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Growls at husband?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by DogCatMom2, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. DogCatMom2

    DogCatMom2 PetForums Newbie

    Oct 28, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I am wondering if anyone has some advice on this situation. We have had our dog for 11 years and she had never had an issue with husband except when she would mooch sometimes he would yell at her and she would go lay down. Nothing more than that. Last year my husband had a heart attack in November, a few months before that she starting to sometimes growl at him at night as he would walk down the hall. She would bark when anyone was outside and go to come in the door unless it was me. Once hubby come home from the hospital (he was there for a few weeks) she wouldn’t go up to him really. And ever since as growled at night or when it was darker in the house. She try’s to hide behind me and has always followed me everywhere but it is worse now. He tried giving her her treats that only works sometimes. Now when he sits down she is mostly okay. But he can not stand the fact that she stares at him. If he moves on the couch or talks she stares likes she is scared. We have noticed her eyes are getting cloudy but this is only happening with my husband, not with me or the kids. Hubby has had it and is at an end and is sick or trying. I don’t know how to fix this. Has anyone had this issue or have an idea of how to fix this?
  2. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 24, 2011
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    Hi. Welcome to the forum.

    I've moved this to Training and Behaviour, as you might get more replies here.

    The first thing that springs to my mind is, has she had a vet check? Especially as she's getting older. Her eyes going cloudy could be (not saying it is - just could be) cataracts. She could be in pain. And as you say your husband has yelled at her - she could have a genuine fear of him.

    My advice would be vet check, and then, if that checks out, get a qualified behaviourist in.
    Burrowzig, O2.0, Torin. and 4 others like this.
  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

    Mar 5, 2014
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    As @LinznMilly. Also, if you husband has “had it” with a pet of 11 years standing then perhaps he doesn’t really like her much anyway. And she knows it.
    Lurcherlad, Burrowzig, Torin. and 2 others like this.
  4. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

    Oct 27, 2018
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    First, whenever a dog's behaviour changes it's worth getting a vet check (as Linznmilly says) just to make sure she's not in pain. At her age there's a good chance she's got some arthritis, but depending on her breed she could be carrying hip problems or a range of ailments; if she's in pain she is liable to be a bit more tetchy.
    Assuming the vet gives the all clear, it sounds to me like there may be a bunch of things going on. If your husband was in the habit of yelling at your dog, he's not going to be high on her 'friends' list. Shouting gets nowhere, beyond making a dog fearful and that in itself achieves nothing. I don't really know what you mean by "she would mooch"...well, I know what I think "mooch" means but I cannot think why that's so bad that the dog would need to be shouted at for it! Dogs respond to affection and kindness - they want to do the right thing and if they do the wrong thing, it's not through being wilfully naughty; they just don't understand what's required and the answer is to show them what you do want, using positive reinforcement - not shouting. :(
    It could be that when your husband was away in hospital, your dog suddenly felt unafraid and happier, and now he's back and she's simply frightened. Plus, we all get a bit more grouchy as we get older (and that applies to dogs.) And even minor aches and pains all make us less patient. It could be that something has happened recently which has tipped her over the edge. Secondly, your dog is getting old. Her eye sight is deteriorating by the sounds of it and she may just not be able to make your husband out too well which may unsettle her. Frankly, as I say, it doesn't sound like he does much to endear himself to her. She stares at him - possibly - because she's worried about what he's going to do and is inclined, therefore, to keep an eye on him (as would any of us).
    The answer with your husband is, first, for him to stop shouting at her; and to stop getting frustrated - she will understand that he's getting angry but won't know why. He would be better off ignoring her for the time being; giving treats (or trying to) is not necessarily the answer as she may feel forced to take the treat (because she wants it) but is still fearful (of him), so she becomes sort of conflicted. If he's been away for a few weeks, give her some time to accept him back into the house. Give her time - let her work out that he's OK really. The key to that, though, is to try and get your husband to be a bit more understanding of your old dog who I am sure only deserves your patience and friendship after 11 years of loyalty (though I understand he's been under an amount of physical stress recently). And, for the last time, he will not get anywhere, or help her, by shouting.
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