Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.
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Thread: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

  1. #1
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    Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    We have had our puppy, Big, for two years. Lately, every time he was laying on a certain chair he started growling at me and my boyfriend for trying to make him get up. But now, even when he's laying on the floor, he's only growling at me now. He wont break eye contact and every time I tell him to go lay down or move, he growls louder and barks. He's usually a pretty well tempered animal, but he's starting to scare me. My only solution right now is putting him outside, but I'm not sure what's going on. He's a lab/chow mix. I'm wondering why he switches between my boyfriend and I when it comes to who the bad guy is that day. We don't hit him, but I try to be as stern as possible. I have no idea what to do. Help?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member PatchworkRobot's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    My first thought is that maybe he is ill or in pain? This can cause behavior change. I'd take him to the vet to get him looked over and maybe have his thyroid levels checked.

    Who takes primary care of the dog? If this is not a medical issue (or even if this is), I would be to get a trainer or behaviorist to assess the situation. Now that you're fearful of him the problem won't get any easier.

  4. #3
    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    At two years old, that's no puppy, it's a full grown adult dog.

    The growling, that's just a warning, his way of communicating with you. It's the eye contact that sounds serious to me.

    There are a number of physical conditions that manifest as sudden behavioral changes like this, so give serious consideration to a veterinary exam.

    If you are genuinely afraid, rest assured that he knows it, by your odor (you can't detect it but he can), body language, facial expression -- they always know -- you can't fool a dog. Dogs also know that a fearful animal (you in this case) is an unpredictable animal. If you can put him outside, that's what I'd do.

    I don't want to be overly dramatic, but either I'm reading this wrong, or you have a serious issue that really shouldn't be addressed over the internet.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    It sounds like this dog needs a refresher course on who the Alpha is in the home.

    First problem I came across when reading your post was this. "Lately, every time he was laying on a certain chair he started growling at me and my boyfriend for trying to make him get up."

  6. #5
    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpepper View Post
    It sounds like this dog needs a refresher course on who the Alpha is in the home.

    First problem I came across when reading your post was this. "Lately, every time he was laying on a certain chair he started growling at me and my boyfriend for trying to make him get up."
    If you have to prove that you're the dog's boss, you've already lost. You can intimidate a dog into submission, but he will be submitting out of fear, and a fearful dog is unpredictable. He has to choose between flight, fight, or submission. He may choose submission this time, but next time he might choose to fight.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    It sounds like the dog has way too much freedom. The dog is sitting on a "chair" and growling at owners when told to get down. Sounds like the dog wasn't properly introduced into the home and boundaries weren't set in stone. Glad I do not have this problem at all. My dogs all know better then to bite the hand that feeds them.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    Sounds like resource guarding. And you could use the help of a behaviorist or a good positive reinforcement based trainer. Also, might want to read the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson.

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpepper View Post
    It sounds like the dog has way too much freedom. The dog is sitting on a "chair" and growling at owners when told to get down. Sounds like the dog wasn't properly introduced into the home and boundaries weren't set in stone. Glad I do not have this problem at all. My dogs all know better then to bite the hand that feeds them.
    I suspect you're right, unless there's a medical cause. Problems like this don't arise without a reason and lack of consistent discipline is likely. And if you're afraid of the dog, you're in not a good position to deal with it effectively.

    My dogs have access to a chair and a sofa, and they have exactly the right amount of freedom. They vacate the space if we need it of course, sometimes without even being told.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    I would consult a trainer/behaviorist, this sounds like a pretty serious problem brewing.

    Our old ACD mix was my husband's dog first, she already lived here when I moved in. At first, she did not want to acknowledge me as the "boss of her" and would growl if I asked her to get off a chair or bed that I wanted to sit on. She was testing me. Rather than pick a fight with her, I had my husband come and lend me some of his authority. I'd say "Dale, get down", she'd growl, he'd tell her "Dale, K said get down, get down right now!". She doesn't understand English of course, but she got the dynamic. She would then get down. A few times of this and she got the point, that I had his support and she was to respect me. She minds me just fine and has for a long time. We had to do the same thing with his teenaged son too, not about getting off the furniture of course . Since your dog is sassing both of you, I'd call in an expert. Both our dogs are allowed on all the furniture, but they are expected to get down or move over when a person wants to sit there, they do. The cat doesn't, but I can just pick him up and move him.

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    Re: Help! My dog is growling at me and scaring me.

    If he is guarding chairs/furniture then he ITO of one Joe Blow non pro dog owner with still a lot to learn, he should lose furniture (that includes bed) privlages for a while, when he is in the house (supervised & when you are there only of course) have a short drag leash on him so if he sasses you after you order him off you can remove him without fear of being bitten, remember don't be gruff or overbearing when doing this, just say "off" or whatever word you choose to use ... I use "get lost" LMBO. That's the only suggestion I have, perhaps someone with more experience will chime in if this is not right.

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