Dog Aggression, Dog Anxiety

My Dog Is Scared of Me But Not My Wife


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My father could have said, “My dog is scared of me but not my wife.” When I was growing up, our dog Mickey was always protecting my mother. Whenever my dad tried to get close to my mother or even raise his voice, Mickey was right there growling, barking, and would even lunge at him at times.

If my father ever yelled back at him, Mickey would coward down. That frightened demeanor stayed until he felt he needed to defend my mother or himself again.

In our household, we always thought it was funny, except for my father. He had a soft spot for Mickey but never did understand why he was more afraid of him than his wife. It’s not like my mother never raised her voice or told Mickey not to do something in a stern voice.

It was those experiences that led me to look into the reasons Mickey behaved the way he did. I’m sure many dog owners deal with it, and if it helps just one feel better about it, then this information has served its purpose.

dog with owner

Why a Dog Is Scared of a Husband Not a Wife

It is generally believed that dogs are more likely to be scared of men than women because of many reasons. Understanding those reasons can help explain why many husbands say, “My dog is scared of me but not my wife.”


Men tend to be bigger than females. The size can be intimidating to a dog, even large dogs.

Deeper Voice

Men also tend to have deeper voices than females. The deeper voice can be much scarier.

Past Experiences

If a pup ever had a bad experience with a man in the past, those memories can continue into the future. So, if a dog is scared of a husband and not a wife and there’s no obvious reason, there may have been a frightening situation that caused it.

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This is common among adopted dogs or rescue dogs. Unfortunately, many come from scary situations. An abused dog doesn’t forget about their past easily and those bad experiences can affect how they treat new owners.

Physical Punishment

If a man has ever punished a dog physically, that could be the reason a dog may be scared of a man vs. a female.

Stronger Bond with Wife

Dogs will gravitate to whomever they feel a stronger bond with and when that ends up being the woman in the household, men can seem like a threat to that relationship, which is why the dog seems scared.

Frightening Body Language

A man’s body language can be very different from a woman’s and some gestures can seem like threats to a fearful dog.

Pack Roles

Dogs are pack animals and pack animals have different roles. When a dog is scared of someone in the pack, it’s usually because they are trying to protect someone else in it.

Territorial aggression is when a dog defends something they claim as its own. If it seems as though someone else is trying to claim the person they already chose, that’s when they may get aggressive.

Frightened dogs behave differently. Some will hide in a corner or under beds. Others will attack. So just because a dog is aggressive, it doesn’t mean they aren’t scared.

training dog

What to Do When Your Dog Is Scared of You But Not Your Wife

The following are some ways to help your dog be less scared around you.

Speak Softly

Speak to the dog in a soft and gentle tone. This will help the dog associate your voice with calmness rather than fear.

Offer Treats

Offer the dog treats when they come near you. This will help reinforce positive associations with your presence.

Spend Time Together

Spend time with the dog, even if it’s just sitting on the couch together. This will help the dog become more comfortable around you.

Give Space

Don’t force the dog to interact with you if it seems scared. Let the dog take its time and come to you when it’s ready.

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Play Games

Play games with the dog, such as fetch or tug-of-war. This will help the dog learn that interacting with you can be fun.

How to Train a Dog to Be Less Scared

In addition to the above tips, there are ways to help dogs deal with stress in a better way. The following are some training techniques you may want to either try yourself or hire a dog trainer to try.


Desensitization is a technique used to slowly expose a dog to their fear in a safe environment while providing positive reinforcement. This is done by introducing the dog to a person at a distance and slowly bringing them closer, while rewarding the dog’s good behavior with treats.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a technique that rewards a dog for desirable behavior. This can be done by offering treats, toys, or verbal praise when the dog is reacting well to people. This reinforces the behavior and helps the dog build a positive association with people.

Establishing Eye Contact

Eye contact is an important tool for building a dog’s trust in people. It is important to establish eye contact with a nervous dog in a calm, non-threatening way. This can be done by offering treats or a toy and slowly making eye contact with the dog.

Involving Family and Friends

Involving family and friends in the training process can help a scared dog build trust. Have family and friends interact with the dog in a positive way, such as offering treats, playing games, and giving verbal praise. This will help the dog form positive associations with people and build their trust.

Creating a Safe Space

Creating a safe space for a scared dog can help them feel more secure. This can be done by providing a calm, quiet area for the dog to go to when they are feeling overwhelmed. This will help the dog feel more comfortable and secure when around people.

Building a Bond

Building a bond between a dog and their owner is essential for helping a scared dog to trust people. Taking the time to get to know the dog, play with them, and offer treats and verbal praise can help the dog to feel safe and secure. This will help the dog to form a strong bond with their best friend and family member.

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See also: My Dog Loves Everyone Except One Person

Benefits of Training a Dog to Not Be Scared of You

Having a dog that isn’t nervous, scared, or aggressive can be hugely beneficial for pet parents in many ways. Firstly, it means that the dog is less likely to display destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture or destroying other items within the home. It also means that the dog is more likely to get along better with guests and other dogs in the home.

The key to achieving a dog that isn’t nervous, scared, or aggressive is to ensure that the pet parents are involved in a consistent training program with their dog. During training sessions, pet parents can identify any signs of fear or anxiety in their dog’s body language and take steps to address them. For example, if a dog is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, pet parents can take steps to help the dog adjust to being left alone for an extended period of time. Taking the time to understand and address the root cause of a dog’s fear is a very important thing to do.

Humans and dogs have a unique bond that can be strengthened through positive reinforcement and careful training. Taking the time to ensure that a dog’s behavior is not nervous, scared, or aggressive is an important step on the path to creating a strong relationship between pet parents and their canine companions.

dogs with couple

Patience and Time Are Key to Better Relationships with Family Members

While it may hurt your feelings because your dog is scared of you and not your wife, try to understand it’s not personal. Your pup has certain beliefs that have made him frightened of you and it could very well be nothing that you did.

Try the above tips and training techniques to help your dog feel much better around you. Form a bond with your pup separate from the bond your dog has with your wife. As you build a stronger bond with your furry friend through positive experiences, you will likely see the nervousness subside.

Do you have any situations which made you say, “My dog is scared of me but not my wife”? We would love to hear them. Dog Ownership Guide is a place where dog owners can communicate with one another on topics that have to do with their favorite furry friends. Comment below.

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