(Closed) aggressive dog causing marital discord :(

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
  • poll: what should be done with the dog?
    you're justified being upset at your husband's reaction : (62 votes)
    31 %
    you should not be upset with your husband's reaction : (27 votes)
    14 %
    the dog should be put down : (24 votes)
    12 %
    the dog should be re-homed : (46 votes)
    23 %
    the dog should stay with you guys : (40 votes)
    20 %
  • Post # 17
    5659 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    You say your husband spends a lot of time walking and playing with the dog but not training him. That to me is a pretty big problem. If your husband knows this dog is aggressive and needs training, why is he not spending time training him and teaching him proper behavior? Also I wonder how he plays with him? Does he play in an agressive way? Let him bite, snap, play tug of war, etc??

    The only way really to get the dog to respect the both of you is to teach him that you are the dominant pair and he is the submissive. He seems to think he is dominant over you, and why wouldn’t he, if you do not work with him directly to show your dominance over him, AND you showed up after he did in his master’s life.

    Also on the dog being stinky… Does your husband bath him often enough, how about diet, and does he brush his undercoat? (assuming he has one) I don’t really understand how a dog makes a mess that you can’t deal with, I mean what kind of mess are we talking here?

    Post # 18
    7646 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2012

    @ferdie224:  I probably won’t have the popular response, but it’s an honest opinion.

    I have a 120 pound St. Bernard (who is only 9 months and not done growing). So I am biased when it comes to the smell, slobbery, big ass dog part because I love everything about that. My question for you regarding this is you KNEW Darling Husband had this dog, right? You knew you’d have to live with it.

    Regarding the training and DH’s reaction…I don’t really fault him for how he’s reacting. For one, you guys sent the dog away to be trained by someone else. The dog isn’t going to learn to listen to you or respect you by being trained by someone else. The part about your dog not being trainable IMO is complete bull. I believe every dog is trainable. It’s finding what works for the dog. It takes a long time, and it may feel like you’ve exhausted all efforts, but just becuase you sent him to a prestigious dog training facility means nothing.

    I agree the dog shouldn’t bite you. I would be scared if I were you as well. Your husband is probably tired of the conversation though (and probably upset that the dog does it), even if it only does come up once a month. He has offered to get rid of the dog several times, and you keep telling him no, that you can’t do that to him. So what do you want? He keeps offering, you keep declining.

    I think you both need to attend dog training classes with the dog, not leave him for someone else, first of all. The dog probably senses the fact that you are scared around him. Perhaps he is scared too and not just trying to be a pain in the ass. I know with our Saint, he is super good with us. When we tell him no when it comes to jumping up, he listens. My mom? She always flails her arms right away and runs away from him. He sees this as play so he is quick to jump at her. Dogs can sense fear, happiness, everything.

    I don’t believe your Darling Husband doesn’t care. I know he cares, but he is very conflicted, especially when he offers to give up the dog and you say no even though that’s kind of what you want. I think he also feels bad becuase he has NO idea what to do either.

    Post # 19
    486 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

     @Baimee: even begin feeding him in the mornings/evenings he may have a more respectful bond with you




    Also, when training, be firm. Don’t yell/hit/kick/do anything that would put fear in him, but let him know you’re the boss. Have a steady, unwavering tone and stand firm. Almost any dog training program starts with this. When it’s training time, it’s training time. Don’t get overly excited or mean, just be firm. 

    Post # 20
    9135 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

    @ferdie224:  Hire a professional trainer to come into your home and help you establish yourself in the household pack.  Obviously, he doesn’t fully accept your place ahead of him in the household and with him being a big guy, it will help a lot to have someone who knows what they’re doing assess the situation and point out what you and your husband can do to re-train the dog.  Before getting rid of the dog, you at least owe him that.

    Post # 21
    11381 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2010

    You said this started happening two years ago, and you two started living together two years ago. Maybe the dog is being possisive over your husband? Have you looked into trainers for aggressive dogs? I am really sorry you and your husband are going through this! 🙁 

    Post # 22
    5951 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2018

    @ferdie224:  I’m going to be the voice of doom here, but just hear me out.

    An 8 year old dog that weighs 125lbs, is regarded in the veterinary sense, as a senior citizen, and honestly, the bigger they are, the shorter their lives.  I’d peg your fella at a solid 85 in human years, and it is very likely that his sight and hearing have suffered greatly due to his age. 

    I’ll believe you when you say he’s an untrainable pain in the ass…some dogs are like that, but I’d wager that a large amount of what he’s doing, is because he cannot see or hear like he used to, and he’s being startled and acting out of fear.

    Take him to the vet and have them take a look at him, I would be really surprised to find out that this animal is firing on all 8 cylinders any more, there’s not a lot you can do for him, buy you can change the way you approach and interact with him.

    Also, take the whole, “If it happens again, we’re getting rid of him” argument off the table….that’s not productive, and face facts, finding a home for an 8 year old untrainable blood hound is going to be impossible…see him through to the end, I guarantee, he probably won’t be around by the time you two even have kids…and the funny thing, you’ll probably miss that smelly jerk too….

    Find a way, be flexible and take the fear out of the equation….that dog doesn’t hate you, he’s scared.

    Post # 23
    231 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Firstly have you taken the dog to a vet to make sure his grumpiness is not due to something medical? Perhaps he is in pain? How old is he? I would rule out a physical reason for aggression first. If there is no physical reason then I would head onto amazon and purchase Karen Pryor’s reaching the animal mind and another book called control unleashed. You need to put yourself in the dogs shoes to get to the bottom of what is causing this, have you tried clicker training with him? Ion of the belief that there is no such thing as an unreachable or untrainable dog, you just need to find what works for the dand and lastly you need to be a big part of this, the dog needs to learn that BOTH of you are the source food, toys, walks and all things fun! I work with difficult dogs for a job so if you need any further help don’t hesitate to pm me 🙂

    Post # 24
    5951 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2018

    @ferdie224:  …I’ve hung out with all kinds of dogs, never a bloodhound, after I looked it up, ear and eye infections are really common, they can also result in permanant hearing and sight loss over time…so, its some food for thought.

    Post # 25
    1684 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    It’s very apparent that you don’t like this dog and that might be rubbing a few of us the wrong way.  My parents have a big slobbery doofus that I love to pieces.  I was wincing at a few of your adjectives in your initial post.

    If you went into this marriage hating the dog, you probably didn’t take the time to get to know the dog and bond.  The contempt you have for the dog might be stressing him out and creating a negative environment where he’d lashing out.

    OR, he might have a health issue or a psychological issue that’s getting worse as he ages and he’s lashing out because of that.  You might have come into this relationship loving that dog, and learned to hate him, hating everything about him. 

    Frankly, I just don’t know.  I don’t know enough about you, your dog, or your individual situation.  I think you need to get the dog checked by the vet explaining that there has been a gradual shift in his demeanor.  I think you need to get a trainer who will work with you guys so you can train the dog.  I think you need to work on your relationship with the dog.  If that doesn’t work (and training will take months and months), then look to rehome him. He’s obviously stressed and unhappy right now.

    Post # 26
    708 posts
    Busy bee

    You are completely justified in feeling upset about the whole situation, and I can’t tell you what the right thing to do about the dog because that’s something for you and your husband to decide together.

    I will say, I read a lot about the other factors that have made you unhappy (getting rid of your beloved pet, moving to the new city, becoming the sole breadwinner). As much as I totally sympathize that these affect how willing and able you are to address the dog situation, they aren’t a part of the dog problems. For your own sake, I hope you can set those aside as other issues when you’re thinking about the dog, and especially when you’re talking to your husband about the dog.

    I also want to say that, considering the dogs’ age, this situation has the potential to get a lot worse. A senior dog can be “messier” than a young dog. He may start to have eye issues, ear issues, teeth issues, mobility issues, and elimination issues. Not to mention, mental issues. Dogs that show agression into adulthood tend to regress as they age because their senses become weaker and they’re more easily startled or bothered.

    On the other hand, I also think you have to be realistic that there was a better opportunity to do something about it two years ago, whether that be arranging a new home for the dog or being relentless in finding a training regimen that worked. That’s not to say that you can’t do something now, but that by tolerating it to a degree, you’ve communicated to your husband that this wasn’t the huge issue that it has become. From his point of view, it won’t seem fair that you have seemed to be ok with some amount of discord between you and his dog, and then all of a sudden expect him to see every incident as catastophic. It really was only a matter of time before something happened.

    All that said, I do not fault you and I do not think you should feel at all conflicted about wanting to feel better about the animal you keep in your home. I can see that you have tried a number of things to address this, so please don’t take this as my suggesting that you’ve been complacent all along.

    Outside training is an option that only worked so well. You could try that again and hope for better results, however the change has to come from within your household too. There are two ways that families tend to deal with this. One is that the dog’s owner becomes solely reponsible for the dog and for keeping the rest of the household from having to deal with the dog. This usually means that the owner has to exercise the dog a lot more, and in the home the dog is limited to certain areas so that the rest of the family isn’t in a position of having to deal with it. It’s not ideal, obviously, and there’s a risk that in an emergency situation it’s a problem that the dog only reponds to or is safe around one person, but the reality is that this is a pretty common arrangement and it keeps the peace in a lot of households. The other option is that the other members of the household step up and teach themselves to interact with the dog better. That means taking the dog to training without the dog’s owner. That means being the one who feeds and exercises the dog. That means learning how to assert yourself appropriately. It’s a lot of work, and would require a significant investment of your time and energey, and frankly I would understand if that’s not an option you want to consider if your time and energy is going towards the job that your family depends on. Spending two or more hours a day working on your relationship with this dog, that you admittedly don’t care for much to begin with, may not be realistic.

    My heart really goes out toyou and the dilemma you’re in, because no one should feel terrified in their own home by an animal that they’ve made part of the family. I don’t have any answers for you, but I really really hope that you’re able to find a resolution that is best for you, for your husband, for the dog, and for your marriage.

    Post # 27
    6741 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2014

    When I first got my puppy, she wasn’t aggressive, but she would do that nipping thing that dogs sometimes do. We wanted to teach her not to bite, not to bark, etc.

    We took her to petsmart (I think your dog is way past this.. but hear me out) and at first the both of us went together and would take turns practicing to train her.

    In the very beginning, it was as if Fiance dominated her right away and puppy knew her place, but still thought she would dominate me. She would do things like put her head over my face/head when we snuggled and not ignore my commands.

    After about 2 weeks of the training (6 weeks total), Fiance couldn’t attend the classes anymore and I went myself with her. You won’t believe the difference in our bond. Once I started caring for her, teaching her tricks, feeding her, taking her out, etc. – she was completely different towards me.

    I think your dog is likely too old for this, but I “dominated” her, too – the way dogs do to each other. I got on all 4s, then I pinned her head down and kept it down til she gave up struggling. I wasn’t hurting her or anything – that sounds awful, but I was literally playing with her, then when she went down on her side for a sec, I put my hand on her head so she couldn’t get up. She tried to move her head for a sec, the gave up. It wasn’t mean or anything, but sometimes you have to physically dominate dogs to get them to learn who’s the boss.

    I think it’s pretty clear from your post – the dog is your DH’s and not yours. You’re not invested in the dog, you don’t really like the dog very much (you might care because he’s a living, breathing animal, but it’s clear that this isn’t the dog you’d pick out and you’d get rid of him in a second if your husband wouldn’t resent you for it, so you can’t like the dog very much), he’s not YOUR dog. And that’s the problem.

    I would try the training again. This time, don’t send him away – go with him to classes and take the lead role in trainer. Show him who the boss is.

    I don’t think getting rid of him is an option. You’re right, your Darling Husband will likely resent you for it, never forgive himself, possibly never forgive you, etc.

    I think that there’s a lot going on right now that is stressful in your life – being the sole breadwinner, moving to another city, being away from family/friends, working a job you don’t really love, etc. And you’re looking for the 1 thing you can get rid of easily to make it slightly less stressful, and that’s the dog. What else is there? Nothing. You can’t easily move back, you can’t just quit your job, etc. I understand, because I’ve done similar things when I’ve been stressed and would try the easiest thing to get rid of. But, it’s possible you can find a solution.

    Post # 28
    10020 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @ferdie224:  I voted that your husband’s reaction is understandable but I also understand your fear and concern.  But please keep in mind that animals, especially dogs, are keenly sensitive to emotions in humans.  You’re exuding fear and anxiety around this animal and he’s having a normal canine reaction to that.  There is no easy answer, but for your husband’s sake I hope you can find a kind and caring solution for all of you.  I don’t think any dog is untrainable, I think some dog trainers really suck and take advantage of people, which is what sounds like happened to you.

    Post # 29
    9681 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    @ferdie224:  Dogs pick up on your energy. If you’re scared, he knows. He doesn’t respect you and it shows. No dog is untrainable. My boxer was terrible and we have found a great trainer and have been diligent with sticking to what we learned. He is a whole new dog.

    If the dog doesn’t respect you, you can’t take things off of him and if he does bite, it’s because the other more subtle signs were ignored. A dog doesn’t just attack unless he’s a truly aggressive dog and that means he would attack everyone. 

    A groomer or regular baths would solve ths stink and I don’t think some fur around the house is a great reason to get rid of a dog or be upset over. He’s a dog. They shed. Once the dog learns basic obedience and who is boss, the rest is easy. How you deal with biting is also important. 

    I personally don’t see any dog as a throwaway and I’d be willing to work through the issue. If you’re not, rehoming would be a challenge given his age. I would happily take him. What’s a little drool among friends? He’d love my boxer 🙂 

    Also, dog parks are no good when you’re trying to establish structure (or ever in my view because they are entirely uncontrolled). 

    Post # 30
    5790 posts
    Bee Keeper

    Last year, my friend’s dog (which sounds remarkably just like yours) took a 6 inch hole out of her leg,requiring an ambulance to take her to the ER. She had 2 surgeries and was hospitalized for 10 days and was out of work for 12 weeks due to all the damage caused by the bite…and the dog didn’t live to be a day older.

    They did all the same things, but brought an expensive trainer to their home to work on the aggression, but she never felt safe in her own home. They had him from a pup and he never exhibited any untoward behavior towards her husband or sons-just her. No one could explain it, but out of the blue,he turned on her,while she was just sitting on the couch reading.

    I personally would insist the dog be gone, especially since you’re feeling the same. I couldn’t live in fear in my own home.

    Post # 31
    9432 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    Get a positive based private trainer to your home immediately. 

    Sending your dog off for training is not the solution IMO. A trainer needs to observe what is going on in your home and show you ways to correct it that apply to your real life situation.

    In the mean time, google NILF (nothing in life is free) and implement it immediately if you haven’t been using it. Both you and your husband must be consistent. NILF does not require hours of training so there’s no reason not to be using it every time he goes outside, gets fed, plays with a toy, etc.

    I understand you’re afraid of the dog, but he will not respect you if you just let him do whatever and rely on your husband for all the corrections. Did the trainer at the facility you took him to show you how to handle situations like when he went after your feet?

    If you decide you can no longer live with the dog, you are best off having him humanely euthanized sadly. No rescue or shelter will take a dog with a bite history, and you could be sued if you rehome him and he bites someone else.

    The topic ‘aggressive dog causing marital discord :(’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors