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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am fostering an 8yr old cocker spainel. He was neglected covered in mats. He is now shaved, he also had an eye removed, a tumor near his butt and was neutered. He still has stitches where is eye was an he wears the cone of shame until tuesday. He is a happy sweet hyper boy. Loves to give kisses and the only comand he knows is sit and his name (hank) . My problem is this, i have picked him up around the chest area just so his front paws come off the ground. He has growled at me for doing that, he backed away from me and continued to growl...then the next time he doesnt growl. Next, he suddenly chases the cat and growls at her. He doesnt listen when i tell him no. Today i took him by the collar and gave a tug, which ive done before and he was fine. today he growled and gave me a stare down when i did this. Even after i let go he continued to growl and stare. But never beared his teeth........ I yelled. He kept on doing it. Then i left the room and he followed a few minutes later it was all tail wags and kisses. How do i handle this? Why is it doing it? He has only been with me 4 days. I have 2 cats and 2 other dogs.
 

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Honestly your behavior is very sadistic towards the dog, a dog that is still recovering from major surgery, and only been in your home for 4 days, your actions serves no purpose but to break the dog down and create fear for the dog. You handle this by stopping what your doing in mishandling the dog and the dog will stop growling and being fearful.

Set up a daily schedule that the dog can depend on, set up an area where the dog can rest/recover/adjust and not have the opportunity to make mistakes. start building trust with the dog and stop handling the dog in manners you have learned caused the dog to growl because he doesn't like it , serves no purpose to yell or jerk, or lift the dog as you stated.. All that dog needs from you right now is Food, water, Shelter, potty breaks, and a place that they can feel safe.. if you can't do that please don't foster
 

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The dog may still be in pain, which your lifting his front legs may aggravate. Also, when you do this, it puts him in a compromised position, and he probably feels very vunerable. I'd give him more space and let him approach you rather than you approaching him. You need to build a level of trust, which he doesn't have right now. This little guy has been through a LOT recently. I'd be grouchy, too!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am in no way trying to intimate him, i'm not like that. the tug on his collar was not harsh, but a light one saying" i want you to come with me" and it is unacceptable to chase and try to hurt my cat, i'm trying to curb this before his cone comes off. his surgery was 12 days before I got him and I understand that he has alot to deal with, no one taught him manners and to make him more adoptable that is my job as well as giving him love and food. I have never been aggressive with my dogs, yes I have yelled no when they are doing something they shouldn't be doing. but Hank even growls when I try to teach him to lay down, a basic command. how to handle his growling is my concern and yes I want to break him of that. when he gets adopted I don't want that family to return him cuz he has aggression issues one minute and is love and kisses the next
 

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The point people here are trying to make, is that this dog has had major surgery recently and is almost certainly in PAIN. Yes, you want to work on his training, but this is NOT the time! Laying down could very well be painful for him, which is why he is growling. The only thing you should be doing right now is building trust and allowing him to heal. Don't pick him up, don't tug on his collar, and leave the obedience training alone. Just let the poor boy heal in peace. Think about how grumpy you would be if you were in pain from major surgery and people around you kept doing things and trying to get you to do things that aggravated that pain! And never, ever punish growling, growling is actually a GOOD thing! It's communication, and the only way your dog has to tell you that what you are doing is hurting him or making him uncomfortable. Punishing a growl does nothing to deal with the reason WHY the dog is growling, and can actually result in a dog that feels he cannot communicate and is forced to go straight to the bite, without the warning. If he is growling, listen to him!
 

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You may not think you're being scary or your intention isn't to frighten your dog, but what matters is the way the dog interprets your behavior. You may not think yelling "No" is aggressive and your other dogs may not think yelling "No" is aggressive; clearly this dog does. He's going through a very stressful time and very likely is still sore from the surgeries, and he's telling you very clearly that he's uncomfortable with some of the things you're doing.

If you continue to hurt and/or frighten him you're going to make things worse. If you try to stop him from growling without changing his emotions, you're going to make thing worse. As others have said, let him rest, heal, and learn that he's now in a safe place. Focus on management. For example, if he wants to chase the cat, make sure the cat has an escape route and/or keep the dog in an expen or on a leash so he can't get to her.

Why are you picking him up by the chest and how are you trying to teach him down?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I understand what you are all saying. And i backed off.......I picked him up near the chest abdomen area because he tried jumping on the couch and didnt quite make it.i was using treats to get him to lay down that was it.. I've had him on a leash to stop him from going after the cats and tried to distract him with a ball. He loves playing fetch. Other than that i did nothing but play fetch with him all day. Tonight however he growled at me and i was down the hall no where near him. Then jumped on the bed gave me kisses on my face. Jumped off the bed came back and growled in my face for no reason. I didnt touch him. I have noticed that most of his grumpiness happens at night. So now im wondering f maybe he has some sort of dementia.
 

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interesting fact is that cocker spaniels were noted as notorious for biting people a lot, in some studies. along with dachshunds and chihuahuas. i don't think it's any fault of breed but it's a fact they can become snappy. Humans see their happy go lucky face (they seem to always wagg their tale and have a smile on face :)) and assume they are always ready for cuddle, etc. etc. And in fact they might have tendency to get over humans as we let it go as they are not so big and dangerous.
I agree it might be the fact he's in pain after surgery and i'd check it with your vet. i do not believe shelter would give you a dog to foster without behavior examination.l From what you are saying it looks like he's challenging you (stare down and continuous growling even when you let go). he's reaction if scared or uncomfortable should be flight or avoid not confront, unless you don't give him a way to go around
 

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I adopted my Sammee, Boston Terrier, as a rescue in July. It's taken four months of gentle words and TLC for him to trust me enough to stop snapping and growling. I still don't let strangers reach to pet him because he doesn't know or trust them. My vet said it takes a good six months for an adult dog to adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to everyone who responded. Unfortunately i had to return hank to the shelter after he really tried to eat my cat. And cornered me in the bathroom growling. I just was not equipped to handle him. They are looking for a rescue to take him. I didnt find out til i brought him back that he acted that way in the shelter towards the staff. But everyone thought that it may have just been because he was in the shelter. Unfortunately, it wasnt. I now have another foster that is not aggressive.
 
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