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Growing grumpier
Old 12-25-2012, 08:56 PM   #1
vixo777
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Unhappy Growing grumpier

Nikey is 1 year old and recently he has been getting growlier and nippier towards my 12 and 14 year old boys, specially when they go and pick him up. It may be that they startle him, but his reaction is almost as trying to bite. I'm concern this behavior will get worse over time. Any suggestions on how to either redirect it or how to teach him not to react that way? Thanks.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:38 PM   #2
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My male dog Yogi does not like to be picked up suddenly...and somethings not at all. Yogi will not bite and has never acted like he would bite, but he does growl and show his displeasure by giving a fierce loud series of growls and will stiffen if picked up. My DH had a problem with this and sometimes still has to be reminded, Yogi will get off the bed couch or comply if told to do it, there is no need to force him, also if he does not do it calling him over in a happy voice always gets him to come. For some reason Yogi does not like to be restrained, this may be true of your dog. You might try having the boys practice calling him over in a friendly voice and treating him, so he associates being called with something pleasent. Most dogs do not like to be grabed or suddenly picked up, dogs that are ok with it have been trained to tolorate it...yes, there is an odd one that likes it...most do not. Yogi will sit in your lap if invited.

Basically your training the behavior and then letting your dog choose that behavior. Hope this makes some sense.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:18 AM   #3
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I agree with Robbie. I think it is your sons' behavior that needs to be modified, not the puppy's. The puppy is making it known that he doesn't WANT to be picked up. Dogs are not toys, they are animals, and need to be treated with respect. That includes not forcing ourselves on them when they don't want it.

We had a similar incident just yesterday in my house, with my two sons who are MUCH older. (early 20's) Kodi actually is pretty much a snuggle pup, and doesn't mind being picked up by family members. He also often "play growls" during play. But yesterday, one of his Christmas presents was a stuffed bone, which he really loves and doesn't get often. I heard him growling REALLY loud in the other room as I was making breakfast, and the boys were talking to him as if it was a game. I had to tell them that this was NOT play growing... that Kodi was REALLY asking to be left in peace with his new bone. The boys backed off, Kodi eventually tired of the bone, and everything was fine.

Kodi has never bitten anyone, and I don't want to ever put him in a position where he feels that he needs to. Dogs DO need to be allowed to express their feelings, and be able to tell their humans when they need some space. It may be that your guy just isn't a "pick up and cuddle" sort of dog. When you get a dog, each one is an individual, with individual likes and dislikes, just like kids. You may have to accept your pup for who he is.

Do the things Robbie suggested to help strengthen the relationship between him and your sons, but he may NEVER be a dog who enjoys being picked up. But there are MANY other ways to enjoy time with him. Have the boys get down on his level and see if he is more willing to interact with them on the floor too. Many dogs feel very insecure about having their feet in the air, but will be relaxed, sweet and loving if allowed to climb onto someone's lap!
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:25 AM   #4
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great advice from Robbie and Karen. You have to be aware of things your dog may not like, like being picked up or being hugged. Do some reading online of Turid Rugaas on dogs stress and calming signs and signals if you're not familiar with them. I'm not saying the boys can't ever pick him up, but it quite often is how or when they are picked up. Good point Karen on the resource gaurding. ANY dog can and will guard and or growl/snap/bite if they "covet" something enough.
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