Appropriate growling? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Appropriate growling?

Wanted to share/ tell you about a creature we encountered on our walk today. Down on the local bike/walking trail, 'bout midway, there's some... guy? Creature? Walking on the same side as me. I'm on the far right side, as is usual. This dark, foreboding person comes towards me, not uttering a word nor even seeming like he notices Bagheera and I coming towards him. At the last second Bagheera had had ENOUGH of this creepy guy and lunged and GROWLED and that seemed to shake the man from his stupor and he passed on by us to our left. He never uttered a word nor did I. I never moved from the right side. It was odd, dark still, but I couldn't really tell you if the guy was black or white, or even for sure that it was a guy - didn't really even see his face. Dressed all in dark clothes, long sleeves, hands in pockets I think. Might have had a hoodie on and a beard - vagabond perhaps? I didn't hear any music but suppose he could have just been listening through earbuds, eyes down, and never even noticed us until the last second... but Bagheera wasn't happy with his behavior.

It got me thinking. A long time ago there was a theory that dog attacks happen when the dog gets confused and no longer sees the person as a human being. Has your dog ever acted oddly towards someone?

Last edited by Wolfeye; 08-25-2017 at 12:13 PM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:12 PM
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Yes, in similar circumstances. I used to have a labrador, and we went for a walk one evening on an isolated forest trail in a city park. We sat for a while at a viewing point, and after a few minutes I noticed a guy hanging out behind a tree, watching us. My very gentle labrador put her hackles up and started growling. I left immediately, and the guy followed. When I walked faster, so did he. I was starting to be frightened. Part way down the trail we met another guy coming towards us: about 6'6", shaven head, tattoos ... My labrador immediately ran up to greet him, tail wagging. I took a chance and asked if he would walk back down with me because I thought I was being followed. He was super nice, calmed me down and walked me back to a busy street where I felt safe. Lesson learned: Trust the dog and don't judge people by their appearance.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceegee View Post
I used to have a labrador, and we went for a walk one evening on an isolated forest trail in a city park.
Why was it a isolated rail, come on. lets not do that again
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:24 PM
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Usually I would correct my dog for unexpected behavior like this but in these circumstances I would agree that maybe it's best to go with your gut and follow the dogs lead. It reminds me of something I read once in a training book, I'm pretty sure it was Ian Dunbar. He mentioned that when teaching the dog to speak he uses the word "defend" instead of speak. There was no explanation as to why use that word so I thought about it. Now imagine that during a walk you come across a person that makes you uncomfortable. You could have the sweetest dog in the world, they don't know that, if this person hears you use the word "defend" followed by a bark I would think their assessment might be to just move on. Good dog.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:25 PM
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Why was it a isolated rail, come on. lets not do that again
I'm in Canada and this was 20 years ago - it was (and still is) generally very safe. I'd been walking that trail with the dog for years with no problems, and I did it again after the incident, but never at dusk. I don't live downtown any more, but I have access to other forest trails now and I sometimes walk on them in the dark, with a headlamp. That incident was the only time I've ever been afraid when walking with my dog.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:32 PM
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My Neeko has had two of these incidents. Both people were wearing dark hoodies, gloves, and you couldnt see their faces, and they talked...One was a neighbor, but Neeko was having none of it. It was winter, and everyone was bundled up, and it was dark out .... He needs to see faces Im assuming...

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:37 PM
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Good job Bagheera! When you spend 16 hr days taking care of other peoples dogs you have to walk your own whenever you can. I used to carry a golf club and mace back in the city. Out here they roll up the sidewalks and traffic stops at 10pm :-)
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:38 PM
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That's one of the very few examples of situations where growling + warning barking is OK. And very appropriate.

We had once housesat for a friend who was having problems with her neighbors. Sure enough, at night time (like 2-3 AM), she had people walking around her backyard and probably up to no good.

My Danny - who was a very soft dog and NEVER EVER growled or raised his lips at any of us. He stormed the back window (like the sliding door and screen area) and was barking like a huge guard dog loose in the house. It scared off whoever was outside and the incident passed without any harm.

Other time, my older sister was out walking her boy (Sammy) out along an isolated rural road... and had some guys in a truck slow way down like they were going to stop and hassle her.

Sammy was a marshmallow of a dog around people and other dogs. Was absolutely not aggressive and I wouldn't call this "aggressive" either. But he veered around between my sister and the truck and his hackles were up and he was doing a low growl at the guys in the truck. They immediately took off.

My sister was scared to death during the incident and left the road and cut across some fields to get back to the house. So nothing else came of it, but it could have been really bad possibly. Who knows what those guy's intentions were. My sister was very petite then (she still is) and would not have been able to defend herself very well.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 12:55 PM
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Angel is to young for any of that, but she does bark and growl at the vacuum, weed wacker and the broom o and my neighbors plastic trash bag. Athena however she is very quiet so if she is barking i get off whatever i am doing, comp watching tv anything and run to her and see what is wrong.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 01:13 PM
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My Malamute wouldn't let anyone within 20 ft of me if it was dark out. We walked a lot at night during the summer. Even if we both knew the person he was happy to sit and let me chat but cross that 20ft circle and it was teeth barred.
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