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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have the cutest 5 month old golden and he has been the best pup. No big issues but recently has been randomly growling and almost snapping at us. He hasn’t bit us but has showed teeth, but 5 seconds later will come over and sit on our laps. It’s so bizarre. He is definitely teething but most teeth are almost gone. It does almost always happen on the sofa or on the bed, but not usually w food but randomly. There’s even been one time where he was laying on my bf and then growled.
Is this normal? I am not sure how to handle it as I can’t seem to find the cause. Again he is soo great and it hasn’t been anything huge, and only a handful of times but it does make me nervous.
 

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Kristy
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No, this is not normal and is completely unacceptable. When is the last time he's had a check up at the vet? I would discuss the possibility with your vet that he has any joint pain etc. to rule that out and let the vet know what is going on. Sit down with your boyfriend and document every episode the puppy has had and try to remember all the details. Write it all down and tart tracking these episodes. That way if you need to get a behavior specialist involved you have something very specific to give as evidence.

In the meantime, if this were my dog, he would wear a collar and leash anytime he was out in the house, supervised. Cut off a cheap leash to about 2 feet or so. Use that to make sure he obeys you when you tell him to do something. Stop letting him up on the furniture, he has not earned the privilege and it sounds like he may be getting too big for his britches. When he jumps, up calmly tell him "off" and use the leash to get him off. It will take a lot of repetition to break the habit, but be consistent. All people in the home have to be on board.

Start working twice a day with him, on leash, obedience training. This has to happen. He is becoming a sassy teenager and needs to learn that he is not in charge. TODAY, find an obedience club or dog training club and enroll in their beginning class. Basics like, down, stay, come and wait need to be worked on daily. Work up to being able to put him in a down/stay while you fix his food bowl and then set it down next to him and he doesn't move to eat until you release him. He needs to learn a "place" command where he goes to a dog bed or small mat or rug and stays there on command. Working on this at your meal time will help you remember to do it. Building obedience practice around his mealtimes will also help. Keep a log and calendar of what you work on daily and his progress.

Look up the training protocol "Nothing in Life is Free" and start using it at your house. His behavior is not acceptable and now is the time to get serious about his training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No, this is not normal and is completely unacceptable. When is the last time he's had a check up at the vet? I would discuss the possibility with your vet that he has any joint pain etc. to rule that out and let the vet know what is going on. Sit down with your boyfriend and document every episode the puppy has had and try to remember all the details. Write it all down and tart tracking these episodes. That way if you need to get a behavior specialist involved you have something very specific to give as evidence.

In the meantime, if this were my dog, he would wear a collar and leash anytime he was out in the house, supervised. Cut off a cheap leash to about 2 feet or so. Use that to make sure he obeys you when you tell him to do something. Stop letting him up on the furniture, he has not earned the privilege and it sounds like he may be getting too big for his britches. When he jumps, up calmly tell him "off" and use the leash to get him off. It will take a lot of repetition to break the habit, but be consistent. All people in the home have to be on board.

Start working twice a day with him, on leash, obedience training. This has to happen. He is becoming a sassy teenager and needs to learn that he is not in charge. TODAY, find an obedience club or dog training club and enroll in their beginning class. Basics like, down, stay, come and wait need to be worked on daily. Work up to being able to put him in a down/stay while you fix his food bowl and then set it down next to him and he doesn't move to eat until you release him. He needs to learn a "place" command where he goes to a dog bed or small mat or rug and stays there on command. Working on this at your meal time will help you remember to do it. Building obedience practice around his mealtimes will also help. Keep a log and calendar of what you work on daily and his progress.

Look up the training protocol "Nothing in Life is Free" and start using it at your house. His behavior is not acceptable and now is the time to get serious about his training.
Thanks so much for your insight and feedback. We do have an appt with the Vet this week, as this as only been going on for a week or so.
He is a really great puppy in terms of training and obedience, other than this recent issue. He knows sit, come, stay, heal, down, and does wait and sit when I feed him until I say go ahead. During the day, he stays at my feet all day while I work and doesn't even chew anything other than his toys and doesn't even bark. We walk him every day on the harness for 25 min, teaching heal more and more, and we run him at a field with a ball every day for 30 min, so he gets plenty of exercise daily, over an hour usually.
This is why it is weird, it has only happened a handful of times in the last week and a half, but right after he growls, he comes up and cuddles us, giving us kisses and acting normal.
 

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I agree with Nolefan's recommendations, especially getting a vet check. You want to rule out both physical and mental/emotional issues before just assuming this is a behavioral problem. One thing I want to note is that, although you do want to address the growling issue (and if you rule out physical/mental issues as a cause, then tightening up the training is definitely the next step - although you may want to bring in a trainer if your own observations don't provide an answer to WHY he's growling) you never want to punish the growling. The growl is a warning. If you teach your dog that it's not "safe" to growl, then the dog could end up going straight to a bite "without warning." So while you want to stop the growling, you need to find out WHY the dog is growling and address that... the growl is the symptom of a problem, not the problem itself...I'm not saying that growling shouldn't have consequences. If, for instance, you determine he's trying to guard the couch and not let you on it, then Nolefan's suggestion of keeping a leash on him so you can firmly but gently remove him from the couch (or enforcing a rule that he's not allowed on the couch to begin with), is an appropriate response. Yelling at him, hitting him, spraying him with water, putting an ecollar on him, or yanking him off the couch are responses that may suppress the growl but may make the aggressive response escalate...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
nt to rule out both physical and mental/emotional issues before just assuming this is a behavioral problem. One thing I want to note is that, although you do want to address the growling issue (and if you r
This is very helpful pawsnpaca. Thank you. I agree, the reason why I think it might have to do with the teething and pain is because there really isn't a rhyme or reason that we've seen why he is growling. It would make me feel better if it was because of a treat, bone, food, etc. but he lets us take things out of his mouth all the time, he is really good around food and is very on your lap cuddly. As I mentioned in my other response, he is very good at all the commands, and knows all of them and abides. We haven't had any issues with anything up until this (a week or so ago). He was potty trained instantly, he sits and wait till I let him eat, he knows heal on the leash, and is the calmest puppy I've ever seen. He just lays with me all day. That is why I am confused, as I am hoping this is just a adolescent thing, and it really came out of nowhere and doesn't seem to match the personality we've seen for over a month.
 

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Besides checking for pain etc, could he be resource guarding you, the sofa or the bed? If you suspect this, I would suggest you consult a behaviourist as it is a serious issue.

Bear in mind that dominance theories of dog behaviour are considered outdated, and you should be wary of advice from strangers on the internet :) Easy read article , Academic sources .
 

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Kristy
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.....t he lets us take things out of his mouth all the time, he is really good around food and is very on your lap cuddly. As I mentioned in my other response, he is very good at all the commands, and knows all of them and abides. We haven't had any issues with anything up until this (a week or so ago). He was potty trained instantly, he sits and wait till I let him eat, he knows heal on the leash, and is the calmest puppy I've ever seen. He just lays with me all day. That is why I am confused, as I am hoping this is just a adolescent thing, and it really came out of nowhere and doesn't seem to match the personality we've seen for over a month.
Make detailed notes to take to the vet. Do some reading up on canine body language, Turid Rugaas has a book called "Calming Signals" that can be a great place to start. The fact that he is very obedient and you have worked a lot with him certainly makes this interesting. Are you the primary trainer and caretaker - how does your boyfriend fit into the dynamic? Since you spend so much time with him, he is 'your' puppy - is he guarding you? If he sees your boyfriend as infringing on his comfort zone with you, that could be a piece of the puzzle. Have the majority of the episodes involved just one person or both? Think through all those details and include them in your notes.

We learn a lot here from all the individuals who share their experiences, please keep us posted if you don't mind on how this progresses. Sharing your outcome and what works for you (you WILL figure this out, you are too involved and present with the dog to fail.) could help someone else in the future and give us all a way to learn. Fingers crossed the answers show themselves soon for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ance theories of dog behaviour are considered outdated,
Thanks! What do you mean by resource guarding >
Make detailed notes to take to the vet. Do some reading up on canine body language, Turid Rugaas has a book called "Calming Signals" that can be a great place to start. The fact that he is very obedient and you have worked a lot with him certainly makes this interesting. Are you the primary trainer and caretaker - how does your boyfriend fit into the dynamic? Since you spend so much time with him, he is 'your' puppy - is he guarding you? If he sees your boyfriend as infringing on his comfort zone with you, that could be a piece of the puzzle. Have the majority of the episodes involved just one person or both? Think through all those details and include them in your notes.

We learn a lot here from all the individuals who share their experiences, please keep us posted if you don't mind on how this progresses. Sharing your outcome and what works for you (you WILL figure this out, you are too involved and present with the dog to fail.) could help someone else in the future and give us all a way to learn. Fingers crossed the answers show themselves soon for you.
Thank you so much for the positivity! I have really been stressed about this all week and just a little freaked out as it hasn't been his personality & is so new to me.

After thinking more about it, I think it has to do with him feeling equal to us since 1. he is allowed on the furniture, and 2. because we really never reprimand him/ yell at him because he has literally been the best dog, so we barely say no. I think he thinks that he is boss, and so when he is touched the wrong way when he is sleeping on the couch, he thinks he can do that.

It has mostly happened w both of us there, but once it did happen to just my boyfriend when I wasn't there.
It has only been on furniture, and has only been at night or when he is exhausted.
 

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If he is growling only when he is on furniture, then follow nolefan's advice. With a short leash on him, you can always be in a control if he does not obey the off command. Eventually his attitude should change. It is not uncommon for puppies to growl when they are on furniture. Good luck!
 

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What do you mean by resource guarding
Here is an AKC article on resource guarding: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/t...actical-Guide-Resource-Guarding/dp/0970562942

Resource guarding is most common with items they put in their mouths (food, toys, decaying-thing-I-found-in-the-woods), but dogs can also guard the couch or a person... basically anything that is of value to them.

This book is also a great resource: Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9780970562944: Amazon.com: Books
 

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Kristy
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Thank you so much for the positivity! I have really been stressed about this all week and just a little freaked out as it hasn't been his personality & is so new to me.

After thinking more about it, I think it has to do with him feeling equal to us since 1. he is allowed on the furniture, and 2. because we really never reprimand him/ yell at him because he has literally been the best dog, so we barely say no. I think he thinks that he is boss, and so when he is touched the wrong way when he is sleeping on the couch, he thinks he can do that.

It has mostly happened w both of us there, but once it did happen to just my boyfriend when I wasn't there.
It has only been on furniture, and has only been at night or when he is exhausted.
He's a 5 month old puppy - he definitely needs boundaries. Please don't think that I am encouraging you to yell at your dog, if he has any fear or anxiety issues, that will not help. I am encouraging you to give him clear boundaries and firm leadership - this kind of treatment generally makes a dog feel more secure (children too.). If he is well behaved and follows direction then he rarely needs reprimanded and that is ok - but when he crosses boundaries of good manners or pushy behavior, he deserves to be given clear, calm feedback that he's made a mistake and shouldn't do it again. Some dogs will never push boundaries but there are some who will. I know it's upsetting to have your sweet puppy behave like a dog, but this should be a phase of development you can work through by giving him more clarity on what is acceptable. If he growls on the couch, he's no longer permitted on the couch. He can be taught to 'settle' on a dog bed, it's very good training and teaches self control. If these episodes seem to happen when he's excessively tired, set him up for success by putting him in a down/stay on a dog bed while you watch a show for the evening or crate him with a chew bone and see if he needs extra nap time. I still believe a check up with the vet is in order, don't cancel. Growling when he's irritated is normal dog behavior, but it is out of character for most Golden puppies. If he is a dog who is less tolerant of his space being invaded, you will need to monitor very closely any interaction he has with strangers and especially with children. Some dogs who are less tolerant see children as a weaker link and will not put up with petting or invading space. This is where learning canine body language comes in to play. Keep thinking through all this, more things may click with you.
 

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You want to get on top of this right away. Our pup, now one year, growled at me exactly once when I needed to take a bone from him. We had a little "discussion" about it followed by some other things for training, and I have never ever since seen any resource guarding at all, on anything. What works for your dog may be different than what worked for mine. But he doesnt mind fireworks, thunder, or brushing his teeth. And I can clip and file his nails with no problem. Take a bone or anything right out of his mouth. I think it has been 50 % lucky genes and 50% consistent training. We are kind to him and love him but there is no quarter given that he is at the bottom of the pecking order, he knows it and all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to everyone for the helpful comments! It has been over 2 1/2 weeks since he has growled, YAY! I did talk w the vet, and she said he probably is a grump when he sleeps and to make sure that he knows he can't do that, esp when on furniture. The last time he growled we did reprimand him and made him get down off of the furniture and it hasn't happened since. The other thing she noticed was he was teething BAD. His bleeding and swelling of gums was terrible, one of the worst she has seen, so we think that had something to do w it. He has now lost all of his teeth/ they are pretty much grown in.

He is the sweetest most cuddliest dog, and haven't had issues these past two weeks and hoping it stays. I think it is just important to make sure they know they aren't in charge/ it's not their domain, and that sometimes the teething can be pretty bad on them.
 
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