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Old 05-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #1
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Dog funny towards wife.


We have just got ourselves a 6 year old terrier cross. We got him from a shelter with no history. He is very affectionate. I am the one who mostly feeds him and walks him, so he sees me most of the time. When my wife comes home he is happy to see her and plays and cuddles with her. She walks him at the weekend and they seem to get on fine. What has happened though is that in the evening when my wife goes to bed next to me, he jumps near me and growls at her; not all the time, but maybe 1 night in 3. He also follows her with his eyes and his ears are down when she comes next to me. Last night he growled and then went for her and I had to grab him. We only have a one bedroom flat, so it's quite hard to put him elsewhere. What worries me though, is that we are planning to have children in the future and don't want him to be aggressive towards children. We have only had him a few weeks so I am not sure what to do.
I would be grateful for any help.

Dominic & Felicity
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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It could be that the dog is not yet sure of it's role in the family. It can take awhile for them to understand what is expected of them.
But in the meantime, your dog is resource guarding. It starts small and progresses to dangerous, which is where you are now if not fast approaching.
The quickest way to fixing this might be to have your wife take the dog through an obedience class. The dog will begin to see her in a different light.
There are also very good books that might help you understand and resolve this. For the Love of a Dog and The Other End of the Leash, both by Patricia McConnell are two that I've read that might give you better insight.

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Old 05-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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I mostly agree. The Other end Of the Leash is a great book, but her Beginning Family Dog Training might be a better book for you. I like McConnell. She uses positive methods without becoming unreadable due to psycho babble.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:22 PM   #4
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First he needs to sleep on the floor in his own bed. Sleeping with you and your wife is something to be earned. Then I'd add the Nothing in Life is Free program and have your wife get more involved in the feeding. One of you take breakfast duties and the other gets dinner duties. When I first got Merlin he wanted and I allowed him to sleep in my bed but his aggression towards my other dogs was bad so he got demoted to the dog bed for a few weeks. Once in a while, if he asked nicely, he was allowed in the bed. Good behavior and he is now allowed in my bed every night and often curls into the others. Rescues can take a while to find their niche in the new home. Takes a lot of patience with some of them but it's so rewarding when it all works out!
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:11 PM   #5
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I agree that the bed need to be earned. In fact, ALL affection should be earned. Setting rules and boundries is very important, but it is MOST important that a trusting relationship built on respect is in place before rules and boundries are set.

This is done by spending time bonding with the dog. Both of you need to spend equal time training, feeding, walking and playing with the dog. Doing this will not only help to create a friendship and build trust, it will also show the dog that you are both control his well being. During this time you will also learn A LOT about each other. This knowlage can then used to help you train and build an even stronger relationship.

Once your relationship is in place, the behavior issues should deminish greatly.

In the mean time, make sure you "correct" the dog and put it OFF of the bed when it growls or guards you. This will let it know that you are not happy with his responce to her and that YOU are in charge.

Along with the books mentioned above, I also suggest you pick up: "What Color is Your Dog" by Joel Silverman. (
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:28 PM   #6
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I agree, he shouldnt be allowed on the bed right now. He is saying "this is mine and your bed, get outta here, wify!"

You might want to crate train him for a while. Have the crate in the room, since he is a small dog it wont take up much room...

Ive seen a similar senario on "Its me or the Dog" and they had the dog have a lil bed by their bed, and didnt let it in the bed anymore because the dog was acting just like yours.

As the others said, your wife needs to step in and do some obedience with the dog, as the dog right now sees him/you as alpha and your wife is at the bottom of the totem pole.

The momment he growls, eyes your wife, stiffens posture, anything like that, remove the dog off the bed immediatly.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #7
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I think that everything that needed to be said was said!

-Dog off the bed
-Start the NILIF program of training ( )
-The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell is definitely a good recommendation.

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