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Discussion Starter #1
Can I train my dog not to growl when playing with us?

He is about 1 year old and was adopted about a month ago. He's a wonderful dog and all training has been going very well. He doesn't exhibit any guarding but growls when he plays. Whether it's running around the yard like a fool without a toy or beating up a stuffed monkey, he growls. Tail is up and wagging, wants to be next to us, but growling??

For example, I am sitting on the floor playing with him and he has a stuffed monkey. He is growling but his tail is up and he keeps trying to make me grab his toy to play tug of war. The problem is when he gets *really* excited, the growl gets LOUD and intimidating. I have three kids aged 2, 4 & 6 and they believe growl = danger, leave the dog (just like I taught them).

Is it possible to train the growl out of him so we can play without being nervous? How would I do that? Or do I need professional help. (This is the only "issue" he has.) I was thinking that if he starts growling, to get up and leave him but he growls while playing by himself, running around the yard, etc. so I'm not sure how effective that would be.

TIA!
 

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Would you want to train a child not to laugh and squeal while having a great time? I suppose you could but it would be long and hard. Any good professional isn't going to find it an 'issue'. Its a typical inoffensive (to most) dog behaviour.

Why not teach the kids (at least the older ones) about canine body language. A good number of dogs growl when playing... every single one of mine do. But its clear by wagging tail and play bow positions that they are happy not angry. Do tell them that they should stay way from all strange growling dogs.

If you want to fix it stop playing the moment he starts growling and getting excited. You may find he will just no longer get excited to play with you, but at least he would stop growling.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you want to fix it stop playing the moment he starts growling and getting excited. You may find he will just no longer get excited to play with you, but at least he would stop growling.
Well that would suck! The growling only started in the last week or two but that also corresponds to him realizing we are his people and this is his home. I was thinking we were playing with him wrong, LOL! I never met a dog who growled as much as this guy, I guess he's just starting to show us our quiet dog is actually quite vocal!
 

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Abbylynn's favorite pastime is growling. It is just a form of language and communication. I rather like it. :) At least I know she is happy. :)
 

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If your dog is Growling like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_IHsbDi7ZI&feature=youtu.be then hes just playing. Its not something you would want to stop, you encourage it because its a sound that its happy!
He's a bit bigger and louder than that heart melting puppy. :) It would be simple for me to video him so I'll try to remember to do that later today and post it here. I believe it's just a happy growl so I'll just have to teach the kids more about body posture, watching his ears, tail, etc.

Thank you!!
 

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Basset hounds, like Beagles, and Miniature Pinschers are known for being vocal when they play. :) I personally love the sound.
Trust me its no fun playing with a dog when they make no sounds. lol When I play with out Basenji Sophie it just kills me that she is not vocal! lol
 

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Yes ... certain breeds are known to be very vocal. Just like Abbylynn ( Dobie/Rott mix ) she can sound like a ferocious canine about to really hurt you ... and if you were a by stander you would think that I was about to be visciously attacked ... when really it is all in fun. :) She has a terribly deep loud growl for a girl. Lol! :)
 

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He's a bit bigger and louder than that heart melting puppy. :) It would be simple for me to video him so I'll try to remember to do that later today and post it here. I believe it's just a happy growl so I'll just have to teach the kids more about body posture, watching his ears, tail, etc.

Thank you!!
Ill Record him again. That heart melting puppy is now 3 months old. he still growls while playing with me lol :) glad i could help
 

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Play can get too intense. He can reach a level of intensity where somebody in the wrong place at the wrong time could get bit accidently.

Three days ago I had a three-way game of tug going -- me, the westie and the ridgeback. The terrier, he's the vocal one, was pretty intense when the big dog stepped on him, and that threw him into a frenzy, which excited the ridgeback, and both dogs clamped down on my hand. Luckily the big dog realized right away and released without much penetration, although it felt like getting slammed in a car door. The little dog on the other hand buried one of his canines to the hilt in that fleshy part between thumb & forefinger and held on for a second. Talk about pain!

The growl is your clue to intensity level. When it gets too intense, take a short break then resume.
 

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My dog is 11 yo and still growls with tug, altho he has to be more gentle - showing his age. As he has aged - like a fine wine - his growl sometimes takes the form related to a hah, hah, hah ... making me believe that a growl might be an enthusiastic laugh ... ?
 

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I've never had a dog that didn't growl at me when playing tug with a toy.. If you don't like it, just instantly stop playing when does it, he'll probably figure it out eventually.
 

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Geeze that's a pup/dog's personality showing
Yup. I don't mind it at all myself, I even encourage it as it seems to build confidence in the dog in relating to me. It's a sign to me of a confident dog and a good established trust between us. Took a good while to get Hope to do it, Kaya likely never will but ya never know. I taught her to bark at me when she wanted something and wow what a confidence booster that was for her.. I created a monster.. She learned to be pretty assertive in demanding things real fast once she figured out she could bark at me and nothing bad would happen.

But some folks don't like a dog growling for any reason..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ill Record him again. That heart melting puppy is now 3 months old. he still growls while playing with me lol :) glad i could help
I hope you do!! :D

The growl is your clue to intensity level. When it gets too intense, take a short break then resume.
He started growling while playing within the first couple days. We have had him for 4 weeks so while I believed the growl was just him being vocal, I wasn't sure if he had a little agression that wasn't otherwise evident. We are all still getting aquainted after all. ;) But what prompted this thread was while playing out back, his growling got LOUD and freaked me out. I could tell he was *really* amped up. So we left that toy outside and came in to cool off. A little while later I started this thread but he hasn't gotten nearly as loud since. I'm excited to know know that it means happy! It has actually made playing more fun for me know that I know he's having a blast. But if it ever gets that intense again, we'll just take a break. :)

Thanks everyone! :)
 

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Awwwe .... how cute . Typical puppy play. :) I also see that the toy is brought back to you and Rex is initiating play. Whatever word you use while you are playing tug, Rex is going to associate it with this game. I am only mentioning this because after he sat ( which was really good!) you said " Be Nice " ... he then grabbed the toy and resumed play. I have taught Abbylynn ( not suggesting you do this ) that when I say a certain word she becomes very intense with her tug game ... I can cue her on the game.

Rex sure is a cutie! :)
 

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Awwwe .... how cute . Typical puppy play. :) I also see that the toy is brought back to you and Rex is initiating play. Whatever word you use while you are playing tug, Rex is going to associate it with this game. I am only mentioning this because after he sat ( which was really good!) you said " Be Nice " ... he then grabbed the toy and resumed play. I have taught Abbylynn ( not suggesting you do this ) that when I say a certain word she becomes very intense with her tug game.

Rex sure is a cutie! :)
thank you :) when I say "be nice" its for him to grab the toy softly then later we get intense. Ive also trained him to when I say "Ow!" loudly he lets go and lays down. its because I have a little sister and he comes with me to visit at my moms house and she scared of dogs so im slowly getting her use to them :) They have there own little dog but shes really old and kinda remind me of a cranky old lady. At least with Rex my little sister can play with him and knows if she says "be nice" he wont be too intense.
 

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thank you :) when I say "be nice" its for him to grab the toy softly then later we get intense. Ive also trained him to when I say "Ow!" loudly he lets go and lays down. its because I have a little sister and he comes with me to visit at my moms house and she scared of dogs so im slowly getting her use to them :) They have there own little dog but shes really old and kinda remind me of a cranky old lady. At least with Rex my little sister can play with him and knows if she says "be nice" he wont be too intense.
Sounds like you are doing a great job with Rex! He seems to listen well! :)
 

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I agree, terrific job. Some Observations:
1. He ran to get the toy and brought it back to play tug... He likes the game.
2. His tail is excited while he waits for the toy, but while he tugs and growls, the tail swishes slowly... happy and confident.
3. An interested question is if you let him pull the toy away, does he bring it back to play ? Note, if he runs, don't chase him.
4. As he gets larger, he will shake and pull much more strongly, and growl more 'viciously' .... He doesn't think that he's changed the game, he's just bigger and stronger, so you'll have to adjust the rules to suit you, as needed.
5. keep it up, you're doing great!
 
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