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2.5 yr old puppy growling at owners - Training tips?

1249 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Amaryllis
Our dog has gone through training, and is very well behaved, but we have 2 instances when he growls at us. Currently we are backing off in the instances below, but are not sure how to proceed in correcting this behavior. We use positive reinforcement and clicker training, at least up until this point. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

1. He growls at us if we try to pet him in the morning, in our bedroom. While we get ready for work, he seems upset/stressed at us leaving (no that he has learned our routine). If we bend down to pet him and reassure him, he gets still, the whites of his eyes show, and he growls. We always back off when this happens. This happens if we sit, bend over, or any approach. The room is his sleeping area (we started him in a crate in there, and now he sleeps on the floor). We know that he is perhaps stressed at us leaving, wishes to be left alone, and may be guarding his "bed" area. But, we think this is a behavior we should work to correct as if we have visitors, the last thing we want is for him to growl at us. Any suggestions on training tips to correct this?

2. Food/resource guarding. Our dog is very good with toys and food until we give him a high value item like a real bone from the pet store. If we walk by or even move our feet while sitting on the couch he goes stone still and starts growling and showing his teeth. He is the only dog in the house and we never try to take away his treat. We are not sure why he started guarding or being so sensitive to any movement and would love tips on how to correct this so he doesn't growl anytime we move in the same room with him.

Thank you!!!
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1. Do you walk him in the morning? If not can you walk him in the morning? Go to the front door and say "**** come" and clip a leash on him and take him out. maybe he just doesn't like you bending down and leaning over him. I would call him to you and have him sit and then pet him.

2. Teach him the drop it command. I also taught my dogs the back off command. I never take anything out of a dogs mouth. I give mine a strong Drop it and back off. Once they do I take it away and then have them do something like sit, down ect.. and give it back to them.

For 2 people may have other advice but that's all I could think off.
2.5 years old, not a puppy. You mentioned training but not if it was professionally started or lessons or amateur only.
Thanks all. Okay, so he's not a "puppy" anymore...sorry. The training was professional clicker training with a certified trainer, and then we continued reinforcing the commands and adding more. Thanks again!
Thanks all. Okay, so he's not a "puppy" anymore...sorry. The training was professional clicker training with a certified trainer, and then we continued reinforcing the commands and adding more. Thanks again!
Well I would be heading back to trainer as he/she has read your dog and that helps a bunch when trying to cure a problem.
Buy the book Mine by Jean Donaldson. It's fairly cheap and will cover just about anything you need to know on working with a resource guarding dog.

As for the odd morning behavior, I'd just ignore him completely. Let him our to potty, give him breakfast, etc. But there's no real need to pet him or "soothe" him. If you're not doing this already, start giving him chews or interactive toys to occupy his time after you leave(i.e. A kong filled with frozen peanut butter, a treat ball filled with his breakfast kibble, etc.)
Resource guarding isn't too hard to deal with. Throw him high value treats while he chews on his bone so he comes to associate you being near with getting even more great stuff, not losing his bone as he fears. You can also stop giving him the bones, or only give him the bones in his crate. No matter how you deal with it, and the first method is the best, you shouldn't give him those bones when you have company over, especially not children.

The morning stuff, I don't know. Have you taken him to a vet? Changes in behavior require a vet visit, and thyroid problems often start around that age.
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