View Full Version : Growling?

3rd December 2007, 12:04 AM
I need some advice here...Rosalita, my year old tri, has a bad habit of growling when I or anyone else tries to take a toy or bone away from her. What is the best way to handle this?

3rd December 2007, 12:52 AM
Well, consider that when you were a child and someone tried to take something you wanted away from you, you probably cried or whined or shouted for a parent to intervene... :) ...that's a good context for thinking about what is happening here, as that's pretty much what a puppy is doing too, or any dog that hasn't been trained to learn that it's OK when people take things from them *because they have positive associations with this happening*. A pup or dog will have even more reason to try and hang onto resources like a chew or to guard food than a child to hang on to a toy, because for them this is to a large degree instinctual and linked to self preservation (if you hang on to resources you stay alive).

In other words, most pups and dogs will complain -- and growling is how they complain. Of course they don;t live in the wild, they live in our world, and it isn't acceptable that they do this, and should always be willing to allow a person to take something from them or lift a food bowl... until you work with them so that they are always more than happy to have you take things away.

So this is one of the first and most basic things to work on with a new pup (or adult dog if this is in any way an issue) because if this behaviour isn't shaped in a positive way, it can lead to very defensive resource guarding.

So what you do is you train the dog by teaching that if it is willing to trade the item it has, it gets a BETTER item. Note the word TRADE :) -- if you punish a dog and take away the item, the dog thinks, "Boy I need to guard that even more aggressively next time because when someone comes near they really do intend to take my stuff away!" (this is why a lot of correction/punishment based training for resource guarding only worsens the problem). Instead you want the dog to willingly and safely surrender any item with indifference to your presence because it has NO bad associations with the end result. :thmbsup: . You start by swapping items, and you gradually work up to being able to take an item, praise, and then *return it*. Then gradually, you will be able to simply take an article away and as always. *praise* the dog/pup for accepting its removal. This is how you do it:


3rd December 2007, 02:00 AM
Thanks, Karlin. I knew I would get some great advice!

3rd December 2007, 03:29 AM
My veda does the exact same thing, if that makes you feel any better.