Growling grumpy 5 month old pup - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Growling grumpy 5 month old pup

So, our pup is 5 months old now. He's not a terrible puppy. He's really rather smart & funny. He's full of life and loves to play. My only concern is the growling. He will run circles growling and barking, but I just figured he was playing and getting energy out. But here are the times I'm most concerned when he growls: when we are playing with a toy and someone touches him (this is unpredictable... Not every time) , when someone goes to take him from my arms (even if I'm handing him off.. He continues to growl after that have him), when we go to pick him up from his pen (sometimes even when he's barking to be let out. We go to reach in and get him and he growls and bites at us.) I feel like his growls are not playful in these times. I fear having an unpredictable dog. I don't want to wonder "will he bite us or someone else " when he is older. Especially with an 8 year old in our home, I want our pup to be trustworthy. Any advice/input??
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 10:52 PM
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It's so hard to figure out these things from a distance. I would recommend a behaviorist - someone who can see in person when/ how he growls and how those are different than play growls/ noises they make.

Perry growls a lot - but never bites - and for him I can completely see that he's 'talking', not aggression or fear growling, but that won't be the same for every dog.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 09:11 AM
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I agree with Melissa completely. Growling can be playful, it can be talking or it can be a warning. It should NEVER be discouraged because it gives you information. But if you can't tell the difference between the kinds of growl, you really need to get a good, positive based trainer in there to help you figure out what's going on, and how to address it in each circumstance.

Kodi and Panda both "talk" in a way that can sound "growly" but it isn't. Panda does it when she wants to be picked up. Kodi does it just "conversationally". LOL! Kodi will ALSO growl when he has something and doesn't want either a person or another dog to take it away from him. But it has a COMPLETELY different tone than the "conversational" growls he does. It is clearly a warning. If it is a toy or food, I honor it, and expect the other dogs to honor it too. I don't think he should have to share if he doesn't want to. If he has something he shouldn't, (he's a terrible paper thief) I put my hand out, and in a quiet voice, I say, "Give!" he growls a bit more, in a grumpy undertone, then comes and SPITS it into my hand with one more grump. BUT, that part took a LOT of training, and I ALWAYS reward him for giving me something he wants to keep. He knows the routine of "running to the kitchen" to get his cookie for giving up contraband.

One thing that is REALLY important is that you never, EVER want to punish a dog for growling. That is the "early warning system" for the dog to let you know they are unhappy with something. Dogs that learn that they are not allowed to growl are the ones that end up "biting without warning"... because HUMANS have taken their ability to "warn" away. It is really important that all family members remember that a dog has feelings and needs too. If they don't want to be picked up or handed off to a different person, you should try to figure out what's bothering them about that action and work on making them feel more comfortable with it.

When they are younger, it can help to have a cookie in your hand to "trade" for the item you need to get from them.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 04:10 PM
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My 7 month old Chica has started growling if I come near her when she's enjoying a particularly yummy chew treat. She's quite hysterical she even jumps completely of the floor and growls and opens her mouth like she's going to bite. At first it scared me but now I firmly tell her NO and offer her a different toy/treat (less yummy) and take away the other one. It does concern me cause she's usually a very happy and fun, sweet girl. For now I think I'm handling it okay but would of course be appreciative of anyone's input on this. thanks, Cristina
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 05:33 PM
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My 7 month old Chica has started growling if I come near her when she's enjoying a particularly yummy chew treat. She's quite hysterical she even jumps completely of the floor and growls and opens her mouth like she's going to bite. At first it scared me but now I firmly tell her NO and offer her a different toy/treat (less yummy) and take away the other one. It does concern me cause she's usually a very happy and fun, sweet girl. For now I think I'm handling it okay but would of course be appreciative of anyone's input on this. thanks, Cristina
Well, as I said earlier, discouraging a dog from growling is NEVER a good idea.

If I had a dog that was getting resource guard-y about a particular treat, I either would not offer that treat at all, or I would put the dog in her crate with that treat, and tell everyone they were not to bother the dog until the treat was finished.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 02:03 AM
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Along these lines, if you are trying not to discourage growling, how do you explain it or manage it with people outside of the family? I have learned to read our dogs play growls, but it was startling to me at first, especially when when hes initiating active play, which often involves some sudden movement. I dont want to be the person who says, hes just friendly, hes trying to play, because we all have heard the stories of the oblivious owners who say that while their dog is terrifying the neighborhood children! Yet that is what hes doing - initiating play. Or, rarely, asking for water.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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I can say he really does growl when he wants water. Or if he wants down. Or if he's hungry. I do think he growls in a way that could turn out bad too though. But often, it's as if he growls instead of whining. He's just a very vocal pup. Our house all talked and are going to work on changing some of our behaviors first and see if the growling improves. Going to try improving relationship with husband and dog through treats and more interaction. Going to try daughter being more calm with him. All of us will put him in short time out in pen when he growls aggressively. Also going to try to do more training to engage his mind more. We'll wait a bit and see if all this improves things. If not, we'll look into finding a trainer to help us. I don't want a dog that growls at other people or us. I don't want us or anyone else to wonder if he's a nice dog or not. I want a healthy happy pup. Physically and emotionally. That we can all enjoy and that can enjoy life. People learn to control their emotions and I believe dogs can too. No one wants to put up with attitude, but we do all get in a bad mood sometimes and can't expect perfection. It's a fine line.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by EvaE1izabeth View Post
Along these lines, if you are trying not to discourage growling, how do you explain it or manage it with people outside of the family? I have learned to read our dogs play growls, but it was startling to me at first, especially when hes initiating active play, which often involves some sudden movement. I dont want to be the person who says, hes just friendly, hes trying to play, because we all have heard the stories of the oblivious owners who say that while their dog is terrifying the neighborhood children! Yet that is what hes doing - initiating play. Or, rarely, asking for water.
Honestly? I rarely allow my dog to interact with strangers. So it just doesn't come up. If my dog was on-leash and a stranger approached and my dog growled, I would tell them that my dog was not comfortable and was asking to be left alone. Dogs don't have to put up with getting mugged by strangers. Likewise, if my dog is loose and making noises that intimidate people (friendly or not) IMO it's my responsibility to leash my dog up or call him to my side (if he is well enough trained) so that he does not bother the person.

In my home, if people are visiting who either don't understand dog or will not fallow my instructions on how to interact with them, the dogs are put away. Not to protect the people, but to protect my dogs.
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