Growling if I touch dog or food? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Growling if I touch dog or food?

Ellie is now 10 months old and generally doing very well.

The other day she was eating out of a bowl that was sliding on the floor. I leaned down to pull her away and move the bowl to a secured corner. She growled quite seriously and I just backed off. But I felt upset - I thought that by now, I "should" be able to come between her and her food.

Then tonight I'd given her a dental bone and she was chewing on it for quite some time. Once again I wanted to move her - this time to get the bone onto a mat so it didn't make a mess on the rug. Once again she seriously growled and I backed away.

When Ellie doesn't like something - you're holding her at an uncomfortable angle, or too tight, or whatever, she will let out a low growl but it's a statement of "I don't like that" - and it's not threatening.

Both of the above episodes with food (one literally a bowl and the other an edible bone), resulted in what sounded like serious growls.

Is this normal? Should I expect to be able to take food away - or move it? Or is she simply being a dog and dogs protect their food?

Louise
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 06:12 AM
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i'm no expert but i think you should be able to move your dogs food and toys without fear. from the time we got our dog, as a puppy i would always put my hands in his bowl when he ate. he has no food aggression issues and is 5. you might need some quick training to retrain your pup not to growl with food, don't know what it is, look online, i'm sure you can find somehting.

i have a friend who has a bull dog and failed to mention to me that her dog does not like to share toys, i learned the hard way and so did my dog, he practically took a chunk out of him when he went to take the bull dogs toy away.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 08:17 AM
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This is normal behaviour. Don't in any way reprimand the growl. You are right ,it is their warning system. You can work on desensitizing it. Here is an article about it. Also keep in mind that dogs do not like hugging. Some tollerate it better than others, but many kids especially get bit on the face from hugging dogs. Check out Doggone Safe also for more info on hugging. Here is the DSD article. http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/why-growl-good

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 10:23 AM
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Hi Louise,

It sounds like Ellie is "food guarding." You should be able to take her food/treat/toy away without her getting upset about it (which could result in her eventually biting.)

Not all dogs exhibit this behavior. Lincoln never has. When we brought Scout home, he growled at me when I was near his food bowl at dinnertime. My breeder told me that I should absolutely not let him do that and that I should be able to take his bowl away while he is eating, pet him, etc. without that kind of reaction. Since he has not developed a habit yet, it was easy to train him out of it. At the next meal, I repeatedly took the bowl away while he was eating. After a couple of days, he stopped doing it and has not had any issues with guarding anything. It might be harder or take a little longer to train a dog that has been guarding for awhile, but it can be done. Good luck!

Jane

Last edited by Jane; 07-19-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 11:20 AM
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You should not except this behavior. I can do anything to my guys without them snapping or growling. I'll take chews, toys, food away. I touch them, pick them up and groom them anytime I want. They don't call the shots. The only guy who growls is Fred. It is not a real growl, more a grumpy growl. If he's sleeping and you bump him, he grunts and storms off in a huff. He is so miserable! I never worry about anyone being around my dogs and them snapping or growling. They are between the ages of 3 and 5 and have never come close. Your girl is young, so it's not too late! I believe a dog should never growl at you, even if your head is in his crate or hand in his food bowl.

Try taking the food bowl away while she's eating and add some treats to it. She will learn, you taking his bowl away is sometime a good thing. You can also take toys and treats away, and offer something better in exchange.

PS. I still put my hands in their food bowls and take things away. I don't want bad habits to develop.






Last edited by lfung5; 07-18-2009 at 11:24 AM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
This is normal behaviour. Don't in any way reprimand the growl. You are right ,it is their warning system. You can work on desensitizing it. Here is an article about it. Also keep in mind that dogs do not like hugging. Some tollerate it better than others, but many kids especially get bit on the face from hugging dogs. Check out Doggone Safe also for more info on hugging. Here is the DSD article. http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/why-growl-good
I only agree with taking a growl as a warning, if it's a strange dog. When it's your own dog doing the growling, it needs to be stopped.





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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 01:08 PM
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You should definitely be able to move or touch or take away anything that your dog is eating/chewing without getting bitten. This could be a life-saving tool at some point should your dog ever get its teeth on something dangerous, so you definitely need to work with your pup on this issue.

We can take food or chews away from all of our dogs. It took some training and desensitizing, but we got there.

Wanda & Pepper
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lfung5 View Post
I only agree with taking a growl as a warning, if it's a strange dog. When it's your own dog doing the growling, it needs to be stopped.
I agree it needs to be worked on. Desensitizing the dog so that you can take away food toys or whatever. Resource guarding is instinctive for a dog. All I am saying is that you should not discourage the growling by saying NO or intimidating the dog. Treat any growl seriously and work on what is causing the growl , not the growl itself. It has nothing to do whether the dog is yours or someone else's. Most dog bites are to family members by far.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
I agree it needs to be worked on. Desensitizing the dog so that you can take away food toys or whatever. Resource guarding is instinctive for a dog. All I am saying is that you should not discourage the growling by saying NO or intimidating the dog. Treat any growl seriously and work on what is causing the growl , not the growl itself. It has nothing to do whether the dog is yours or someone else's. Most dog bites are to family members by far.
This makes sense. I think my comment didn't come out right. I agree to beware of any dog that growls, but if it's the families dog, work on fixing it. I hear too many people making excuses for why their dog bite someone. They are like enabling parents.





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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2009, 02:47 PM
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I can and do take food, bones or anything else out of the mouths of all of mine without incident. I wouldn't tolerate it if they were to growl at me and not let me near. Very often I'm taking a bone (or the remnants thereof) out of one of their mouths before they go out to the yard. I give it back to them when they come back in.

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