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Discussion Starter #1
ok, this literally just started in the past 12 hours. Emmett's been with us about 3 weeks now, and it's been all good. Then last night it happened, he growled at Zoey over a squeeky ball. I told Zoey to back off. an hour later, Zoey was sniffing around his bed and I hear, "grrr" out of Emmett. I tell Zoey to back off again.

This morning, they're eating, in their spaces. Zoey comes over to check out Emmett's progress, like she always does... *grr*

10 minutes later, eating done, bowls picked up. Zoey's crowding Emmett, I see the hair go up on his back.

These all seem normal and reasonable to me, but if I didn't worry over it, I'd lose all meaning to my existance! (< insert sarcasm)

how much is too much?

what steps do I take to keep it under control?
 

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Honestly I almost never worry over a growl if it successfully ends whatever conflict is going on without escalating the situation. The growl is just HIS way of telling her to back off, and if she responds appropriately by giving him his space, then great - there's no problem, they communicated effectively. (If she doesn't respond appropriately then that's a whole different kettle of fish.) I would continue to do what you are doing - be vigilant and aware of their interactions. In addition to after the growl, you might want to try to interrupt or distract her before she does things that you anticipate will lead to the growl, like if she's approaching him when he has a toy or when he's trying to sleep on his bed. Clearly he doesn't like to be crowded.

It also sounds like he is resource guarding. You can always work on some counter conditioning with him to her presence if you're worried about it escalating. "Mine!" and "Fight!" are two great short, inexpensive books by Jean Donaldson that give very specific protocols for counter conditioning resource guarders. Mine! is more geared towards dogs who resource guard from people, but it is still worth a read because it has a very good explanation of the principles of counter conditioning.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hubby started to scold Emmett a bit, but I told him to quit it... *he he he* I scolded hubby for scolding Emmett for scolding Zoey...

... anyway, I told hubby growls, even unhappy ones, are allowed.( My new rule!) They give us a crystal clear picture of what's going on and if it's trouble... we're not giving up warning signals!

edit to add: this was NOT a play growl. He's let us hear that one several times, so we know what's what.
 

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Yeah, it's normal. My dogs growl at each other all the time over things like sleeping spaces, toys, etc. It's just their way of communicating and so long as the other dog responds appropriately, it's not an issue.
 

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Our puppies are so silly! My dog Lucy is the funniest when it comes to growling, I just usually give her a big ol SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH and she shuts right up. She's a mess when she sees another dog outside the window tho, she turns into a monster!
 

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Our puppies are so silly! My dog Lucy is the funniest when it comes to growling, I just usually give her a big ol SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH and she shuts right up. She's a mess when she sees another dog outside the window tho, she turns into a monster!
Teaching a dog not to growl is the last thing you want to do.
 
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