, you’d learned that it’s not always your husband’s fault.

Like there are misunderstandings…

Regardless, it would be helpful if you would prevent such events.

For this tip, let’s take it step by step…

Step 1: You must first acknowledge your dog’s warning signals.

An aggressive dog would show the following:

  • Yawning.
  • Growling.
  • Licking their lips.
  • Raised fur on the back of their neck.
  • Wagging their tail while their body is stiff.

If your dog shows the following…

Step 2: Next is to recognize the reason for such.

Doing so would help you recognize the plan for prevention.

Is it due to fear of your husband’s hat or uniform? 

Is it because of that misunderstanding from reason #3? Where your dog’s aggression is towards a rodent, but it is redirected to your interfering husband…

Step 3: You have to prevent such occurrences from happening again.

This applies particularly if the reason is fear. That’s because it could develop into anxiety. Such would be more disrupting to your family and dog’s daily life.

Continue reading: 25 Best Ways To Calm An Aggressive Dog (#1 Works Instantly)

#2: Work on their training

Inconsistency could cause conflict-induced aggression. That’s why it might be necessary to work on your dog’s training.

Here are a few ways to help you with your dog’s training.

Method #1: Reward the right behaviors.

Agree with your hubby about what is desirable and what’s not.

Once you come into an agreement, start rewarding the positive behaviors.

You could give treats, praise, affection, or even just simple attention.

Method #2: Remain consistent.

Consider your agreement with your partner.

Both of you must practice rewards and consequences consistently.

Moreover, your commands should align with each other.

Method #3: Practice the golden rule…

“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want to do unto you.”

You must treat your dog the way you want to be treated…

So use positive reinforcement with your dog. Don’t punish them…

#3: Make your husband an important part of the group

This tip aims to work on your dog and husband’s relationship…

The goal is to make your pooch trust your partner even more.

You could do so by making them spend more time together.

Although you have to keep in mind, dogs bond to different people in different ways.

That’s why favoritism might always be at play. Regardless, it would be nice if your dog treated everyone gently.

So, here are some activities that your husband could do with your pooch:


Physical touch creates bonds between humans and dogs.

Note: Only use this tip if your pooch permits. It’s because some dogs enjoy physical contact, others don’t.

If they do, your husband might need to start initiating cuddles.

Time is in your hands

One way of building a relationship with a dog is spending time with them.

No, not just the simple fact that they’re going to be in your lives for a long time…

For the dog, it’ll be their whole life that they can spend with their humans.

With that, give them the best moments and remain loving to your canine.

Have your husband play with them more

Play is one of the essential parts of a dog’s life.

No matter what age they are, they enjoy such activities.

Prompt your partner to play more with your dog.

That’s because engagement could build their relationship…

#4: Give your dog a chance and a little more time

This is a brief continuation of tip #3…

I put it separately because it’s important in building a relationship with dogs.

Your hubby must follow your dog’s pace.

Think of it this way:

When meeting new dogs, some puppers want to play right away. However, others remain hesitant to interact and need some more time.

So, everything that your partner plans to do with your dog, they must do gradually.

Start with short interactions first.

As your dog becomes less and less reactive, increase the amount of time that they spend together…

After a while, you might not even notice it at first…

Harmony is finally back in your house!

#5: Seek the help of professionals

Since a reason for aggression could be from pain, the vet’s opinion is most essential.

Schedule your dog for a doctor’s appointment.

There, the vet would assess Fido. They will aim to see if the behavior’s really due to an underlying medical condition.

If it is, the vet would guide you and your dog on the proper treatment…

What if there’s no medical issue concerning it?

Then you could…

Consult a professional behaviorist

You do this because it might be a behavioral problem…

And such is a cause of concern.

An animal behaviorist would help you assess the nature of your dog’s aggression.

Once they carefully evaluated it, they would create a plan on how to handle the behavior. That plan would be the best-suited system for your dog’s particular needs.

People also ask:

What do you do when your dog growls at your husband?

When your dog growls at your husband, he must first identify the root of the behavior. By doing so, your husband would be able to know how to react properly.

Familiarize yourselves with the 2 kinds of growling.

The first is play growling. This is the positive form of this behavior. The only message your pooch is sending is playfulness.

Slight grunts and grumbles often accompany it. 

The second kind is warning growls. Here, your pup intends to be aggressive.

This occurs when Fido feels threatened and concerned.

Now that you know which one, you could react accordingly.

If it’s due to the latter, remove your pooch from the stimulus. If your hubby is the reason for such, he should eliminate himself from the situation for a while.

Why is my dog mean to my husband?

Your dog could be mean to your husband due to resource guarding. Moreover, dogs being mean to one family member only might result from a type of aggression.

Those types of aggressions are:

  • Social.
  • Territorial.
  • Defensive.
  • Redirected.
  • Fear-induced.
  • Conflict-induced.
  • Frustration-elicited.

Why has my dog started growling at my husband?

Your dog has started growling at your husband because he provokes them. The reason for it could be intentional or unintentional.

Some intentional cases are when your husband does or exhibits the following:

  • Punishing your dog.
  • Being inconsistent with training your canine.
  • Dressed in a hat or uniform. Such are visual stimuli for fear in dogs.

Then, for the unintentional situations, it could be:

  • Your pooch is jealous of your partner.
  • Your hubby only passed by your pooch while eating.
  • Fido gets their excitement held back by your husband.
  • Your husband interferes when your dog’s aggressive towards another being.