Every single day at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia we hear people say, “My dog listens to my husband (or wife), but he doesn’t listen to me.”
So, what we immediately begin doing is asking them questions to see “why” the dynamic of your relationship is the way it is. Generally, this dynamic among owners and the dog has a lot to do with pack leadership. Ask yourself who is the strongest member of your pack at your house; meaning, which one of you are the strictest on the dog, makes him have the best manners (make him wait before he eats, make him wait at the door, doesn’t let him drag them around on the leash, etc). These small yet simple things generally have a lot do with how your dog sees you in the pack structure. “Generally” we hear females saying “He listens to my husband better than he does me” much more than we hear males say this. Generally men are harder on the dogs and more strict, and women are generally more cuddly, loving, gentle.
Another major factor that can make a big difference is who spends the most amount of time working with the dog? During our obedience training lessons in Northern Virginia, we tell people on a daily basis, “You and your spouse should both be practicing this training at the house.” What we see all of the time is if there is just ONE person that trains the dog, over the course a few weeks the dog will listen to that person flawlessly, and not so much the other person.
This is because the dog sees that just one person if correcting them, enforcing the commands, doing all the pack leadership things that are built into the training, etc. So, the dog simply learns, “I have to listen to and respect this person; however, not so much this other person.”
The analogy I use on a daily basis is that it’s just like children. Think about it, if the dad is disciplinarian of the household, and the mom is the pushover, which person does the child listen to the best? Welcome to the world of how your dog thinks and acts, as well.
So, if you find that your significant other has more control and respect out of your dog, start working with them on obedience training and pack leadership, and you should soon see a shift in the dynamic of your relationship.