Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

dog growling when picked up

20770 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  sherrymyra
My westie is 1 year 4 months old. I can't say when this pattern developed. But it is has gone on for some time. When she was younger she didn't have a problem if she was picked up. Now she has has a fit of growling, at times severe, as I am picking her up or putting her down. While I am holding her she seems to accept it. At first I thought she was afraid. Now I am thinking it is a behavior issue. And I don't think it is a medical issue because when she is around strange people or surroundings she is calm when I pick her up.

I am trying to randomly pick her up now and then and tell her no if she starts growling and will not put her down if she is growling. Her hearts pounds through the whole thing.

Am I on the right track?
1 - 3 of 17 Posts
If you must pick her up, give her a reason to enjoy it. Start with short pets, and follow it with a game, or a tasty treat. Progress to longer touching and even more awesome rewards. You need to change the association before expecting the behavior to change. She is warning you for a reason, and if she hasn't bitten you, it's a good time to resolve why. Growling isn't abnormal behavior, irregardless of the context. She has reason, now find it.
Good conditioning advice!

As I read, I wonder, why should she be okay with it?

My last cat never liked to have her tummy rubbed. Under the chin, on the butt, behind the ears...that was all great, but no tummy. I could probably have worked on her until she tolerated it, but why? Why rub her tummy if she hates it?

Alvin doesn't like my new kitchen floor. I used to feed him his dinner in the kitchen and he will go in there if it's to eat, but he's obviously terrified and has even caused himself to fall down a couple of times because he's walking in such a hesitant way. I moved his bowl to a mat in the living room. I could probably figure out the kitchen thing, but why? Why does he need to eat in the kitchen if he doesn't like it?

I guess I have some sympathy for little dogs who don't like to be picked up simply because I imagine I wouldn't like it myself if a very large entity came by and swept me off the floor without my consent. My imagination is notoriously overactive, though, lol.
See less See more
It's not an attitude problem, it's just differing opinions. I think that it's acceptable to respect a dog's personal space. You think it's unacceptable for your dog to growl at you under any circumstances. We're both right, to a certain extent.

Growling when you pick her up doesn't indicate that she's trying to get the upper hand with you. It just indicates she doesn't like being picked up. If it isn't necessary, why do something she doesn't like? Just to win the "battle?"

You are not "giving in" to ger growling if you just stop picking her up. If you were holding her, she growled, and you put her down, she might make the connection that growling gets her put down. But if you just don't pick her up, she never has a chance to learn that lesson! I haven't noticed that respecting some of my pets' personal preferences causes them to take advantage of me. Yes, I changed Alvin's feeding location from the kitchen to the dining room. But he still performs all his commands, walks well on his leash, greets strangers politely, gives me his ball or toy when asked, and stays off the couch. He just doesn't eat dinner in the kitchen.

You aren't wrong to say that you should be able to pick up your dog without it growling. A little dog probably NEEDS to be picked up sometimes, ie to get on the vet's table or the groomer's counter or even into the car. I'm just saying that I have some sympathy for a dog that doesn't want to be carried around and I would probably avoid subjecting mine to it if it seemed that he didn't like it.

Regardless, CP did give you a good conditioning exercise!
See less See more
You haven't been offered a solution?

If you must pick her up, give her a reason to enjoy it. Start with short pets, and follow it with a game, or a tasty treat. Progress to longer touching and even more awesome rewards.
I might also suggest getting a vet check. While you do not believe it is a medical issue, you also do not have the tools to diagnose problems that may be internal or otherwise difficult to see. Couldn't hurt to be sure, right?
1 - 3 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.