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My pup can be oh so sweet, he runs to me when I call him and rolls on his back- tailing wagging- letting me scratch his belly. If he has something he shouldn’t, he lets me take it from him, without issue. He lets me hand feed him and takes food and treats very sweetly. But when he is playing, or when he gets hyper he growls and bares his teeth. If I touch him when he is being playful he sometimes bares his teeth at me too. Now, maybe I am being overly sensitive, but I am just wondering if this abnormal behavior? Should I be concerned or is this normal? Thank you for your opinions and advice.

(Pup is 9 weeks and 5 days old. I got him at 8 weeks)
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Yes, this is abnormal behavior. Your puppy is afraid you're going to hurt him. Also when he comes to you, rolling over and wagging his tail is sometimes submissive behavior. He comes, but he's nervous, so he rolls over and wags his tail to tell you he is no threat.

Are you too rough with him? Have you ever hit him?
 

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I have never hit him, and I am don’t even play rough with him. I’m very gentle when I handle him, always. I honestly don’t think he is scared of me at all.
 

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I'm wondering if he is a smiler- I have a girl whose grandmother is a smiler, and when she was young I noticed she too smiled at play.. so I did as her grandmom's owner did and gave her a signal for it, and now she smiles on command.
 

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Puddles
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I'm with Dana on the submissive behavior on the approach. But I also had a golden that smiled. She was a rescue and no one would go near her.. this was my 1st golden. She curled that lip up and I just giggled and asked if she wanted to come home with me. Sweet precious Annie was by my side every minute for the next 5 yrs before her liver shut down.

At 9 weeks this pup has only been at your house about a week, they have lost everything that is familiar, their siblings and their entire support group. The world is very overwhelming, the lip curl may just be a part of the "I'm nervous" body language she is already showing you. I prefer to see a more confident, strong willed pup but with a little help, she will become more comfortable.

When you call her to you try squatting down and have a treat. Be positive but not over nurturing when she is rolling over. Let her get back up on all 4's then go crazy to see her. You want to reward the positive not encourage the frightened. Help all her new events be very positive to help build some confidence.
 

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I've also had a couple goldens who would smile. Maggie likes to bare teeth when we play with her paws. I try to grab them and she's fat with pulling them away. Then she'll last down and stretch out her front legs to new like go ahead and try and touch them with teeth bared. It's hysterical and if I lay my hand out she bares teeth Anna paws my hand hard and leaves it there like ok you can have my paw. And when done, she give me both paws so I can handle then and she's normal like we didn't even play.

Some dogs like to play barring teeth like this. As long as there's nothing aggressive then I wouldn't worry about it. Just make sure you teach the enough or calm commands so they know when play is over.
 

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My pup can be oh so sweet, he runs to me when I call him and rolls on his back- tailing wagging- letting me scratch his belly. If he has something he shouldn’t, he lets me take it from him, without issue. He lets me hand feed him and takes food and treats very sweetly. But when he is playing, or when he gets hyper he growls and bares his teeth. If I touch him when he is being playful he sometimes bares his teeth at me too. Now, maybe I am being overly sensitive, but I am just wondering if this abnormal behavior? Should I be concerned or is this normal? Thank you for your opinions and advice.

(Pup is 9 weeks and 5 days old. I got him at 8 weeks)
I have a BC pup that came from working stock dog lines, she is a very drivey dog, and as a puppy, she got overaroused very easily. If she were running around, or playing and was too excited and I touched her, she would growl and bare her teeth. Now in this case, once she realized that it was me, she stopped growling/baring her teeth immediately. I would let her go back to playing.

Your pup may not be over aroused, but touch can be very stimulating to a puppy that's worked up :). I agree with everyone else's comments, this does not sound like an aggressive puppy, but maybe a puppy with little emotional control and that gets overaroused easy.

My puppy grew out of this behavior as her impulse control developed.
 

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My Duster, who is the kindest and most gentle dog on the planet, has always played like this, crinkling his nose and baring his teeth. He's 4 years old now and still does it. With him, it's very obvious that it is a play behaviour - it's usually accompanied by play bows, growling, pouncing or batting with his paws. He does it with humans and with other dogs, only when playing, and it's very cute.

A friend of mine has a Golden who is a "smiler". People who don't know her would think she was being aggressive, but it's just what she does when meeting or interacting with humans. I used to have a border collie, many decades ago, that did the same thing.



To the OP: it's difficult to say what your pup's behaviour might be without actually seeing it.
 

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My pup can be oh so sweet, he runs to me when I call him and rolls on his back- tailing wagging- letting me scratch his belly. If he has something he shouldn’t, he lets me take it from him, without issue. He lets me hand feed him and takes food and treats very sweetly. But when he is playing, or when he gets hyper he growls and bares his teeth. If I touch him when he is being playful he sometimes bares his teeth at me too. Now, maybe I am being overly sensitive, but I am just wondering if this abnormal behavior? Should I be concerned or is this normal? Thank you for your opinions and advice.

(Pup is 9 weeks and 5 days old. I got him at 8 weeks)

Submissive displays are offered by puppies and dogs who are uncertain (not confident) in what the outcome of an interaction with a person or another dog may be. Is it normal? it is 'normal' for your pup, who is still very new to you and perhaps needs your help to build his confidence.

7 Signs of Submissive Behavior in Dogs ? Photo Gallery
 

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This was a post on Facebook from my local SPCA. Thought it was really interesting...

Did you know that when a dog shows you their belly, they may not want a belly rub? In many situations, dogs do this who are feeling uncomfortable in our presence. Behavior professionals call this an appeasement behavior because the dog is trying to demonstrate to the observer that they don’t desire any conflict. Unfortunately, this also can mean that the dog is concerned there might be an actual conflict, so when we begin to rub the concerned dog’s belly, they can feel unsafe. This can cause a dog to go from appeasement to self-defense in a quick second, often resulting in a bite.

If a dog you do not know very well shows you their belly, help the dog feel safe and resist giving them a belly rub.”
 

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This was a post on Facebook from my local SPCA. Thought it was really interesting...

Did you know that when a dog shows you their belly, they may not want a belly rub? In many situations, dogs do this who are feeling uncomfortable in our presence. Behavior professionals call this an appeasement behavior because the dog is trying to demonstrate to the observer that they don’t desire any conflict. Unfortunately, this also can mean that the dog is concerned there might be an actual conflict, so when we begin to rub the concerned dog’s belly, they can feel unsafe. This can cause a dog to go from appeasement to self-defense in a quick second, often resulting in a bite.

If a dog you do not know very well shows you their belly, help the dog feel safe and resist giving them a belly rub.”
LoL while I don't doubt a behaviorist may have said this I have never ever in my life seen a dog show it's belly and when someone went to pet the belly, get bit or show anything remote close to a self defense posture/body language. That behaviorist seems a little disconnected in this situation. No animal that I've ever heard would show it's belly when feeling uncomfortable.
 

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LoL while I don't doubt a behaviorist may have said this I have never ever in my life seen a dog show it's belly and when someone went to pet the belly, get bit or show anything remote close to a self defense posture/body language. That behaviorist seems a little disconnected in this situation. No animal that I've ever heard would show it's belly when feeling uncomfortable.
I think you’re 100% wrong. So I guess we can agree to disagree. :wink2:
 

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Some signs/signals that indicate a dog may (or may not) be enjoying that belly rub.

Submissive Behavior vs. Wanting a Belly Rub
Dogs expose their bellies to us for two main reasons: as a submissive display, and as a request for a belly rub. It's important to know what your dog is telling you before you go in for petting!

Dogs adopting a submissive display (also called an appeasement display) are trying to diffuse social tension by showing that they're not a threat. Petting a dog who's showing submissive or appeasing behaviors can make the dog more nervous, because now you're touching him in very vulnerable parts of his body!

Dogs who actually want a belly rub will generally show the following body language signals:

Overall: loose, wiggly body postures
Mouth: relaxed, open mouth—you might see their tongue flopping around
Eyes: Open or squinty, bright and not necessarily staring at anything
Tail: relaxed, wagging tail
Vocalizations: quiet ha-ha sound as they "laugh," or a light panting sound, or silent

In contrast, a dog who is showing submissive or appeasing behavior will look like this:

Overall: tense, low body postures—they may crouch, freeze, or tense up
Mouth: lips pulled far back in a "fear grimace" or lips and mouth closed, may see lots of lip-licking and tongue-flicking
Eyes: wide open and staring into the distance, or showing the whites of their eyes as they look at you, without turning their head, or eyes will be squinty and tense
Tail: may be still or wagging, but will have tension in the base of the tail and the tail may be tucked
Vocalizations: quiet or soft whining
Most people find it easiest to watch the dog's tail and mouth—but keep in mind that a wagging tail doesn't equal a happy dog. A tucked, stiff, fast tail wag is not the same as a full-body, loose tail wag!


Quote from: https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-dogs-like-belly-rubs-4584399
 

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This was a post on Facebook from my local SPCA. Thought it was really interesting...

Did you know that when a dog shows you their belly, they may not want a belly rub? In many situations, dogs do this who are feeling uncomfortable in our presence. Behavior professionals call this an appeasement behavior because the dog is trying to demonstrate to the observer that they don’t desire any conflict. Unfortunately, this also can mean that the dog is concerned there might be an actual conflict, so when we begin to rub the concerned dog’s belly, they can feel unsafe. This can cause a dog to go from appeasement to self-defense in a quick second, often resulting in a bite.

If a dog you do not know very well shows you their belly, help the dog feel safe and resist giving them a belly rub.”
TBH, In any case, I would not be so fast in petting a dog that I didn't know in that fashion.
IF I approach and wish to pet an unknown dog; I begin by offering the back of my hand for them to sniff 1st. Even if the dog APPEARS to welcome my attention, I would never pet under the head, or in any place that the COULD make the dog feel uncomfortable. After all, we are as unknown to them as they are to us.
 

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Under the head is significantly less threatening and more accepted by a dog then reaching over a dogs head to pet them.

Holding out your hand to let them sniff the back of it is correct. Most people hold out their palms but that's what you handle everything with and pick up foreign scents. The back of your hand almost always has your true scent.
 
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