Growling

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kimberleyone
Posts: 137
Joined: 26 Apr 2011, 19:58
Location: Mundesley N Norfolk

Growling

Post by kimberleyone » 13 Aug 2012, 22:07

:cry:
Tonight something really sad and worrying happened. Mundesley was sat staring at me, I went through all the usual - drink, back door open etc etc. Went into the kitchen and offered him a Jumbone. He very rarely has these, this one was left over from Christmas. He went over to his bed and diverted to the sofa. I said "off" and "on your bed" and went towards him and he then really growled at me. My husband then went to him and he snapped at him. The Jumbone went in the bin and the dog went outside so we could all calm down. My husband then tells me that he did the same on Saturday, after he had managed to get hold of a corn on the cob and went to take it off him. He did manage to get it off him by offering a bit of burger, but this behaviour is so much unlike Muns I am very upset and am in tears while I am writing this. He has never shown any guarding over food, toys or anything else. He doesnt have bones often, he seems happy and healthy enough on Wainwrights, and has toppers - sardines, a little cheese, and a couple of chicken wings a week. When he is given these he is told to take them outside, which he does. When he was younger I have taken his food and various toys off him with no reaction, and I dont know where this has come from. He is an "only " dog, just me and hubby and I guess he is a bit spoilt, BUT he is still treated as a dog not a child. He is not top dog, is this his way of trying to become best? What do I do now? My initial reaction is just not to give him a bone again, but as I have 2 grandchildren who love him lots, I now do not feel like I can trust him, although they have never been left with him. He frightened me tonight. What have I done wrong?

Clairejen
Posts: 2995
Joined: 29 Oct 2009, 16:31
Location: Kings Lynn

Re: Growling

Post by Clairejen » 13 Aug 2012, 23:22

You haven't done anything wrong, many dogs display guarding behaviour with particular food items or toys. Our adopted girl, Sally, will lower her head and growl if she has a bone or pig's ear - anything which takes a long time to eat. She will sometimes do the same with her ducks. I'm not sure what the recommended treatment is for this, I avoid eye contact as they can find this confrontational, speak lightly and tell her not to be silly. Sometimes I'll just sit next to her until she stops grumbling. If she's got something she shouldn't have or I feel it advisable to take the item away then I do so firmly and quickly (wearing thick gloves in case she does bite - although she never has).

I would suggest not giving him potential problem foods when the children are around, and do some work on training him to drop items, maybe as part of a retrieve and drop routine. I'd be interested to hear what suggestions others may have.
Claire
slave of Leon & Sally
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woodlanders
Posts: 211
Joined: 16 Feb 2012, 23:19
Location: Worcester

Re: Growling

Post by woodlanders » 13 Aug 2012, 23:42

Hi

Not has this problem myself - yet, but mum in law has with her cocker spaniel. They have allowed him to sleep on their bed, sofa etc with no problems and then recently he began growling and snapping if they told him to get down.
I guess it's a bit of a power struggle and they are dealing with it by not allowing him on the furniture any more (he's back in his dog basket) and peace has been restored. Hope this helps. x
Jo and Alfie xx

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Maggie111
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012, 12:45

Re: Growling

Post by Maggie111 » 13 Aug 2012, 23:59

Not sure why it's only a recent problem and if you are afraid it might be worth getting a behaviourist in.

In the meantime every meal time prepare his dinner and get a biscuit or crisp. Make the dog's food on the counter top, then when you're about to give the dog his food, use sleight of hand to "pick" up your crisp or biscuit out of the dog bowl and eat it and then put the food down and tell him he can eat.

If you think you can get your hands near his food without being snapped you can always give him a little bit of biscuit, then drop him some more from a distance, and then some more. As the days pass you can get your hand a little closer till you're touching the bowl to put the food in. But only do this if you're confident he wont snap at your fingers - it wont help the dog if it gets that stressed and certainly wont help you.
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hockborn
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Joined: 23 Jul 2012, 19:33
Location: Durham

Re: Growling

Post by hockborn » 14 Aug 2012, 07:45

I agree with this. You may have to start giving him permission to eat. Get him to sit away from you, pretend to eat a treat or food, put it down in front of you and stand over it. Then wait a few seconds then give him permission to eat it. With his normal food try to put hand in as he eats etc. If this is not possible put small amounts of his food in until he has finished then take his bowl, add a bit more and give it to him and repeat until he has had his quota. With the bones etc you may have to pretend to eat these first. I suggest that you get him to eat these at your feet and he has to come to you and stay with you to eat it rather than on his own somewhere as he will then make a cocoon around himself to eat in peace and will not want to be stopped. If he is eating in your personal space it may help. These are only suggestions and others may have much more beneficial advice!! Good luck and don't worry. Train him constantly now as you have caught it early and well done for recognising that this shouldn't happen. Lots of less responsible owners would just ignore this or see this as funny!! One other point though- try not to let him on the sofa or on your bed etc as he may see this as being the sme rank as yourselves. Let us know how you get on.

Barneyboy
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007, 21:06

Re: Growling

Post by Barneyboy » 14 Aug 2012, 11:17

Be thankful you have a dog who growls. Dogs who don't growl (usually because they've been taught it's useless) go straight to the 'snap' after their other warning signs have been ignored (look out for the 'freeze' and the 'stare). Adding food to a bowl is a good idea (use a long handled spoon if you're fearful of getting that close to start with). Use high value rewards to 'swop' for other items - start with the dog having something 'low value' to start with, such as an every day toy, and teach them that letting you have a look doesn't mean they are going to loose it (unfortunatly by taking the Jumbone away, you have reinforced the fears that you are going to take it away). Remember, in dog world, he who has the food has the right to protect it from other pack members, NO MATTER THEIR RANK.
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MandyG
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Joined: 21 Oct 2011, 12:49
Location: Kent

Re: Growling

Post by MandyG » 14 Aug 2012, 13:21

I'm wondering how old he is? Dogs aged between 6 months and 14 months go through a second fear stage in which they may become aggressive, protective and territorial.

Take a look here for more info (scroll down the page) http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/Develo ... tages.html
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Love and licks, Phoebe and Mandy

Jennifer
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Joined: 06 Apr 2010, 22:12

Re: Growling

Post by Jennifer » 14 Aug 2012, 15:38

I can sympathise as I had something very similar happen recently with Ted. My husbands idea was to take his food away but I thought that would only make him worse.
I stopped him growling by saying his name as I approach so as not to startle him then I threw a treat down for him, after a couple of meal times of doing this i would then approach him and stroke him (this is what made him growl ) and he didn't growl so I put a treat down for him, I progressed over a couple of days to picking his food up, putting a treat down and replacing his food, I also got the kids to do this as he growled at my son as well. I am still doing this regularly and will continue to do so as it really upset me to, I won't give him food if we have visitors to the house in case this happens with them.
I know it's hard but try not to feel bad, I don't think it's anything you've done wrong, we've always made him sit and wait, eat last, pretend to eat his dinner first etc etc but these things happen sometimes. Be positive, stay calm and take control, he just has to learn to trust you around his food, things improved very quickly with Ted so I'm sure it won't be a problem for long.
Good luck and let us know how you get on. :D
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elainendexter
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Joined: 03 Oct 2011, 16:54

Re: Growling

Post by elainendexter » 14 Aug 2012, 18:26

Thats what my old yorkie was like ,i would never try and get thing off him,he was a nasty dog at times and did snap at the kids ,I would try and not give him things that make him like that and try and nip it in the bud while he is young ,my dog made me very nervous .I do the same as you if dexter growls at my sisters dog over anything i take it off him.
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Bid
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Joined: 03 Nov 2006, 20:30
Location: South Dorset
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Re: Growling

Post by Bid » 14 Aug 2012, 20:19

Don't panic - a lot of dogs go through this sort of thing. I would suggest you get this book - it talks a lot of sense and has lots of suggestions on what to do .... http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0970 ... hs_product
www.dogtrekker.co.uk
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Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices - Byron

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kimberleyone
Posts: 137
Joined: 26 Apr 2011, 19:58
Location: Mundesley N Norfolk

Re: Growling

Post by kimberleyone » 15 Aug 2012, 11:29

Firstly thank you all for your replies. They were very reassuring.
The next day Mundesley was quite subdued, almost to the point of me taking him to the vet. He seemed to sense that something wasn't right. I guess my attitude to him was a bit distant too. Anyway, we did the food thing - he looked at me as if to say "what ARE you doing", he has let me touch him while eating (which he always has) taken the bowl away (pained expression), so I think it is purely bones and the results of thieving that need to be guarded. He has been very good today. I am trying to stop him barking and mumbling at everyone that walks past the house and when the dustbinmen came today, he watched them out of the window without a sound!! Lots of praise and a sausage! Maybe it was a try on weekend to see how far I could be pushed? No idea really. He usually respond well to "drop it", so no probs there (unless its a bone), he never has done much of a retrieve , he can, but cant be bothered after 2 throws.
Anyway I suppose the answer is no bones, or anything that resembles a bone, thankfully he is not a thief or counter surfer so he very rarely gets hold of something that he shouldn't, so that shouldnt happen very often!
Again, thanks all.

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