Puppy gives a growl - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy gives a growl

I did notice that sometimes when he is chewing bone and you pet him to much he gives a growl. Other times he does not care. Is this normal for a puppy 13 weeks, otherwise he is as sweet as can be but, this does make me a bit nervous. I have grandchildren and I am worried this is an aggressive trait. He is not a alpha male at all. The breeder told me this is normal puppy behavior at this point. He is responding as if he has litter mates. I scold him promptly. I think maybe he just did not want to be bugged at that moment. What does everyone think?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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I spend a ton of time in Naples Florida. Well, I used to. We have only had the puppy one week yesturday. So, we are both adjusting. He got over growling with his food. He tried only once. It is his chew bone that he gets mad at and I have had to take it away before and he never made a sound. so,not sure what is up with him some times. We are both still learning the ways. I do not tolerate the growling at all. He has only done this twice with the bone. I will keep on him. Other wise he is super smart and already asks to go outside. We start puppy class on Jan 5th. I will have to give him a treat to give up his bone. Ugh, puppies are a ton of work that is for sure!!!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 02:10 PM
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I do allow our dog to growl but only when is it appropriate.
Not during play.
She is not allowed to growl at passers-by on our walks, nor when she greets people.

It is important to determine if they are speaking or growling.
It's sometimes hard to tell when a pup is learning their voice.
I thought Bella was growling one day.
She was sitting behind my chair, while as at my desk.
I heard this ERRRR behind me, As I looked around she escalated the ERRR into a high pitch bark.
She rose to her feet, tail wagging, heading for the door. I finally realized she wanted out.

We live in the country, we have a fully fenced area 55 x 50ft that is attached to the house. Behind our acre is another 25 acres of mixed pasture, trees, & brush.
Coyotes, deer, wild turkey & the occasional timber wolf pass by.

When I accompany Bella out in the evenings or early mornings (before sun rise) she often sniffs the air, stairs into the darkness, the fur standing on her shoulders, growling.
When this occurs I do not scold or correct her. I ask her whats wrong, & bring her in close to me. She'll stay with me until we go in.

Mike D (Bella's dad)
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 02:18 PM
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Rocket has done this twice. Both times were when he had an extra-special treat and my 4 year old daughter decided she wanted to snuggle with him. Which to her means getting right up next to him and essentially laying on him with her arms wrapped around his neck.

He did not snarl, lift his lip or snap. To me, this is a normal response. He gave a low growl to tell DD to back off. (ETA: I was right there both times and immediately got DD away from the dog).

In my mind, the issue here is teaching my daughter to respect the dog's space and to leave him alone if he has an extra special treat.

Why would you give the dog something super-tasty and then try to take it away?

Now, if my dog was snapping and growling all the time, or refusing to give things up on a regular basis, I'd feel differently. But, my guy has a great "drop it" reflex. He'll drop anything if I ask him to. So a low warning growl when my dd is being a pain and not giving him his space is completely fair.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 03:13 PM
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Start now teaching him to trade you for whatever he has. He has a bone, offer him a better treat and take the bone. BUT after he eats the treat, give the bone back. Don't just take it away from him that will teach him you are a threat to the things he values and he needs to guard them from you. You want him to learn that when you approach even if he has something valuable, it is a good thing for you to approach because you bring something yummy.

"To my mind, I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 03:27 PM
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I got Brew a cool oatmeal bone, and he loved it, the min I went too close to him while he was chewing it, he froze up, bared his teeth and growled, also did the tongue flicking. I thought Uh Oh! It was a HUGE red flag to me! I immediately took the treat away from him and scolded the aggressive behavior, I told him "No" quite firmly and stared him down. About an hour later I brought the treat out again and would only allow him to chew on it while I held it and pet his head. Now during meal times I sit with my hand in his bowl so he has to eat around my hand. I'' not going to lie, there was a bit of tension between us when we first started this training, but now he's like "Whatever" and just goes with it.

My advise, nip it in the butt now!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 03:31 PM
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Please follow the advice from MLissyK and teach this puppy to trade. Please set yourself and your puppy up for success by making sure your grandchildren understand that they don't ever bother a dog laying down with a bone or toy or who is eating. It will be your job to monitor this closely. A growl is a warning. There are many people whose opinion I respect who feel that if you punish a dog for growling, you will teach him not to growl and to go straight for a bite.

If I were you, I would be very careful about making sure there are no 'high value' treats or chews laying around your house when you have guests or any visiting children. He may grow out of this tendency to guard his chew bones but he may not. It is important that you don't risk a situation happening that doesn't end well. If he needs to chew while you have guests, make sure he is locked in his crate and pick up the chew when he is done.

You can make every effort to teach children the rules of how to act around dogs, but they are children and apt to forget themselves. It's just safer to do everything possible to make sure these situations don't arise. In the meantime, please work on the idea of 'trade' and please don't just take things from him. You can get away with this with some dogs, and with some you will just make the situation worse. They all have different personalities.

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Last edited by nolefan; 12-18-2012 at 03:37 PM. Reason: typo
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, for all the responses. He did this 3 times. it was a low growl and he does let me take his stuff away. I do not tolerate this behavior. He maybe just did not want to be bugged at that time but, sometimes that is tuff luck. It do give him his alone time. The first time was when he had food so, I traded him for a treat and he stopped the food source growl. The other time was when he had his chew bone and He was quickly scolded.( He was just told no)I do hold the bone and let him chew it so, he does not feel that He will get it taken away from him. He is not a barker and plays nice. We went to the vet and he was the only quiet dog in the place. LOL He really friendly when people come over and is not wild. I am teaching him to "greet" when people come over, he is not allowed to jump. I just wanted to know if anyone esle went through these growing pains. Thanks everyone. As, a rule of thumb I never ever let kids go unsupervised around dogs not matter how well behaved they are. I worked for a plastic surgeon, and I cant tell you how many times the family dog bit a kid in the face. Thanks everyone

Last edited by Naples6020; 12-18-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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