Aggression towards wife

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Aggression towards wife

Post by Cpt-Spot » Wed May 02, 2018 3:00 am


We have a 2year old mate Cockapoo, Faraday. We are having a problem where he is showing aggression towards my wife when I'm not around.

So a bit of background, we have had him since a puppy, I spent alot of time with him for the last couple of years, as I was off work due to illness, and he became very attached to me. He has never disliked my wife but I've always been the favourite.

I've recently returned to work, so he is left at home during the day now. But I return on my lunch break and we usually play for a bit, so he's not left all day.

My wife works from home a couple of days a week also. And here is the problem, when I am not there he is quite aggressive towards her. Growling and barking etc if she goes near him / walks past him. He usually goes into the bedroom and sleeps on the bed, which he's not normally allowed or downstairs near where the shoes are kept. But as soon as I come back, he's back to being friendly with her again. She says he's like jekyll and hyde.

We get that it is due to separation anxiety as I am not there all the time now. We just aren't sure how to deal with it, as what we have tried so far has not worked.

What we are currently doing, when I'm there.
I don't fuss him when entering and leaving the house
My wife feeds him as often as possible.
We've moved any belongings of mine which he attempts to "guard"
She comes / takes him on walks whenever possible
She plays within in the house a couple of times a day

When I'm not there.
She has tried playing fetch with him (his favourite game), he want play
Tried treating him, he want eat

He use to cry at the door once I'd left, which has now stopped. So there has been some progress. We just wish he could not be so focused on me and get the same level of enjoyment of her being there also.

We are really just after some other suggestions to try, anything we haven't thought about would be a great help.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Aggression towards wife

Post by Lotsaquestions » Wed May 02, 2018 5:35 am

It does sound like it is due to fear when you're gone, especially if she won't eat.

I don't have alot of experience with seperation anxiety (others on here are experts!) but my parents do have a rescue Chihuahua who got incredably anxious whenever the other dogs weren't in the house. What we did with him was give him a chew / kong everytime they went out, so he started to look forward to them going.

My advice would be;

- Change up your leaving routine so he doesn't pick up on you going (less time to get worked up). You can even get your shoes on, then go and sit down on the sofa for a bit, totally ignoring him.
- As soon as you leave have your wife give her something absolutely irresistable. His favourite chew, or perhaps even a scatter of the very best food for him to sniff out (talking roast beef level here!). Then you come back in when he's finished. Repeat a few times.
- Practice just being apart from him for a few seconds at a time. So leave the house, close the door, then come back in before he gets scared. Don't make a fuss of it, just walk around like you usually would.
- When you are out, have your wife take all the pressure off the dog totally. Have her just pass by where the dog is sleeping (at a distance the dog doesn't react) and toss down a few treats and walk off. Then repeat a bit later on. He might take treats that are on the floor while he's nervous even if he wouldn't from your wife's hand. Eventually he might see your wife as reassuring and positive.
Last edited by Lotsaquestions on Wed May 02, 2018 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Aggression towards wife

Post by Shalista » Wed May 02, 2018 6:47 am

dittoing the tasty snack as you head out the door and then the wife ignoring with occasional drive by treating.

had great success with baxs barking when im gone with feeding him his breakfast, then closing the door and heading out.
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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Re: Aggression towards wife

Post by Nettle » Wed May 02, 2018 10:10 am

You need 'boots on the ground' i.e. a GOOD professional behaviourist who can actually see what is going on in your dog's head. You have provided some great information (thank you for splitting into paragraphs so it is easily read) but so often something really simple is the root cause, but needs to be seen by a professional. And a good professional will want the dog to have had a full health check first.

Can you give us a rundown of your dog's typical day - no detail too small - and are there any other household members, animal or human?

Sounds to me that he is insecure, hence lying on your bed, which smells strongly of you, and lying with shoes which again are strongly scented. Does he have a really comfortable bed of his own? Where is he when he growls at your wife?

We have a pinned thread on how to pick a good behaviourist. Like any profession there are all degrees of competence. Run away from anyone using words like alpha, pack and dominance. If the professional suggests anything with which you don't feel comfortable, don't go along with it.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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Re: Aggression towards wife

Post by JudyN » Wed May 02, 2018 2:16 pm

I can't find the pinned thread on finding a good behaviourist that Nettle mentioned here, but there's an article on the main site: ... g-trainer/
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Re: Aggression towards wife

Post by Nettle » Thu May 03, 2018 2:51 am

Thanks JudyN - my mistake - I thought we had one. Your linked article does a good job.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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