My puppy has growled at me.
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Thread: My puppy has growled at me.

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    Senior Member Snuggles's Avatar
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    My puppy has growled at me.

    My three month Pomeranian has growled at me the last two days (about three times) when I have gone to pick her up and she wanted to do something else. I look her in the face and tell her no. I think my other dog did this when she was a pup. Anyway, is this the right thing to be doing?
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    Senior Member rosemaryninja's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Can you be more specific? What is she trying to do when you pick her up? Do you practise NILIF at home? Does she ever growl when you pick her up at other times?
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    Senior Member Thracian's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    She could be growling to get attention. Even telling her no gives her attention. The next time she growls, try turning your back on her and ignoring her for 30 seconds. Hopefully she will learn that growling doesn't get her what she wants, and she'll stop.

    Hope it helps.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    You could stop picking her up. I know that isn't a training technique, but maybe she doesn't like it.


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    Senior Member Snuggles's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Well I do hold her up and look in her eyes and tell her no. Was just at the vet's for her third shot and he said we were doing the right thing.

    Times she has growled? Well she got into a package of mayonaise (sp?) that my daughter had dropped and I was getting her away from it.

    Another time - I think she found some bark or something to chew and I was picking her up also.
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    Senior Member BoxMeIn21's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snuggles View Post
    Well I do hold her up and look in her eyes and tell her no. Was just at the vet's for her third shot and he said we were doing the right thing.
    Your vet is mistaken. She has no clue why you are holding her up and telling her no - for all she's concerned you picked her up from what she's doing and said something to her face which she doesn't understand, you're not teaching her what she should be doing instead.
    So, quit picking her up and redirect her attention to something else she can do.

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    Red face Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    There is obviously a pattern here. If your dog growls at you when you lift her away from potential food (mayonaise, bark, etc.) it has to do with a somewhat territorial instinct. I agree with the comment above that you should NOT pick her up, both to avoid harm to yourself and because this is a wrong signal. When a dog becomes territorial or agressive in this sort of way, it has to do with one of two things: threat, or dominance. Because your dog is not in any situation that it would be considered under attack, it has not fully grasped the concept that you are dominate.
    Rather than picking her up (is it a her? terribly sorry if it's a he), try nudging her to the side and cleaning it up, or somehow steering her away. Do not under any circumstances get down to her level or raise her above you. If she has not fully learned the meaning of the command "no", do not waste your time saying it to her.
    I can't give much advice on this partiular situation, because I don't know your dog personally, and without determining the exact problem, I don't want to suggest anything that might promote a violent outlash of some sort.
    This is however, a seriously problem and must be confronted immediatey.
    Good luck! and best wishes...
    dogs aren't our whole life...but they make our life whole.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    I honestly don't think it's that serious of a problem. As I understand it, the dog is not growling because the OP is taking things away from it. The dog is growling because the OP is picking it up and saying, "No" in its face. I'd probably growl, too!

    If my dog is making for food I've dropped on the floor but don't want him to have, I clap my hands, tap my foot, or say, "Hey!" nice and loudly so that he looks at me. This gives me time to walk over and pick the food up off the floor. If he's got a stick or whatever, I walk over and take it away, hopefully replacing it with something he's allowed to have.

    You might teach your dog the command, "Leave it!" so that you can just say it in order to stop these behaviors you don't like. Flying the dog through the air is probably not the best reaction, though...it must be both scary and confusing to a small animal and it is clear your dog doesn't enjoy it.


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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    The "leave-it" command would definitely be useful in this case (and many others). If you are worried however, that this problem will expand before your dog has time to fully learn the command, a loud, sudden noise (such as stomping or clapping) is also good.
    I do agree with dj360, though, that while this problem seems like a puppyish mannerism, it can get out of hand and spread to other matters if not dealt with while the dog is still young. It may not be SERIOUS, but it would make training and socializing--let's face it, living with, the dog later on much easier.
    and now i'd like to thank my greatest teacher...MY DOG.

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    Senior Member Snuggles's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Well I am not sure if "leave it" would help in her case. She probably would eat it faster.

    She doesn't growl after I pick her up though. It is in "the process".
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    Senior Member Westhighlander's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    I think you just need a heavy dose of NILIF with her. She needs to understand everything is yours and she can't do anything or claim anything because everything is controlled by you. So mayonaise, tree bark etc all belong to you.
    Last edited by Westhighlander; 03-14-2009 at 10:26 AM.

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    Senior Member Snuggles's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    What does NILIF stand for?

    I did try something with her tonight. She was laying next to me chewing on a chew bone and I took it away from her. She growled. I told her no and then good girl where she let me have it. Then gave it back to her and repeated it - just a tiny growl then. Then again and she did not make any noise. When she gave it to me, I told her good girl. I hope I am doing the right thing.

    We use to have a dog that would stop eating if you told her to. Maybe she was unusual. My current dog would probably do that too but we don't tell her not to eat since she is fussy as it is. Now the pup has no problem eating so no big deal. LOL
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    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snuggles View Post
    She was laying next to me chewing on a chew bone and I took it away from her.
    This just seems mean. It's her bone - you gave it to her to begin with. I'm all for teaching self control, drop it, leave it - but to mess with your dog when it's relaxing and eating, then ask it NOT to growl? That's cruel.
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    Senior Member BoxMeIn21's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snuggles View Post
    What does NILIF stand for?

    I did try something with her tonight. She was laying next to me chewing on a chew bone and I took it away from her. She growled. I told her no and then good girl where she let me have it. Then gave it back to her and repeated it - just a tiny growl then. Then again and she did not make any noise. When she gave it to me, I told her good girl. I hope I am doing the right thing.

    We use to have a dog that would stop eating if you told her to. Maybe she was unusual. My current dog would probably do that too but we don't tell her not to eat since she is fussy as it is. Now the pup has no problem eating so no big deal. LOL
    NILIF stands for Nothing In Life Is Free.

    As far as taking her bone away...she should give the bone up without protest on command. Here are two good training articles on teaching "leave it" and object guarding.
    http://www.clickersolutions.com/arti...01/leaveit.htm
    http://www.clickersolutions.com/arti...ctguarding.htm

    "Please allow me to adjust my pants, so that I may dance the good time dance.
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    Senior Member Moker's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesirose View Post
    This just seems mean. It's her bone - you gave it to her to begin with. I'm all for teaching self control, drop it, leave it - but to mess with your dog when it's relaxing and eating, then ask it NOT to growl? That's cruel.
    imo

    no, if you're trying to teach the animal that everything belongs to you, and you control the resources, doing the owning is fine. you want to be able to take things away from your dog, even things the dog considers precious to him/her.
    i give bismarck bully bones to chew, and when he's down to the last 2 inches, i take it away. i don't want him choking on it. i would recommend that she continue, it's not cruel, it's teaching the dog that when i want something, you give it to me, no if, and's or but's.
    having a dog that's willing to give you whatever it has can potentially save its life. but i do recommend you teaching the "leave it" command, along with drop it.

  17. #16
    Senior Member Snuggles's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    No I don't mean to be mean. This is one of those bones that lasts and lasts. In fact is it is three years old. Our other dog never did anything with it. But it isn't a bone that is like food - more of a chewing thing to help those puppy teeth. Anyway, I think I did it with our other dogs too but I can't remember.
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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Wow, good girl! It only took a few reps before she figured out you were giving the bone right back and she didn't need to growl about it. I would do this over and over with all sorts of stuff but *trade* for them not just return the object.Trade for a different toy or perhaps a treat. When trading is fun and easy start leave it and drop it. The words aren't magic, the practice and trust are the magic. Doggy zen may help, there is a sticky here about training it. Susan Garrett, "It's Yer Choice" game trains leave it and is posted there too.

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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    I've got 2 dogs that are sisters. One of them would let you do about anything to her as a puppy and still does. They are 2 now. The other one as a puppy growled at me, when I first picked her up, just like your dog. I picked her up anyway, and flipped her on her back(which she didn't like either) and rubbed her tummy. It didn't take a week and she didn't growl anymore. She still likes a tummy rub and doesn't growl now. As far as food goes, I would hand feed both of these dogs every now and then. I would take their bowl away from them and give it back. They have no trouble eating, there has never been any food guarding,growling and they even share the others bowl. (they have 2 bowls). One of them will do the leave it command and drop an item, the other one just speeds up eating whatever she has. David

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    Senior Member KBLover's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesirose View Post
    This just seems mean. It's her bone - you gave it to her to begin with. I'm all for teaching self control, drop it, leave it - but to mess with your dog when it's relaxing and eating, then ask it NOT to growl? That's cruel.

    How is this cruel?

    What if you want the dog to do something else? Maybe it's time to go and you just gave a dog the bone to pass the time until then?

    Why not teach a dog that you have the right to take the bone away and redirect it's attention to you?

    I absolutely believe you should be able to take anything from your dogs at any time without any protest. They might want it back, but should "ask" by offering their default behavior (for Wally, it's sit and look at me), not by growling and trying to stop you from taking it.

    Even if it is there's, I have the right to say "okay, put it away" or "okay, let's go, we have things to do."

    Wally's latent learning position.

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    Senior Member jesirose's Avatar
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    Re: My puppy has growled at me.

    I think there is a difference between training them to give up things, and just harrassing them. If you have a dog that is already resource guarding, suddenly taking things away is going to make it worse, not better.

    I've also taught my dog which things are hers, and if I give her something and she's enjoying it, I'm not going to go take it away for no reason. If she finds something, she usually brings it to me and asks if she can have it. If I found her with something she isn't supposed to have, she immediately drops it upon request. And I've never had to take one of HER toys away from her. She'll gladly get up and go do something else when it's time without arguing. It's certainly possible to train them not to protest you taking things away without having to take her chew toys when she's enjoying them. I've never had to play chase-the-dog with Sadie to get something, tug on it, nor has she growled when I take something away. So it does seem mean to me to take HER toy when you've given it to her.
    Reed: Wirehaired Vizsla, 10-18-09
    Sadie: American Eskimo Dog, 2-2-08
    Madison: Cocker Spaniel x Schnauzer? 12-2010

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