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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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growling

My female Havanese named Holly is 16 months old. She has always been so so good never growled or got angry at anything. The only thing I don't think she really likes is being picked up alot which my family and I tend to do. she is so small and cute that we all tend to do it. Last night she had a busy bone next to her and my daughter went to pick her up and she growled (a real growl with teeth showing) at my daughter. I have told my family that we need to stop picking her up so much but I am a little upset about the growl. I don't want this to become a habit. We could actually take bones out of her mouth and she never cared. I am not sure why she acted that way. Does anyone have any insight on what to do if this happens again???

Thanks.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 10:52 AM
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You need to work on this every single day before she develops food aggression and protectiveness. The best way to train her is to start with the food bowl. Every day I would put in my hand into my pup's bowl while they were eating. At first I would always (every single time) add something really yummy like some pieces of cheese or jerky. This helps your dog associate a hand near its bowl as a positive thing. Once I felt certain that I could always do this, I would alternate putting my hand in with nothing in it, with treats and then taking some food away. I did this every single day. Yes, it's that important! You should do this yourself at first and then have the kids start doing it (once your pup realizes that it's okay to have a hand near her bowl).

For bones or chews, I would walk up to my dogs randomly and pick up the bone while they were very interested in it. If they just sat and looked at me, I'd put it right back down and say good boy. If they jumped up and/or growled (this didn't happen with me because I worked on it so much, but you might see this happen), I would take the bone away. In the beginning it also helps to take the bone away and give her something yummy as soon as you do (to tell her that taking something away can also have its positive effects). Do this in the beginning and then do it without giving her a treat, randomizing which one you do it from day to day. It's SO important to do this ALL the time when they're young to train them that food is YOURS and not THEIRS. You need to establish that first and foremost. Do NOT, I repeat NOT, reprimand her for growling. Growling is your pups only warning system. If you get mad at her for growling her only resort is to bite the next time, and that you *definitely* don't want! Instead, work on getting her to trust that humans are allowed to take yummy things away and most times it means that something even yummier is coming along! I started this from day one with my two and though I don't do it every day anymore (they are 2.5 and 1 years old), I will every once in a while do it again just to refresh their memory. Neither of them have ever had a problem with food aggression.


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Last edited by Lina; 12-01-2009 at 10:55 AM.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:08 AM
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Excellent advice, Carolina.

Please read Carolina's advice again. She has excellent tips on how to condition your dog correctly. I can't stress enough the part about not punishing for growling. Too many people reprimand their dogs for growling and you shouldn't. It is an audible cue of a problem before it escalates. If you take away the warning system, you risk a bite without warning happening in the future.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:19 AM
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I don't know if this is good advice or not as I have only just got my Hav, but Boo tends to growl and I have just read a piece from www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/ and he suggests holding the pups mouth(gently!) and calmly saying shhhh until he or she stops.....I am not totally confident about giving advice yet so please research it yourself but after doing this with Boo for about a week he seems to be getting the message....but I think it is really important not to be stressed when you do it or you will make the doggy worse also I don't know if this is relevent to you as Boo doesnt have food agression just mainly problems with other dogs!

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Last edited by hannah&boo; 12-01-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hannah&boo View Post
I don't know if this is good advice or not as I have only just got my Hav, but Boo tends to growl and I have just read a piece from www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/ and he suggests holding the pups mouth(gently!) and calmly saying shhhh until he or she stops.....I am not totally confident about giving advice yet so please research it yourself but after doing this with Boo for about a week he seems to be getting the message....but I think it is really important not to be stressed when you do it or you will make the doggy worse also I don't know if this is relevent to you as Boo doesnt have food agression just mainly problems with other dogs!
Why is Boo growling? That's what you should be trying to correct, not the growling itself. There is a reason Boo is growling and you need to figure out what that is and work on that problem. As I mentioned above, and Kimberly pointed out as well, reprimanding for growling (and holding your dog's mouth even gently is a reprimand) can lead to serious problems down the line. Do you know what causes Boo to growl? Is he just grumbling or is it a deeper problem? This is what you should be trying to find out and then work on that.


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:32 AM
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Hi Lina, Boo only growls when dogs walk past the house or garden and he has really bad days and some days when he is less bothered, I got Boo as a four year old rescue about 6 weeks ago and he has been like this since I got him, I am constantly reading advice and training but I am at a loss as to what to do with him in say town for instance as he is far worse on the lead than off. I do have a feeling he is very insecure as this is his third (and final!) move in four years, and in his last house as he went back to the original breeder there were about 14 other dogs there and now he has come to our hous enad he is the "only child!" could it be that he doesnt want any other dogs near?

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:46 AM
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Well, growling when dogs are near the house wouldn't bother me that much, unless it was extremely aggressive. Kubrick growls at the doorbell, because he's warning me that people are coming. We live in an apartment building and when people are being loud, he'll sit by the door and grumble about the fact that they're being loud. When people come in, however, he knows to be nice and he stops the growling. Is this what Boo does or how does he react when dogs come over? Keeping him from growling when dogs are around isn't solving the problem, it's just keeping him from growling. If he's afraid, you may find that he'll snap at a dog next time because he'll think that growling is not okay, so his only alternative is to bite.

6 weeks is also not a long time for a rescue (or even any dog in fact) to be 100% okay with a new place. He's still getting his bearings and you'll find that he'll become more comfortable as time goes by. If you want to work on how he deals with dogs walking by, that's something you can definitely do by distracting him with commands and treats! Most trainers I trust will tell you that if a dog is really upset by something you shouldn't force him to be okay with it, especially if he isn't ready.

If I were you I would work on training when a dog comes by. Of course, you need to do this when dogs aren't around as well. When Kubrick was young he was scared to death of other dogs (due to his not being well-socialized before he came to me) so I worked on getting him to focus on ME when other dogs were around, and not on the other dog. So when we were out for a walk and another dog was approaching, I would make him sit and watch me (the watch command is important for this) and feed him lots of treats (small pieces, of course) until the dog passed by. In other words, I wanted him to ignore the dog. The first thing you need to teach Boo is how to ignore a dog altogether then, and only then, should you work on teaching him how to be friendly with them. And Kubrick is now possibly the most friendly dog (to other dogs) I've ever met, so it does happen, it just takes time.

ETA: I hope my post makes sense... I just realized that it seems all over the place. Let me know if you need clarification as I'm too cold to fix it... my heater isn't working today and it's 40 degrees. Blegh!


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Last edited by Lina; 12-01-2009 at 11:54 AM.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 12:02 PM
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Ahh okay that's great advice I think you get to the stage where you have read so many different things you don't know what to try anymore! and no he doesn't freak out when dogs go by and I also live in an apartment and he is grumbling when say neighbour's are loudly closing doors etc! and Boo is fine with people when they come in a..... little stand offish at first till he has met them a few times but I think that is great!
And on our walks i take him to a some local fields and occassionlay we come across dogs in the field generally there are a fair few on the walk to the field so I could practise then. I am also socialising him with my step Mums dog and my Sisters and Mums and when they first met he was very agressive but after he had met them once although he is not overly impressed with them he is not stressed in their company. And I will start tommorow to get him to ignore other dogs.....I just think we would both be so much happier if we could sort the problem it must be awful for him to feel so stressed whilst out and it's certainly no fun for me!!!

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 12:04 PM
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oh and to answer your question I missed!!! if a dog comes over he will lunge at them and try to bite which i understand if they are being agressive but generally they want to play and he wants to kill them!

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 02:48 PM
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Lina,

Do you have any ideas for Milo? He shows aggressive behavior in two ways:

1) Workmen in the house: he will actually ty to nip them if I don't keep him tethered to me.

2) Everybody leaving the house. When visitors leave (including my adult children), he will try to grab them by the ankle. I always leash him before people try to leave. It'a very inconvenient.

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