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Can you all please advise me. I have a 6 month old puppy and she has just started this growling stuff. If she sees someone new and we are out away from our home she will do this little growl. We tell her no and she stops but I am wondering why she has started this. It is embarrassing..... Should we ignore it or is saying No to her ok?
If someone new comes to our house she doesn't do this....only if say we go into a farm store or something she will growl at say the clerk. No one has ever hurt her and the growl isn't a snarly growl like she is going to bite. Is this normal???? This is my first pup so I really don't know.
Thank you...
wondering if this is a fear stage that people talk about. Does it go away????
 

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Very likely the fear stage.

Do NOT punish growling in any way. Growling is a warning, "stop that before I bite". If you remove growling, all your dog has left is biting.

Change her feelings about strangers instead. Find the best possible treat- cooked chicken, baked liver, cheese- and give it to her whenever she sees a stranger. Don't worry if she's growling, just treat. You need to convince her that strangers = best treats ever. You can do this with anything. My old dog hated being brushed. After a month of giving him cheese with the brush, he was thrilled to be brushed.
 

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I agree with the training that Amaryllis suggests. However, a puppy growling may not be fear or aggression.... it may be play. You have to look at all the body language, not just the growl, b/c in a puppy a wagging tail can accompany a growl. A low tucked under tail, or snarling/baring teeth cold indicate fear.
 

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How much socialising have you done with your pup? I do not mean just going to the dog park or walking around the block. Actuall mixing with lots of other people and dogs.
There is nothing like mixing with people in the formative months, around 12 to 24 weeks. You need to see if there is a dog club near you that will allow you to bring your dog down. WHen you get there have lots of high value rewards and reward when she sits quiet. Give some strangers a few treats and then walk your pup up to them. The strangers should take a side on, non threateninig stand and have the hand with a treat in the dogs "zone".
If you have done non of this yet then be prepared to take it in small steps. Work at a distance to start with and only move closer if you can see your pup is not stressed by all the activity.
 

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Very likely the fear stage.

Do NOT punish growling in any way. Growling is a warning, "stop that before I bite". If you remove growling, all your dog has left is biting.

Change her feelings about strangers instead. Find the best possible treat- cooked chicken, baked liver, cheese- and give it to her whenever she sees a stranger. Don't worry if she's growling, just treat. You need to convince her that strangers = best treats ever. You can do this with anything. My old dog hated being brushed. After a month of giving him cheese with the brush, he was thrilled to be brushed.
So this will work if *I* give the cheese to my puppy while strangers are walking by? I was reading The Other End of the Leash and in one scenario the author had the strangers throw the treat to the dog. But I can't imagine myself asking the teenagers come off the bus to throw cheese to my dog. I never thought about giving it to her myself.

Is this treat thing something that should be done for everything during the fear stage?
 

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1. If you provide the cheese, cut tiny, dime-sized slices... or get a fat dog :) This gets the dog used to the experience.
2. If you can get people to provide the cheese. This gets the dog used to individuals.... Teenagers love puppies!
3. This is just good socialization. For the fear cycle, other than people, try to expose her to 'safe' situations, and don't force her. If she doesn't feel threatened or overly startled, then she won't learn to fear things or experiences during the fear cycle.

My dog is still wary of Halloween scarecrows and random plastic bags blowing in the street. However, if I let him go sniff them on his own timid schedule, once his nose touches it, he promptly loses interest and ignores it.
 
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