Why does my dog respect me but not my partner?

You love your dog, but lately, you’ve noticed he doesn’t seem to respect your partner like he respects you. When you tell him to sit, he sits immediately. When your partner tells him to sit, he ignores them or walks away. He waits patiently for you to put his bowl down at mealtimes but barks incessantly at your partner. What gives?

Your dog likely sees you as the pack leader and your partner beneath them in the pecking order. Dogs are social animals with a strict social hierarchy, and in their eyes, the person who feeds them walks them, and trains them is the one in charge. Your partner will need to step up and establish themselves as an authority figure to gain more respect and better behavior from your puppy. With time, consistency, and the right techniques, your dog can learn to see your partner as an equal pack member. But for now, your dog’s behavior is just their way of figuring out who’s top dog.

You’re the Primary Caregiver

You’re the one who feeds, walks, plays with, and cares for your dog every day. Of course, they see you as the head honcho! Your partner, on the other hand, is probably less involved in the day-to-day care of your pup. So naturally, your dog will be more attentive and eager to please the person who takes care of their basic needs.

To build your dog’s respect and bond with your partner, have them take over some primary caregiving duties like feeding, walking, or training your dog a few times a week. Taking your dog to the vet or groomer together is also a great way for them to form positive associations. Ensure your partner gives your dog commands, enforces rules, and gives them plenty of praise, treats, and belly rubs.

Over time, as your dog sees your partner more as a caregiver and source of good things, their respect and affection will grow. But there’s no need to rush the process. Have your partner engage with your dog at their own pace, and let the relationship develop gradually and positively. Forcing interactions or discipline from someone your dog doesn’t fully trust could backfire.

With time and effort, your dog will appreciate and love you both. But they’ll probably always see you as their number one, simply because you’ve been there since day one. And really, that’s a bond to be cherished.

Inconsistent Training and Rules

Your dog respects you because you’re consistent in your training and rules. But if your partner isn’t on the same page, it confuses your pup.

You’ve taught your dog the house rules and stick to them, while your partner may sometimes be more lax. This inconsistency perplexes your puppy and makes them less responsive to your partner’s commands or corrections. Dogs thrive on routine and predictability, so mixed messages from their owners can undermine their training.

To fix this, you and your partner must get on the same page with rules and training. Sit down together and review how you want your dog to behave, then make sure you’re both enforcing those standards every time. Be patient through the transition, as your dog can take time and consistency to learn the new rules. But if you present a united front, your pup will come to respect your partner as much as they do you.

Compromise and teamwork are key. Regardless of whether the owner provides the cues, your dog will understand what is expected with patience and consistency. The two of you can enjoy the benefits of a well-trained companion while harmony is restored.

Your Partner’s Behavior Towards the Dog

your partners behavior towards the dog
your partners behavior towards the dog

Your partner’s behavior and interaction with your dog can greatly impact how much respect your dog shows them. Some things to consider:

  • Does your partner discipline or correct your dog’s behavior? If not, your dog may see your partner as more of a playmate than an authority figure. Ask your partner also to help reinforce rules and give simple commands to build respect.
  • How does your partner greet your dog? If they lavish your dog with excited petting, scratching, and baby talk as soon as they walk in the door, your dog may view your partner more as a source of affection and treats than a leader. Suggest your partner adopts a “no free lunch” policy and asks your dog to sit calmly for a few seconds before giving affection. This helps establish their leadership in a friendly way.
  • Is your partner consistent in their interactions? Dogs respect those who are predictable in their behavior and rules. If your partner enforces laws sometimes but not others or is overly stern one day and extremely lenient the next, it can confuse your dog and make it hard to see your partner as a fair and consistent leader. Encourage your partner to decide on some basic rules and stick to them.
  • Ensure your partner walks, feeds, trains, and plays with your dog. These bonding activities, especially when combined with leadership, will help build your dog’s respect and trust in your partner over time. Your dog should become more responsive to your partner with patience and consistency.
Also read: How do dogs choose their favorite person?

Why does my dog respect me but not my partner?

why does my dog respect me but not my partner 1
why does my dog respect me but not my partner 1

You’re your dog’s primary caregiver, so naturally, you’ve bonded closely over time. You feed, walk, train, and care for them daily. Your dog sees you as their leader and respects you because of this close bond and your authority.

Your partner, on the other hand, likely does not have the same consistent interaction and bond with your dog that you do. While your dog surely likes your partner, they may not view them as an authority figure or leader in the same way they view you. There are a few things you and your partner can do to build more respect and obedience in your dog:

Spend More One-on-One Time

Have your partner be the one to feed, walk, train, groom, and play with your dog regularly. Doing these activities together strengthens their bond and helps build respect. With consistency over time, your dog will come to view your partner as another authority figure.

Be on the Same Page

Ensure you and your partner follow your rules, commands, training, and corrections. Don’t undermine each other in front of the dog. Present a united front, and your dog will learn to respect you both equally.

Give Your Partner Authority

Allow your partner to issue commands, give corrections when needed, and discipline the dog if they misbehave. Back them up and support them in front of the dog. Once your dog sees that you reinforce your partner’s authority, their respect for you will grow.

Also read: Perfect Pups: 13 Low-Energy Dogs You’ll Love

Your dog can be taught to respect and obey you with patience and consistency. But it requires teamwork, time, and dedication from you and your partner. Building that level of respect and obedience together will only strengthen your bond with each other and your dog.


So at the end of the day, your dog’s behavior comes down to a combination of factors. Mainly, you’ve been the primary caregiver, providing food, walks, training, play, and discipline. Your dog respects you because it views you as the pack leader. Your partner must build that same authority or tie while still being a family member. Don’t worry; your dog will learn to appreciate your companion with time and care. It may help your partner to take a more active role in responsibilities like feeding, walking, and training. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key. If you continue working as a team, your dog will learn to show you the same respect and affection. After all, there’s enough love in a dog’s heart for everyone in their pack.

4 thoughts on “Why does my dog respect me but not my partner?”

Leave a Comment