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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend brought home a 9 week old puppy on Wednesday. The puppy comes from a pet store. I know, I know. We've talked extensively about that and she understands that the issues she's now having come because of this pup's less than ideal background. I know the temptation will be to lash out and I truly understand why but that's not going to help the situation as it stands because the puppy is already in the house so I would appreciate it if responses could focus on what my friend can do now. Okay, that said. The pup is consistently growling and biting with what seems like no warning. She's done it with my friend and her husband, their 2 boys and the vet. At times, she is calm and will tolerate petting, even on the belly, and she'll play nicely but then she switches and starts growling in a threatening way and seems aggressive. The trigger for this behavior is unclear so far. The vet was very concerned about it because the pup growled several times during her check up. I cannot personally observe the situation because we're in different states so I'm going on what I've been told. I can ask for more specific info if that is helpful.

My thinking is that the pup has clearly been under a great deal of stress and needs to be given considerable time to adjust to a new home & new people. I don't think the pup spent adequate time with her litter & mother so she hasn't learned what she should have from them and, certainly, she hasn't been well socialized with humans either. Other than time and patience, what can my friend do to deal with the growling & biting? I do know that the growl is the pup's way of communicating her discomfort with a circumstance & without that she'll go right to biting so we don't want to discourage growling but I don't know how to advise my friend to work with this puppy so that she doesn't feel the need to growl. Any advice or suggestions would be very appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Puppies growl and bite all the time. Do you think they're knowledgeable enough as dog owners to recognize the difference between normal puppy growling/biting and aggressive growling/biting? If the pup really is aggressive I think they're going to need a behaviorist.
I thought a behaviorist would be the best bet, too. The vet also didn't like the growling so that makes me think that's it may be more than just normal growling. My Molly has play growled when we tug-of-war since she was a pup but I've never felt threatened by it. This sounds different. I know vets aren't the best source for behavior advice but I was still surprised that the vet voiced her opinion so vocally about something being "off" with the puppy. I'm sure the pup is very, very stressed because she's from a puppy mill & pet store and has had an absolute crap life for her entire existence. I'd be growling, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. With shaking hands and tears in my eyes, I have to report that my (now ex) friend has decided to return the puppy. I'm so angry that I can barely see straight and I've terminated the relationship b/c I will not have someone in my life who disposes of animals like this. I'm telling you all this so no one else wastes their time advising this person. Sigh.
 
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