View Full Version : Another Aggression Question

29th August 2007, 05:07 PM
I have a question related to growling and mouthing issues myself. Bella, like some of the other puppies described, is a pretty hyper, playful puppy. Most of the time when I am playing with her she growls and will sometimes make little yippee barks. I never took it as an aggression thing - I thought it was pretty clear that she is playing but now I wonder. She loves fetch and a lot of times when she brings the ball back she will growl when I go to get it and throw it again. She never snaps and just seems to do this playful - grrr, grrr, grrr thing. I started realizing that this may be a problem when my friend came over last night and was freaked out by it. Should I be correcting this behavior or is she just being a dog/puppy??

Also, another issue that I know is bad but I'm not quite sure how to correct. When I come home she excitedly runs up to me and licks my face and goes just nuts and will then bite at my hands. She doesn't do it in an aggressive way and it doesn't really hurt but it seems like shes just so excited that she just does what she can to get ahold of me. I always tell her "no" and try to ignore her til she stops but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Any advice?? She is 7 months old now if that means anything :)

29th August 2007, 05:19 PM

First off - NEVER correct the act of growling. You remove the warning & then a dog WILL bite out of the blue.

Secondly - the dog is inviting you to play. Growling means more than a warning since the "vocabulary" of a dog is so limited. My dog does exactly the same & it's part of her play. She tugs, she growls, she barks - she's a dog at the end of the day.

Thirdly - you have not taught bite inhibition fully. You need to take it further if you are still not finding mouthing acceptable. There is no use telling a dog to not do something if you do not teach it what they are meant to be doing instead. Either give the dog something to mouth to divert it's attention to praise or only praise when she is doing something you accept like the licking or sitting still or all feet on the floor or whatever the problem may be. Ignoring works a LOT more than a firm "no".

29th August 2007, 05:51 PM

Some dogs just like to growl when playing -- Jaspar is a serious growler but anyone who has ever seen him will know how 'aggressive' this is :rotfl:. By contrast Lily and Leo only growl as a warning and Leo really needs to be pushed before he ever growls; he is Mr Sweet-natured even when he gets annoyed.

If she is mouthing and not biting down and this doesn't bother you, then there's no issue, really -- all three of mine will grab at my hands and arms in play sometimes when invited, and I like roughhousing with them in this way now and then. It's a demonstration of how careful they are that this never hurts. But if you don;t want this kind of activity there are two things to do: 1) keep your hands and arms away from the dog's mouth so there's no temptation to bite (just as when you are teaching puppies not to bite down! :) ) and second, if she starts grabbing in this way walk away from the game so that all the fun ends. Also/alternatively, have her able to go into a good polite sit or downstay so that you can redirect that overexcited behaviour you don;t like, to something calm and directed. :)

29th August 2007, 07:37 PM
Harvey does those growling and barking noise also. He is 16 weeks old and he loves to play rough and tumble with my 14 year old son. It's strange because he only plays this way with him. He seems to know he is not allowed to do it to my daughter (who is younger) or anyone else. He really gets quite loud and I have worried that he is getting angry. When my son stops the play to show me, Harvey just sits and looks at him and gives a little bark to remind him that he's still there and it's still play time.

1st September 2007, 09:48 PM
awwww! my j does this with my 11 year old son too....i get quite envious actually as im not a ruff about on the floor type but its lovely to watch...loads of yips and grrrrs aand open mouths etc but the tail is up wagging like mad and the smile is huge...how could you not tell its just play. :)

2nd September 2007, 09:28 PM
oh it sounds like she just wants to play. cookie does the same thing. When i wake up in the morning and she's all happy she'l start headbutting and play biting my hand and get all excited. ...or if she knows that we are going to have to leave her on her own she'l start jumping up growling to play-bite our hand in order to distract us not to leave lol.

At first we felt the same, and my mum hated it and was like noo she's angry, but we are all used to it now and cookie happily does the same thing to her toys, goes and beats them up! ....and to think when we rescued her she didnt know how to play. It was actually playing this that helped. If you don't like playing that game (like my mum ..and the dog will know, cos if cookies playing it and my mums goes to her cookie will lick my mums fingers instead of biting) then get a toy and instead of using your hand and the toy 'will come and get her' instead haha. She's a right little bully to her toys now. We say she's going through her second puppiehood now.

3rd September 2007, 11:29 AM
Awwww she sounds like a little riot :D Lots of my dogletts have loved growling when they are playing and lots of them loved mouthing my hands. I know some people don't like this, but I've never had a problem with it. It isn't a bad idea to teach them something like "off" so that they don't do this to your visitors. Some people do get very nervous of a mouthy dog, even a little one, so its probably good if you can teach her that maybe it is okay with you, but not with other people.

3rd September 2007, 12:59 PM
Amber is incredibly vocal when playing- she growls, whines, sings, yips, howls and a combination of the above. Holly is more monotonous- her vocab is restricted to "Now!" and "No!" :lol:. Expressed as either a growl, a high pitched bark, or a normal bark.

Amber is the canine equivalent of a Siamese cat! Much more expressive. As for the mouthing, it may also be her age- I doubt she'd be teething at this late date, but I believe some puppies do go through a real chewing/mouthing stage at this point.