Why Does My Dog Only Listen to Men?
One question often asked among female dog owners is, ‘’Why does my dog ignore me and only listen to my husband?’’
You can almost taste the bitterness these spouses feel. More often than not, they start questioning other aspects of their lives, from their leadership skills to wondering who truly wears the pants in the household.
Often it is difficult to evaluate what causes a dog to put on deaf ears when you approach and then turn into a saint with a shiny halo when hubby comes home and whispers a command. The house rules are always the same, you use the same command words, and you can even mimic a masculine voice, but it makes no difference. So what is going on?
Why Won't My Dog Obey Me?
The first thing to do is to be totally honest with yourself. Is there any chance you've been inconsistent or unclear with the dog? As children, dogs can be quite clever in determining whom they can mess around with and whom they cannot. Sometimes a child will behave, but when grandma steps in, the child gets pushy because he knows that grandma closes an eye or even two. If your hubby asks your dog to sit and does not allow your dog to do anything else until that rump touches the ground, your dog will be likely thinking ‘’Okay, the rules are strictly in place with this guy, no fooling around.’’
If you ask a sit and your dog does not comply but instead goes to bark to the door, and you just shrug and think ‘’whatever,’’ your dog has just scored high against you. Your dog will know that when you ask a sit, you very likely do not mean it. It could also happen that you casually ask a sit and then the phone rings and Rover learns that your sits are just an option. This doesn't mean your dog is being dominant, just as a child isn't being dominant when grandma comes by. The more correct term is opportunistic. It also doesn't mean that you need to be harsher. You can still be a wonderfully positive trainer, as positive doesn't mean permissive!
But in some cases, both spouses are quite consistent with the dogs. These female dog owners have made a commitment with their spouse to be consistent and benevolent dog parents. They really care about their canine companion and work hard to ensure that the rules are the same and must be followed. If you belong to this category, and you can be totally honest about your consistency, read on, as there are other possible causes for your dog’s selective hearing.
Did you know dogs also go through a teenage testing phase? Most dogs in shelters are abandoned around the age of 18 months which often coincides with the peak of testing behaviors.
It May Be More Than a Consistency Issue
One of the issues to evaluate is the use of overtones. Females typically have voices that are higher in pitch and have fewer overtones than men’s voices. Dogs, equipped with their sensitive ears, are extraordinarily capable of detecting such tones, they therefore perceive the female voice as less firm when compared to a man’s. As a result, some dogs are more likely to respond to a man. Perhaps not out of pleasure, but a bit out of intimidation.
As much as this may sound like bad news for women, there is ultimately a good side worth mentioning. According to Riverdog K9, a dog trainer, men generally do better with dogs who have not received any training whatsoever, whereas a trained dog or one in training will respond much better to the motivating voices of women.
But the very best news is that a well-trained dog ultimately responds well to both! Pam Young, a certified dog trainer, says that women have a better ''good dog'' tone of voice, whereas men do better with the ''bad dog" tone. She recommends watching the dog's reactions upon being reprimanded for doing something bad using both the good tone of voice and the bad. Very likely, the dog will react according to the tone.
As interesting as this may sound, there are considerations other than voice tones to keep in mind. Generally, men have a more direct approach with dogs: Men get into the dog's space more. Dogs sense this and respond better. Men therefore may do better with dogs who engage in testing behaviors such as doggie adolescents. We often see this as well with children, who are often more responsive to a father's request than a mother's. It's a common scenario: A mother asks a child do something, the child rebels, and then the man's voice says, "Do as mom says," and the child immediately gives in.
However, this means that dogs fear men somewhat more, and this explains why there are so many dogs fearful of men. The man's tone of voice, combined with a direct approach, can have a deleterious effect on certain fearful or excessively submissive dogs that will cower and even submissively urinate. In these cases, a woman will do much better.
So, if disobedient Rover pulls you on the leash but heels admirably with hubby, the first question to ask yourself is if you have slacked on training. If you can honestly say you have not, then consider that your dog’s response to your hubby is just natural. Keep up the training and do not give up. As the dog learns the rules, there will be less testing, and your voice will work wonderfully in motivating and inspiring him. Just as with raising children, it is through cooperation that you will train a good dog that will ultimately respond to both of you. Just work together as a team and the results will eventually show and shine.
Training Your Dog Not To Listen
As a dog trainer, I see this scenario often in couple's interactions with their dogs. Men may not do this on purpose of course, but it can have a deleterious effect on the dog's perception of the wife.
Here is a common scenario:
Wife asks dog to sit. Dog does not sit, actually pretends not to hear her. Hubby therefore intervenes by saying ''sit'' in a firmer tone of voice.
What did this just teach the dog? The dog has likely learned that the wife is not worth paying attention to and that hubby is the one that means business. It is imperative therefore, that the wife follows through if the dog does not obey the command the first time.
Does your dog respond better to your husband's commands?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.