Dogs are pack animals and there is a ranking among pack animals with alpha members at the top and submissive members at the bottom. Higher ranking members do reprimand lower ranking members with growls and even nips. In addition, they tend to fawn over higher ranking members of the pack and their offspring. However, in some cases, a dog may treat an alpha differently. If they are unsure how to please them, they will wait for the alpha to give them an indication that they want them to come to them.
While you don't feel swatting him with a newspaper is physical punishment, it would be considered physical punishment by the dog since the newspaper was used to hit him. I know it doesn't hurt like a stick would but it is still physical. When you use physical punishment, you encourage the dog to use it back which in many cases is what leads to dog bites. The feels that if you use physical reprimands, it is ok for him to use physical reprimands if he ever feels he needs to reprimand someone. This is why we always recommend verbal reprimands. A good reprimand is a short tug on the leash to get his attention and a firm, low toned "NO" which is most like a mom's growl and indicates displeasure.
I see that you mentioned that he has always snarled and growled at you as early as 6 weeks of age. Puppies are not aggressive. Any growling and posturing at that age is part of play behavior and puppies usually do not exhibit real aggression until they are at least 3-4 months of age and even then I'd question if it was true aggression if it was unprovoked and there was no medical issue. So it is likely he was trying to initiate play and you may have misinterpreted the behavior. This may have led him to believe you didn't like him. Dogs pick up on your feelings and if you are worried or concerned, then they are worried and concerned. If you are happy, then they are happy.
I think your relationship with Connor may have started out with miscommunication and he doesn't know what you really want him to do. If he did obedience training with your husband then he knows that if he does certain things when your husband says certain words, your husband rewards him. Thus he knows what to expect from your husband. He may not know what to expect from you.
I'm going to recommend that you try and form a better relationship with Connor so he knows what to expect from you and what you expect of him. The best way of accomplishing this is for you to start obedience training with him. Many owners put their dog into a class and he does well and it is never repeated and besides normal day to day interactions and with the dog, seldom are they given any practice session after that. So I'm going to recommend YOU take him to some obedience classes. If he listens well to you with basic commands, then do some more advanced commands. If classes just aren't an option for you, then you can just do training at home. I am including links to a couple of other sites that teach some good methods of training. Be sure and read both.
The following site is helpful. Be sure and click on the link to the left on obedience. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dog does with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you. Remember that along with the treats, give nice calm praise. Dogs actually love to do obedience work so it will also bring you closer.
At the end of training sessions you can do some fun stuff like throwing the ball for him. All of these things will strengthen your relationship with him, establish you as an alpha along with your husband and accomplish the added benefit of an even more well behaved dog.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
I know you probably didn't like some of the information I supplied, but I'm hoping you did find it helpful in understanding your dog's behavior.
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